Title screen of High Stakes.
|Release date||June 1, 2003|
High Stakes is a text-based role-playing game released on June 1, 2003 for the TI-83 Plus calculator by Gregory McLeod and published by McLeodGaming. It is one of the most recent role-playing games to be created by Gregory McLeod.
The game had a direct sequel, High Stakes 2, made the same year. It continued the story of the original game while also expanding on its gameplay mechanics.
The game begins during the Kasian War with King Edward VII defending his castle from the invading Grande Army. Their attacks are useless against the Grandes' shields, but they barely manage to defeat them using their secret weapon. Although they've won the war, King Edward suspects that the Grande Army will attack again, so he plans to find one of their best fighters to attack them first.
He requests a new fighter in his teen years to ensure he will live for at least 145 more years. A servant then searches the Training Colleges for one who will be graduating soon. He then finds two best friends named Rako and Kara, who fight to see who is more worthy for the position. Rako and his robot partner Nium win, so he is taken to the castle, where he is tasked to get to Grande Castle and defeat their leader, King Grandalto. There are androids to fight on the way there, so he is also given a sword and armor.
After walking towards Grande Castle, he finds that the place is mostly deserted, so he uses his portable teleporter to head back to King Edward's Castle. However, he finds that he's too late; the Grandes have destroyed everything and everyone is gone. He finds a note from King Edward saying that everyone has been enslaved and the Grandes have prepared a stake for him, and he has one hour left. If someone comes to his rescue, they will be crowned king of the castle. Rako goes to stop them and finds Kara, who just escaped from the castle and tells Rako that everyone else is guarded by much stronger Grande Soldiers.
Rako then enters Grande Castle. King Grandalto is told that a young boy has entered; he figures it to be Rako, who he was told was supposed to achieve Knight Status in the Training College until he was sent off to Grande Castle. Rako then enters the room and accuses King Grandalto of taking over the castle. After fighting off his guard, Kara enters and gives Rako new armor that he needs to defeat the king with. After defeating him, everyone is freed from the prisons they are held in, and Rako is crowned the new king.
In the epilogue, the newly crowned King Rako is allowed to fight any of the game's bosses through virtual reality.
The gameplay of High Stakes is similar to that of other role-playing games. The player must progress forward through a linear overworld map to various locations, fighting against randomly encountered enemies along the way. The player also has to manage their health points (HP) that decrease every time they are attacked, as losing all HP will result in the game ending. They also can collect potions, which can be used to refill a small amount of HP, and gold, which is used to buy more potions and other items. The player also has a set amount of experience points (EXP), and earning a certain amount of them levels Rako and Nium up, increasing their attack power and maximum HP.
Everything is presented with text with very few pictures displayed. This also holds true for the overworld, where the player and environment are represented by symbols. Aside from the overworld, the player progresses by selecting from a list of options on the screen. These options can be selected either by scrolling to them and pressing "Enter" or by pressing the numbered button corresponding to the option. The options themselves are separated into two sections of gameplay, with one being used for the menu when traversing the overworld and the other being used for battling against enemies.
The player can open the menu by pressing ALPHA while traversing the overworld. From this menu, the player has a variety of options they can perform. The main option is using items, of which the player can carry up to six before needing to drop one. The player can also use potions, which are stored separately from items and can be carried in indefinite amounts. The player can also check their HP, maximum HP, level, special points (SP) maximum SP, attack power, EXP, remaining EXP before leveling up, potion count, and gold in the Status menu, as well as the weapon and armor equipped. Most notably, the player can save all of their progress (with the exception of the protagonist name) to a file that can be loaded from the main menu. Finally, the player can exit the game.
The main focus of the game is the battling portion, though it is very limited. Randomly in the overworld, or after reaching certain points in the game, the player will come across an enemy they must fight. The battles themselves are turn-based, in which the player has the option to either attack the enemy or use a potion. Attacking will deal a certain amount of damage to the enemy, who will then respond with an attack of their own to the player, ending the turn. Both Rako and Nium have a turn attacking the enemy, and Nium will attack regardless of what the player chooses. The damage each attack deals depends on Rako's or Nium's level, as higher levels deal more damage, as well as the specific weapon and armor equipped. Additionally, attacks by either the player or the enemy will sometimes hit a "weak spot" that deals even more damage, and sometimes attacks will miss altogether. The player can also use SP to deliver a more powerful special attack, assuming they have the maximum amount of SP. SP will gradually refill with the end of each turn. Dealing enough damage to the enemy will defeat it, ending the battle and giving the player a certain amount of gold, EXP, and potions. The player can also use an item, but this takes up Rako's turn. Finally, the player can attempt to run from the battle, though this will often fail.
- Gregory McLeod did not create the picture of Rako shown at the end of the credits; it is a file submission on ticalc.org.