Ancient myths and legends are filled with monsters, and one of the most famous is named Medusa. This dangerous beauty is traditionally depicted with wings, the body of a serpent, and a human face crowned with hair made from living snakes. Her most lethal feature, however, is the ability to turn living creatures to stone simply by gazing at them.
When the folks at NextGen were searching for a theme for their next online game, they decided to go with a mythological flair. As a result, they created the Medusa slot machines that we’ll be discussing in this article.
Whether you’re an old hand at the game, or just trying it for the first time, the following text should prove helpful in your efforts. In addition to detailing the game’s symbols and payouts, we’ll look at some of the history surrounding Medusa and the bonus features available during the in-game action.
While the paytable and bonus features are covered later, this section details the basic rules of the game. A number of these may seem like common sense, but I thought they were worth listing for the convenience of the reader.
Before you jump into the game, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the available symbols and their corresponding payouts. This section details all the icons on the main game, as well as providing a basic overview of how they relate to the Greek myths of old.
According to some versions of the myth, Medusa was a beautiful maiden who was raped by Poseidon in the temple of Athena. The goddess took this personally, but she wasn’t upset at the god of the sea. Instead, she blamed the mortal woman, cursing her with snakes for hair and a face so hideous that it would turn men to stone. When it makes up a winning combo, this icon pays one of the following amounts: five credits for two matches, 100 for three, 200 for four, and 5000 for five.
Over the years, a number of brave warriors set out to slay the gorgon. Unfortunately, almost all of them met their demise via petrification thanks to Medusa’s supernatural gaze. When they make up a winning payline, these unfortunate fellows provide one of the following payouts to players: two credits for two matches, 50 for three, 100 for four, and 2000 for five.
The snake symbol represents the serpentine creatures that continually hiss and writhe on the head of Medusa. The shield, meanwhile, was given to Perseus by Athena to assist in his quest to slay the gorgon. When one of these symbols turns up on the reels multiple times during a spin, the following payouts are possible: 20 credits for three matches, 40 for four, and 500 for five.
When Perseus set out to kill Medusa, he was given a variety of gifts by the gods. One such present was a pair of golden, winged sandals, which were presented to him by Hermes. As for the earrings, I’m guessing they were worn by Medusa, although there could be some other significance that I’m unaware of. These icons from the ancient world of Greek mythology provide the following payouts: 15 credits for three matches, 20 for four, and 200 for five.
These icons hearken back to the ancient days of Greece, although they don’t have a lot to do with the specific stories involving Medusa. While these might not be the most exciting symbols in the game, they do offer the following amounts when part of a winning payline: 10 credits for three matches, 15 for four, and 150 for five.
If you’re going to hunt a gorgon, you’re going to need a way to kill them. This ancient weapon is suitable for the task, especially since you could thrust at them from a distance. Of course, when it came time to sever the head, you’d still need to rely on a sword. Despite the potential lethality of the symbol, the spear tip is the least valuable icon on the reels. Still, it offers one of the following amounts when it makes up a winning combination: five credits for three matches, 10 for four, and 100 for five.
This is the game’s scatter symbol, and getting several of these icons on the reels provides the following winning opportunities: two credits for two matches, five credits for three, 15 for four, and 250 for five. The symbol can turn up anywhere and still count as a win, and all payouts from a scatter are multiplied by the total amount staked. When three or more appear on the reels during the main game, the Once Bitten Bonus is activated.
In some stories, the Pegasus is just a majestic winged horse. In others, it was the child of Medusa, and it (along with a golden giant) emerged from her body upon the moment of her death. While it plays an important role in the Pegasus Bonus round, the symbol doesn’t offer any prizes for matches during the base game.
This is the game’s wild symbol, and it takes the form of Medusa’s beautiful face (with an emphasis on her unnaturally green eyes). While it can lead to re-spins and bonus payouts, this symbol doesn’t offer payouts for matching combinations during the base game.
Unlike the petrified soldiers in the other symbol, this warrior is still alive and well. While he isn’t given a name, this icon might represent Perseus, the mythological hero who was widely credited with cutting off Medusa’s head. As with the Pegasus icon, this symbol offers no payouts during the base game.
When it comes to potential wins for the customer, most slots don’t stop with the main game. Instead, they include a number of bonus rounds and features, and these are a great opportunity for loyal players to strike it rich. In this section, we’ll look at the lucrative possibilities offered by this NextGen title, from the triggering requirements to expected payouts.
When three symbols representing Medusa’s face appear on the reels, this feature is activated. The player receives three re-spins, and all prizes are tripled during this time. If Medusa appears on reels two, three, or four, she becomes an expanded wild and substitutes for all icons except the Pegasus or Medusa logo. This feature can’t be retriggered, and the re-spins are played at the lines and bet of the trigger game. During re-spins, the Pegasus Bonus and Once Bitten Bonus aren’t available.
When three or more scatter symbols (Medusa logo) appear on the reels during the base game, the player receives 10 free games. All prizes are doubled during this phase, and the player can earn up to three “super spins” whenever a non-petrified soldier icon appears on reel three. During a super spin, all winnings are multiplied by a factor of five, and these are resolved after all regular free games have been completed. Both free games and super spins can be retriggered, and they’re played at the lines and bet of the triggering game. During these phases, the Turned to Stone bonus cannot be activated.
When three symbols of the famed winged horse show up on the reels during the base game, the player has a chance to receive up to 50x their wager. In order to do so, the player is asked to choose a Pegasus icon on the screen to receive a hidden prize. While a cash award or multiplier may be awarded, the player can also get a Pick Again or Win All symbol. This bonus can be activated during the free games and super spin phases, where winnings are multiplied x2 or x5, respectively.
In addition to the virtual reels, the player can also find a number of game controls on the screen. In this section, we’ll look at the options and what they mean to the player.
If a written description of Medusa isn’t enough, then perhaps you need to see one or more of the motion pictures featuring the legendary gorgon. The following are some of the most notable:
Films produced by Hammer were often associated with Dracula, usually with the late Christopher Lee in the starring role. Lee does play a major role in this film, but he’s trying to solve a series of mysterious deaths (by petrification) instead of draining busty women of their blood. The film is often overlooked in the annals of Hammer history, but a number of film historians point to it as one of the company’s most atmospheric and artistic efforts.
This fantasy adventure film stars Harry Hamlin in the role of Perseus, and the excellent supporting cast includes Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, and Burgess Meredith. When his future wife is sentenced to die at the hands of the monstrous Kraken, our hero sets off in search of a way to stop it. Turns out that the only solution is the gaze of Medusa, which takes us to the underworld and the stop-motion artistry of effects wizard Ray Harryhausen.
Hollywood continues their obsession with remakes and reboots, this time putting Sam Worthington in the role of Perseus and pitting him against monsters such as gorgons, giant scorpions, and the massive Kraken. Just like in the 1981 version, our hero and his followers attempt to claim the head of Medusa, although this time the stop-motion creature has been replaced by CGI effects. Some might prefer this version, although I think such effects remain hollow and soulless (although they are improving).
Medusa enjoyed a pair of cinematic appearances in 2010, which has to be a record for the character. This time around, she takes on young demi-god Percy Jackson and his pals. Played by Uma Thurman, the fate of the character is what you might expect (she won’t need to worry about buying a hat anytime soon).
While the standard jackpot of 5,000 credits is lower than most other NextGen titles, the Medusa slot machine makes up for this by offering respectable bonus features. The artwork and sound effects are solid enough, although they’re far below what you’d expect to find on the average 3D slot. When the various elements are factored together, this title offers solid gameplay that’s well-suited to players of all experience levels.