Ahh, the gold rush – a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans packed their bags, declared themselves prospectors and headed for California to seek their fortune. Not so very different from the millions of slot machine players out there trying to make their fortune every time they spin those reels!
Dead Or Alive is one of several slots titles to capitalize on this similarity by featuring a cowboy theme. It's a very simple, traditional game with only 9 paylines, which might come as a bit of a disappointment but we suppose that it fits with the old-timey vibe of the slot; you can almost imagine a grizzled old cowboy in the corner of a saloon feeding coins into a primitive gambling machine not unlike Dead Or Alive!
It's one of NetEnt's most popular slots, which seems a little strange given that it's not exactly the most innovative game in their library. We think that may have something to do with the fact that Dead Or Alive often performs well when sites build lists of the best paying slots around, or maybe NetEnt gamblers just really love cowboys!
So, is the lure of a big win enough to make you stick around? We take a closer look at the game below to see if there's enough here to keep players interested.
Dead Or Alive is a simple cowboy themed slot with just 9 paylines – a number that's hardly likely to set any of our readers' hearts racing. It does, however, have a decent bonus round in which you stand to make some serious cash if you get lucky.
The game itself is enjoyable enough, although it's quite volatile, and there's really not all that much in the way of extras that will keep the average player coming back. Despite this, it remains one of NetEnt's more popular games. Go figure!
Dead Or Alive is available all over the web – anywhere you can find NetEnt games, you'll almost certainly be able to find Dead Or Alive. The game is one of NetEnt's older titles, so casino sites have had plenty of time to add it to their library!
Players looking to make the jump from fruit machines or 3-reel games will probably welcome the lower number of paylines – Dead Or Alive has just 9 of them – because it makes it easier to see where your wins are coming from, but it's difficult to imagine anyone else getting excited about fewer opportunities to win.
The low number of paylines might also be frustrating to seasoned players who are used to 50+ paylines, or even 243 Ways to Win slots, because it means that you'll sometimes encounter outcomes that look like they should be a win but don't actually net you any cash at all.
There's no doubt that Dead Or Alive is a high variance slot, which means you'll need to be prepared to (potentially) wager lots of cash and stick with it for some time before you see any big wins. If that's not your style, find a slot with more paylines and more chances to win during standard play!
The game's reel icons – shot glasses, cowboy boots and hats etc. – are attractive enough, but they're really nothing special. That's a little surprising given how many recent NetEnt titles have featured cinematic intros, animations or provide some sort of twist on traditional slots action.
There's a decent little bonus round in Dead Or Alive that transports players to the interior of a saloon in the old west and features free spins and sticky wilds. The more wilds that appear, the more free spins players can rack up.
With music, ambient sounds and far more wilds than you could ever hope to see during standard play, Dead Or Alive's bonus round cranks things up a notch and does a wonderful job of capturing some of the excitement of the Wild West.
It offers players the chance to win big, with just shy of twenty thousand dollars up for grabs, and it's undoubtedly the best thing about the game. However, the relatively small number of paylines means that it's even tough to rack up big wins in the bonus round unless you manage to land a few wilds when you spin.
Dead Or Alive has a jackpot of 36,000 coins available during the bonus round, which is not too bad considering that the maximum coin value is 0.5, and while this figure may not be completely life-changing it's one that you definitely wouldn't say no to.
With a fairly low maximum bet, this probably isn't one that high rollers will want to spend much time on. The low number of paylines mean that the variance of the slot is fairly high, but it can often feel like a big win is a long way off unless you can land a bonus feature.
If enormous jackpots are very important to you, you probably won't find much to interest you in Dead Or Alive.
If you're a fan of the cowboy movie genre, or maybe just think you'd have felt right at home in the Old West, then you'll certainly enjoy Dead Or Alive.
The visual styling is nice enough, with an attractive animated background, and the sound effects – from the whip when you change coin value or bet level to a six shooter being cocked when you hit spin – feel authentic, helping to set the mood. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is rather spoiled by a repetitive whistle that seems to repeat every few seconds!
It's worth a punt for its lively bonus round alone, but we can't see this becoming a particular favourite for most other players.