By Alex Smith May 8, 2023
Dead or Alive Review
Dead or Alive is a video slot from NetEnt released over a decade ago, back in 2009.
Since its release, the game has gone on to become somewhat of an iconic figurehead in the online gambling industry thanks to the insane win potential found within the free spins bonus, where all wilds become sticky wilds.
With up to 12,000X your stake up for grabs, it’s no wonder why the Dead or Alive slot continues to be one of the most played video slots on the planet. In this Dead or Alive slot review, we’re going to show you what the game’s all about.
Which Online Casinos Play Dead or Alive?
Set around a Wild West theme, the Dead or Alive slot game is arguably NetEnt’s most successful release ever (tied only, perhaps, with Starburst and, we suppose, Dead or Alive 2). The sequel to the game we’re reviewing today.
The game’s unique gameplay has inspired software providers from all corners of the globe, and we’re now seeing a large number of slots containing similar bonus features. Clearly, other studios want their slice of the pie.
Built around a 5-reel, 3-row format, Dead or Alive mobile slot has just nine paylines — and the online slot is known for its volatile gameplay. Graphically, it’s not the most amazing-looking slot we’ve ever seen. But, after all, what would you expect from an online slot released in 2009?
Still, it looks good enough, and a recent HTML5 upgrade ensures it’s much easier to play from mobile devices. Theme-specific sound effects accompany every spin, and both new players and online gambling veterans can likely find something to like in the game!
Betting and Spin Options
Thanks to the nine payline format used in NetEnt’s Dead or Alive, you’ll find yourself able to wager as little as $0.09 per spin — ensuring even the lowest-staking players can enjoy the slot while spending what they’re comfortable with.
Those on a bigger budget will find the max bet capped at $18. That may not sound like much, but for a slot that can pay up to 12,000X your stake, it’s not hard to see why the max bet is $18.
When it comes to game options, few software providers do it better than NetEnt. First, you’ll find an autoplay function that lets you set up to 500 spins to play out automatically. This is ideal as it means you don’t have the mundane task of clicking the spin button every second.
Additionally, you can set the autoplay function to stop automatically when you hit the bonus round, hit a max win, or lose a predetermined amount of money.
Head to the settings cog in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, and you’ll find there’s a quickspin mode. This is ideal for those who don’t want to sit through the base game waiting for the main free spins feature to land, and it quickens the speed of the game a lot. There’s also a volume slider so you can set the sound level to one you’re happy with!
RTP and Volatility
There’s no denying that Dead or Alive is a high variance slot; even new players gather pretty quickly that the game can be brutal on your balance.
Unless you manage some lucky 5-of-a-kind combos in the base game or hit the bonus round, you’ll notice the game can be fairly unforgiving when it comes to maintaining your balance!
However, with a max win of 12,000X your stake, this is only to be expected. The Wild West slot game does often like to showcase its win-potential during the free spins feature, details of which we’ll cover shortly.
We’re happy to say that NetEnt’s Dead or Alive slot is offered in just one RTP setting across all online casinos it’s available at. The Dead or Alive RTP, 96.8%, is also really quite high for a slot of its calibre, and while those dead spin periods do come, provided you play Dead or Alive at the right stake, you can find yourself getting a surprisingly long amount of play-time.
Symbols and Payouts
Lining up symbols across the 5-reels and 9-paylines can be lucrative, especially when you manage to hit the higher-paying symbols. These are all specific to the game’s Wild West theme. They include Cowboy Boots, a Sheriff’s Badge, a Shot of Whisky, a Gun Holster, and a Stetson.
It’s not the Cowboy Boots that pay the most, surprisingly. The Sheriff’s Badge is the best symbol in the game, offering a payout worth 100X if you form a 5-of-a-kind during the base game.
For the lower-paying symbols, NetEnt has opted to use playing card values, including 10, jack, queen, king, and ace in Dead or Alive. They don’t pay amazingly, but they can still produce some decent wins, especially during the bonus game, as you’ll soon see.
The wild symbols in Dead or Alive are represented by various wanted posters. These appear in both the base game and during the free spins bonus round.
However, the wanted posters play a much bigger role during the bonus — you’ll see why shortly.
The scatter symbol is the last thing you’ll see on the reels, represented by a Revolver, and these also pay.
Land five of the scatter symbols anywhere on the reels, and you’ll scoop a cool 2,500X your stake!
Bonuses and Features
As we’ve said a few times, NetEnt’s Dead or Alive slot is all about the bonus features, and the only bonus round you’ll find within the game is a free spins feature. We look at how this works — and what it does — below:
If you manage to land 3, 4, or 5 of the scatter symbols anywhere in view, you’ll trigger the main Dead or Alive free spins bonus. You are then awarded 12 free spins; you get 12 free spins regardless of how many scatter symbols you land.
During the bonus round, all wins are multiplied by 2X. But what’s really important is that the wanted posters — the wild symbols — transform into sticky wilds.
This means that when you land a wanted poster wild symbol anywhere in view, it will lock in place, and these sticky wilds remain held for the duration of the 12 free spins. However, if you manage to land one or more wanted posters on each of the game’s five reels, you’ll trigger a type of re-trigger, and you’ll be awarded five extra free spins.
You may have heard the term “wildline” before, and, if so, Dead or Alive is where it all started. During the free spins, you’ll be trying to line up a 5-of-a-kind combo of the sticky wild symbols on a payline. You’ll be paid a guaranteed 333X your stake for every free spin you have left if you do.
Now, consider it’s possible to get a wildline early on in the bonus, and it’s possible to land many sticky wilds in view, meaning you can form more than one wildlife. You don’t have to look far to see where the slot’s real win potential comes from!
Dead or Alive 2 – The Most Anticipated Slot Sequel In History?
A few years ago, NetEnt hinted that they might be looking to release a sequel to the original Dead or Alive slot, a sequel that features Dead or Alive in all its glory while adding even more win-potential into the mix.
Well, in 2019, they did just that, and Dead or Alive II was released. This insanely volatile slot game featured the same Wild West theme, was playable for similar stakes, and even looked familiar (albeit with a much-needed graphical upgrade). However, the game developer changed things up by adding two additional free spins bonuses.
Along with the regular bonus found in this version of Dead or Alive, NetEnt also added an unlimited free spins feature, in which a multiplier increases every time a wildland is in view. However, what caught the attention of most was the slot’s “MAX” free spins round, allowing players to win a staggering 100,000X their stake per spin!
This insane win-potential was made possible due to the fact that, when choosing the higher variance free spins round, there are multiplier wilds present. These 2X and 3X wilds multiply against one another, so you don’t have to be a mathematician to see how the slot can pay so well, especially if you manage to form a wildline or two within the free spins!
Dead or Alive II has proven to be a major success, and many believe it will, over time, essentially phase out the original Dead or Alive slot.
Dead or Alive is up there with other insanely popular, highly volatile slots like Book of Dead and Raging Rhino. Dead or Alive is a popular slot game that challenges players to line up symbols of alive dead western characters for big payouts. Like most of these high variance games, Dead or Alive can ‘have its moments,’ and the regular game can be dry at times. However, if you do get the free spins round and manage a high number of wilds on the reels, you can end up walking away with huge payouts.
While some believe that the release of Dead or Alive 2 essentially means players will stop playing the original Dead or Alive slot, many players actually view this version of the game with a sense of nostalgia.
It’s been around for 12 years, and many who’ve played it will have experienced the thrills of getting the free spins round and hoping the sticky wilds line up in the right place on the reels!
We absolutely love everything about the original Dead or Alive slot, and we’re not surprised — at all — to hear from the best casino sites that players are still placing bet after bet on the game. It really is popular.
Remember, if you’d like to play Dead or Alive yourself without risking any of your own money, you can load up our demo version of the slot, found at the top of this page.
If you do then want to play for real money, we can help you find the best deposit bonus offers and the best online casinos to play the game!