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Best of Pam Droog

Gaming Guru


Honk If You Love Monopoly's Free Parking Video Slot

1 November 2004

WMS Gaming's Monopoly franchise just keeps growing. Each game in the ongoing series features a clever twist on the themes and characters of the familiar Monopoly board game. To see if these slots still have what it takes, I checked out Free Parking. It's a good-looking game, with top and bottom screens. The elegant, monocle-wearing Mr. Monopoly himself graces the top of the cabinet along with two bright blue parking meters--well, it IS a game about cars and parking!

The symbols include gold and silver tokens, Mr. M. in a red convertible, Free Parking (scatter bonus symbol), bright yellow, blue and green vehicles, a stop sign that changes to go, Bonus Booth, Wild Zone and the B&O, Pennsylvania, Reading and Short Line railroads.

Triple-threat bonuses

In the board game, Free Parking means you can win a lot of money that's been tossed into the middle in payment of Community Chest, Chance and other fees. In the Free Parking slot game, you can win a lot of money from three fun bonus rounds.

The Railroad Crossing Bonus starts when three or four railroad cars land on reels 1, 2, 4 or 5. When I hit this bonus, the "emcee" practically shouted at me to "PICK A TRAIN!" In fact, he added, "The conductor is getting nervous!" Well, so was I after that kind of intimidation! When I did select a train, it spun around to reveal I had won three times my line bet. "Nice win!" the emcee said. Heck, it wasn't THAT nice--the other trains indicated I could have won five or seven times the bet. If only a flatbed car had randomly appeared, then I could have won additional bonus points.

Meters and lots

The Parking Meter Bonus starts when three meter symbols land on an active pay line. You get five free spins! The goal is to collect as many silver tokens as possible as they appear on the reels during the free spins. Each token you collect on each reel increases the multiplier for that reel, up to 100 times. As a token lands it animates and spins off the screen to reveal the total credit amount won on that reel. After the fifth free spin, everything's added up and added to your total bonus credits.

Then there's the Parking Lot Bonus, triggered by three or more Parking Lot Booth symbols on an active pay line. On the screen, you'll get eight cars--a red one driven by Mr. Monopoly and seven others in green, yellow or blue. They pull into a parking lot where you have chosen five parking spaces for them to park in. You get a multiplier for each space. If one of the cars parks in a chosen spot, you get the car's credit amount times the multiplier of that space.

Before the parking begins, you have a chance to buy up to eight extra cars at 10 credits per car, so it's even more likely a car will park in one of the spaces you chose.

Once the action begins, Mr. Monopoly may pull in, decide not to park in that lowly lot, and drive instead into an executive lot that appears on the screen. You choose five parking spaces again, and get four new cars PLUS the ones that hadn't parked in the first lot. All these lots lead to lots of chances to win bonus points.

Like landing on Free Parking while playing Monopoly, playing Free Parking, the slot machine, can be very rewarding. What could be next in this clever series? How about a Monopoly slot based on the Scottie dog game piece!