Jungle Fever – Aristocrat expands the hit Tarzan series with “Tarzan and Jane”
Aristocrat expands the hit Tarzan series with “Tarzan and Jane”
by Frank Legato
Some of the best slot games immerse the player in the total experience of a theme, and no one has done that better than Aristocrat.
Slot-maker Aristocrat Technologies proved last year it could take a theme and run with it, using beautiful artwork and intricate graphics to create the jungle theme of “Tarzan Lord of the Jungle.” Besides being visually stunning, the multi-progressive game was packed with bonus features like wild reels, free spins, bonus multipliers, and a central progressive wheel feature leading to one of four jackpots.
The top Grand Jackpot, on a multi-site progressive link, resets at $250,000 for a maximum bet of $1.50 a spin. In less than a year and a half, it has already hit 11 times.
Tarzan Lord of the Jungle and its follow-up released last year, “Tarzan The Adventures Return,” can be found together on banks of progressive machines in casinos around the country, and those original links are still at the top of their popularity.
So why not take the theme further?
Aristocrat is doing that thus summer with a new progressive link in the Tarzan series. Called “Tarzan and Jane,” the new game adds the heroine of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan novels, Tarzan’s love interest Jane Porter.
Another multiple-progressive link, the new game is loaded with unique features built around that Tarzan and Jane theme—all, as with the first games, faithful not to the movieland Tarzan, but of the characters in Burroughs’ landmark literary series that began with 1912’s Tarzan of the Apes.
That series of more than two dozen Tarzan novels over 53 years and then some was the body of work Aristocrat used to create the Tarzan slot series. According to Dallas Orchard, Aristocrat’s vice president of gaming operations, the slot-maker secured access to the Burroughs archives to depict an “absolute authentic Tarzan.”
“We literally got more than 100 years of writing, cartoons, sketches—all of his work,” Orchard says. “It’s an incredible library.” The body of work, in fact, assures that Aristocrat will be in the Tarzan business for the long term. “We know we can keep this brand alive for years to come,” he says. “There are plenty of differentiations, even plenty of different eras we can use.”
The job of pouring through these archives fell on Aristocrat’s Innovation Studio in Las Vegas, headed by Ted Hase, vice president of global R&D, global games. Hase’s team sorted through a ton of material and documentation, and worked closely with the Edgar Rice Burroughs people to create an authentic representation of the theme. “Our people at the studio were extremely excited about the theme, and the historical legacy it has,” Orchard says. “We’ve got great artists and animators, and they came up with an incredible product.”
It helped, he adds, that the jungle theme “really lends itself well to gaming.” The green colors, the classic characters, the Tarzan yell—yes, the yell is all over the place—they all make for a great video slot. The original link, which has paid out more than $3.1 million already, has won awards from trade and player groups, and is still one of Aristocrat’s most popular games.
The original game is still so popular, in fact, that instead of the more standard sequel-as-replacement for the original game, Tarzan and Jane is an addition to the series—a completely different progressive link, with a top jackpot resetting at $100,000. The good news here is that the jackpot, available for a bet of $1.50 a spin, hits at nearly double the frequency of the top prize in the original link. “We pride ourselves on our progressives,” Orchard says. “We want there to be value for the player. We want the jackpots hitting.”
Tarzan & Jane
Rather than copying the original, Tarzan and Jane begins with a completely different approach. While the base game, like the original, is on the sleek “Vervehd” cabinet with its tall vertical “portrait-style” screen—and has the same intricate graphics as the original thanks to the “GEN7X” computer platform—the base game draws on and renews other unique Aristocrat game styles, notably “Reel Power.”
Reel Power was the original “scatter-pay” video slot, with players wagering to activate reels instead of paylines and all wins paid as scatters. The much-copied style is doubled with this game. Tarzan and Jane uses the big video screen to display twin sets of reels, each with the Reel Power setup.
There are two inaugural games in the link, called “Forbidden Temple” (that’s the launch game) and “Safari Hunter.”
With Reel Power, each set of reels has a total of 243 possible winning combinations on every spin. This spins two screens at once, for a single minimum bet of 50 cents—that gets you everything but the top progressive jackpot, which requires a $1.50 bet.
There is also a special 200-credit “Wild Play” bet—for an extra 50 cents, the frequency of all the bonuses goes up, and you unlock additional bonus features.
Each screen has 243 ways to win, but what’s really cool is when they morph. The primary game is played on the dual screens, marked “Tarzan and Jane.” However, on random spins, an elephant will tear through the video display to combine the two screens into one. The morphed screens offer 7,760 ways to win on one spin—wins counting right-to-left as well as left-to-right. “If you hit any big combinations on that, you can win quite a bit,” Orchard says.
There are eight high-frequency bonus features on this game, all of them fun and two involving the video wheel that made the first game so popular. “One of the most successful parts of the original link was the wheel, with the player interaction and the positive wins that came out of that wheel, so this time, we’ve introduced two wheel features,” says Orchard, who says one of the wheel features will occur every 48 spins, on average—much more frequently than bonus rounds on most slots.
The main Wheel Bonus is the same as in the first game—three or more wheel symbols place the big fortune wheel on the main video screen, with slices including credit awards, free-spin events, progressive jackpots and awards of more spins of the wheel. The second wheel feature, “Fire Wheel,” can be won within that first bonus. In this second wheel feature, players can win one of the progressive jackpots, credits or a “Jane Diamond” jackpot multiplier.
The rich theme is used to create six other bonus events, including the Elephant Crush feature mentioned earlier, a “Wild Tarzan” bonus in which Jane symbols on the Tarzan reel turn into wild symbols; the “Ape Battle,” in which the Tarzan and Jane screens morph into one of three random “Ape game layouts” for up to 4,608 ways to win, plus random wild symbols applying to that spin; a “Wild Reel” bonus that replaces selected symbols on both screens with wild symbols; a “Random Wheel” bonus in which extra wheel symbols are added to the screen to trigger a spin; and the “Lion Free Games Feature.”
Within the Lion Free Games, you can trigger any of three additional mini-bonus features, called “Lion Attack,” “Lions Wild” or “Tarzan Connect.”
It’s all wrapped up in a beautiful package, with vibrant colors and fast action enhanced by the theme itself—with a big assist from a new Aristocrat offering, the “iChair” surround-sound chair. Tarzan and Jane is the first Aristocrat game to include the immersive chair, which pulsates with sound, vibrates and booms to accompany all game events.
Again, the jungle theme provides the perfect setting for sounds that you can imagine before you even sit down at the game.
You’ll be able to find Tarzan and Jane at Native American casinos in California, Connecticut and elsewhere soon. Next, according to Orchard, the game will arrive in Nevada, followed shortly by New Jersey and others.
The new game will coexist on the floor with its predecessors. As Orchard notes, that version is still peaking in popularity. This is only the beginning for Aristocrat’s Tarzan series.
Let’s see—Jane was introduced in that very first 1912 Tarzan of the Apes novel. That means future versions of Tarzan, the slot machine, have 50-plus books to go, as well as all the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Looks like we’ll be seeing Tarzan for a long time to come.
It will be easy to find—just listen for the jungle sounds. •
|TARZAN & JANEForbidden Temple Slot Type: Reel-Power scatter-pay video slot; dual screens; multiple progressive jackpots; second-screen wheel bonuses and free-spin bonus events; penny denominationPayback % Range:
Average Hit Frequency:
Progressive; $100,000 reset
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