Max Damage and the Alien Attack

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For those who might have been thinking there is nothing much new about slot games, software developer Microgaming offered a surprise in the fall of 2012. That’s when they unveiled their new “Max Danger and the Alien Attack” game, aimed at revolutionising players’ ideas of what constitutes an online slot. For starters, this game has no reels.

The game opens with an introductory animation showing star-fighter pilot Max Danger relaxing inside a space station with two lovely ladies in a hot tub. An alarm sounds and Max springs into action, pulling on his uniform and holstering his ray gun as televised broadcasts from Earth announce an armada of alien space craft poised for invasion. Seconds later, Max blasts off in his heavily armed star-fighter to repel the attack.

What’s revealed next is the first of nine playing levels, an outer space scene with Max’s star-fighter positioned at the bottom and invading alien space craft appearing from above. Those familiar with arcade games of the past will immediately recognise this as a high-tech update of the vintage video game “Space Invaders,” which was all the rage in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Just below the frame of the game window is the player’s control panel. At the far right is the Credits counter showing the total funds available. The “View Pays” button just below it can be clicked to access the game information screens. Next to Credits is the “Coin Size” indicator, with a button for changing the denomination to be wagered, from €0.01 to €2.00. The number of “coins per line” is always ten, thus making the minimum stake €0.10 and the maximum €20.00.

Displayed on the right side of the control panel are the number of Coins, the size of the Bet and the Total Win. The middle of the control panel contains indicators for the Level number, Health status, Shield status, and toggles for Start/Pause and Auto Fire, used during play. At Level 1, the game begins with six “lives” to expend while collecting awards in the effort to pass through all nine levels.

As the player blasts away, shooting missiles at the descending alien invaders, cash amounts are revealed for each successful hit. Freebies, upgrades, multipliers and other benefits can be collected, too, as the game progresses. Players can make use of ‘freebies’ like Missile Boosters, Wormholes and Nukes; Firepower upgrades; and Health, Life, Damage and Shield boosters. As many as 10,000 coins can be won for destroying a single invading space craft. Defeating any of the three alien “Boss Ships” adds bonus cash to wins, too.

Cinema quality audio and graphics take Max Danger and the Alien Attack beyond the common world of slots and arcade games to new territory that some have called “out of this world,” “new age” and “groundbreaking.” In fact, this is not the first slot game to appear without the traditional reels—Jenga and Gonzo’s Quest preceded it. However, Microgaming has added Top Score Leaderboards to make play even more competitive, and they are banking on a new generation of gaming enthusiasts who grew up on video games to support the reel-less format.

Microgaming’s head of casino marketing, Mike Hebden, has said, “Due to the nature of the game, we do envisage Max Damage appealing to a broader market than the traditional slot. However the player experience will have familiar features to conventional slot games, with players having the opportunity to hit big wins during boss battles at the end of certain levels.”

Max Danger and the Alien Attack has already been introduced at several major online casinos, such as Bet365. And this is just the beginning. According to Hebden, “We are very excited about introducing the new arcade slot genre into the online gaming industry and have a number of concepts in various states of design and production, so we certainly believe that there is great potential for this style of gaming to become a trend.”

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