Published: 07/01/2013

Software developer Playtech debuted their movie-themed progressive jackpot slot known as “Cinerama” in December 2009, and by January 2010 it was already one of the hottest new titles on the Internet. For as little as a 25p wager, players could have shot at a big five-figure prize that could eventually grow as high as six figures.

Above the reels, a shouting director and an entranced cinematographer overlook a male actor playing a vampire about to sink his fangs into the female lead. The control panel below the reels is as sleek as can be, with buttons for Paytable, Bet One, Bet Max and Spin, as well as indicators for Credit, Win, Bet and Line Bet.

Like most progressives, Cinerama is available to play only in the Real Money mode at online casinos like Bet365, where the current jackpot as of this writing is just over £15,000. The video slot employs a simple 5-reel, 5-payline format, with a fixed credit denomination of 5p and a maximum bet of one credit per line, or 25p in total. The “Bet One” button at the bottom of the screen allows single line selection, or click on “Bet Max” to wager on all 5 paylines.

The basic symbols on the reels all represent various aspects of the film industry. Matching three or more Microphones, Spotlights or Stars on an active payline awards a line multiplier from 10X to 300X. As few as two matching symbols will yield a payout of 4X to 1000X for winning combinations of Film, Megaphones, Reels, Clap Boards or Scripts.

The Camera is the wild symbol in Cinerama and it substitutes for all symbols except the Bonus ones. Catching 3 or 4 Cameras in a row on a payline is worth 25X or 1000X, respectively. Matching up all 5 Cameras earns the progressive jackpot when Max Bet is played or 10000X for wagers less than the maximum.

Two different Bonus features are available on Cinerama. The first is triggered whenever the Headphones appear anywhere on the first reel. A second screen will appear, where the player is given the opportunity to choose from among four films, trying to pick the one that will do best at the box office. After the selection is made, a hidden cash amount is revealed as the prize for Bonus Round 1.

The second Bonus feature in the Cinerama slot machine is activated when three Director symbols align on a payline. In Bonus Round 2, the player becomes a director and chooses both an actor and his leading lady actress from among an array of ten candidates. Depending on how the choices go, the resulting film may be wildly successful or turn out to be a complete flop, whereupon cash prizes are awarded accordingly.

An excellent mix of audio and graphics makes Cinerama a delight to play while waiting for the Bonus Rounds and progressive jackpots to hit. During normal slot play, many of the reel icons animate as winnings are paid. Some come with themed sound bites, too.

By one estimate, Cinerama pays out just over £35,000 every 100 days on average. Because it is a progressive, there is no Autoplay option, just as there is no Free Play or Practice mode. The idea is to have players leap right in and try for a blockbuster. And with the stake required to win big set at just 25p, it is certainly worth a shot at taking a low budget all the way to stardom.

Published on: 07/01/2013

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