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Ever since Charlton Heston proclaimed his dislike for monkeys and their paws back in the 60s, there has been a Planet of the Apes. The classic sci-fi series was rebooted in 2011 with Andy Serkis taking on motion-capture duties as Caesar, leader of the revolutionary primates. With the third film landing in 2017, film company 20th Century Fox sent software developers NetEnt deep into ape territory to create a video slot that centres on the first two hit films!
The game opens with a striking cinematic introduction video that perfectly summarises the battles and themes that are fought and explored in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and its sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. NetEnt has adapted not one film but two in this dual-screen online video slot. Each side of the game screen features five reels and 20 paylines, so effectively there’s ten reels and 40 paylines between the two.
The two sets of reels appear together and spin at the same time. 'Rise' appears on the left, coloured to represent daylight, while 'Dawn' is on the right, shaded in dark blue indicating night, with symbols highlighted in red, contrasting with Rise’s gold symbols. The colour scheme helps keep the games separate, but also touches on the themes of hope from the first film, as opposed to the darker themes of escape and the inevitable war that’s coming.
Many of the actors from the first two films appear as symbols on the reel. The villainous Gary Oldman is on the Dawn reels, alongside Jason Clarke and Keri Russell. Andy Serkis’ Caesar appears on both, in Rise as the young, enigmatic ape who led an escape into the wild, and in Dawn as the older, troubled leader of the apes. NetEnt uses the unique dual screen to maximum effect when it comes to activating bonuses and rewarding players.
Each side has a different Wild symbol, but they can alter the opposite side’s reels as well. If a reel on the Rise side is taken over by Wilds, this triggers the Stacked Wild feature, which also appears on the corresponding reel of Dawn. The Scatter symbol is Caesar along with the film’s logo, and each side has a different effect. Three or more of the Rise Scatter symbols activates ten free spins.
Wild symbols are then collected, and on the last free spin, they’re spread out. Three or more of the Dawn Scatter triggers 15 free spins, during which three symbols are collected – Multiplier, Extra Wild, and Extra Free Spins. Filling up the corresponding meter before the free spins are over will activate that prize. Add to this a random Dual Feature with Sticky Wilds across all reels, and you have an action-packed video slot with a monkey barrel full of bonuses.
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