Review of Platoon Slots
The movie Platoon has always haunted me. I’ve actually re-watched it a few times over the years in the hopes of making sense of it all, but I still have many questions and it’s just as disturbing as the first time I saw it in the ’80s…and I think that Oliver Stone would be happy to know that.
I was pretty shocked when I first saw that they had released a slot game based on Platoon because it’s a horrific movie with deep themes and lots of violence, about an unpopular war that has destroyed the lives of countless people. It just doesn’t seem like the film was begging to be made into a fun slot game.
That said, a casino software company decided to release it, so I had to review it. Unfortunately, my initial hunch was correct and there’s not a lot of fun to be found in this title and it’s actually quite depressing to play. Also, it’s probably obvious, but if you’re uncomfortable with images of war or violent weapons, you’ll definitely want to skip this game and try out something a little lighter.
As you can see in the screenshots below, there is a hardcore military vibe going on in this game, and camouflage and weaponry are everywhere. There is a dark green theme to this slot which is accentuated not only by the fatigues, but also the dark jungle in the background.
The playing card symbols were created in a bright neon so the 9 through to the Ace jump off of the black background in a strange explosion of colors. The hot pink “10” is my personal favorite.
Instead of going into the intricate geopolitical reasons for the Vietnam War, lets’s just stick to the plot of the original film: We follow rookie recruit Chris Taylor as he arrives at his new platoon and begins to go out on missions to battle the North Vietnamese Army. He learns more and more about the soldiers he’s fighting alongside with and soon discovers that the platoon is clearly divided.
One of the major themes of this movie is “the strong vs. the weak”, as you have the straight-laced Staff Sergeant Barnes and his crew, who are in smug opposition to the more laid-back soldiers in their platoon and their spiritual leader, Sergeant Elias. The film shows how there can be devastating infighting between soldiers who are supposedly on the same side, calling into question the very essence of right and wrong.
The movie takes us along for the platoon’s horrific journey through the never-ending jungles of Vietnam as they torch villages and execute civilians. We sympathize with the soldiers as they cry out in agony watching their friends die in bloody firefights with an unseen enemy. Ultimately, we witness how the weight of war crushes the spirits of young men who experience a savagery that most people couldn’t imagine existing, even in the deepest pits of Hell. We watch them as they leave their souls in the battlefield and then march back to their temporary homes made of canvas and string.
This slot game from iSoftBet attempts to recreate the fear and confusion of Platoon through its military-themed symbols, violent images, and interesting free spins mode. However, other than a few graphic reminders, there really isn’t any storyline from the film. (Thankfully.) And given the subject matter, I’m not sure which scenes iSoftBet could have tastefully incorporated.
Sadly the creators of this game felt that they had no other choice than to include a “9” as a game symbol, when they could have easily just added more characters from the movie instead. I’m not sure why they don’t have Kevin Dillon’s maniacal character of “Bunny”, and I think that John C. McGinley’s role of Sergeant Red O’Neill should have made it into the game somewhere.
Anyway, here’s what’s on offer:
- J (Jack)
- Q (Queen)
- K (King)
- A (Ace)
- King (Keith David)
- Big Harold (Forest Whitaker)
- Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes (Tom Berenger)
- Sergeant Gordon Elias (Willem Dafoe)
- Private First Class Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen)
- Tank (Wild)
- Helicopter (Bonus)
Obviously Chris Taylor is going to pay out the most in this game, and boy does he come through with a massive 10,000 coins for five in one spin. This is followed by Sergeant Elias with 5,000 coins and Sergeant Elias with 1,500 for 5 of Kind. Big Harold is next in line with 1,000 coins for five on the reels, and King is the lowest paying character symbol with 800 for the same.
There aren’t any jackpots available in Platoon Slots, which is the case with most games from iSoftBet. Not to mention, it would have been quite hard to create a jackpot game based on the themes of war and destruction.
Slots players looking for gambling action will be disappointed to find that there’s no proper bonus round in Platoon. As I discussed above, I’m not really sure how they could have included a “fun” bonus round in a game that is about a devastating war, so even though I usually complain when a slot doesn’t have a bonus area, I think in this circumstance it was the right decision not to include one.
Platoon does have a nice bonus feature called “Wild Multipliers” which entails Tank Wild symbols slowly making their way off of the reels with each spin whenever they land on the game board. Therefore, you get lots of ways to win from one Wild symbol, and you even get re-spins to go along with it since you’ll freeroll until the Wild has completely left your screen. The Tank Wild symbols slowly lumber to the left of the screen, stopping on each reel for a spin along the way, and if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get a 3x multiplier on any wins that involve them.
Obviously you’re unable to increase your wager amount until the feature is over, which is why two chains appear over your bet amount and lock it up for the duration.
You’ll want to see choppers flying onto your screen with their machine guns blazing because that whirlybird Bonus symbol is bringing free games with it. You can re-trigger additional free spins while freerolling, and the same number of Bonus symbols gives you the same number of spins each time:
- 3 Bonus Symbols = 8 Free Games (5x multiplier)
- 4 Bonus Symbols = 10 Free Games (10x multiplier)
- 5 Bonus Symbols = 12 Free Games (12x multiplier)
Be aware that when you re-trigger free games and have the extra spins added to your total the payline wins during those spins will not have the original multiplier added to them.
A nice little nugget of the Platoon Free Games Mode is that it will pay both ways and will always give you the largest prize possible for each line.
The animations for the Tank Wild symbols chugging across the reels are pretty good, and the visual effects of symbols burning when used in payline wins are decent too. Also, the background in free games mode changes from the jungle to a flaming sky with choppers flying through it, and it’s quite the dramatic image.
There are slight animations on the character symbols that are taken directly from the original movie whenever they’re used in a payline win. However, I’m just not sure how I feel about Charlie Sheen saluting my free games win total from a helicopter. That was quite an emotional scene in the movie and it’s kind of weird to see it repurposed as an acknowledgement for a successful bonus round. In fairness, if you decide to play a slot game based on the movie Platoon, I guess that’s what you’re signing on for.
I hate to criticize something without offering a suggestion, but the character symbols in this game are kind of confusing. This is because all of the images are close-up shots of their faces and they’re obviously all wearing the same dark green army fatigues, so you really have to pay attention when playing. For some reason I find that Willem Dafoe looks a lot like Charlie Sheen in this game, so maybe they could have done something to differentiate them.
The best graphic in this game by far is when the chopper flies out to machine gun your “Current Win” total and blast gold coins out of it, cranking up the amount as the bullets fly. This particular visual is definitely where the graphics team at iSoftBet spent most of their time.
Audio & Soundtrack
Throughout the game there are beautiful sounds of the breeze blowing through the trees and birds singing, mixed with the crunching of boots on the ground, the cocking of rifles, and the rumbling of tanks. All of the audios come together to illustrate the confusing contrasts of war.
The song that plays when free spins are triggered is an ominous orchestral-style track that is very dramatic and bombastic. I don’t think that it was in the original film, but it builds the intensity of the mood nevertheless.
The only main objection I have with this game’s audios is that the soundtrack stops when there is a Wild Tank symbol making it’s way across the board. So if it starts on reel #5 the song cuts out at the end of each of the next 4 spins as it makes its stop on each reel. The game’s developers couldn’t have fixed it so the sounds of the grinding tank gears are simply heard over the soundtrack as it continues to play? This is just strange to me.
As you can clearly tell, I find it pretty remarkable that a game was made from a movie that was so violent and disturbing. By definition online slot games are supposed to be fun, and personally I find it really hard to have fun when playing Platoon Slots due to the memories it conjures up. All of the images and themes of war just fly in the face of what gambling should be about.
Of course those players who loved the movie might enjoy themselves, but I think that even the most rabid fans will get bored after a while due to the lack of a bonus round and jackpot. There simply isn’t enough going on in this game to keep you entertained for long stretches of time. So if you enjoyed the film you should give it a few spins to check it out, but if you’re like me and want to play fun and exciting slot games, you’ll want to just pass on Platoon in favor of a better movie-themed slot game.
Actually, I just had a thought: perhaps this slot game is a secret commentary from Oliver Stone himself – the pointlessness of war being pointed out by a pointless slot game about war. Or maybe that’s giving this game too much credit?
Feel free to try it out and decide for yourself – just don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
Bonus Video of Platoon
Even though I’m not particularly happy with the slot game that shares its name, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love the movie, because I think that Platoon is definitely a classic.
Here is an in-depth mini documentary about the making of the film, complete with interviews from cast members and seldom-heard nuggets of information. Fans will definitely want to watch this…