Ancient Egypt is a popular theme for slots found in both brick and mortar casinos and online. The most popular of all is Cleopatra (and the updated Cleopatra 2) by International Game Technology or IGT. This is an early example of a 5 reel video slot which set the standard for solid game-play and graphics for several years. More recently the Cleopatra slot became available online in many jurisdictions (though currently not the US). This game is part of the IGT ‘Mega Jackpots’ system, and which pays out $1m+ prizes to the lucky winners.
This page shows you why the Cleopatra slot has stood the test of time, while so many other titles have been forgotten.
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The Original Cleopatra Slot from IGT
The base of this game is a 5 reel slot with 3 rows of symbols on each. There are 20 win-lines which cross the reels from the left (though in some live casinos a 9 win-line version can also be found).
Symbols are classic Ancient Egyptian icons including a scarab beetle, gold bar with hieroglyphics and the eye of Ra. You will also find Cleopatra herself looking over the top of a veil. Many of the symbols on the reels are playing card symbols (Q, K, J and so on). These are encrusted with jewels and other decorations to fit in with the theme.
Most of your wins come in the regulation way of lining up 3+ symbols from the left hand side. The biggest win is for 5 of the Cleopatra symbols, this is worth 1000 coins – you’ll get 100 coins for just 4.
The Cleopatra symbol has another benefit. This is counted as wild symbol – and will substitute for any other symbol to create wins. For example 2 scarab beetles and a Cleopatra will count as a 3 scarabs to create a win. With 20 win-lines in play, it is possible to hit several winning combinations at the same time in this game.
The pharaohs mask symbol is not tied to any win-lines, instead paying out based on the total number in view on the reels. This ‘scatter’ symbol is worth between 2x your total bet (for 2 in view) to a huge 100 times your total bet for 5 on the reels. What is more, if you get 3, 4 or 5 of these on the reels you will trigger the free spins bonus game.
You can play this game for just 1c a line (20c per spin), with $200 spins available at some casinos.
Cleopatra Slot Free Spins Bonus Game
When you trigger the bonus you will start with 15 free spins. This can be retriggered at any point (with 3+ of the pharos scatter symbols) up to a huge 180 spins in total. There is another benefit to this game – all the wins are tripled during play. This makes the top (non-jackpot) prize 3000 coins for 5 of the Cleopatra symbols.
One thing which set Cleopatra apart when first hit the casino floors was the combination of audio and visuals. While these seem a little dated by today’s standards the voice clips (‘Share in my Riches’, ‘Enchanting’ and so on) were a unique feature at one time. When you spin the reels an Arabic tune will briefly play – this goes up a level of intensity and remains on during the free spins bonus game.
Updating the Cleopatra Slot – Cleopatra 2
You might expect the graphics to be improved for the updated version – though for me the graphics on the first version are better. Cleopatra 2 has a plain white background to the reels, which does make it feel a little dated. The symbols are different, more gold is involved – though the regular game-play is almost identical with scatters, wilds and 20 win-lines.
The big difference between Cleopatra 2 and the original game comes when you trigger the free spins bonus round. There is a ‘pick-em’ game (you choose a jeweled box) which awards you a random number of free spins. The range of spins you can win depends on how many of the scatter symbols you landed to trigger this. If you hit 3 of the scatters you can win between 5 and 15 free spins, 4 gets you between 8 and 18 spins and 5 gets you between 10 and 20 spins.
Multipliers for your wins work differently too. Instead of the 3x multiplier from the original, you get an increasing multiplier. This starts off at 1x for the first spin and goes up by 1 each time. If you are lucky enough to retrigger the free spins, you could get 50x multiplier (making the top prize 50,000 coins for 5 Cleopatra symbols).
The audio is very similar to the original, with Cleopatra speaking to you and a drum driven Arabic sounding tune when the reels spin.
Summing Up – How do the IGT Cleopatra Slots Compare?
These games are an important part of slots history. The audio, visuals and elements like free spins and scatters helped to usher video slots into a more dynamic era. Compared to some of the interactive games with complex break out bonuses, these slots do start to show their age. At the same time you will be hard pushed to find game-play as solid, along with the ever present potential for a big win. Cleopatra slots are a must see for anyone who enjoys online slot gaming.