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Elvis Meets Multi-Strike26 September 2006
Don't let any old Hound Dog tell you different. Leading Edge Design and IGT have a solid gold hit on their hands. Pair the King of Rock 'n' Roll with the enhanced payoffs of Leading Edge's Multi-Strike format, and you have a game that cries out "Love Me Tender."
Elvis Multi-Strike, the latest game from the designers of Multi-Strike Poker, is ready to rock through the Midwest. First stop on the tour: Wisconsin, where the Lake of the Torches, St. Croix and Menominee Nation and Northern Lights casinos have installed the game. Elvis is also racing up the charts in Michigan at Kings Club, Little River, Soaring Eagle and Victories casinos, and in Minnesota at Fortune Bay and Shooting Star casinos. Installations are coming soon at more Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota casinos.
And while the game is awaiting approval and licensing for play in Illinois and Indiana --- chugging through regulatory bodies in various states can be a bit of a mystery train --- it won't be long before Elvis is top of the charts throughout the region.
Leading Edge is a Northbrook, Ill.-based firm that designs games, which then are manufactured and distributed through a working agreement with Reno-based IGT, the world's largest slotmaker. The biggest hit so far for Leading Edge has been Multi-Strike Poker, but the company has plenty of creative games with a difference under its belt, including Cash King Checkers, Othello, Gems Wild Tiles and Big Split Poker.
The new Elvis game takes the Multi-Strike format and applies it to a video slot machine. Each of the three levels is a 20-line video slot game. A winner on the first level brings a second worth double the first, and a winner there doubles the payoffs again, so that the third level is worth four times the first.
That adds a lot of excitement. Even a small hit can be pretty lucrative when it comes with a 4x multiplier.
"The game has two great attractions, and some players like one while some like the other," says Larry DeMar, president and CEO of Leading Edge. "There's Multi-Strike play, and that's exciting even for non-Elvis fans. There's the chance for big wins as you move up that worked so well with the poker game.
"The other side, of course, is Elvis, and Elvis is timeless, classic, appealing to all ages and all genders."
That early version of the Multi Strike slot wasn't centered on the King. It was when Leading Edge took the concept to IGT that Elvis entered the building.
"That was Joe Kaminkow (IGT's vice president of engineering and game design)," DeMar explains. "IGT hadn't refreshed the Elvis reel-spinning slots since 1999 when they came out with Elvis II, and there never had been a video Elvis slot. We had a long discussion, and came to a pretty good agreement to do Elvis."
Along the way, Leading Edge came up with a number of bonus rounds that put the King right at center stage.
You might find yourself reliving the glory days in the Photo Memories bonus rounds, where a record spins on a turntable, with dozens of tiny photographs of Elvis lining the perimeter. As an Elvis tune plays, an arrow at the center of the record spins through the photos. When it stops, the indicated photograph is enlarged, giving a good look at an Elvis memory and a bonus award.
Or you might take a walk through the Hall of Gold. You'll stop at a group of eight record plaques, each with a different Elvis song. You choose three, starting the music, and as the King sings, meters indicating record sales mount at the bottom of each plaque. As the numbers get bigger, the records change from black to silver to gold to platinum. The longer Elvis performs, the bigger your bonus grows.
Elvis diehards will swoon over the Fan-O-Meter bonus. You choose from among five Elvis songs, and then concert footage shows the King singing your song. A crowd cheers and claps and roars, and a meter in the top box of the machine registers just how big a crowd reaction Elvis is getting. The higher the meter rises, the bigger your bonus.
Elvis Multi-Strike includes 18 songs, with 45 different performances by Elvis in concert. "The player gets to choose the song most of the time, and there are two, three, four performances of a song," DeMar points out. "So even if you choose "Love Me Tender," more than once, each time can be a different performance."
The three second-screen bonuses are augmented by a Rockin Respin feature on the first screen. Any time two Photo Memories or two Record Sales symbols land on the first two reels, they lock in along with any other wild Rockin Respin symbols on the other reels, and the remaining reels spin again. If another Rockin Respin turns up, it too locks in, and the other reels respin. If no new respin symbols land on the paylines, the round is over.
That's plenty of bonus excitement to go with the anticipation factor of climbing from single to double to quadruple payouts. Only when you have a loser on the first screen is it really Heartbreak Hotel time.
Listen to John Grochowski's "Beat the Odds" tips Saturdays at 6:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. and Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM-AM, News Radio 780 in Chicago, streaming online at www.wbbm780.com, and to his casino talk show from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday on WCKG-FM (105.9), streaming at http://1059freefm.com.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
Best of John Grochowski