Sherlock Holmes Slots
Sherlock Holmes Slots is a 5-reel, 30-payline slot machine from IGT. The IGT Sherlock Holmes game is based on the 2009 Hollywood film starring Robert Downey Jr. The game has a spinning wheel to help determine bonuses, free spins, and multipliers. It also has three bonus games.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous literary characters in modern fiction. Other software companies have designed their own games. Playtech has a slot machine called "Sherlock Mystery". Aristocrat Gaming also has a Sherlock Holmes slot machine. A mobile game designer named Nguyen Hiep has a beautifully rendered mobile slots game for iPad and iPhone.
The IGT gaming machine has better graphics, bonuses, and game elements than the previous machines. Fans of the characters are likely to think a better version of Sherlock Holmes could have been portrayed, but IGT tends to license with the latest or most popular version of a pop culture franchise, and they went with the latest movie in this instance.
About Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes was a creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The character appeared in 4 novels and 57 short stories by the original author. Other writers expanded the Sherlock Holmes library subsequently. No other literary character has been the subject of more movie adaptations.
The first Sherlock Holmes novel, "A Study in Scarlet", first appeared in 1887. The book was popular, though the detective stories became much more popular when the first book of short stories appeared. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle continued to write Sherlock Holmes tales until 1927. The stories are set between the years 1880 and 1914.
Sherlock Holmes is a "consulting detective", a made-up term used to describe his role with the British authorities. When Scotland Yard had a case they could not solve, Inspector Lestrade would consult with Holmes. Sherlock Holmes used deductive reasoning and a massive body of learned knowledge to solve cases. He also was a master of disguise.
The anti-hero qualities of Sherlock Holmes were a big departure for the time. The detective was eccentric, grating on friends, and a drug addict. He also had anti-social tendencies and complete boredom with standard living. Readers got the idea he got as much of a thrill from the cases as the psychopathic murderers whose crimes he tried to foil.
Despite these characters flaw (or maybe because of them), the character became wildly popular with the English people. Eventually, Sherlock Holes became an international sensation. Many non-British people view the Victorian Era detective as one of the quintessential figures of the English culture. The picture of Sherlock Holmes searching for clues through the foggy streets of London is iconic.
Like any good hero, Holmes had his nemesis. The criminal genius, Professor James Moriarty, is seen by moderns as Holmes's archenemy. Professor Moriarty, whom the detective described as "The Napoleon of Crime", only appeared in two Sherlock Holmes stories. He was brought in by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as a plot device to kill off his detective, though that idea proved unpopular. In subsequent retellings, Professor Moriarty gained a greater role in the Sherlock Holmes mythos.
Helping Holmes on most cases was Dr. Watson, a wounded Afghan War veteran and medical doctor who roomed with Sherlock Holmes. Dr. Watson is smart, but his role often is to marvel at the logical genius of the consulting detective.
These are not the only key characters. Mycroft Holmes, Irene Adler, and Sebastian Moran all play key roles at times in the stories. So does 221B Baker Street, the detective's iconic home address.
In Films and on TV
The Guinness Book of World Records says Sherlock Holmes has been "the most portrayed movie character". Over 70 actors have played Holmes in over 200 different films. That represents only the English-language versions. Vasily Livanov was honored by Queen Elizabeth for his portrayal of the detective in Russia during the Soviet Union era.
Playing Holmes on the movie screen, television, or radio was a key part of the careers of Basil Rathbone, Tom Conway, Ronald Howard, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing. Currently, the fame of Benedict Cumberbatch can be traced to his breakout role on the BBC series Sherlock. The film starring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson is the one chosen by IGT for its slot machine adaptation.
Sherlock Holmes: The Movie
Before we describe the IGT slot machine, a little bit of exposition about the 2009 movie is needed. The antagonist is a man named Lord Blackwood, a foul cultist who fakes his own death. Since the 2009 film was a Hollywood blockbuster, it was a lot more action-packed than most British versions of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, at times it appeared to be more of an action movie than a murder mystery.
That is why many of the bonuses seem action-packed. The mysteries are at a minimum. Also, that is why the Blackwood Wheel is used in the bonus features.
Sherlock Holmes: The Slot Game
The reel symbols on this game include Sherlock's violin, his pipe, a pocket watch, his dog, and his trademark magnifying glass. The high payout reel symbols include the detective's love interest, Irene Adler, and Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard. Both of these symbols pay out 75x when 5 of them land on the same payline. The Robert Downey Jr. face icon is worth 500x the initial wager when 5 hit on an active payline.
The Blackwood Wheel Feature is similar to other IGT spinning wheel features. The player is allowed to spin a "Wheel of Fortune" type wheel. Each pie slice on the wheel corresponds to a different bonus or coin level. You can win coins, bonus games like the Hunt Bonus, multipliers, and other advantages. Each of the bonus games below is something you can activate on the Blackwood Wheel.
The Mystery Multiplier is an interactive bonus round in which your selections turn into coin multipliers. The player gets 3 selections. Each contains its own multiplier. Here's how it work.
In the Sherlock Holmes movie, the consulting detective had a fist fight with a huge brawler. The bonus game allows players to choose moves based on the film fight. These moves correspond to multipliers, so you're basically choosing a multiplier. You'll get three choices and the multipliers stack.
To make a selection, tap on one of the "Pick Your Move" video cards. Obviously, the multipliers chosen are random. The body shot might correspond to a multiplier, but you have no way of knowing what you'll choose when you tap the touchscreen with your finger. The bonus coins get into the thousands with this bonus, so it's a nice game.
When the wheel comes up "Blackwood Free Spins", a free spin bonus mode is triggered. You're instructed to "Pick Your Poison". These are not poison bottles, but elixirs which determine how many free spins you'll receive.
The elixirs also include upgrades, multipliers, and additional picks. Like the Fight Bonus Game, once you've made your selections, they are revealed and the free spins begin.
The IGT game called this the Blackwood Free Spins bonus, but some online sources call this the "Picker Puzzle". They are one and the same.
The "Clue of the Keys" free spins mode has interesting game play. You'll be given 12 free spins to match a key with a lock. To do this, you spin two reels at once. One reel corresponds to Sherlock Holmes. The other reel corresponds to Dr. Watson.
The key icon acts as a wild on one reel. The lock icon acts as a free spin icon on the other reel. When they match-up, you obtain additional free spins. This is called the "Teamwork Round" by some gamblers.
Sherlock Holmes Slots provides the usual mixture of features, bonus games, and payouts you would expect from IGT. Certainly, this is one of the best franchises you could imagine, because virtually every gambler has seen one version or another of Sherlock Holmes. That being said, we wish this slot machine didn't have to be tied to this particular version of the consulting detective.
We like Robert Downey Jr., but seeing him playing Sherlock Holmes is not nearly as entertaining as many of his roles. It's like seeing a time travel adventure involving Iron-Man. No one is interested in Lord Blackwood. So many better versions of this character would have been more entertaining, though we understand why the latest movie was chosen.
For those reasons, we don't think the license makes this game that much more entertaining than the several other Sherlock Holmes slot machines you'll find in casinos. With features like the Teamwork Round, the Blackwood Multiplier Wheel, Multiplier Fight Bonus, and the Blackwood Free Spins Bonus, IGT's designers did a nice job with the license they had.