This slot manufacturer has a long history – going all the way back to 1968 in the UK. At one point almost all of the slots in British pubs and casinos were Barcrest creations. With its heyday in the 1970’s through to the 1990’s, before the internet brought a new medium for slot gaming. Barcrest were acquired by IGT in 1998, and later sold to Scientific Games in 2011. The brand is still going strong, and some of the recent titles are excellent – comparable to the best of what other slot software houses are creating.
Along the way, Barcrest has created some iconic slots. Rainbow Riches, Monty’s Millions and (more recently) Ooh Aah Dracula have been played millions of times in live settings – and have now been transitioned online. Alongside this there is a new generation of games which have been created with online play in mind, with more detailed bonus games. Examples include King of the Aztecs and Merry Money.
Throughout their history, Barcrest has created many of the most innovative slot games around. These included some of the first break out bonuses, with board game type rounds where you could accumulate more prizes. They also brought the UK’s live slots scene up to date by introducing multi-line 5 reel slots to replace the older 3 reel devices.
When you look at the current internet slots, one innovation which stands out is the ‘high roller’ playing option. This allows you to choose a smaller number of spins at a higher cost. The advantage to choosing this is to unlock extra features or enhanced pay-outs. One example includes the ‘try again’ free spins for the Ooh Aah Dracula slot if you do not like your total. This appeals to the aspirations of players (who would not want to be a high-roller!) and does add an extra dimension to the play.
One thing I always like about Barcrest games is that they are quiet between spins. Many do have tunes and sound tracks. However, when you stop spinning the music stops too – allowing you to pause between spins without being followed by beeps or repeating tunes. Another minor factor is the logos above the reels, which often animate or flash in some way for each spin.
For me the main hallmark to associate with these games is that the game-play shows the years of experience Barcrest has built up. You might not find the latest graphics talent or complex video-clip heavy bonus rounds in these games. What you will find are solid slots which manage to keep you engaged as you play. There are bonus games including free spins and even break out roulette wheel wheels (in the Ca$hino game).
Here are three of slots which give you a sense of what Barcrest is capable of producing.
Ooh Aah Dracula was a live slot which has made it online. Hugely popular, this is based on a ‘cool’ version of Dracula, complete with mirrored sunglasses. There is a free spin bonus game, along with the chance to pick a gravestone for extra prizes. This slot contains the high-roller play option, though is very entertaining even at the lowest possible spin amount. If there is one Barcrest slot which I rate as a must-play, this is it.
Elvis Top 20 was one of those slots which I did not expect to enjoy. Having now played this retro slot a few times, I feel it is a great example of those solid ‘game-play’ skills that Barcrest brings to their games. There are 3 (admittedly simple) bonus games, and you’ll soon be humming along to ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ too.
Merry Money is my final pick – this shows a different side of this slot software house, one that is more focused on the online play. This game is based on Robin Hood, and has great graphics and an entertaining bonus game where you steal look without waking up the sheriff.
This company is now owned by Scientific Games, who bought them from IGT in 2011 for around $50 million. The brand name is still going (and still has a lot of recognition, especially in the UK). Formed in England in 1968, Barcrest were the dominant player in both slot and skill gaming (quiz and puzzle game) machines for decades. The first online slots appeared in the early 2000’s, shortly after their acquisition by IGT in 1998.
There are many classic titles, and a focus on great game play in the Barcrest range. While the graphics and interaction are not quite up there with the industry leaders, this company has created many classics. Rainbow Riches, Ca$hino, Money Mad Martians, Ooh Ah Dracula and Merry Money are all worth taking for s spin.