Action-adventure is a video game genre characterized by a heroic main character embarking on a long and arduous quest to save the game world. The main playable character in action-adventures usually originates from humble beginnings, a small town or village, summoned after some initial conflict to leave their hometown and embark on an epic quest. The main character is initially weak and underpowered, gaining new abilities and items throughout the course of the game, adding to their strength and dexterity. These games are also characterized by massive game enviornments, numerous NPCS (non-playable characters), and complex narratives. These games usually challenge the player with intricate puzzles, complex objectives, and challenging combat. The hero is often matched against one main antagonist, a dark and menacing figure who is symbolic of evil in the game world. The game’s bosses are usually minions of the main antagonist who the main character must defeat in succession in order to battle the main villain and dispel evil from the game universe.

Notable Titles


This game centers around a young boy named Ico who is deemed cursed by the village he is from because of demonic horns which sprout from his head. Because of this curse he is condemned to a prison located in an enormous castle which sits on a large island mountain. Ico breaks free of his prison and encounters a ghostly young girl named Yorda who is also imprisoned in the castle. The character’s goal is lead Yorda and Ico out of the castle. This is a simple premise complicated by numerous traps and puzzles throughout the castle’s enormous architecture. The player is also confronted by shadow-like creatures who attempt to steal Yorda from Ico. The gameplay focuses on the interaction between the human player and the NPC of Yorda. For the majority of the game the player must protect and guide Yorda through the castle’s pitfalls. This is meant to encourage the development of an emotional relationship between the player and Yorda. The game is available on the Playstation 2.


Shadow Of The Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is a game that challenges the norms of the action-adventure genre. It focuses on the plight of "Wander" who has travelled to the forbidden land to return life to a woman. With the aid of a sacred sun-catching sword and his horse Agro, Wander sets out into the forbidden to defeat 16 Colossus, massive creatures who are a mixture of mythical beasts and organic architecture. The game is different from other action adventures in its simplified quest and lack of characters. Wander and his horse are the game world's only inhabitants, besides small creatures such as lizards and birds. This is meant to create a sense of isolation in the player. Also the game's main quest is comprised soley of Wander seeking out each coloussus and engaging it in battle. This may sound like a simple task, however discovering how to defeat each colossus is a puzzle in itself and manipulating these gigantic creatures into a vulnerable position takes time. The game is most highly praised for its stunning art direction. The game world lives and breathes, beckoning the player to explore its many gorgeous locals.The art also supports SOTC's grand scale and mythological themes. Many acknowledge Shadow of the Colossus as not merely a video game but a work of art.


The Legend Of Zelda Series

In many ways The Legend of Zelda series is the exemplary action-adventure series. Since the first entry into the series on the Nintendo Entertainment System the series has been a pioneer in the genre. Each game focuses around the main protagonist Link, who is destined from birth to be the land of Hyrule's savior from the evil Ganondorf. Link earns new abilities throughout his adventure in the form of items such as the bow and arrow and the hookshot which are found throughout the game world. The game's quest is structured by "dungeons" in which Link must overcome complex puzzles and challenging bosses.

The Latest Incarnation of the Zelda Series: Twilight Princess

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