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Best of Pam Droog

Gaming Guru


Life Among the Slots: Survivor Slot Offers Reality of Winning

21 February 2004

I want to say right from the start I do not watch "Survivor" or any of the other so-called reality TV shows that are so mystifyingly popular, even among otherwise intelligent people. I saw "Survivor" for about four minutes once and that was about all I could take of its contrived rules and over-hyped relationships. I did manage to see someone eat a big gross bug. That was that for me.

The Survivor slot machine, on the other hand, is something I can get into. This WMS Game combines a single-line, three-reel mechanical slot with a video bonus in the top screen. Also the slots are part of a wide-area progressive jackpot. It all adds up to a nifty game that can be enjoyed even by those who are intimidated by video-reel slots.

I avoided playing the Survivor slot for a while because I thought I needed to watch the TV show in order to get an edge. Wrong. Although the game is based on the TV show theme, all similarities end there. Which is good.

As always, check out the information on the Help button to see exactly what you're playing for. That always makes a slot more fun.

A bank of Survivor games is a pretty impressive attraction on the casino floor. The cabinets feature the Survivor logo--"Outwit Outplay Outlast"--among a colorful graphic of a waterfall, bamboo and jungle foliage. The game comes in various versions including Wild and Loose, Jungle Cats, Diamonds 4ever and Island Fortune. Basically the differences among the games are in the reel symbols; they all have the same bonus rounds.

Put in your money, ticket or token and it's every man or woman for him- or herself, as you initially play a traditional three-reel slot game where you win credits for designated symbol combinations. I played Jungle Cats, on which the symbols are lions, tigers and panthers plus the usual cherries and bars. The Survivor logo symbol is wild, and if you're lucky enough to line up three of them on the payline with max (three) coins bet you'll win the progressive jackpot.

Actually, what's more likely is that a Bonus symbol will land on the payline in the third reel, which means you get to play the Bonus Challenge round on the top screen.

"Choose your Survivor Challenge!" commands the voice inside the slot. Pick the Challenge you want out of three choices by hitting a button below the screen. The bonus rounds feature animated Survivor-type situations with goofy comments made by the cartoon Survivors along the way.

For example, when I hit the bonus I picked the Jungle Cookout Challenge. "Who's hungry?" asked the cartoon lady Survivor, as she dug into her bag for things her companion could cook in his big black pot. The bonus credits grew as she pulled out a fish skeleton, a pineapple and a worm ("They say it tastes like chicken!") to cook up some "Jambalaya Survivor-style!"

The other Bonus Challenges are the River Crossing, where a Survivor tries to cross a crocodile-infested river on an overhead rope as credits accumulate; and the Fire Walk, where credits build as a Survivor walks across hot coals, screaming all the way, until he jumps into the river to cool his burning tootsies.

What really would be neat is if there were a second or even a third bonus level to aspire to on the Survivor slot. Or how about a feature that votes the player off the machine if she or he has an attitude?

At any rate, with its blend of reels and video, dramatic background music and beautiful cabinet, I'm certain you'll have fun playing the Survivor slot. Look for one at a casino near you.