Review of John Wayne Slots
John Wayne was one of the biggest stars of “Old Hollywood”, with his films grossing millions of dollars over a wildly successful 25 year run, as he starred in some of the biggest movies of the day. “The Duke” is responsible for many popular sayings to come out of that era such as,
A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do, and
Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid. True words indeed.
His two main genres of films were westerns and war, and as a result he got a reputation for being one tough son of a gun. Wayne was so pro-American and anti-communist that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin actually considered having him assassinated. And if you have any doubts about his toughness, it’s believed that Wayne smoked 6 packs of cigarettes a day – how is that even possible?
It’s pretty darn hard to be over 40 years old and not have an opinion on John Wayne and most people love him, although he does have his critics. Personally, I choose to remember him for his solid acting and all of the classic films he starred in – no one could bust bandits like The Duke.
Therefore, this expert review of John Wayne Slots will explain the “new frontier” of everything that’s on offer in this high-energy release from Playtech.
The screenshots below just have a dusty ol’ feel to them, don’t they? With long horns, sharp spurs, and gold badges, this machine takes you right back to the Wild West. The design is very nice and the user controls blend in perfectly with the background.
Born Marion Robert Morrison in 1907 in the tiny town of Winterset, Iowa, no one could have known that this son of a pharmacist would end up being one of the most popular actors to ever star in a western movie. He acquired his beloved nickname of “Duke” as a child thanks to his Airedale Terrier that never left his side when the family moved to California.
After breaking his collarbone in a bodysurfing incident Wayne lost his scholarship for playing on the University of Southern California football team and had to drop out of school. Film director John Ford then hired him as a movie extra to payback the football coach for all of the free game tickets he had given him and actor Tom Mix over the years.
The Duke had many small movie roles over the next while and was finally discovered by Raoul Walsh while laboring in the Fox Film lot and was given the lead role in the 1930 film “The Big Trail“. Walsh then collaborated with the head of Fox Studios and came up with the actor’s new stage name: “John Wayne” had arrived.
Wayne went on to star in many big Hollywood films of the day, usually as a tough “law and order” cowboy in the western frontiers or a brave, no-nonsense serviceman fighting in World War II. He finally ended up winning the Oscar award for “Best Actor” in 1970 for True Grit, which cast him as a U.S. Marshal chasing outlaws across the plains of Arkansas.
Playtech has now tried to capture the spirit of the “old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness flag-waving patriot” with this fun online slot game with free spins and bonus features, and they did a mighty fine job with it indeed. They made the excellent choice to focus the story on his westerns instead of his war films and fans are going to be very happy with the result.
There certainly is no denying that the theme of this release is “Wild Wild West” and the unique symbols do a good job of reinforcing that. All of the best elements of the traditional cowboy outfit are here and the badge that says “The Duke” is the ultimate sign of respect.
Of course there are tons of images of John Wayne himself that all appear to be still shots from his various western roles. Here’s the full list of what you’ll find on the reels:
- J (Jack)
- Q (Queen)
- K (King)
- A (Ace)
- Tan Cowboy Hat
- Cowboy Boot with Spurs
- Red Bandana
- John Wayne with Brown Hat
- John Wayne with White Hat
- John Wayne with Black Hat
- John Wayne Walking with Dog (Wild)
- Cattle Skull (Bonus)
- The Duke Sheriff Badge (Feature)
Well obviously John Wayne is going to be the one who pays out the most and it’s his Wild with the dog that takes the honor, paying 5,000 coins for 5 of a Kind. This is followed by Wayne in a black hat, white hat, and brown hat paying 1,000, 500, and 300 coins respectively for five across the reels.
The Duke never trusted a man that didn’t drink and Playtech has never included a jackpot in a game when it didn’t have to. So you can stop trying to track down a John Wayne Jackpot now and keep on riding right out of town.
Sadly, there isn’t a proper unique bonus round in this machine and the only special area you’ll find just sets up what’s going to happen in the free spins mode, which is detailed in the section below.
However, you do get a little shot in the arm with The Duke’s Badge Feature: a quick Pick Em’ game that’s triggered if you get 3 or more Badges anywhere on the reels. You’ll actually want to see as many as possible because the more you get, the higher your prize will be.
- 3 Badges: 4x to 8x multiplier on your wager.
- 4 Badges: 20x to 30x multiplier on your wager.
- 5 Badges: 80x to 120x multiplier on your wager.
At no time during our testing did we hit 5 Badges so if you’re lucky enough to experience it, hold onto your saddle for dear life.
How much fun you have with your free spins is going to be determined by what you hit in John Wayne’s Ranch Bonus that’s accessed if you get Cattle Skull symbols anywhere on reels #1, #3, and #5 at the same time.
A lot of people don’t like unique areas that require you to use your keyboard or mouse to move things around, however, this release is definitely the exception to the rule. It’s actually quite exciting because it gives you rows of old tin cans lined up on fences that you get to shoot with your pistol.
You simply use your mouse to move your pointer over the can that you want to shoot and then the can gets blown away and the prize behind it is revealed. Most won’t mind this level of physical interaction because there isn’t a timer and you’re not being attacked by anything so you can shoot the gun at your own pace.
You only get a base prize of 3 spins with a 1x multiplier so it’s up to you to build on that with the 6 bullets in your gun. Behind the cans are tons of different goodies to grab such as extra Wild and Scatter symbols, more spins, higher multipliers, and extra bullets to shoot at more cans. After you’ve shot your last can your adventure begins and everything will unfold automatically throughout the feature.
The graphics are rootin’ tootin’ good in this Wild West adventure, with every little detail coming together to transport you back to the time of saloons and caravans. One of the best visual effects is when you enter the free spins mode you’re taken from the dusty daylight to a dark western sky. It’s absolutely beautiful and it will have you thinking about sipping an iced-tea on the porch and listening to some crickets.
There is a lot of clicking and pointing with your mouse in this round, whether it’s picking a badge in the reel feature or shooting the cans on your way to the freeroll. So if you like to kick back and relax and not have to pay too much attention while you gamble, this might be too much action for you…although most players will probably find these unique things quite fun.
Some people might initially feel like there aren’t enough animations on the symbols of John Wayne but after staring at them for a while you’ll realize that they have just the right amount of flare. It looks like a golden ray of sunshine is pouring over them whenever they’re involved in a payline win. Also, the Wilds have a nice dust storm blow through them when used in a win and it’s a nice, subtle effect. It probably would have been impossible for them to secure any clips from Wayne’s actual movies so they had to work with what they had.
Overall, even though this machine is about old dusty classics, the graphics are sharp and clear, and all of the animations look great. It feels totally modern with a vintage feel.
Audio & Soundtrack
There’s a fantastic soundtrack that will take you back to the old west courtesy of the calm guitar and symphonic strings that’ll relax you quicker than a few shots of bourbon at your neighborhood saloon. Also, during the free spins mode there is a crazy fiddle and banjo back and forth that will have you rocking around in your seat. Finally, the song that plays while you’re shooting cans is a song that will make you feel like you’re home, home on the range.
The audios are mostly fine but there are some weird bangs and crashes that sound like pots and pans being smashed together. They’re not so much annoying as they are confusing.
All of the other sound effects like wins being added to your bankroll are soft and pleasant, with nothing standing out one way or the other.
Sometimes movie-themed slot games at online casinos can be downright weak and dastardly but ones that are based on celebrities usually have a tendency to turn out better for some reason. To quote The Duke himself,
Out here due process is a bullet. That about sums up how we like to approach all of our reviews because we totally lack mercy for any release that’s inadequate. Fortunately for Wayne, there’s more than enough going on here to make it fun and every fan will want to give it a try.
With a great unique area where you get to fire off your six shooter, a rockin’ Country & Western soundtrack, and a graphic design that’s right out of “Rio Bravo“, any fan of The Duke and his films will be highly entertained with this title. Even players who have no idea who John Wayne is will find themselves amused for at least a little while because it definitely has a distinct flavor to it.
The only major weakness to be found is that there’s not a proper bonus round where you can win extra prizes or do something really special, and if Playtech would have included that, John Wayne Slots could have been a 10 out of 10. However, this is a small criticism when you consider all of the excitement and action throughout the rest of the adventures.
So I think it’s time to mount up, hit the ol’ dusty trail, and go for a ride with The Duke. Giddy up!
Bonus Video of John Wayne
Here is a strange documentary about John Wayne that I found on Youtube. It’s only 45 minutes long and it seems to focus a lot on his negatives, but it’s interesting nevertheless. So for those of you who want to dig deeper into the legend, here’s John Wayne: The Unquiet American…