Total Blast

Review of Bally’s Total Blast Slot Machine

The Total Blast slot machine game is a science fiction, outer-space themed game designed and manufactured by Bally Technologies. The game features five reels and forty paylines.

The graphics and animation for the space-themed symbols are attractive and original, but many of the symbols use the tired card game ranks—9, 10, J, Q, and K. This is a minor drawback, though, because the payouts and gameplay are generous and exciting. The game also features two bonuses which add significantly to the players’ enjoyment.

Reel Symbols

In addition to the card game themed symbols already mentioned, Total  Blast includes images of starships, starry skies, crystals, asteroids, nebulae, and planets. Fans of arcade video games from the 1980s will love this game, as the graphics, sound effects, music, and bonus games are all evocative of games from that era.

If you’re a fan of Space Invaders, Galaga, Centipede, Missile Command, or any of the plethora of games which featured a shooter at the bottom of the screen fighting relentlessly advancing alien ships, you’ll love this game. In fact, the game even features one of the greatest songs of the decade, “The Final Countdown”, from the Swedish band Europe.

Like most games from Bally Technologies, Total Blast includes a wild symbol as one of its offerings. This wild symbol acts as a substitute for any other symbol you might need on a payline for a win. Players love wild symbols because they increase the chances of winning on any given spin.

Alien Attack – The Bonus Game

My favorite feature of Total Blast is the bonus game, Alien Attack, which is essentially an arcade game from the 1980s played for real money. This game is triggered by the bonus symbols, and it features a lone ship (the player) versus hordes of advancing alien ships. Your job is to shoot as many of the bad guys as possible without being shot.

The number of ships you hit, your accuracy, and how long you last determine how much extra cash you win. When you finish the “skill” aspect of the game, you also get to choose random ships via the touch screen to win even more cash.

Free Spins

Total Blast also makes free spins available via the scatter symbol functionality. You get five extra spins, and your wager is doubled for determination of the results of those bonus spins. During the free spins, the crystal symbols act as wild symbols and multiple your winnings by a pre-determined amount, based on their color. Free spin functionality is also one of the more popular features that Bally Technologies typically include in their games.

The game is available in various denominations starting from €0.01 per spin per line to €25.00 per spin per line. That means you can wager up to €1000.00 per spin, which is high rolling at its highest.

Arcade Games of the 1980s

It’s entirely appropriate that Total Blast is evocative of games like Space Invaders, as they share a common ancestor. Midway was the division of Bally which originally released Space Invaders in 1978. The popularity of that game inspired an entire genre of video games which anyone who grew up during that decade will recognize immediately.

Space Invaders is considered a 2 dimensional fixed shooter game. The player can move their icon in only two directions, and other than moving, the player usually only has one other important action to take—shooting. Galaxian is another game of this nature, and it was released in 1979. Teenagers from that era can often remember the computerized voice of Galaxian taunting them across the decades.

Games like Defender, Galaga, Scramble, and Tempest all share Space Invaders as a common inspiration.

“The Final Countdown”

The song featured during the bonus games on Total Blast is Europe’s hit, “The Final Countdown”.  The song was a hit in over two dozen countries, including the UK and the USA. The lyrics of the song were inspired by David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, but the instrumentals couldn’t be more distinct.

The song isn’t just popular because of its use in this slot machine game. It’s lived a long life as a feature in many sports venues. The opening keyboard riff is one of the most popular and identifiable in the world.

Besides its use in the Total Blasts slot machine game, my favorite pop culture usage of “The Final Countdown” is from the American situation comedy, Arrested Development. Fans of the show will remember how it’s used on the show immediately, but if you’re not a fan, here’s a description.

Imagine a blowhard magician who thinks he’s the second coming of David Copperfield. He has a deep voice and little sense. His name is Gob, which is pronounced the same as the biblical Job. Every time he comes on stage, “The Final Countdown” plays, as he dances lasciviously. He also uses the song as his ringtone on his cell phone.

The song is used on the show on at least eight different occasions, making it a great example of a “running joke”.

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