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It's strange how a simple play on words can give birth to a creative idea. It would be safe to assume that Microgaming's classic slot game The Umpire Strikes Back is a play on the movie title The Empire Strikes Back. Before you go thinking this game has anything to do with outer space, you should note the game is based on the game Cricket. The game face is filled with Cricket icons, including zany caricatures of batsmen (batters) and bowlers (pitchers).

The Umpire Strikes Back is a 3-reel, 1 pay line classic slot game. Based on an allowance of only one coin per spin, the coin value range and subsequent betting range are $.10 per spin up to a maximum of $10.00 per spin. With the right winning spins, this particular classic slot might have some appeal for experienced slot players.

All of the game's symbols are represented by either fruits or Cricket icons. With corresponding multipliers, these symbols line up as follows: three cherries - 1X, three lemons - 2X, three #4 placards - 4X, three #6 placards - 6X, three oranges - 10X, three leg pads - 25X, three batting helmets - 50X, three cricket bats - 200X and three cricket players - 1000X. If the player wagers the max of $10 and hits three cricket players, the return is a game high $10,000.

During this game, the player might encounter one of the game's three features. Bank holds are available for the purpose of allowing the player to set one of the three reels on hold status and re-spin the other reels in hopes of landing a better result. Nudges that allow the player to move one reel forward one spot for better spots can be accumulated through the trail bonus game.

If the player lands three cricket balls, they are rewarded with the opportunity to run the trail in the trail bonus game. After each stopping point along one of three trails (red, yellow and blue), the player might land bonus features like cash bonuses, extra nudges, free spins and multipliers. After each win, they can choose to risk everything and continue trying to accumulate more bonus prizes or claim what they have already won.

Verdict: In real like, Cricket is a great game to play and watch. On the Umpire Strikes Back, it is simply a great game to play. As extra incentive, the $10,000 max jackpot is a bit more lucrative that other Microgaming classic slots, which creates a little extra incentive to join in the fun.

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The Umpire Strikes Back - Review Updated: - by Jeff Grant