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When we think of successful online casino games, we often end up at standalone or branded slot titles rather than series. You’ll all fondly recall NetEnt’s highly successful Rocks Trilogy of 2016, but this piece is going to give a certain set of Monsters centre stage after too long away from the spotlight.
Unless you’re a highly experienced gamer, you may not know what we’re referring to. Let us explain. American film studio Universal Pictures made several horror-themed movies between 1920 and 1950 which we’re sure you’re aware of.
NetEnt were determined to bring these characters to life in online casino, so a deal was signed with Universal themselves for a dedicated Frankenstein slot to be released way back in 2011.
The resulting fanfare warranted further releases, resulting in a fully-fledged Universal Monsters casino games series.
Universal Monsters is still ongoing to this day – making it highly likely that these thrilling spectacles are part of the longest-running slot series in iGaming.
To honour that, we at NetEnt Casino have created a comprehensive overview of every Universal Monsters slot to help veteran gamers recapture the nostalgia while also opening new players’ eyes to even more NetEnt classics.
Before we get to it, don’t forget that all the Universal Monsters casino games are available for you to sample on NetEnt Casino in demo mode. Just visit each game’s title link to fire them up!
The first Universal Monsters movie brought to casino was the aforementioned Frankenstein in summer 2011. NetEnt clearly wanted to start with a title that everyone could relate to, and who can forget the story of Dr Victor Frankenstein and his scientific meddling gone wrong. The slot’s symbols consist of eerie emblems – such as The Monster and Dr Frankenstein’s assistant Fritz – but the jewel in the crown is most definitely the Linked Wilds feature.
Even better, there are two types of Linked Wilds in this Frankenstein casino game to help you land more coin wins. The first are Lightning Wilds which appear during the main game on reels 2, 3 and 4. Up next are Fire Wilds which occur during the coveted Burning Mill Free Spins round and land on the same reels as Lightning to help link those combinations.
Frankenstein is the only Universal Monsters slot with unfixed bet lines, allowing you to choose between 1-20 for your preference, and also has the series’ highest RTP at 96.7%
All-in-all, Frankenstein was very well received by many, providing the perfect platform for NetEnt to soldier on with more top movie-themed slots…
Except it didn’t quite work out that way for whatever reason, as pretty much every online casino gamer at the time thought Frankenstein was a one-off. The Universal Monsters series was, however, finally revived after two-and-a-half years in December 2013 with Creature from the Black Lagoon. Perhaps not quite as famous as its predecessor, this movie-themed slot was still a big success in the iGaming world.
Creature from the Black Lagoon slot:
As you can imagine thanks to the time difference, the interface is more polished than its predecessor, while the game uses voiceovers, plenty of artwork and more special features to draw you in.
There is an element of gamification added to Creature from the Black Lagoon too, with the free spins round granting you the opportunity to injure the Creature by landing Target symbols.
This activates a Spreading Wild if enough damage was inflicted to benefit your spins.
NetEnt again demonstrating their ability to be ahead of the times.
Bang on a year later came the third Universal Monsters slot game: The Invisible Man in December 2014. Comparing this against the previous instalment again shows a remarkable upgrade in terms of graphics and general gameplay – but a real difference was the inclusion of Win Both Ways. This feature allows you to scoop coin wins from both left-to-right and right-to-left, with The Invisible Man also packaged with a special pick and click Griffin’s Rage Bonus Game.
The Invisible Man slot:
This pick and click feature was another early example of gamification, as it allows you to choose between 5 different events from 3 environments – effectively giving you the opportunity to decide your fate.
With regards to flat-out features, The Invisible Man tops the Universal Monsters slot series pile for sure.
Just under 18 months after The Invisible Man, and it was everyone’s favourite vampire who arrived on our screens. No, we’re not referring to Twilight’s Edward Cullen, but rather Count Dracula from Universal Pictures’ 1931 classic. Dracula has appeared in multiple media ever since, with NetEnt making online casino another addition in April 2015.
Animations are aplenty in this game, with every spin you conduct manually releasing a colony of bats. Also, Dracula was the first Universal Monsters effort to move away from the classic 5×3 grid, with NetEnt instead deploying an additional row to accommodate for the special Dracula and Mina Stacked Symbols.
The Bat Feature may happen randomly during a spin too, with Dracula seemingly exploding in a fit of rage and transforming into another bat colony. This is good news for you though, as the bats will fly across the reels and change a certain group if placements into the same symbol.
It’s possible for the entire board to be given the Bat Feature treatment too – with a tidy profit certain if this happens to you.
After Dracula, the iGaming world presumed that the Universal Monsters slot series had been culled until some rather spectacular news broke in October 2017 – more than 6 years after Frankenstein was released…
Based on the classic love/horror story which dates back to more than a century ago, NetEnt brought the Phantom up from his basement and onto the reels in January 2018 – almost 3 years after Dracula. Of course, the slot’s user interface and graphics were superior to previous releases due to the natural progression made in between, with a 5-reel, 4-row structure in place which utilising 40 fixed bet lines.
The Phantom’s Curse slot:
As you can see from the list above, The Phantom’s Curse game has plenty to offer.
The two features sought most by players are the Free Spins Round and the Pick and Click game, with plenty of potential lurking behind those curtains.
The Free Spins Round sees the famous chandelier hosted in the air by precarious rope. Every time a Phantom symbol appears, one of the ropes is cut – with the round continuing until no more are left and the lights come crashing back down.
The Pick and Click game is played out in two stages, with the first being a bunch of roses hiding either a coin win or an X. Once an X is selected, you’ll move to the second round which gives you the choice between 3 mirrors. A certain multiplier is hiding behind all of them, with your winnings boosted by whatever you manage to pick.
For a thorough overview of Universal Monsters: The Phantom’s Curse, watch our video guide below.
Before we leave you to reminisce some more, here are a few other NetEnt titles fit for the spooky occasion which aren’t Universal Monsters related.
There’s no other place to start than Blood Suckers. Despite the Universal Monsters casino games being very popular, there’s no doubt that this 2009 release is one of NetEnt’s biggest successes.
Encompassing a joint-highest RTP for a NetEnt slot at 98%, Blood Suckers has gone down in iGaming history – sparking a much-anticipated sequel, Blood Suckers 2, in 2017. Other worthy mentions are Zombies, Mythic Maiden and Ghost Pirates, with our favourite games designer a proven expert in producing spine-tingling titles.
NetEnt, we salute you!