For much of the previous decade, the original Dead or Alive by NetEnt has been my number one favourite online slot machine. And, to be clear, when I make that statement, I am not saying that Dead or Alive is just that little better than the other games I enjoy playing.
No; What I am saying is that Dead or Alive, and later its successor Dead or Alive 2, have been so far ahead of the competition that, in my opinion, nothing else even comes close.
That’s a pretty bold statement to make, I’m sure you’ll agree. Extraordinary statements require extraordinary evidence to back them up, so sit back in your seat, folks – it’s time to explain why these two games are head and shoulders above every other video slot out there. And then some.
3 Bonus Features in Action Videos
We’ve put together several videos showing the three bonus features in action.
Dead or Alive 2 Overview
If you haven’t heard of Dead or Alive 2, where on earth have you been? The original game became a cult favourite almost immediately, and soon went on to become legendary among players of high variance online slots.
In 2018, the original game was updated from running using Adobe Flash to the newer HTML5 standard for graphics and animation on the web. As an avid fan of the game, I was quick to report this on one of the largest online gaming forums, and inadvertently ended up causing something of a scandal!
But, assuming you missed all of this somehow or perhaps are entirely new to the world of online casinos, here is a short overview of the Dead or Alive games for those who have absolutely zero previous knowledge about them.
“Dead or Alive 2: Feature Buy” for Dummies
The Dead or Alive games are a wild west themed series of five reel, nine payline online slot machines. The original game had a single feature, whereas the second game we are discussing here has three. When three or more scatters land on a single spin, you are given the option to choose between these three bonus features.
Dead or Alive 2: Feature buy is a special edition of the sequel that adds the ability to skip the base game and go directly to the feature selection screen automatically on your next spin. The “Feature Buy” option costs 66x your regular bet to activate, and guarantees that you will hit a scatter symbol on the first three reels of your next spin.
Interestingly, you can still hit four or five scatters when using the feature buy option. This is quite simply amazing because hitting all five scatters in the Dead or Alive games awards a pay-off of 2,500x your stake.
Why the separate “Feature Buy” version?
Why didn’t NetEnt choose to simply add “Feature Buy” into the regular Dead or Alive 2 game? This is something of a mystery. I suspected that perhaps the feature buy variant would have a lower RTP, but it does not; both games have an RTP of 96.82%.
Therefore, I suspect that NetEnt just wanted to avoid the possibility of players based in certain jurisdictions from being prohibited from playing Dead or Alive 2 altogether. The gambling regulator in the United Kingdom, for example, has banned bonus buy features altogether.
Some casinos have responded by removing all games with a bonus buy feature, even where the developer has updated the game in an attempt to ensure that UK players do not see the bonus buy option. It is simply not worth a casino risking their license or receiving a huge fine for breaching the terms of their license.
Symbols & Payouts
The pay table may not look too exciting upon first glance, but don’t let that fool you. A full line of wild symbols during the base game pays 166x your stake, whereas the top regular symbol – the sheriffs badge – pays 111x your stake. The lowest paying picture symbol is the whisky bottle and glass, which pays 22x your stake and does seem to appear quite often.
The royal symbols range from a 10 to an Ace, and the payouts for these range from 11x your stake for a full line of Aces down to less than 3x your stake for a full line of 10s. All of these payouts are doubled during all three of the bonus rounds.
The graphics are definitely a step-up from the original game, but they are all just the same symbols that have been redrawn. In many ways, Dead or Alive 2 is more of an update to the original game than a true sequel. There is far more which has not been changed, compared to the short list of things which have.
Saving the best part until last, the scatter symbol is depicted by what, I believe, is a bull or deer skull and a pair of crossed revolvers. Hit two of these, and you’ll receive double your stake in return. Catch three, and you will be paid 4x your stake as well as winning entry to the feature selection screen. A fourth increases your win to 25x your stake.
And as for five? Hitting all five scatters in any of the Dead or Alive games pays out a truly special 2,500x your stake. You can win this from the feature buy option too, if you are really lucky! This is one of the reasons why Dead or Alive has always been my favourite machine – a five scatter trigger means you are already guaranteed a huge win before your bonus round even starts.
How many other slots can you say that about?
The bonus round in the original Dead or Alive was great, so it’s nice to see it make a reappearance here. Hit three or more scatters, and you can select from any of the following free spin rounds, all of which begin with 12 free spins:
Train Heist Free Spins (Lowest Variance)
During this feature, each wild which lands during any spin adds an extra bar to your multiplier meter. One additional free spin is also added for each wild. Reach a multiplier of 16x, and you will be awarded six additional free spins.
Despite being the “low” variance option out of the three choices, this feature still has huge potential, and you can easily win a few thousand times your stake on a good day.
Old Saloon Free Spins (High Variance – This is the same feature included in the original)
Despite the option of the “High Noon Saloon” feature, I still like to choose this option from time to time. I’m not sure why – perhaps it is nostalgia, the fact I have had so much success with this feature in the original game.
All wins are doubled during this feature, and every wild that lands onscreen will remain stuck in place for the remainder of the bonus round. If you manage to hit a sticky wild on all five reels, your feature will be extended by an additional five free spins.
When players talk about Dead or Alive, you will often hear the term “wild line” mentioned. This refers to the possibility of getting a complete pay line of wild symbols during the feature. This is always exciting because not only does it pay 333x your stake, but you know for sure you have an additional five free spins to come with all of these wilds locked in place. And it guarantees you a further 1,666x your bet win.
I have won over 8,000x my stake from this bonus, and have lost count of the number of times I have collected more than 3,000x my wager. Again, how many other slots can you say this about?
High Noon Saloon Free Spins (Ludicrous Variance)
Finally, the high noon saloon is the place to be if you want a shot at the really outrageous wins this slot is capable of. Some people actually didn’t believe NetEnt when they claimed this game could pay out over 100,000x your stake – how can that even be possible, they wondered?
Well, it’s true – there are countless videos on YouTube to prove it.
The high noon saloon works in pretty much the same way as the old saloon free spins, with all wilds remaining stuck in place for the duration of the bonus round and five additional spins being added if you land a wild anywhere on each of the five reels.
The difference is, if you manage to hit two or three wilds on a single reel, those wilds will turn into multiplier wilds up to a maximum of 3x. This is absolutely ludicrous – there is simply no other word for it. NetEnt had to put a cap on the winnings from this bonus, as a single spin can result in a payout of more than 42,000x your stake if you have enough wilds on screen.
The first spin to take you over 100,000x your stake will halt the bonus round, and according to those who have done the math, this means the maximum payout from this feature is 111,111x your original stake.
If you are betting the minimum of 0.09c per spin, this works out to a maximum possible win of $10,000.
Ten thousand dollars from a bet of just nine cents? Ludicrous.
Dead or Alive 2 – Feature Buy : The Verdict
This is in my opinion the best paying slot on the internet. The RTP is extremely reasonable at almost 97%, and the bonus buy feature is a bargain at 66x considering you can win 2,500x before the feature even starts.
The base game isn’t terrible by any means either, and can often keep your balance topped up for hours at a time, giving you plenty of chances to hit three or more scatters the regular way.
Let’s be honest though – the feature buy is the entire reason for this version of the game existing, and whilst it is true that most of your features will finish in a loss, the times you make a profit should easily cover your losses over the long term.
The possibility of winning over 100,000x your stake means that there must be an awful lot of players losing money to this game in order for just one player to receive one of those wins. But, if you play this game enough, one day it could be you that hits a monster.
So far, my best result is around 12,000x my stake in the high noon free spins feature. But I enjoy this game enough that I am confident that the day will come when I get my own maxout – and I can’t wait!
If you haven’t played this game yet, go find it now! The best slot machine on the web, bar none.