Zeus Slot Machine
As one of the most popular slot machines ever released by American casino game manufacturer WMS Industries, the Zeus title has gone on to become a bona fide classic within the industry.
WMS Industries established its roots as a pinball machine designer and manufacturer in 1943, and as technology progressed, the company added arcade games to its portfolio in the 1970s and 1980s. By 1996 WMS Industries was designing modern video slot machine models, and today the company specializes exclusively in casino games and slots.
But among the hundreds of slot machine titles WMS Industries has designed and released during the last two decades, Zeus has long since secured supreme status. The game is still one of the most widely played slot options in the world, and every year millions of players take their shot at the thunder god.
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An Overview of Zeus Slot Games
Taking its name from the king of all gods in Greek mythology, the Zeus line of slot machines has proven to be such a hit that several sequels were released over the years. Players will find Zeus II, Zeus III, and Great Zeus machines in brick and mortar casinos, along with various online versions for each title.
With so many Zeus titles to choose from, and each game including updated features and new gameplay wrinkles, this page will limit its detailed examination to the original Zeus game only.
The game's theme is derived from the annals of Greek mythology, when the fates of man were assumed to be ruled by a group of gods living on Mount Olympus. As the god of natural phenomenon like the sky, thunder, and lightning, as well as worldly constructs like law and justice, Zeus reigned over both humanity and his fellow deities as the king of the gods.
Zeus ruled alongside his wife, and occasional nemesis, Hera – by whom he fathered several other gods, like Ares, god of war – but the ancient Greeks believed him to be highly involved in the affairs of his subjects. Heroic figures like Hercules, Perseus, and Helen of Troy were said to be the offspring of Zeus and mortal women, and each was believed to be imbued with higher powers as half gods.
Zeus became Jupiter under the Roman Empire, and as mankind's development continued, mythological figures became sources of historical curiosity more than anything else. But because most people learned the basic of Greek mythology at some point in their schooling, Zeus remains a recognizable name, and for slot machine manufacturers like WMS Industries, sometimes that's all it takes to design a successful themed title.
The title screen for the Zeus slot features the man himself, adorned in a white robe and wearing a crown of laurels. Zeus is presented as a strong, stern presence, his unsmiling face concealed by a thick white beard and flowing white hair. Behind him are clouded skies and the peak of Mount Olympus, while the bolded word "ZEUS" dominates the title screen's foreground.
Upon entering the base game, the background screen is presented in simple fashion, with blue skies in the background and the gilded halls of the godly living quarters in Mount Olympus standing tall near the top of the screen. Two columns are set near the building, each one bearing Zeus' signature bolt of lightning.
When it comes to the reel symbols used in the game, the Zeus slot features nothing but themed symbols, so the standard card rank symbols have been replaced. Instead, you'll be spinning for Zeus himself, along with Mount Olympus, the thunderbolt, the winged horse Pegasus, the boat, the helmet, the harp, the vase, the gold coin, the silver coin, and the wreath.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
Like most of WMS Industries' older titles, Zeus is a standard five reel, 30 pay line video slot machine game.
Three symbol spaces are found on each reel, so a total of 15 symbols are put in play on each spin.
The minimum coin denomination for Zeus begins at just $0.01, but because this is a fixed pay line game, players must activate all 30 pay lines on each spin. This caveat moves the minimum cost to cover per spin up to $0.30, but this is essentially the standard for multiple pay line penny slot games anyway.
When playing the land based version of the classic Zeus machine, high rollers can increase the amount of coins wagered per pay line on an incremental basis, topping out at $1.50 per pay line for a $45.00 cost to cover per spin. The online version of the game ups the ante even more, and players can wager up to $150.00 per spin.
Falling in line with the standard slot setup perfected by WMS Industries over the years, the Zeus base game is built around the usual lineup of wild symbols, scatter symbols, and free spin bonus rounds. The game lacks the multiplier feature, however, so line pays can't be increased that way, and no wider progressive jackpots are connected to either the land based or online versions. For a list of basic game specifications for the Zeus slot, see below:
- Wilds: Yes
- Free Spins: Yes
- Multiplier: No
- Bonus Game: Yes
- Progressive: No
- Return to Player: 95.21%
During the Zeus base game players will enjoy much more frequent wins, although the payouts on most winning spins tilts toward the smaller side. Nonetheless, players consistently report enjoying very low variance sessions on Zeus machines in land based casinos, allowing for longer sessions and more chances at spinning up a high paying combination. The highest line pay found on the Zeus pay table, for 500 credits, occurs when you land five of the Zeus symbols on an activated pay line. For making four of a kind in Zeus symbols you'll receive 200 credits, three of a kind is worth 50 credits, and a pair of Zeus symbols will pay out 4 credits.
Fortunately for players, the Zeus symbol seems to appear much more often than any other symbol, which helps to reduce variance by creating small winning combinations on a regular basis. Even better, the Zeus symbol often appears as a stacked symbol, covering more than one, and sometimes all of the symbol spaces on a reel.
The next most valuable symbol is the winged Pegasus symbol, which pays out 400 credits for five of a kind, 150 credits for four of a kind, and 40 credits for three of a kind.
Both the boat symbol and the helmet symbol pay out the same at 350 credits for five of a kind. Landing five of the harp symbol or the vase symbol is good for a 250 credit reward, while five of either the gold coin or the silver coin symbols is worth 200 credits. Finally, five of a kind in the wreath symbol pays out 150 credits.
The wild symbol during the Zeus base game is the Mount Olympus symbol, which can substitute for all other symbols except for the scatter symbol in order to create winning combinations. Just like the Zeus symbol, the wild Mount Olympus can also act as a stacked symbol, covering one, two, or even all three symbol spaces on a reel. This stacking feature can trigger massive winners when you combine a few stacked Zeus symbols with stacked wild Mount Olympus symbols, essentially covering the screen in winning combinations.
The scatter symbol during the Zeus base game is the thunderbolt symbol, which can generate winning combinations from anywhere on the reels. The true importance of the thunderbolt symbol, however, concerns its ability to trigger the game's free spins bonus round.
Triggering the Bonus Round
The free spins bonus round included in the Zeus game is a tried and true classic, one which has formed the inspiration for a long line of imitations and knockoffs.
When you see three of the thunderbolt scatter symbols on the screen, you'll receive an allotment of 10 free spins. Four of the thunderbolt scatter symbols increases the bounty to 25 free spins, and if you can manage to make it five thunderbolt scatter symbols on a single spin, the reward rises to 100 free spins.
Players will also appreciate the ability to retrigger the free spins bonus round during any free spin. By landing three or more thunderbolt scatter symbols during a free spin, you'll simply add the corresponding amount of free spins to your current bonus round. This function allows players to trigger one free spins bonus round, before retriggering several more, leading the long runs of free spins in which every winning combination landed equates to pure profit.
Adding to the excitement, both the high paying Zeus symbol and the wild Mount Olympus symbol retain their stacking ability during the free spins bonus round. The game also seems to increase the frequency of these crucial symbols during a free spin, so you're very likely to start piling up stacked reels with Zeus symbols, wild Mount Olympus symbols, or hopefully both.
A true classic in the minds of slot machine aficionados, the original Zeus game still holds the title as WMS Industries' vanguard title. With a simple base game setup, extremely low variance, and regular session sustaining wins, Zeus is a favorite for players who prefer to stretch their gaming dollar out while still hunting for significant scores.
The game's free spins bonus round is simple yet highly entertaining, as the presence of both stacked Zeus and wild Mount Olympus symbols creates the potential for huge wins on even a 10 free spin round. All in all, Zeus has earned its reputation as one of the most beloved slot machine titles of all time, and today a new generation of players continues to discover the game's glory via online casinos.