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The year is 1291, the last Crusader stronghold in the city of Acre is under heavy fire by the mighty Mamluks. King Edward I has ordered all Crusaders to summon for one final stand. Will they prevail, or meet their maker? And most importantly will they bring back any riches?

The Basics

The Crusader slot by Elk Studios takes us back to The Middle Ages. Not a place I’d choose to visit, it´s a bit smelly by all accounts, but there’s some innovative game play on offer here in the form of Crusader wilds that nudge up or down then award re-spins after they land. Things look like they went downhill after the Romans left and made off for the Centurion slot from Inspired Gaming….

Let’s take a look…

The Graphics

Dark and brooding is how I would describe the visuals in this game – but, let’s face it, The Crusades weren’t exactly a romp in the hills. Mind you, have you played the Micro Knights slot from ELK? That´s a different kettle of fish.

Your reels are set on a background of a grey fort, while battle flames and banners can be seen everywhere. Dramatic music is the soundtrack to your spins, too. It’s certainly atmospheric as you’d expect from an ELK game, there are plenty of shields about and the music goes into overdrive if you get into any of the bonus features. I did think I was in B-Movie epic from the 1960s at one point. Struth! I have just come off the Golden Ticket slot which is set in a circus- they couldn´t be more different.

 The Play

Crusader slot has 4, rows and 26 pay-lines – but (and it’s a big but), the rows may expand in the bonus game to a total of 12 rows and up to 98 pay-lines. Your symbols on the reels are represented by the Holy Grail (would you believe it has been found by ELK Studios? Extraordinary!), a box of jewels, a green dagger that looks like it could be worth a bob or two, and three shields representing the different armies in the Crusades. The chalice is the highest paying icon in the game and you could bag 10x your bet for 5 of the blighters on a pay-line. The standard Q, K & A royal playing cards make up the lower values.

The golden ‘Wild’ icon will replace all standard symbols to make up more winning combos for you, and the eponymous Crusader is also a Wild icon, but more on this fellow below.

FYI: All symbols, including the wild, can landed as stacked. If you hit multiple stacks in combination, your bankroll could soon be very healthy indeed.

Free Spins and Bonus Features

Crusader Wild
Look out for the chap with the big sword! OK, that’s just common sense but it applies to this slot too, as The Crusader Wild icon can land at random on reels 1 and 5 stacked 4 positions high. Landing x1 partially in view on the reels will cause the icon to nudge up or down for a re-spin until it is fully in view. Nice!

Free Spins
Set off the Free Spins by landing 2x Crusader wild symbols on reels 1 and 5 – next you’ll be given 8 free spins. Those wild Crusaders will now become sticky on the reels, but keep your eyes peeled for the arrows landing on the middle 3.

Each time an arrow icon lands, the reels will expand by a row and you’ll be given an extra spin. Woo-hoo! The reels can get up to 12 rows high if you land enough arrows, and at that point you’ll be spinning with 98 pay lines – which hopefully means many more pay-outs.

The Monkey Verdict

Truth be told slot lovers, this game isn´t my favourite ELK game and I am a bit of a fan boy. The free games are a bit like the quest for the Holy Grail – lengthy and not very rewarding. Usually, you expect an Elk slot to be full of surprises, this one is not. However, if more straightforward game play is your thing, you’ll enjoy it as the stacked Wilds can add up rather nicely. Worth a test in any case.

3.8/5 Bananas