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Best of Pam Droog

Gaming Guru

 

Life Among the Slots: Diamond Cinema

31 January 2004

Diamond Cinema slots let you enjoy movie memories -- and maybe a jackpot!

On a recent trip to my neighborhood casino, I saw the slot crews installing several Diamond Cinema video slots. I immediately made plans to come back within a few days to try out these much-hyped IGT games. The quick return trip was worth it: These beautiful slots make very creative use of movie images, sound effects and music ("Hooray For Hollywood," of course).

I played both the Bogie & Bergman and Marilyn Monroe versions of Diamond Cinema. There's a James Dean game out there too. These nickel slots are 15-line, 5-coin games, so a single spin on max coin tops out at $3.75. That's getting into high-roller territory for me.

You must remember this

The glittering cabinets themselves certainly are eye-catching. A diamond twirls atop a movie marquee, which is surrounded by flashing diamonds. The Bogart/Bergman marquee reads, "Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman starring in the Million Dollar Mystery." I guess the mystery is, will I or won't I win a zillion dollars today?

Well, I didn't, but I still enjoyed the game. The symbols feature various movie-still-type photos of Bogie and Bergman (he salutes and she winks), plus his hat and autograph, a rose and her autograph, an airplane, cameo pin, flask initialed HB and piano keyboards. When all three keyboards line up on the middle reel on any row, they merge together and fill the screen. The song, "As Time Goes By," from the classic film, "Casablanca," starts to play as you rack up credits.

When three, four or five Bogie/Bergman symbols land left to right on a payline, the Palace of Riches bonus begins. Onscreen appears a palace courtyard and a carved wooden wall. I don't exactly know the significance of this; I haven't seen "Casablanca" for a long time. But starting with the bottom row, you pick a square to reveal a credit value which you earn, an arrow that sends you up to the next row, or a Bogie/Bergman symbol, which means you get the total value of all the squares in that row.

If you make it to the top row and pick an emerald, you go on to the Gem Bonus. Here you can pick from nine jewels on the screen to win more bonus credits.

Now to win the big whammy progressive jackpot, five Diamond Cinema symbols must land on the 15th payline, and you must be playing that $3.75-per-spin I mentioned earlier. But it might be worth it for a shot at a million dollars or more.

Poop poop ee doop!

I love the Marilyn Monroe Diamond Cinema video slot. The cabinet-top marquee reads, "Marilyn Monroe starring in the Million Dollar Diamond." Reel symbols include photos of MM (she blows you a kiss, winks and flirts), her monogram and autograph, perfume atomizer, diamond necklace, compact, lipstick and, my favorite, pink high heels.

The Magazine Bonus kicks in when three or more magazine symbols line up left to right on a payline. A dozen magazine covers appear on the screen, with titles like Snap Shot, Starlet, Cinema Review, Screen and Glitz & Glamour, each featuring a provocative shot of Marilyn. A voice that sounds just like hers guides you as you pick three covers and win their credit values. If you pick one that says Plus One, pick again. And if you pick one that reveals a gift box, you go on to the, what else, Gift Box Bonus. Pick from 12 jewelry boxes to win additional credits. At the end of the bonus you hear a round of applause and return to the main game.

If a Wild symbol lands on the second or fourth reel, the entire reel animates to show the classic scene of Marilyn's white dress blowing up around her legs as she stands over the subway grate. Quick-what movie is this famous scene from? (Answer below).

You can also win the progressive bonus, the same as on the Bogart/Bergman slot.

While I played Diamond Cinema, a young couple sat down at the Bogart/Bergman machine next to me. As he started to play, she asked him, "Who are they?" "Who?" he responded. "Bogart and Bergman!" she said.

It just goes to show, you don't need to know cinema history to have fun on a casino slot machine.

Suggestions please

Before I sign off, I'd like to mention a gripe I have about video slots. That is, slot manufacturers go to a lot of trouble to include realistic voices and sounds and music in their games. But in a crowded casino, sometimes it's next to impossible to hear them! I experienced this frustration again playing Diamond Cinema video slots.

What's the solution? Raising the volume would just make the noise level even more deafening. Headphones wouldn't be very sanitary. Any ideas, anyone?

(Answer: "The Seven Year Itch")