->''You may have noticed that I began my story with a quick, snappy scene of danger and tension -- but then quickly moved on to a more boring discussion of my childhood. Well, that's because I wanted to prove something to you: ''[[{{Troll}} I am not a nice person.]]'' Would a nice person begin with such an exciting scene, [[HowWeGotHere then make you wait almost the entire book to read about it?]]''
-->-- '''[[LemonyNarrator Alcatraz Smedry]]''', ''[[Literature/AlcatrazSeries Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians]]''

Most stories take a while to build up, as they first introduce you to the characters, the world, and the theme, giving them time to develop in your mind before things start to change and become exciting.

Of course, this means that beginnings are often boring. It's been said that if you miss the first 15 minutes of a movie, you're not missing anything, as the plot doesn't pick up until later anyway. Many writers are aware of this, and their way of dealing with it is sometimes to do an Action Prologue.

An Action Prologue starts off with something exciting happening immediately. Right at the beginning, the hero is sneaking around an enemy base, being menaced by a threat, or something similarly exciting. In some cases this is {{foreshadowing}}. The event may be a minor one, but [[ChekhovsGun related to a major plot point that we don't discover until much later]]. It could be a dream sequence, where the hero sees something threatening that later shows up for real. It could be the EstablishingCharacterMoment for our badass ActionHero. Or it could be something completely unrelated to the main plot at all, used only to make sure that ''something'' exciting happens right at the start.

In any case, the action quickly falls right after the Action Prologue, and ''then'' those usual first 15 minutes used to flesh out the story and introduce the characters show up. Often overlaps with HowWeGotHere when it shows off an action-packed scene from the end of the story before jumping to an earlier point in time to explain how the characters ended up in that scenario. WarWasBeginning is a specific subtrope.

Compare BatmanColdOpen, which illustrates a character's skills at the beginning of a story; and DangerRoomColdOpen, which demonstrates the skills of a team. Contrast ProlongedPrologue, which is what happens when you drag it out too much, as well as ItGetsBetter where the work slaps you from the start with exposition... and more exposition... and still more exposition... It can happen that the Action Prologue is cut short and revealed not to have been really happening; that's a FakeActionPrologue.

A form of TheTeaser, often InMediasRes. Also known as a BondOpeningSequence, since Film/JamesBond uses it so much. Not to be confused with ActionHoggingOpening, which is where the out-of-plot opening sequence rather than the first part of the plot proper is unusually intense.
----
!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/WitchHunterRobin'' starts off with a mission by the ultra-tech team of super-powered witch-hunters, and the rest of the first episode is introducing their little circle to the audience. And the title character isn't even fully introduced until the second episode!
* The prologue of ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' has a battle in space the likes of which don't happen until the final of the four arcs - [[spoiler:and, in fact, the exact battle shown never actually happens]].
* The anime version of ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'' took the manga's BatmanColdOpen and added a hint that [[BigBad Aion]] was behind the attack to turn it into an ActionPrologue.
* The anime of ''Manga/DNAngel'' opens on a fight between Dark and Krad that apparently happened in the past, before cutting to the high school {{shojo}} romance opening of the manga.
* ''Manga/VenusVersusVirus'''s [[PragmaticAdaptation anime version]] has this. Guns, check. Shooting stuff with said gun? Check. [[EyepatchOfPower Eyepatch wearing]] [[ElegantGothicLolita Gothic lolita girl]] [[TheGunslinger wielding the gun]]? Check. Creepy girl with [[RedEyesTakeWarning red eyes]]? Check. Then we cut to the {{earworm}} of an opening. In the manga however, the intro is mellow, and shows how Sumire became the way she is.
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' is a extreme example: it starts with a two and 2/3 volumes of story to establish the setting and then has a ''twelve'' volume flashback before reaching the point of time when it started. The anime follows suit with its first episode (basically a shortened version of the first episode without Puck), which is given no explanation as to how it happened, given that the anime ended at a point where the story could have only gotten there based on action taken by [[SchrodingersCat characters that were never introduced in the anime]].
* Not exactly ''action'', but ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'''s anime adaptation opens with watching a half-obscured silhouette beating someone to death with a blunt instrument... And then the OP starts playing...
** Which is based on how the game begins with a narration going along with a the sound of something hitting something else.
* The first episode of ''[[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood]]'' mostly exists to start off the series with something that wasn't seen in [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime adaptation]]. However, the events ''are'' integrated into the story of ''Brotherhood'', even though they don't happen in the manga, and some parts serve as ''major'' {{foreshadowing}}.
** TheMovie for the 2003 anime opens with a story about the Elric brothers fighting a [[MadScientist Mad Physicist]] who invented a new type of bomb, which turns out to be a story told by Edward to [[spoiler:Alphons Heiderich, Al's [[WelcomeToTheRealWorld alternate world counterpart]] about his life before he was sent there]]. [[spoiler:This is later used for an AndTheAdventureContinues ending, as Ed and Al learn that the bomb accidentally ended up in the other world and go to track it down.]]
* ''LightNovel/{{Kampfer}}'' opens with Natsuru being chased and shot at by Akane before jumping off of a building to her assumed death. Then [[MoodWhiplash the opening credits roll]].
* The manga adaptation of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' opens with The Hanged Man Operation. That is, an explosive battle on a bridge.
* The second scene in ''Anime/SwordOfTheStranger'' is an elaborate action sequence, with bandits attacking the Ming caravan.
* ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic'' begins with Sagara saving a woman from her kidnappers and securing a disc with mysterious content.
* ''InfiniteStratos'' begins with Ichika and his harem facing off an unidentified IS pilot.
** [[spoiler:It turns out that it's actually the fight vs Silvario Gospel in the last episode]]
* ''LightNovel/HidanNoAria'' starts with Kinji trying to not be blown up by the bomb on his bike, and Aria falling out of the sky, shooting guns and all, to try to save him.
* The ''LightNovel/DirtyPair'' movie ([[TitleConfusion better known as]] ''Project Eden'') takes this all the way into a full {{Pastiche}} of ''Film/JamesBond'' films, starting with an equivalent of the BondGunBarrel and ending with a DesignStudentsOrgasm credits sequence the Bond films could be proud of. (Not to mention introducing the [[GuyOfTheWeek Guy of the Movie]].)
* ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' begins with Major Kusanagi carrying out a hit on a defecting programmer and a corrupt government minister, establishing her as a consummate ActionGirl (as well as [[TechnologyPorn showing off the coolness]] of the series' [[InvisibilityCloak thermoptic camouflage]]).
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' starts with [[DownerBeginning Homura fighting Walpurgisnacht in a devastated Mitakihara]], witnessed by Madoka. [[spoiler:It's the endgame of the previous GroundhogDayLoop.]]
* The first episode of ''Anime/PsychoPass'' shows a wounded Kogami taking on a Mook wearing cybernetic armor before confronting [[BigBad Makishima.]] This doesn't happen until episode 16.
* ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzer'' begins with about a minute or so of a tank battle that ends up taking place in Episode 4.
* ''Anime/TekkamanBlade'' starts off with the main character fighting off a bunch of Radam monsters before being blasted off the Orbital Ring onto Earth.
* In ''VideoGame/BladeAndSoul'', Alka is seen running from some Palam soldiers at the beginning. They seemingly trap her and open fire, only for her to effortlessly dodge their bullets, and proceed to slit all of their throats.
* ''Manga/AssassinationClassroom'' kicks off with the entire class whipping out firearms and opening fire on their teacher, Koro-sensei, who has walked into the room to take attendance. Koro-sensei casually dodges every single bullet as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* ''FanFic/KyonBigDamnHero'' combines this with InMediasRes.
* ''FanFic/{{Whispers}}'' begins with a fight between Celestia and Nightmare Moon, before swerving into OriginalCharacter territory.
* ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzer'' fanfics frequently do this in order to emulate the show's opening, whether they're doing a retelling of canon, or an entirely new fic. How successful they are varies, since some believe it works better in an anime than a fanfic, and that the show needed to show the tanks immediately to draw people's interest. ''Fanfic/BoysUndSenshado'' is one such example.
* In ''Fanfic/PuzzleHuntPrecure'', the first chapter starts out with the fight against the Metamasters that separated Rei from her sister Miu.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'' does this with the ShowWithinAShow's filming.
* Pretty much universal in Film/JamesBond movies.
* Most of the ''Franchise/StarWars'' movies start off in a fight of some sort:
** ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' has a fight aboard the [[MegaCorp Trade Federation]] battleship after the negotiations never take place.
** ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' has a huge explosion right after the first line.
** ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' starts in the middle of the battle for Coruscant.
** ''Film/ANewHope'' starts with the famous shot of the Star Destroyer chasing the ''Tantive IV''.
* All of the ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' films.
** Though the one in ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'' connected to the main plot.
* The ''Franchise/StarTrek'' films tend to do this. It was especially notable in the first one, where the prologue turns out to be the most action-oriented part of the whole movie.
** The 2009 film opens with the destruction of the ''U.S.S. Kelvin.''.
** The opening sequence of ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'' set on Nibiru shows the ''Enterprise'' on an action packed away mission unrelated to Harrison's attacks.
** ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' opens up with a squadron of Klingon battlecruisers getting in a ([[CurbStompBattle losing]]) fight with V'Ger, as a Federation listening post eavesdrops some distance away and passes word of it back to Earth.
** ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'' Meanwhile has ''Enterprise'', under the command of Saavik, get into a space battle with three Klingon battlecruisers while attempting to aid a crippled ship in the Neutral Zone. After most of the bridge crew is killed, it is [[ProsceniumReveal revealed]] that this was an UnwinnableTrainingSimulation.
** ''Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry'' kicks off with a [[moon violently exploding], with the Starship ''Excelsior'' getting briefly caught in the PlanarShockwave.
* ''Film/{{Hancock}}'' opens up with a gun battle on the L.A. Freeway, with the eponymous hero arriving to "save" the day.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings: The Fellowship of the Ring'' starts with the Battle of the Last Alliance not only because it was establishing the backstory, but because Creator/PeterJackson felt that the movie needed an epic battle scene with armies at both sides, not just the Fellowship vs. dozens of Orcs.
** ''The Two Towers'' starts with Gandalf's fight with the Balrog, continuing from their encounter in ''The Fellowship of the Ring''. This not only serves as a way to re-orient audiences back into Middle-earth, but also foreshadows [[spoiler: the return of Gandalf]].
* ''Film/{{Predator 2}}'' starts off with a 'Predator-eye' view of a pitched gun battle between the LAPD and a street gang. This battle is interrupted when the Predator kills and 'cleans' the surviving gangsters.
* The FilmOfTheBook of ''[[{{Narnia}} The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe]]'' starts in WWII London, where German fighter pilots are conducting an air raid.
** ''Prince Caspian'' similarly starts with Caspian escaping Miraz's assassination attempt, followed by the book's original opening of the Pevensie siblings at the train station.
* ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' opens with Voldemort's Death Eaters kidnapping the wandmaker Ollivander and destroying the Millennium Bridge in London.
* The 1985 IMAX film ''The Dream Is Alive'' looks like a subversion at first- it opens with about a minute of an alligator and some birds going about their business in a Florida swamp- THEN we hear sonic booms as the space shuttle flies overhead and it cuts to a dramatic touchdown, true to form.
* ''Film/DiaryOfTheDead'' begins with internet footage of a zombie attack on some TV journalists, then cuts to the protagonists making a horror movie and slowly finding out about the ZombieApocalypse. Justified as the whole movie is meant to have been edited by one of the protagonists after the event anyway.
* ''{{Gamer}}'' gets into the action prologue so thoroughly and immediately that one might find it more perplexing than exciting.
* ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan''. Good gods. The extended opening sequence makes two firm statements: "This is as close as we can get to D-Day and maintain our rating," and "Please remove your children."
* ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'' starts with Buzz Lightyear infiltrating Emperor Zurg's secret lair. It is then revealed to be a video game Rex is playing.
** Similarily, ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'' starts with Woody and Jessie trying to save a train of orphans. Then the plot starts getting {{anachronis|mStew}}tic and filled with {{Call Back}}s to the previous films, and it turns out to be Andy's playtime from the toys' point of view.
* In another Pixar film, ''{{Cars 2}}'', the film begins with Finn McMissile infiltrating the Lemons' oil rig to uncover their evil plans after his partner Leland Turbo has been crushed to death while attempting to escape their lair.
* All the ''Film/{{Rocky}}'' sequels except the last one starts with the previous movie's climactic fight.
* ''Film/TrueLies''
* The sequels to ''Film/LethalWeapon''.
* ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine''. The pre-credits prologue is a flashback of the main character's childhood, while the credits sequence is a montage of Wolverine and Sabretooth taking part in battles through the ages.
* The Tea Room shootout at the beginning of ''Film/HardBoiled''.
* ''Film/{{Gladiator}}'' begins in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcomannic_Wars Marcomannic Wars]] with a battle between Roman legions and German barbarians. Given how the film plays out, and the fact that the Emperor berates Commodus for missing "the entire war", this may be the final battle near the Tisza river, where the Romans beat the Marcomanni into signing a peace treaty.
* ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga'' works like this in the sequels:
** ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' opens with the Joker and his clowns robbing a bank.
*** This seems to be a reverse of the usual BatmanColdOpen in that, instead of the establishing the hero's skills, the first 15 minutes has several moments designed to instill the fear of The Joker into the viewers.
** ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'' begins with Bane and his henchmen conducting a mid-air skyjacking and faking Dr. Pavel's death.
* The elevator hostage situation in ''Film/{{Speed}}''.
* Nightcrawler inside the White House in ''Film/X2XMenUnited''.
* Before the opening credits of ''Film/EnterTheDragon'' even begins Bruce Lee fights and beats Sammo Hung in a nonlethal kung fu match at a Shaolin Temple in Hong Kong.
* ''Film/StreetsOfFire'' starts off with a rock concert and the lead singer being kidnapped onstage. From there, there's very little pause in the action.
* Creator/FritzLang ''loved'' these kind of openings, and made use of them in films like ''Film/DrMabuseTheGambler'', ''Spies'', ''The Testament of Dr. Mabuse'', and ''Film/{{M}}''. The better ones weave exposition into the action itself.
* ''Film/BrotherhoodOfTheWolf'' begins with a martial arts fight between the two heroes and some local goons. The original script began with an extended chase through Parisian sewers.
* ''Film/TheChase'' (1994) is pretty much lock, stock and barrel Jack Hammond's kidnapping of Natalie Voss and his attempt to escape to Mexico. Roughly 90 percent of the movie takes place on the freeway or just alongside it, and the director wastes no time whisking us right into the thick of it: from ''the very moment the screen fades in'', we can already hear the wail of police sirens in the distance as Jack enters the convenience store looking for a hostage, and spots Natalie.
* It's not strictly an "action-packed" movie, but ''PurpleRain'' gets off to quite a heady start. Director Albert Magnoli literally does not waste even one second plunging us into the story: the Warner Brothers studio logo has not even faded from the screen yet before the strains of a synthesizer played by "Doctor Fink" (a character in the movie) are heard in the distance and the voice of the (yet unseen) master of ceremonies at the First Avenue Nightclub is heard calling out: "Ladies and gentlemen....The Revolution!" (What follows is some of the best CrowningMusicOfAwesome in movie musical history.)
* ''Film/TheAvengers'' begins with the BigBad popping up to steal the MacGuffin, fighting several government agents in the process before leading into a car chase. This is before the title even appears onscreen.
* ''PacificRim'' opens with an introduction about the invading {{Kaiju}} and a battle between Gipsy Danger and Knifehead.
* The ''Literature/RainbowMagic'' movie opens with Rachel and Kirsty saving Heather the Violet Fairy, then defending the rest of the Rainbow Fairies from Jack Frost.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The ''Literature/GreyGriffins'' book series does this at least in the first two books (I haven't read the third yet). The very first chapter is of something scary happening and threatening the lead hero, Max, and his brush with death. It is then, in both cases, revealed to be a dream in the immediately following chapter.
* All of the ''HawkAndFisher'' books start with an action totally unrelated to the story most of the book is dealing with.
** This is how Simon R Green introduces the characters to new readers in most of his books in fact, especially the {{Nightside}} series. And sometimes the opening scene contains a ChekhovsGun or foreshadows a future book's plot
* Nearly all of the ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' novels have this.
* ''Literature/StarshipTroopers'' - an influential work of science-fiction considered responsible for popularizing DeathFromAbove, PoweredArmor, SpaceMarine, and many other tropes the ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' games and novels are entirely built on - starts with a textbook Action Prologue, going so far as to casually mention (later in the book) that the very enemies they were fighting in said prologue were now allied with the human race against the Bugs, and thus making the entire opening engagement practically superfluous.
* HarryHarrison's two series TheStainlessSteelRat and BillTheGalacticHero often start each novel this way.
* ''SnowCrash'' starts out with a wild racing scene in which Hiro tries to deliver a pizza under threat of death. Hiro isn't even called by name until the end of the scene, when he introduces himself to YT.
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's "Literature/TheDevilInIron", a fisherman goes into a ruin, takes up a knife, and dies.
** In "Literature/BlackColossus", a thief breaks into a tomb, fights a great snake, and screams with horror with what he sees.
* The start of ''ASongOfIceAndFire'', [[{{Egregious}} egregiously]]. The enemy in the prologue doesn't show up until ''three books'' later, and then only in ''another'' ActionPrologue.
* Book one of ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' series starts like this, introducing Lews Therin Telamon after he's murdered his family and just before his death.
* The Tom Clancy novel ''Literature/RainbowSix'' begins with an attempted plane hijacking by a group of terrorists. A few key members of Team Rainbow just happen to be on board, and use their extreme ingenuity to foil the attempt.
* First book of ''Literature/WarriorCats'' starts with a fight between [=RiverClan=] and [=ThunderClan=].
* ''Literature/DeadSix'' begins with Valentine in the middle of a job in Mexico. Lorenzo's story begins in the middle of a heist. Lampshaded as the first chapter is Prologue is called Cold Open.
* ''Literature/{{Spinneret}}'' starts this way, with humans launching their first interstellar craft, encountering aliens (several times), being shot at by aliens, having first contact with aliens, who then broker a deal for the humans to lease an unused planet... all before the first chapter begins.
* ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'' starts with Vasher getting out of jail. Then the focus of the next chapters shifts into another kingdom.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Many of the "opening gambits" on ''Series/MacGyver''.
* Subverted in the first episode of ''Series/YoungBlades'', which opens in the middle of an intense swordfight, then quickly derails into an argument about who gets to play d'Artagnan, revealing that this is merely a game between siblings. (''Then'' the real action begins.)
* HumanTarget almost always starts this way, with Christopher doing something awesome (often involving explosions).
* The first episode of ''Series/TheSarahConnorChronicles'' opens with Sarah frantically driving to John's school and finding him in the library. They exit... to find an entire police squad waiting for them. They are arrested, and then a Terminator arrives on the scene and proceeds to kill everyone in sight, including John. Then, as a distraught Sarah watches, the nuclear holocaust begins, burning everything around her and revealing the Terminator's terrifying endoskeleton... and she wakes up. This all happens before the title even shows up onscreen.
* The first episode of Series/GameOfThrones cold opens with a suspenseful scene that features rangers of the Night's Watch getting ambushed by White Walkers.
* A few {{cold opening}}s of ''Series/DoctorWho''.
** "The Empty Child" begins with the TARDIS chasing after a Chula warship through a time track.
** "The Girl in the Fireplace" starts with offscreen screaming and Madame de Pompadour calling for the Doctor's name through a fireplace.
** "Love & Monsters" [[InvokedTrope invokes]] this, the narrator character pointing out the encounter with the Doctor, a Hoix and some buckets isn't the beginning, just a good hook for the audience.
** "Gridlock" begins with a couple's flying car on a motorway being attacked by an unseen menace.
** "Human Nature" starts with the Doctor and Martha being attacked by some lasers offscreen, with the Doctor mentioning something about a watch...before it turns out to be a dream.
** "Silence in the Library" has a little girl apparently experiencing an Action Prologue through her dreams, as the Doctor and Donna board themselves up in some kind of library room.
** "Planet of the Dead" starts with [[ClassyCatBurglar Lady Christina]] stealing a precious cup from a museum and escaping.
** The animated serial ''Dreamland'' begins with an alien ship being pursued and attacked, crashing into the New Mexico Desert in 1947.
** "The Time of Angels" starts with River Song being chased through the spaceship ''Byzantium''. Similarly, "The Pandorica Opens" revolves around her escaping prison, discovering the painting of the same name and warning the Doctor and Amy about it.
** "A Christmas Carol" begins with a crashing spaceship with Amy and Rory on board.
** "The Impossible Astronaut" features the Doctor running through various adventures in history in succession, while Amy and Rory read from a history book about them in 2011.
** "Day of the Moon" has [[spoiler:Amy and Rory running as apparent fugitives, River falling off a building and the Doctor imprisoned in Area 51]] three months after the events of "The Impossible Astronaut". [[spoiler:Agent Canton Delaware apparently executes Amy and Rory, though it turns out to be faked.]]
** "A Good Man Goes to War" begins with [[spoiler:a man who's centuries old and the father of Amy's child taking on the Cybermen and handing them a "message" as to the location of his wife]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* ''Radio/TheElysiumProject'' begins with two escaped test subjects fleeing from armed pursuers and fighting a shapeshifter before cutting away to OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent Emma Grayson.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* ''Theatre/TheLionInWinter'' opens with King Henry sparring with his son Prince John, which establishes Henry as an aging conqueror and John as his favorite son.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* All entries in the ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' series open like this, with the character having access to weapons, skills and life meter that are lost at the end of the level and then laboriously reclaimed over the course of the game.
* ''MetalGearSolid3'', which could rightfully be called a massive AffectionateParody to 60s and 70s spy movies, pulls an exceptionally well executed one, though it takes up to an hour. You overpower the guards, get the captured scientist, and make it back to the extraction point where Snake gets betrayed, thrown of a bridge, and as he pulls himself out of a river, the enemies detonate a nuke some miles in the distance. And as the explosion fades, you get the extremely bond-like [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CbFAZ2ztlE actual opening]].
* ''VideoGame/SilentHill3'' starts with Heather in a spooky amusement park, armed with very little in the way of weapons, and wondering where she is. If you either die or reach the end (which results in her dying in a cutscene), she wakes up and realizes it's just a dream. Much later in the game, you go to that very same amusement park for real.
* Some of the Franchise/JamesBond games. ''VideoGame/EverythingOrNothing'' actually started you right in the first level, without giving you a menu or anything like it before.
** ''From Russia With Love'' also did this.
** And ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'', which also included several missions in the time space between the film's prologue and the present-day story.
** ''Franchise/{{X-Men}} 2: Clone Wars'' for the ''SegaGenesis'', too.
* ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'' starts with Joanna's very first mission as Carrington Institute agent. Also its prequel started with a mission, but it's revealed it was a FakeActionPrologue being just a simulation.
* The ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' series typically starts out by, as [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Yahtzee]] put it, "throwing you into the middle of a pitched battle just in case you thought you might be playing something with a modicum of restraint."
* Many of the [[Franchise/FinalFantasy Final Fantasies]]:
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' begins with a HopelessBossFight.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' may start with an OpeningScroll and cutscene, but immediately throws you into battle without really knowing who you are fighting against, who you are fighting for, or who you are supposed to be. Which does a pretty fine job of setting up the initial situation of the game's main character before she gets freed.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' starts you off in the middle of a raid to blow up one of the evil corporation's Mako reactors.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' begins with [[DoomedHometown the destruction]] of Zanarkand.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' begins with you, [[GuestStarPartyMember Reks]], on a mission to save the king from assassins. Then you die, and take control of his little brother Vaan [[TimeSkip two years later]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' begins with the main characters escaping from the Purge and fighting [[TheEmpire the Sanctum's]] soldiers.
*** ''VideoGame/{{Final Fantasy XIII-2}}'' may well top them all: it begins with Lighning engaged in battle with the BigBad. After the epic opening movie, you're thrust into a battle with [[CrazyAwesome Chaos Bahamut. As Lighning riding Odin.]] ''This is the tutorial!!''
* The prologue of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' starts at ''ending'' of the previous game, ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaRondoOfBlood Rondo of Blood]]'': the player isn't even controlling Alucard at that point, but Richter Belmont.
* ''BreathOfFireIII'' opens with the hero escaping from a mine in dragon form. The dragon's stats are such that you cannot lose the battles in this sequence.
* An example of Action Prologue involving the main villain and not the hero: Sarevok beating the crap out of an anonymous warrior and then throwing him from the top of a tower in ''BaldursGate''.
* The game ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'' [[InMediasRes begins with New York in ruin and chaos]] as well as giving your character [[ATasteOfPower full ablities]], then after the title appears, [[HowWeGotHere flashes back to "18 days ago"]].
** Almost the same thing happens in ''Spider-Man: Web of Shadows''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'' begins with our antiheroine and Jeanne in their flashback garb fighting angels on the face of a falling clock. It might be a clever symbol for a compressed backstory narration, but it's hard to tell when the actual game is so trippy. Despite the game's reputation for putting some of the most spectacular fights in cutscenes, it's fully playable, with no control guidance for first-time players, but also no way to lose. Then, there's a whole prologue chapter, filled with control tutorials and some minor exposition. Then there's an expository cutscene and an Indy-style travel montage. ''Then'' the opening tiles play as 'netta struts off the train in Vigrid.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' begins with an action/tutorial dream sequence which mimics/foreshadows an extended gameplay sequence from a (much) later dungeon.
* The first and third ''{{Uncharted}}'' games open with a very brief, enigmatic cutscene and then some kind of balls-out action sequence.
** ''Uncharted: Drake's Fortune'' opens with Nate and Elana unearthing Sir Francis' journal in the middle of the ocean, when suddenly, pirates attack and the player has to defend the boat.
** ''Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception'' opens with a bar brawl in an English pub populated by {{Mooks}}, after a deal goes bad. It's a great excuse to teach the player the new unarmed combat system.
* GuildWars Nightfall throws the character into a corsair battle for its first quests and mission, before the "training" sequences more common in other MMO's (and other guild Wars chapters)
* Parodied in the VideoGame/TeamFortress2 comic "A Fate Worse than Chess" with [[http://www.teamfortress.com/fateworsethanchess/#f=4 Explosition]].
* ''VideoGame/PitfallTheLostExpedition'' begins with Pitfall Harry fighting for his life against a demonic fiery jaguar while supercharged with powerful magic. After he exchanges a few blows with the beast, it pins him to the ground, and Harry has a flashback to how he got into this mess in the first place which makes up most of the rest of the game.
* ''Franchise/TombRaider Underworld''
* ''{{Vindictus}}'' begins with a siege on a bell tower against a giant spider. The Oracle, Tieve, wants to talk to the spider and find out why it's so frightened, so a group of soldiers, including you, are assigned to escort her to the top. Everyone is promptly ambushed by Gnolls after the leader of the soldiers finds a Fomorian Emblem, and everyone except you and Tieve are wounded or killed. The game then gives you control of your character and walks you through the combat system as you kill your way through the Gnolls and escort Tieve to the top of the tower, where you have to fight the spider as ballista spears rain down on the roof.
* The latter three ''SaintsRow'' games each have one of these.
** ''Saints Row 2'' has the Boss escaping from jail, [[spoiler:having spent the past five years - from the boat explosion at the end of the first game to the present - in a coma.]]
** ''Saints Row 3'' has the Boss, Shaundi, Johnny Gat and Josh Birk performing a [[spoiler:botched]] bank robbery. [[spoiler:The bank's opulence compared to other buildings of its type marks it as one owned by the Syndicate, the game's antagonist faction. Surprisingly, Josh - the only one who ''hadn't'' robbed a bank before at this point - was the only one concerned by the bank's aesthetic enough to be suspicious.]]
** ''Saints Row 4'' has the Boss in [[spoiler:a military operation to kill Cyrus Temple, the now-disgraced former leader of the STAG military group from the previous game.]] By doing this and making use of their relative "hero" status, the Boss uses it as a stepping stone to obtain the Presidency, setting the scene for the rest of the game.
* ''ShadowComplex'' begins with a man in a city with [[ATasteOfPower about half of the full set of equipment]] for a shootout with some troops and a helicopter. He is then killed, and the action switches to the actual player character, where the real ''{{Metroidvania}}'' part begins.
* Done extremely well on the Film/LordOfTheRings video games, as the prologues are there not just to state how the fight elements are there, but also to tell most of the backstory and certain background elements.
* The prologue of ''Videogame/TheReconstruction'' thrusts you into a dangerous, action-packed mission of boarding and fighting your way through an enemy ship. This is done with only a cursory introduction to the characters, and it's not really clear what's going on until the end of the prologue.
* The DS and [=PS1=] versions of ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIV'' add a prologue chapter in which you play as the hero for a short while as you look around for Eliza.
* VideoGame/DarkSouls introduction cutscene has this, featuring Gwyn, Nito and the Witch of Izalith taking on the dragons.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' begins in the middle of the war against the Mechon, where you play as Dunban in the battle that would make him a legend among the peoples of Bionis.
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' has a prologue in every case, usually showing the actual murder from a perspective which leaves the player enough in the dark to not get spoilered.
** In 1-1, we see Frank Sawhit murder Cindy Stone. Bonus points in that in the first few seconds of the franchise, we see a woman on the floor with a massive amount of blood seeping out of her head on screen, and we never see more blood at any point in the series.
** In 1-2, We see Redd White committing the murder. Two cases in a row and we see the true killer's face.
** In 1-4, we see the [[spoiler: fake murder]] of Robert Hammond.
** In 1-5, we see two people stabbing a knife into a body.
** 2-1 shows Phoenix being knocked unconscious with a fire extinguisher.
** In 2-2, there's a car accident, a fire, and [[spoiler: Maya in the detention center again, telling Phoenix she killed somebody. It also spoils the entire case.]]
** In 3-2 gives us Mask*[=DeMasque=] stealing something.
** In 3-3 we see somebody with Phoenix's silhouette poisoning somebody's coffee.
** In 3-5, We see some awesome animated lightning and the corpse, even though the player meets the victim later and it's obviously the corpse in the prologue.
** In [=AAI1=]-1, we see the murder and victim have a conversation and Edgeworth is held at gunpoint soon after.
** In [=AAI1=]-2, Edgeworth has the pleasure of discovering the body and promptly getting accused of the murder.
** In [=AAI1=]-3, we see the continuation of the ending of the last case. Edgeworth is playing ransom delivery boy and manages to get kidnapped.
** In [=AAI1=]-4, we get CourtroomAntics were the witnesses accuses the prosecutor of being the real murderer.
** In [=AAI1=]-5, we get to see the embassy burn and various spottings of the Yatagarasu.
** In [=AAI2=]-1, we get a press-conference being derailed by an assassination attempt.
* In ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'', Lee spends about three to four minutes in the back of a police cruiser before a collision with a walker sets him free and lands him in the middle of a ZombieApocalypse.
* ''FarCry3'' seems to start in the traditional "introduction of the characters" sense, but within two minutes, you discover that you've been captured by pirates that are not at all friendly, you and your older brother break out, sneak around the base looking for an exit, and then [[spoiler: your brother gets shot and]] you're running for your life through a dark jungle, chased by guys with guns, dogs, a ''bear'' and a ''helicopter''. Only once this sequence ends does the game take on a less edge-of-your-seat-action stance.
** ''VideoGame/FarCry 1'''s first level, despite being a tutorial, is surprisingly action-packed and difficult.
* ''VideoGame/DarkChronicle'' opens with BadassPrincess Monica Raybrandt fighting off [[BigBad Emperor Gryphon]]'s soldiers in her home, and charges ahead to see her father having just been assassinated and said assassin leaving. We then transition to [[OnlyOneName Max]], [[MoodWhiplash about to go to the circus]].
* ''SoldierOfFortune II'''s prologue mission throws you almost straight into the fray, with Mullins rescuing Dr. Ivanovich from a heavily-guarded hotel in Prague, then escaping with him across the countryside to a train station.
** The first game also had an action prologue with a hostage situation in a New York subway, giving a sneak peak of one of the main villains at the end.
* ''ModernWarfare'''s prologue, "Crew Expendable", is a fast close-quarters battle, in contrast to "Blackout", the first plot mission, which is relatively quiet.
* ''RedFaction II'' starts with Alias, when he was one of Sopot's Elite Guards, infiltrating a military complex to steal the Nanocell.
* ''VideoGame/FarCry3BloodDragon'' has an [[UnexpectedShmupLevel on-rails helicopter mission]] before the title screen and ForcedTutorial.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''{{Aquapunk}}'' starts off in the middle of a small, routine, military operation that goes painfully awry. Not only do unusual numbers of enemy casualties result, but the main character, Coron, winds up realizing that something's up and starts getting ideas that shape the decide the rest of the plot.
* The ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' story arc "Phoenix Rising" (well, the Oasis half of it, anyway) begins right away with Oasis fighting a group of convenience store robbers. Things then quiet down for a while, giving us time to know the characters, before the action starts up again when [[spoiler:Nash Straw kills Lupae]].
* ''Webcomic/{{Pibgorn}}'''s arcs start this way, but they're so confusing they're pretty much MindScrew prologues. For example, the latest arc began with a {{Rapunzel Hair}}ed Pibgorn messing around with dewdrops in a meadow, with the panels interrupted by a giant rack-focused number 8 on a plain white background out of nowhere. It then switched to short-haired Pibgorn and Drucilla talking on a glacier (Rapunzel-Hair Pib is a flashback). Pib suddenly fainted then attacked Drucilla who fought back, and then the giant 8 explodes in a shower of Photoshop brushes.
* ''Webcomic/{{Remus}}'' begins with a RightWingMilitiaFanatic [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything flying a plane into the White House]], continues by showing the United States descending into a second Civil War, and then caps off the prologue with [[RRatedOpening a glimpse of said war]] through the eyes of the comic's resident KnifeNut. It then jumps 17 years forward, where the plot begins.
* In ''RustyAndCo'', [[http://rustyandco.com/comic/level-4-1/ level 4]] and [[http://rustyandco.com/comic/level-6-1/ level 6]] both begin with action -- luring the cave monsters, and fighting bullywogs respectively. The first doesn't reappear until the end of the level. The second is a clue, but the bullywogs don't reappear.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/JourneyQuest'' opens with a Bard sneaking into an Orc camp, then doubles back to a more normal introduction when she asks, "what really happened?".
* ''Ayla and the Birthday Brawl'' of the Literature/WhateleyUniverse starts with the Vindicators fighting their way through a base to confront a supervillain. When they lose, it's revealed to be a holographic simulation that is part of their Team Tactics course.
* The pilot of WebVideo/DemoReel starts off with a [[StylisticSuck terrible]] parody of ''TheSixthSense'', but then morphs into Donnie and his friends dealing with the awful reaction to it and wanting to do something even bigger.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The entire ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episode "Tearjerker" is a James Bond parody, the beginning specifically that of the opening sequence of ''The Spy Who Loved Me''.
* The first episode of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' features Dipper and Mabel crashing through a billboard in a golf cart as they try to escape from a mysterious, gigantic monster. The rest of the episode is dedicated to [[HowWeGotHere explaining the circumstances that led them into that situation]].
* The series ''WesternAnimation/{{Slugterra}}'' opens with a slugslinging battle between Will Shane and Dr. Blakk.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', "Pretty Poison": After the exposition-laden opening, the next sequence is Batman fighting his way through a ton of {{Irony}} that his friend Harvey Dent is unintentionally laying on as he describes Bruce Wayne's RichIdiotWithNoDayJob lifestyle.
[[/folder]]

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