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As a third person action adventure game, The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard is an unusual game in the long-running Elder Scrolls series. Conceived as a spin-off of the main series, Redguard is set hundreds of years before the rest of the Elder Scrolls games. Instead of creating a character, players take control of Cyrus, a swashbuckling mercenary from the country of Hammerfell. Returning to his homeland after a long exile, Cyrus arrives at the small island of Stros M'Kai to find his missing sister Iszara, and finds himself entangled in a struggle against occupation by the seemingly invincible Septim Empire, still expanding throughout Tamriel by force. Along the way, Cyrus encounters a necromancer, explores ancient dwarven ruins, and uncovers the secrets of the mysterious Restless League.
The gameplay in Redguard is a mix of combat and puzzle solving. Though the island of Stros M'Kai is much smaller than the settings of other Elder Scrolls games, it is still open to exploration. The player can talk to NPCs, take on some sidequests, and solve puzzles as he or she progresses further into the storyline. Combat is action oriented and in real time, and consists of sword fighting against one or several opponents. Unlike other Elder Scrolls games, the game is heavily focused on a largely linear and character-based story, despite having room for some light exploration.
The game was generally praised for its story and adventure elements, though it was criticized by many for its controls and technical limitations, as well as being one of the few games that was developed exclusively for the now defunct 3DFX brand of video card. Redguard is one of the lesser known of the Elder Scrolls game, but it was the game that laid the groundwork for the expansion of the rich background lore that forms the basis of later games such as Morrowind and Oblivion.