- These are action games with a lot of elements (character stats, item management, puzzle solving, world exploration, towns, etc.) borrowed from tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, computer text adventures like Colossal Cave Adventure and early RPG games like Ultima and Wizardry. Early hits include Adventure (Atari and based on Colossal Cave Adventure), Tower of Druaga (a huge hit in Japan), Gauntlet and The Legend of Zelda. Another variation of these games play just like an RPG, but then switch to an action game engine during enemy encounters (like Actraiser). Other Action RPGs include Golden Axe Warrior, Cadash and Beyond Oasis.
The Legend of Zelda's success led to many competing game companies to create games which heavily borrowed from LOZ's specific formula to the point that the term Zelda Clone was born. Of course, this led to misuse of the term as it was eventually applied to games that merely had a action-rpg or action-adventure theme.
Game list: Gauntlet (NES), The Legend of Zelda (NES), Superman (Atari 2600)
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