Pelican Pete Slots
The classic slot machine title Pelican Pete was released in 2001 by Australian casino game manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure.
Since that time, Pelican Pete has become a staple in land based casinos from Sin City to Sydney, Australia. Although the game may be considered dated when compared to today's modernized video slot machines, the combination of a pleasant theme and Aristocrat's familiar gameplay setup make Pelican Pete a fan favorite to this day.
Fittingly, an online version of the game was launched in 2015, giving an entirely new generation of slot players the opportunity to enjoy Pelican Pete.
You can try out a free version of this online game below:
Pelican Pete: The Basics
Designed to simulate the sights and sounds of a beachside retreat, Pelican Pete is built around a seagoing theme. The mascot Pelican Pete is usually featured with his giant bill stuffed full of gold coins, and on the game's title screen, you'll even see the sunken treasure chest from which he feeds. A pair of orange starfish and a silver anchor completes the underwater ambiance while the deep blue sea offers a stark background.
During the actual game, the background screen will feature the sun setting into an expansive ocean, with the light turning the waters alternating shades of blue and purple.
As for the reel symbols, this is an Aristocrat game so you can expect to find the familiar lineup of card rank symbols, and the 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A make an appearance. These basic symbols are joined by others which complement Pelican Pete's oceanic theme, including the blazing sunset, the purple fish, the treasure chest, the silver anchor, the orange starfish, the shining lighthouse, and Pelican Pete himself.
When compared to the video slot machine titles which were recently released, the reel symbols and other graphics found in this game aren't all that much to look at. You won't find any animations or themed sounds either, so players who enjoy a fully interactive slot machine experience may find Pelican Pete to be lacking in terms of overall design. The game is nearly 15 years old, however, and all things together it's aged relatively well when compared to other games from that era.
Players who have a natural affinity for all things aquatic will generally enjoy Pelican Pete's maritime theme, and the game is especially popular in Aristocrat's native Australia. An island nation blessed with many of the world's most pristine and picturesque beaches, Australia is the perfect birthplace for a game like Pelican Pete.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
Pelican Pete is one of the first five reels, 50 pay line video slot machines ever produced, joining other Aristocrat favorites like 50 Lions and 50 Dragons in that regard. It offers players a medium to high variance level, so you should take your bankroll limitations into consideration before playing.
Each of the five reels holds four symbols, putting 20 symbols in play during each spin and giving players more than 2,000 possible winning combinations.
As a fixed pay line game, players must activate all 50 pay lines on each spin. So even though the $0.01 minimum coin denomination technically makes Pelican Pete a penny slot, you'll need to spend at least a $0.50 minimum cost to cover each spin. The following denomination are also available, in addition to $0.01
This wagering range gives Pelican Pete one of the widest in the industry, for machines produced near the turn of the century.
Following the preferred Aristocrat design, Pelican Pete offers players a preset wild symbol and scatter symbol, a free spins bonus round, and scatter payouts. Unfortunately, the game lacks the popular multiplier feature, as well as any larger progressive jackpot. A list of basic specifications for Pelican Pete has been compiled below:
- Wilds: Yes, and Sticky Wilds during the free spins bonus round
- Free Spins: Yes
- Multiplier: Yes, but only when the scatter symbol generates a win, it multiplies by amount of credits bet per line
- Bonus Game: Yes
- Progressive: No
- Return to Player: 94.71%
The base game for Pelican Pete offers surprisingly low payouts when compared to the rather high minimum cost to cover per spin. Landing five of the blazing sunset symbols from left to right will return a jackpot of just 100 credits while four of a kind is good for 50 credits. Three of the blazing sunset symbols offer a payout of 15 credits.
The next most valuable symbols on the reels are the purple fish and the treasure chest. Landing five of a kind in these symbols pays out 75 credits while four of a kind will score you a 50 credit return.
Five of the silver anchor symbols or orange starfish symbols will net 75 credits as well, but four of a kind for these only pays out 25 credits.
Each of the card rank symbols will return 50 credits for landing five of a kind.
When compared to most Aristocrat titles, this payout table is generally considered to fall on the lower end of the spectrum. In an effort to compensate for these low base game payouts, Pelican Pete also includes Aristocrat's popular Gamble feature. By pressing the Gamble button after notching any win, the game will bring you to a side screen featuring a simple guessing game.
The screen will show a single playing card turned face down, and your job is to guess either the color or the exact suit of the card. Correctly guessing the color will net you double your money while a correct suit guess is good for quadruple the original win. You can even gamble successfully up to five consecutive times before returning to the base game, giving players an opportunity to turn modest pay line wins into much larger hauls.
As is usually the case in an Aristocrat game, the title character represents a wild symbol, so the Pelican Pete symbol can substitute for any other symbol except the scatter symbol to create winning combinations. The Pelican Pete wild symbol will only appear on the second, third, fourth, and fifth reels.
The scatter symbol is the shining lighthouse symbol, which will only appear on the first, second, and third reels. The shining lighthouse scatter symbol can generate winning combinations from anywhere on the reels, and when it does, your payout will be multiplied by the amount of credits being wagered per line. This scatter symbol also holds the key to entering the free spins bonus round.
Triggering the Bonus Round
Whenever the first three reels display the shining lighthouse scatter symbol, the game's free spins bonus round will be triggered.
Players begin the bonus round with 10 free spins to work with, and anytime the Pelican Pete wild symbol appears during a free spin, it will act as a Sticky Wild.
Sticky Wild symbols stay in place along the reels during subsequent free spins, continually creating new winning combinations as more Pelican Pete wild symbols land. Lucky players can fill whole reels, and even the entire screen on rare occasions, with the Sticky Wild Pelican Pete symbols, generating massive payouts.
Adding to the fun for players, landing three more shining lighthouse scatter symbols during any free spin will retrigger the free spins bonus round, granting you five more free spins in the process. With the combination of retriggered free spins and Sticky Wilds, the Pelican Pete free spins bonus round still ranks as one of the most entertaining in the industry some 15 years after the game hit casino floors.
The Pelican Pete video slot machine has become a mainstay in brick and mortar casinos around the world, so obviously, Aristocrat did something right when designing the game. While the graphics and theme appear to be quite old-fashioned by now, casino gamblers continue to take a seat in front of Pelican Pete's inviting beachside atmosphere.
With base game payouts modern slot players would scoff at, the game isn't for everyone of course, but fans of slot machine history would be well served by plunking a few pennies in a Pelican Pete machine and savoring the sense of nostalgia.