The History of Action RPG - 1990
Written by Nicholas A. Krehbiel   
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In 1990 the game Crystalis for NES and Golden Axe Warrior for the Sega Master System were released. They both brought more RPG elements like exp, stats based items and spell casting systems into Zelda-like adventures.

In 1993 Secret of Mana was the first game to feature multiplayer action in an RPG.

Squaresoft released Seiken Densetsu for the Game Boy in 1991, a game that was called Final Fantasy Adventure or Sword of Mana in the U.S.. The action in Seiken Densetsu had a lot of similarities to the action in Zelda, but with more RPG elements. For the first time in an RPG, townspeople could be killed. Later there were even more similar games that kept adding more advanced RPG elements such as spell casting end exp functions.

At this time Capcom's games Dungeons & Dragons - Tower of Doom and Shadow over Mystara were released as arcade games - featuring a mix of beat 'em up and RPG.

With new console technology came more sophisticated action RPGs like Legend of Oasis and Tales of Eternia.

A mile stone in 1992 was Blue Sky Production's Ultima Underworld - The Stygian Abyss. It was using a 3D first person view with real time action

Diablo and the point-and-click genre

Diablo combined a simple point and click interface with the free service proviced by Battle.net In 1996, bringing new life to the PC action RPG market. Later there were several games that imitated Diablo but it and its sequels remains the leader in its own genre. This genre is very item-centric and keeps the RPG and story elements to a minimum, all in order to focus on the action. The puzzles are few and instead a typhical quest contains of merely slaying everything that moves at a certain location. When Diablo II was released it cought hordes of gamers all over the world and kept them in its grip for decades. 


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