Intro:I did stop my monthly MG slot reviews, but for this Tomb Raider 2 release I will make an exception.
The slot is called "Tomb Raider - secret of the sword", but it is easier to just call it "Tomb Raider 2". The other two games in this monthly release are just around average and I will not make specific reviews for them. "Rainbows' End" reminds of a Crypto slots named something like "Luck of the Irish" at first look. And the other slot "Gypsy Queen" has the same exact same theme as the Rival slot "Future Fortune". We have seen other software providers making blatant MG rip-offs many times, but I guess it goes the other way around too...
My monthly post/blog has not been monthly so far since this is my first in 2 months. I have simply been very busy focusing on my other interests. I do have a lot to talk about, but some of the stuff is also a bit old ("Elvis" and "Fortune Falls" released etc.) that it seems obsolete now. But still there are
lots of new stuff to talk about and hope I can get started soon.
Tomb Raider 2
Those lucky enough to attend the ICE in London already got a good look at this slot, but for me it was a nice surprise as I had no information about the slot in advance. I knew of course that it was a big release, but I have been disappointed before so I could control my excitement. But "Tomb Raider 2" is indeed a blockbuster just like "Hitman" was, and it will also be a popular slot for the next year at least. By biggest concern is that "Tomb Raider 2" is too hard to find for the average gambler, since it is hidden between close to 100 average or worse video-slots. Many of the MG slots are clones or has small changes in paytable and exactly the same features/mechanics.
The intro movie does an excellent job of presenting the slot which is exactly the purpose of the intro. It is not the typical abstract movie over the theme of the slot only sharing the theme and maybe symbol characters of the slot. During the 1 minute of the intro you see the reels and all of the bonus feature besides Lara Croft of course. It is all presented in a fast paced action and the music goes perfectly with the scenes.
The graphics of the slot are almost as finished as "Hitman", the reason I liked "Hitman" better was because this slot did not have the standard 9TJQKA symbols which ruins the theme. But I know this is a personal preference and some people like an easy way to tell the high-pay and low-pay symbols apart. It is easy to tell the symbols apart and the wild- and scatter-symbol does stand out making them easier to recognize also. The wild and scatter are the only animated symbols, but this is perfectly acceptable for me. Lara is a hottie in all the Lara symbols which makes it more playable also. The wild symbol (Lara again) is exactly what a wild symbol should be. It outshines the other symbols and fits into the theme.
And now to the mechanics which is really huge here. There are several new mechanics and it was about time the MG labs finally shows some innovation instead of just drawing new symbols-graphics and releasing another 'template' slot.
The wild symbol ocours on all reels which is should, since hitting the 5 wilds on a slot is the ultimate chase. 5 wilds only pays 7500 which I think
is a little low, but the wilds are plenty compared to other slots and in one of the feature games there are held wilds. Increasing 5 wild payout changes normally very very little with the slots overall payout% and in those cases I believe 20K should be minimum. But since the wilds are plenty and mostly because of the held feature, I will accept the low wild payout this time. The wild does not multiply wins.
Freespins with increasing multiplier and collapsing win-lines:
You are awarded 10 freespins with an initial *1 multiplier.Whenever you hit a winning combination, the winning symbols will collapse. (Tetris/Cubis style). The new symbols(bricks) will come from the above and fall down. This will increase the multiplier by 1. (max multiplier is *5) and if the new combinations of symbols has a win-linie. This will continue without using any of the freespins. The process of getting new bricks is not much different from getting another spin. So basically the feature ends when you have had 10 spin total without any wins and after each non-win, the multiplier will reset to *1. This mechanic is truly innovative and very entertaining - overall a magnificent addition to videoslots. It is interesting that you can also match scatter symbols this way if a scatter falls down and you have one already.
But the feature can not be retriggered this way. This feature seems to be one of the easier 3-scatter features to hit compared to other slots. But the
average winnings from the feature is probably also only around 20*bet-size.
WARNING! I believe you have to play the full 30-lines on this slot for maximum payout%. In 99.5% of all online video slots it does not matter how many paylines you play in terms of payout%. Personally often only play 9 lines max at most slots to increase variance and generally higher wins on the cost of missing a lot of small wins. But in this "collapsing symbols feature" the more lines you play will increase the chance of a collapse besides the paylines already does pay. Payout% increases for every more line you play. So it is best to play all 30 lines. Correct me if I you disagree with me!
Supermode - held wilds:
This is random triggered (rapid fire) and I estimate trigger probability to be a little higher than 1/200, so it is not that rare. This awards 5 freespins with *1 multiplier. After each spin there is a chance one of the 3*5=15 symbols squares will become a permanent wild during the rest of the feature. This will happen exact 3 times during the 5 spins. So if you are very lucky it will
be for each of the 3 first spins. It sounds better than it is and the wilds rarely 'line-up' in a useful way among the first 3 reels. Still it is a interesting feature. Again the average winning from this feature is around 20*bet-size. So this rapid fire feature is not like hitting a rapid fire jackpot in any way. But it provides a much more likely situation to hit 4 or 5 wilds and it is yet another new unique feature. The idea of 'held wilds' is a really good idea and could be used in other forms as well for future slots.
Global Adventure feature (accumulate triggered):
This is a very unusual feature since this spans over multiple spins. In short you accumulate 'goals' that finally will trigger the feature. So this is a slot with a 'history' thus breaking the standard principle that each paid spin is independant in terms of payout%. Rival software also has the I-Story slots which whole purpose was building up a history during the spins. They were never a success and I understand why, but it was still a good attempt to do something new! The problem with slots with a 'memory' is that they 'force' you mentally to play until you have released the feature since it will be stupid to leave the slot and never play it again if you are close to the feature. Of course it is stored in the database how much progress you have made towards the feature, (unlike Boss Media...) so you can finish it later. But I like
to leave the slot fully behind when I leave the session. So I am pleased it is
a rarity among slots. But now I have the choice to play one and for the diversity of video-slots this is a good thing. And I know another software
provider is also releasing a video-slot with an accumulate triggered featured soon, so you better get used to this mechanic. It is one of the reasons I never touch Boss Media video slots - they all have accumulate triggered features besides they also are primitive compared to other software providers. Anyway back to this feature!
To trigger this feature you have to unlock each reel. Each reel is unlocked when a very rare special non-paying symbol hits the middle-line. This symbol
is a passport btw. I estimate it takes in average 300-500 spins to release this feature. The feature itself is just an advanced 'picking feature'
with a twist. In short you have to find 5 pieces of a sword. Every piece found awards cash (increasingly better awards) but you can also find
some low pay (few times bet-size) wins. The important idea is not get caught ie. making a unlucky pick. If you make too many of these the feature
will end unless you can survive a heads-up shootout with a baddie. I think you have 50% chance to win. So you can get a second chance. An another
interesting twist is that you can make a pick that 2*multiplier that multiply the feature winnings by *2. So this is a very good pick. Also if you find all 5 pieces of the sword there is a substantial completion bonus. Just as the *2 multiplier you can also pick another special symbol (Hidden Treasure).
This will spawn a subgame within the feature that is a simple picking game (pick once!), but where the price is revealed slowly similar to the boring
TV game-show "Deal or No Deal".
I have included a screenshot where I complete this feature, but without the *2 multiplier. As you can see was my total winnings 102*bet-size. But in the about 80% of feature you do not complete(guess) you will will less of course. I have won only *10 bet-size in this feature.
Overall it is should be obvious that I am fond of this slot. It is a very advanced slot because of the complexity of the 3 different features with
new mechanics that the players are not used to yet. It will be interesting to see how popular "Tomb Raider 2" will be, but I am sure it will be
a success. I have only been wrong once ("Doctor Doctor") and I also changed my own mind after some weeks. The balace of this slot was simply wrong.
It was extremely hard to hit the feature which also in 95% of the cases was over almost before it started. For "Tomb Raider 2" it is almost the
other way around. The features are plenty and for that reason they rarely pays something remarkable. And this is my only personal problem for this slot and this is only a minor problem because of all the good stuff. I do prefer high variance slot and this is a low variance slot, especially as you are playing it at all 30 lines.
I am curious about the details for the accumulate triggered feature. If you just play 1 line you can lock the reels. When you have locked 4 reels you can increase bet-size and hit the feature (I have tried). I am sure MG did consider this but how do they then calculate the winnings on the feature which normally only depend on bet-size. Maybe the 'average bet-size' during the whole accumulation or the average bet over the 5 bets that locked the reels? Playing only 1 line does decrease payout% because of the collapsing feature. (but if you only are playing 0.01$ the higher house-edge will not cost much total). Anyway good luck to all you exploiters out there, but I do think MG have figured something out.
February 2007: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/review-of-the-new-mg-games-february-2007.16857/
January 2007: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/review-of-the-new-mg-games-january-2007.16370/
December 2006: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/review-of-the-new-mg-games-december.15581/
November 2006: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/review-of-the-new-mg-games-november-mega-moolah.15319/
October 2006: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/review-of-the-new-mg-slots-october.14887/
September 2006: https://www.casinomeister.com/forum...-new-just-one-mg-5-reel-slot-september.14271/
August 2006: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/review-of-the-new-mg-games-august.13925/
Juli 2006: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/review-of-the-new-mg-slot-games-july.13554/
June 2006: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/review-of-the-new-mg-games-june.13084/[/QUOTE]