Bold, clever and thrilling text adventure
Dick Francis is something of a legend in the literary world, with his novels set in the world of horse racing having proved popular with the masses for several decades now. Thus it seems only appropriate that his work should make the leap into the world of computer games and in what better form than the text adventure? Based on the novel of the same name, High Stakes sees the player cast in the role of a bold gambler who gets caught up in the rather typical kind of events that usually crop up in Francis's novels. Of course, the action here unfolds through text and vivid descriptions rather than in the usual fashion but surprisingly enough, this is actually a surprisingly exciting offering, thanks mainly to the top notch writing that is on display here. Scenes and characters are vividly described, bringing the world to life in wonderful fashion but what makes the game so thrilling is the inclusion of real-time action scenes where you must type as quickly as if your life depended on it in order to save your character from certain doom. This aspect really elevates it over other less bold entries and helps to make it must-play for genre lovers. Helping things along is the simple to use but highly intelligent parser system which proves flexible and complex enough to handle the rigours of the complex plot. High Stakes certainly stands comfortably alongside other interactive fiction based on mainstream novels, such as The Mist and for anyone after a bit of light-hearted thriller fun, in the form of a text-based adventure, this is hard to beat.