Death’s Gambit

White Rabbit
PlayStation 4 | Steam
Director: Jean Canellas | Alex Kubodera

Chasm

BitKid
PlayStation 4 | Vita | Steam
Director: James Petruzzi

La-Mulana 2

NIGORO
Steam
Director: Takumi Naramura

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

Lizardcube
PlayStation 4 | Steam | Switch | Xbox One
Director: Omar Cornutt

Venture

venture

Exidy
Arcade
Designer: Michael Cooper-Hart (uncertain)

ROOTS: Metroidvania games are one part platformer, one part action-RPG. So while Venture may not have the run-and-jump mechanics we associate with the genre, its formative role in the evolution of action-RPGs absolutely gives it a place on this list—it’s a true classic.

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Adventure

adventure

Atari
2600
Director: Warren Robinett

ROOTS: The flip side of the Zork coin: Where that game presented the RPG concept entirely in text, allowing for methodical deliberation between player actions, Adventure played out with real-time action. More compact in nature than Zork, Adventure nevertheless introduced key concepts that would become integral to exploratory action games.

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