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[-[[caption-width-right:350:[[http://kaigetsudo.deviantart.com/art/Save-Princess-Puchu-310223390 Image]] by [[http://kaigetsudo.deviantart.com Kaigetsudo]]. Used with permission.]]-]

->''There's something terribly retro about all this, besides the fact that you're saving your kidnapped girlfriend, which as game stories go is only slightly newer than "you have to shoot the thing."''
-->-- '''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation''', on ''VideoGame/ShadowsOfTheDamned''

The defining ExcusePlot of the 8-bit era. A DamselInDistress (whether it be the princess, your girlfriend, whatever) has been kidnapped and [[GirlInTheTower put in a tower]], and you ([[ItsUpToYou and you alone]], unless it's a 2-player game) must fight your way through a veritable army of evil minions, dodge horrific death traps, etc. to save her from the BigBad. Your only reward is probably going to be a SmoochOfVictory, unless you get the StandardHeroReward. Hope she's worth it!

YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle can also be a part of these games. Occasionally, the damsel [[DecoyDamsel might not be genuinely innocent]]. Once in a rare while, the villain will decide to HypnotizeThePrincess and [[AndNowYouMustMarryMe marry her]].

The trope derives from the [[TheOldestOnesInTheBook ancient]] concept of "[[DragonsPreferPrincesses Princess and Dragon]]", where TheHero must save a woman from an invading monster. This is usually used as a metaphor for real-life conflict.

Sometime after the arcade era, it became a DeadHorseTrope. While video games still feature the occasional princess in peril, rescuing them is only part of the overall plot; either that, or it's covered by the GrandfatherClause. In his book ''Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life'', Chris Kohler credits this progress to some [[GamerChick Girl Gamers]] who wrote to Creator/{{Nintendo}} in TheEighties to say they were tired of saving princesses; Nintendo eventually announced they'd stop using it as a final goal except in the ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' series.

This plot has become quite a popular target for [[PlayingWithATrope variants]] and newer references to it in popular culture can be classed with PacManFever. For a similarly overused plot, see FakeKing.

Named because it's often a princess. [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses You know why.]]

!!Examples from VideoGames:

* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI'' had Link trying to rescue Zelda from Ganon, and the [[VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink second]] sees him trying to rescue another Zelda from a spell that causes her to sleep eternally. All the games after that, though they usually do have Zelda kidnapped at some point, do not make it the major driving force of the plot; those games which are an exception to this rule usually do not feature Zelda at all (e.g. ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening'', ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'').
** Played with in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast'', one of the maidens you need to save [[spoiler: [[DecoyDamsel turns out to be the leader of a brigand, Blind The Thief]].]]
** ''Majora's Mask'' has a kidnapped princess that is the basis for reaching the first dungeon. However, you can finish the game without needing to free her from her prison.
** Both ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' and its sequel, ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass'', are kicked off with the kidnapping of a young lady -- your sister in the first, and the actual princess in the second; much of the story centers around their rescue. [[spoiler:In both games, though, the plot carries on well after you've saved the ladies in question.]] ''Four Swords'' also has very little plot beyond this.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' both averts and lampshades this. While Zelda's body is stolen, she, in spirit form, sticks with Link. When she realizes there's a Big Bad to be defeated, she promptly tasks Link with the entire task, claiming that sitting around and waiting for the hero to rescue her is a "family tradition". Soon after, though, they discover that Zelda can be useful in combat and they work as partners from then on.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTriForceHeroes'' parodies the trope utterly in that, while Princess Styla is in fact safe in her own castle, the peril she has to be saved from is a cursed onesie that she is stuck in. [[DenserAndWackier Yeah...]]
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'' is a subversion. Zelda ''does'' need to be rescued, but she isn't held captive. She's the lynchpin [[SealedEvilInADuel keeping Calamity Ganon from escaping]].
* A variant occurs in ''{{VideoGame/ICO}}''. Rather than the hero fighting to get to the princess, both the hero and the princess are prisoners in the same castle, so they work to escape together. [[spoiler: Played straight near the end of the game when the queen captures Yorda and Ico goes to rescue her.]]
* ''VideoGame/ShiningWisdom''[='s=] first half is basically just to save Princess Satera, who gets kidnapped, turned into a swan and replaced with an impostor. The rest is stopping the destruction of the world.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/ForTheFrogTheBellTolls''. Initially played straight when the protagonist hears that Princess Tiramisu has been kidnapped by Delarin. [[spoiler:However, it becomes apparent later in the game that no one really knows where she is. At the end of the game, Mandola, the witch who had turned everyone into frogs, reveals herself to be Tiramisu.]]

* The first two ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden'' games on the NES has Ryu defeating some form of CosmicHorror to SaveTheWorld while also saving the CIA agent Irene Lew, who becomes his girlfriend at the end of the first game. In the third game, Irene is presumed dead in the beginning but is alive and doesn't require rescuing.
* ''VideoGame/FatPrincess'' turns this into a CaptureTheFlag game, with the goal being to get to the opposing team's base and carry their princesses back to their side. You can hinder the progress by feeding the Princess cake, which will have her grow fatter and becoming heavier to carry.
* "The Prince Gilgamesh wore golden armor and attacked monsters to save Ki in VideoGame/TheTowerOfDruaga." In this case though, Ki (pronounced "Kai") is not actually a "princess" per se, she's a shrine maiden in service to the goddess Ishtar (who lends her name to the game's sequel, "The Return of Ishtar").
** Somewhat gender inverted in the fact that Gil is a prince and Ki is apparently a commoner.
* The goal of ''[[VideoGame/AntarcticAdventure Penguin Adventure]]'' is to find a golden apple to restore the health of the penguin princess. Because of GuideDangIt, it's easier to get the bad ending in which she dies.

* The plot of several ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' games:
** In ''VideoGame/KingsQuestIIRomancingTheThrone'', Graham has to rescue Lady Valanice, who is kept in a tower by an evil witch.
** In ''VideoGame/KingsQuestIIIToHeirIsHuman'', the Oracle of Llewdor first lets "Gwydion" know about about the three-headed dragon terrorizing the faraway land of Daventry, and the young princess sent as its latest sacrifice. The Oracle then drops the second bombshell ([[spoiler:she's his sister, meaning he's the lost prince]]), and the third ([[spoiler:his name's not Gwydion at all]]).
** In ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVIHeirTodayGoneTomorrow'', Alexander has to rescue Princess Cassima, who is being forced into marriage to [[EvilChancellor the Grand Vizier]].
** And inverted in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestIVThePerilsOfRosella'' and ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVIIThePrincelessBride'' where it's the princess ''doing the rescuing.''
** And subverted in-universe in ''Literature/KingsQuestTheFloatingCastle'', when both the BigBad and the princess he's holding captive think Alexander has this in mind, when he's really just there to save his father's soul. (Though he does rescue her anyway, both because she can help him out and because it'd be rude not to.)
* ''VideoGame/PrincessTomatoInTheSaladKingdom''. The princess to be rescued (by a heroic cucumber) is the one in the title.
* ''VideoGame/FantasyQuest'' has this as its excuse plot, but a twist awaits players who make it to the end. In the sequel, you are tasked with rescuing ''dozens'' of princesses.

* The objective in the first ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon'' is to rescue Billy's girlfriend, Marian. In the second, it's a little different; you're avenging her death.
** Although she does come back to life in the ending of the NES version, only to be kidnapped in the third game.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFight'', your goal is to rescue Jessica, who is both Cody's girlfriend and Haggar's daughter.
** And since Haggar is the mayor, Jessica is the local princess, and you are off to rescue her.
* Bringing back the classics (though in a hilarious, over the top way) through ''VideoGame/CastleCrashers''. This time there are four princesses, and an achievement for getting the SmoochOfVictory from all four!
** Which is incredibly funny when all the people playing it don't care at all about it, and just stand around waiting to be killed in order for someone to smooch the princess and end the level.
* Pretty much all the classic (1989-1994) ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' games have you rescue April, though only the first and third Game Boy ones have you save her at the end of the game.
* In ''VideoGame/KungFuMaster'', Thomas's girlfriend Sylvia is kidnapped, and he has to save her from Mr. X.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Vigilante}}'', you had to rescue your girlfriend Madonna (not [[Music/{{Madonna}} that Madonna]]).
* ''VideoGame/DynamiteDux'': A girl who owns two FunnyAnimal ducks is kidnapped, and the ducks must rescue her.
* The AttractMode of ''Arabian Fight'' asks players to "save the kidnapped Princess Lurana."

* ''VideoGame/RedSteel'' featured its OneManArmy hero tearing through the machinations of the Yakuza in an international battle to bring down their new, more violent and corrupt leadership, learning legendary sword techniques along the way, after they kidnapped his fiancée and killed her father, the previous and attempting-to-go-legal Yakuza leader at their engagement announcement dinner.
* ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheWoolBall'' has you fight your way through the entire cat army and eventually visit the gloomy cat planet in order to rescue your imprisoned girlfriend.

* ''VideoGame/TimeCrisis'' has the President's daughter as a hostage of the bad guys who must be rescued.

* ''VideoGame/RetroGameChallenge'' has a princess to save in Guadia Quest and in the first two Haggleman games. Arino comments that the Haggleman princess gets captured an awful lot. [[spoiler: [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks And he hates that Haggleman 3 ''doesn't'' have a princess to save.]]]]

* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', a quest charges you with saving the dwarven princess Moira Bronzebeard from the emperor of the dark dwarves. [[spoiler:It turns out she's pregnant with said emperor's child and doesn't want to be saved...]]
* While she's not exactly a princess, the Elysion arc of ''VideoGame/{{Elsword}}'' involves rescuing the El Lady, a goddess in human form.

* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'':
** The original ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros1'' and ''3'' both have this plot, as does the Japanese version of ''2'' (''The Lost Levels''), ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'', ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'', the first half of ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'', the second half of ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'', ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'', ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'', the ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' games (excluding ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', where Peach is a playable character), ''and'' every ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros'' [[note]]''1'', ''Wii'', ''2'', ''U'', and ''Luigi U''[[/note]] Bowser must really dig Peach...
** In fact, the plans of pretty much ''every villain in the Mario universe'' always involve kidnapping Peach at some point. In fact, in some games she's even somewhat of a BarrierMaiden. In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga'', her voice can awaken the Beanstar (the MacGuffin of the game), while in ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' she is forced to wed Bowser in order to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
** At the very beginning of the Mario franchise, Pauline in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'', who gets kidnapped again in the GameBoy version and in most ''VideoGame/MarioVsDonkeyKong'' games.
** Also Daisy in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioLand'', one of the few games where Bowser isn't present. Apparently he only got a license to kidnap Peach.
** ''VideoGame/SuperPrincessPeach'' inverts the trope - Bowser jacked the Vibe Scepter and sends his minions in to use it to paralyze THE ENTIRE CASTLE in emotional distress, using the chaos to imprison THE MARIO BROTHERS (arguably one of his smartest moves in some time)! Peach was LateToTheTragedy, and thus puts it on her shoulders to bail the brothers out.
** Averted in ''VideoGame/YoshisSafari'' where Princess Peach isn't kidnapped at all and serves to deliver Mario and Yoshi the news that her friends King Fret and Prince Pine were captured by Bowser and Jewelry Land's jewels were stolen.
** In ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld'', Peach is now a playable character alongside Mario, Luigi and a Blue Toad. In her place, however, are the seven Sprixie Princesses, who Bowser [[FairyInABottle bottled]] before snatching away.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'':
** In ''VideoGame/SonicCD'', Sonic's mission is to save Amy from Dr. Robotnik and Metal Sonic.
** ''VideoGame/SonicRush'' further averts this trope by introducing an actual princess character, Blaze, but having Sonic team up with her. In fact, Sonic and Blaze rescue Cream together in that same game.
** Played straight with Princess Elise of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006''.
* The earlier ''PrinceOfPersia'' games.
* ''VideoGame/{{Braid}}'' is ostensibly about this, but the truth behind Tim's pursuit of "the Princess" is [[MindScrew a bit more complicated]] and [[DownerEnding considerably more depressing]].
** It's [[EpilepticTrees possible]] that the game is actually a {{Deconstruction}} of the standard "save the princess" plot.
%%* To give an example of how this trope was so prevalent to the point of getting absurd, in the NES games ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' and ''[[Series/TheMuppetShow Muppet Adventures]]'', you are charged with saving rather strong and self-sufficient characters Babs Bunny and Miss Piggy, respectively. The latter example in particular is rather egregious, since it's far, far, far more likely that Miss Piggy would have to save Kermit from a bad spot (And she did, in The Muppet Movie. She'd also have saved him in the episode where the pigs took over the show, except she got offered a star position).
* This is the initial premise of ''VideoGame/{{Eversion}}''. [[spoiler:The endings will make you wish you hadn't saved her.]]
** This was uncannily anticipated by the ending of ''VideoGame/MonsterParty'': [[spoiler:"But, the princess became a monster. And, more monsters followed her."]] In that case, though, it was AllJustADream...[[OrWasItADream in one country's version, at least]].
* Done in an antiheroic way in ''[[VideoGame/WarioLandShakeIt Wario Land: The Shake Dimension]]'', where saving the queen is only Wario's secondary goal, with him being promised treasure at the end. In fact, at the end where Queen Merelda congratulates Wario, he stops her in the middle by grabbing her and [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome tossing her out of his way]].
* At the end of ''VideoGame/EarthwormJim 2'', it appears that "having defeated the nefarious Psy-Crow, our hero, Earthworm Jim, has won back the heart of the lovely Princess What's Her Name." Except [[spoiler:she's a cow wearing a costume. So is the villain. So is Jim]].
* The main plot of the first ''VideoGame/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' game on the NES is to rescue Gadget. This notably doesn't start till after you've beaten the first level where the goal is to find a lost kitten (which it turns out was [[HijackedByGanon Fat Cat's way of distracting you]]), and the game goes on for three more levels after you rescue Gadget.
** This is inverted in the PC game version, where Chip and Dale spend the game collecting screws so that Gadget can finish the Ranger Plane and rescue Monteray Jack from Professor Nimnul.
* You have to rescue your love interest in ''VideoGame/{{Gish}}''.
* You have to rescue your love interest in ''VideoGame/MeatBoy''.
* The ''Videogame/{{Clonk}}'' level "Dragon Rock" plays this [[ExcusePlot unashamedly straight]], right down to the evil mage-with-a-dragon doing the kidnapping. In "Tower of Despair" it's the king, and the dragon itself is the capturer, but otherwise it's pretty much the same.
* ''Videogame/GhostsNGoblins'' and its sequels begin by showing Princess Prin-Prin getting kidnapped by some horrible demon.
* In ''VideoGame/JackieChansActionKungFu'', Jackie has to rescue Josephine, who is either his twin sister or his girlfriend, from an EvilSorcerer who abducts her in a ''Videogame/GhostsNGoblins''-like opening scene.
* ''Crusader'', an obscure PlatformGame by Creator/{{Compile}} for the {{UsefulNotes/MSX}}, is the source of the quote: "Princess has been kidnapped! You must save princess."
* In ''VideoGame/ABoyAndHisBlob in: The Rescue of Princess Blobette'', you [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin have to rescue Princess Blobette]].
* Averted in ''VideoGame/LittleNemoTheDreamMaster''. Nemo has to get to the princess, but she doesn't need rescuing. Her father does.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Hunchback}}'', Quasimodo's objective is to save Esmerelda.
* In ''[[VideoGame/BombJack Mighty Bomb Jack]]'', the princess has been kidnapped by a demon, but so have the King and Queen, who must be rescued first.
* In ''VideoGame/KidNikiRadicalNinja'', the title character's objective is to rescue Princess Margo, who is being held captive in the Stone Wizard's castle.
* ''VideoGame/ChuckRock'' begins with the villain hitting Chuck's wife Ophelia over the head with a club and dragging her off ByTheHair. Chuck, of course, has to get off his stone lounge chair and go save her.
* In ''[[VideoGame/GanbareGoemon The Legend of the Mystical Ninja]]'', the goal is to find and rescue Princess Yuki.
* ''VideoGame/{{Nefarious}}'' [[InvertedTrope inverts]] and subverts this trope. Instead of playing TheHero to save the princess, instead you're VillainProtagonist Crow, who's attempting to ''kidnap'' them. Meanwhile, Crow's usual nemesis ends the intro stage all but stating that saving the princess isn't worth the effort. [[spoiler: In both endings, Mayapple ends up saving herself - either as TheStinger, or to take over the Hero role in the TrueFinalBoss.]]
* The web adventure platform game ''VideoGame/{{Phoenotopia}}'' has an inversion where [[DistressedDude the prince is kidnapped]] and Gale the heroine must save him. [[FriendtoAllChildren The children that Gale is friends with]] think this means that [[RescueRomance then have to fall in love.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfKage'', the title character has to rescue the kidnapped princess, Kirihime.
* [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in the browser platformer ''Sugoi Princess Ushiko''. In the game you control the [[MagicalGirl sugoi]] princess Ushiko in attempt to save the [[DudeInDistress prince]] Benedick III.
* You're saving El Presidente's Daughter in ''VideoGame/{{Guacamelee}}'', but it's effectively the same trope. [[spoiler: You're also unable to save her from being sacrificed for the BigBad's master plan, and whether you can revive her or not depends on whether you got the GoldenEnding.]]
* ''VideoGame/TinyToonAdventuresBusterBustsLoose'' parodies this in the introduction to the "SpaceOpera" final stage:
-->'''Buster''': I'll fight the evil empire army all by myself. While I'm doing that I'll also manage to save Princess Babs.\\
''(Babs Bunny walks on)''\\
'''Buster''': Wait a minute, Princess Babs? You mean I have to rescue you again?!\\
'''Babs''': That's right.\\
'''Buster''': Well hurry up then. The show's getting ready to start.\\
'''Babs''': Okay. Time for me to get captured.

* ''VideoGame/TowerOfTheSorcerer'', an indie puzzle game masquerading as a dungeon-crawl RPG, plays this straight, complete with the opening line [[IntentionalEngrishForFunny "A brave man is walking for to save the princess"]]. The plot from there is actually not too bad, but it's clearly an ExcusePlot, as the princess is hardly mentioned thereafter and seen only once before the endgame. Then the trope is subverted in the game's TwistEnding: [[spoiler:it turns out that it really ''was'' an ExcusePlot. The "princess" is an inanimate statue. The [[BigBad Big Bad's]] [[MotiveMisidentification real goal]] was to get a sufficiently-powerful hero to the top of the tower so as to help him AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence.]]
* The first ''Knightfall'' game has the protagonist literally [[ThisIsADrill drilling]] his way to Hell to save his princess girlfriend from the Devil.
* The goal in ''VideoGame/{{Castlequest}}'' is to rescue Princess Margarita from Groken Castle.
* ''VideoGame/KickleCubicle'' for the NES actually has four princess to rescue, one at the end of each of the lands.
* A minigame/side-quest in ''VideoGame/{{Catherine}}'' involves playing a [[ShowWithinAShow game-within-a-game]] at the Stray Sheep called ''Rapunzel''. In it, you solve block puzzles much like the ones in the "Nightmare" segments of the main game, except there's no enemies, and instead of a time limit you have a limited number of moves with which to make a path to the top of a stack of blocks so your PrinceCharming character can get to the titular Rapunzel.
* Gender-inverted in ''Rescue The Prince'' - the protagonist, Princess Selene, must venture across unknown lands in order to save fifty different princes who are being held captive by five wicked dragons.

* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in ''VideoGame/SupremeCommander: Forged Alliance'', in one mission you must fend off the alien attackers from Princess Rhianne Burke's personal palace, MissionControl tells you that "You have a Princess to save, Commander."

* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestI'' essentially has only two objectives: Save the Princess, and kill the Dragonlord. Unlike most Save the Princess games, however, you actually rescue the princess from a dragon (usually the first one you kill) in the Marsh Cave long before you beat the BigBad.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** Your ''very first'' objective in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' is to rescue Princess Sara of Coneria/[[SpellMyNameWithAnS Cornelia]]/[[WebComic/EightBitTheater Corneria]], who has been taken by good-knight-gone-bad Garland.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' starts off with you needing to rescue Princess Ovelia. Then it [[GambitPileup gets complicated.]]
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'': [[ZigZaggedTrope Zig-Zagged]] at the start; your task is to ''kidnap'' Princess Garnet, but when you confront her, she actually requests the kidnapping - [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen making it clear this is more of a rescue mission]]. Later dialogue with Regent Cid reveals that he had commissioned the kidnapping as a cover for the rescue, as taking Garnet away openly would cause quite a political stink.
*** Much later, [[spoiler:Queen Brahne orders Garnet's execution, and Zidane and the rest of the party must storm the castle to find her before it's too late]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'': At one point Yuna, daughter of High Summoner Braska - a princess in all but title - is kidnapped by the CorruptChurch and kept in the castle-like (and gigantic) Bevelle Temple. Oh, and she's [[AndNowYouMustMarryMe forced to marry Seymour]]. The party arrives to intervene. [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] when Yuna reveals she was using the wedding [[OurZombiesAreDifferent to try and Send Seymour]], already had an escape planned, and the party's intervention has royally screwed up her plan by giving the villains hostages.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'': To recruit Ashe - your fifth permanent party member, and you guessed it; a princess - you have to cross an enemy's heavily-guarded airship to reach her cell after she'd been taken into custody a good 3-4 game-play hours ago.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyThe4HeroesOfLight'' begins with the king telling Brandt, the first PlayerCharacter, to save his younger daughter Aire from a witch. When she ''is'' rescued (with no small amount of complaining), however, the rest of the kingdom is put under a curse that kicks ff the plot.
* There is a mission in ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'' where your squad has to quite literally save the princess after a kidnap attempt.
* Being an AffectionateParody of RPG cliches, ''VideoGame/TheBardsTale'' naturally uses this as it's main plot.
* One segment of the main plot in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has the Warden breaking into Arl Howe's estate to rescue Queen Anora, who is kept there by her father against her will. The Rescue the Princess aspect is really overshadowed by the [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments Fort Drakon escape following it]] and the fact that [[KickTheSonOfABitch Howe finally gets what's coming to him]].
* Your first real goal in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' is to rescue Bastila from the swoop gang that recovered her from a crashed escape pod and is now offering her as a prize in an upcoming swoop race. Then, two-thirds of the way through the game, Malak captures her... (Of course, [[Franchise/StarWars the movie whose universe KotOR is set in]] had Save the Princess as a good chunk of its plot as well.)
* Oh, so very, ''very'' much subverted in ''VideoGame/LiveALive'': Orsted sets out to rescue his princess bride-to-be in an opening obviously [[{{Homage}} inspired by]] ''VideoGame/GhostsNGoblins''. By the end of the chapter, [[spoiler:she thinks that his friend was the only one who truly deserved her, even though he's [[FaceHeelTurn turned evil]], and commits suicide so that the two of them can be together forever. This leads to Orsted becoming [[TheHeartless a demon of pure hatred]] and the FinalBoss.]]
* Your first real objective in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' is to retrieve the girl who has fallen through a time warp; and sure enough she turns out to be a princess. Subverted in that when you get back, you're put on trial for kidnapping her in the first place. You end up having to dive through another time warp in order to evade the guards, and that's where the ''real'' adventure begins.
* ''VideoGame/{{Hydlide}}'' combined this with FetchQuest, with the BigBad somehow having transformed the princess into three fairies.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Faria}}'', the first mission you receive is to rescue a princess from a tower. However, [[spoiler:you can't marry her because [[SamusIsAGirl you're a girl]]]]. Moreover, [[spoiler:[[FakeKing this princess is a fake]], and you find the real princess in a later tower]].
* In ''VideoGame/AWitchsTale'', Liddell must save all six princesses before she can meet Queen Alice.
* In ''[[VideoGame/DarkSouls1 Dark Souls]]'' [[BlackAndGreyMorality of all things]], while it's not the main focus of the game (or even mandatory for that matter), you can rescue Princess Dusk of the fallen kingdom of Oolacile when you find her imprisoned within a crystal golem. To show her gratitude, she teaches you a variety of the unique illusion-based spells of her kingdom. The trope was played even more straight in the 'Artorias of the Abyss' DLC adventure when you are dragged back in time to Oolacile itself, where your ultimate objective is to rescue Dusk again, this time from [[spoiler:Manus, [[EldritchAbomination Father of the Abyss]]]].
* In ''VideoGame/AlQadimTheGeniesCurse'', the caliph's daughter, Princess Kara, goes missing shortly after the start of the game. After being rescued, she marries the protagonist (although the two were already in love and engaged when she went missing, so it isn't a straight case of RescueRomance or StandardHeroReward).
* The main subplot of the Greenhorne region in ''VideoGame/{{Miitopia}}'' is to save it's Princess, whose face has been stolen by the Dark Lord.

* Your primary goal in ''VideoGame/{{Abadox}}'' is to enter a planet-devouring parasite to rescue a princess (the PC's girlfriend in the Japanese original) who was inside a ship the monstrous being had eaten. Genre conventions were presumably why they felt the need to dangle the "Save The Important Lady" carrot in front of the player, even though "Save The Galaxy from an Enormous PlanetEater Trying to Consume It" is already pretty good motivation.

* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'', Leon pretty much spends the entire game going through the BigBad's trap-filled castle, fighting off undead minions, so he can rescue the President's daughter, Ashley. At the end of the game, Ashley offers him a ''lot'' more than just a SmoochOfVictory, but given he's part of the secret service in that game, that would obviously not have been a good idea, and he rightly turns her down.

* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration'' for the GBA is a TurnBasedStrategy game with sci-fi themes and {{Super Robot}}s. Your squadron ''still'' ends up needing to Save the Princess, but at least it's only a subplot that's introduced and then resolved rather quickly.
* ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' plays with this.
** ''VideoGame/Disgaea3AbsenceOfJustice'' take...
-->'''Almaz''': I must save the princess!\\
'''Sapphire''': *GroinAttack*\\
'''Almaz''': The princess! She touched me! I can die happy now...
** ''Disgaea 3'' also looks at it more seriously with the reasoning behind its {{Inver|tedTrope}}sion: Princess Sapphire has seen far too many people go off and die all in the name of protecting her. So she became a PrettyPrincessPowerhouse capable of destroying anything that might kill a hero.
** The ''Cursed Memories'' take involves Axel kidnapping Taro and Hanako as bait for the 'wild tribesman' Adell so he can "rescue" Rozalin.
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'':
** Towards the last part of ''VideoGame/FireEmblemMysteryOfTheEmblem'', [[spoiler: there are four {{barrier maiden}}s who must be de-brainwashed and rescued before the BigBad devours them to replenish his life energy. ''Three'' of them are princesses: Marth's big sister Elice, Minerva's little sister Maria, and Marth's ally/Linde's protector Princess Nyna of Archanea.]]
** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemGenealogyOfTheHolyWar'', Starting in Chapter 10, one has to find Princess Julia... in classic style she's in another castle every time previous castle is conquered... this lasts until the final part of the final chapter, where she's ThatOneBoss hanging out in the group's way. (Note that she's ThatOneBoss who can't be killed (or the game will become practically {{Unwinnable}}- she's needed for the FinalBoss fight.)
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheBindingBlade'' has two "save the princess" missions, one with Princess Guinevere of Bern (the [[CainAndAbel half-sister]] of the BigBad, who becomes Roy's protegé) and the other with Princess Lilina of Ostia (who joins the troupe as a MagicKnight as soon as she's rescued)
** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones'' Princess Eirika is the main character of the first several missions, and is at least initially most concerned with saving ''herself''. Depending on what route is taken there may also be a mission where Princess Tana must be rescued.
*** In addition, after getting to safety and saving Tana, Eirika sets out on a quest to save her brother making this 'Save the Prince'. Except that, in the end, he's the one who rides to her rescue. And in the meantime, she saves ''another'' Prince... Tana's brother Innes. And then Ephraim saves all of them.
** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', Prince Chrom and the Shepherds must first rescue the noblewoman Maribelle (the best friend of Chrom's sister Lissa ''and'' one of Chrom's prospect girlfriends). Then they must save Chrom and Lissa's older sister, Exalt Emmeryn, twice. [[spoiler:The first time, she's fine. [[WhamEpisode The second? Nope]].]] And last but not least, they rescue and recruit Princess Say'ri.
* In ''VideoGame/ShiningForce 2'' the Shining Force must rescue Princess Elis from Dark Sol. But in ''The Sword of Hayja'', the trope is inverted and the object is to rescue Prince Nick.
* In ''VideoGame/YuGiOhMonsterCapsuleGB'', Mokuba's RPG World storyline is a typical save-the-princess quest.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* While technically not a princess (unless you count her as one for being the daughter of the Fey clan's leaderess), poor Maya Fey in the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series has to be saved from death ''four times''! The first two involve Maya being accused of murder and you have to get a not guilty verdict to save her. The third occasion has Maya kidnapped by an individual who uses this as leverage to force Phoenix into taking a case. The last case has Maya being trapped on a freezing mountain. And things just get worse from there...

!!Examples from other media:

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In a SaveTheWorld climax of ''Anime/MahouSenseiNegima'' main objective was to free Asuna (revealed at this point as a princess of a fallen magical kingdom). Anya even lampshades that for Negi rescuing her is most important, and saving the world is just a bonus. Through zigzaged in that there seems to be more familial than romantic feelings between them (and he is even related to her).
* Subverted in ''Manga/MagicKnightRayearth''. Turns out the real mission is [[spoiler:to ''kill'' the princess at her own bequest.]]
* In ''Manga/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'', as far as Utena is concerned,this is what she's doing for Anthy alias the Rose Bride. [[spoiler: She's not: in reality she's treating Anthy like a prop to feel good about herself. She shuts down when she realizes it, and only after she recovers from that slump, she can truly give Anthy the chance to save herself.]]

[[folder: Literature]]
* In the ''[[MarsAndVenusGenderContrast Mars and Venus]]'' self-help books, a story is told about a knight who saves a princess from a dragon and feels validated for doing so. Then he goes off on an adventure, and she gets attacked by yet another dragon. Only this time, she tells him that the sword won't work and that he'll have to use a noose to slay the dragon. He feels discouraged at the celebratory feast, because he didn't slay the dragon on his own, his own way. Then the princess gets attacked by another dragon, and this time, she tells him that he'll have to poison the dragon, which he does...and that causes him to feel even more discouraged. Later, the knight hears more screams...only they're not coming from ''his'' princess, but from ''another'' princess. He goes to rescue her, feels validated because she didn't tell him what to do and he did it by himself, his own way, and ditched the first princess to live HappilyEverAfter with this new princess. What the reader was ''supposed'' to take from this is that it's best not to tell a man how to solve his problems...and that [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop a woman being too outspoken can cause men to reject her or cheat because they feel rejected/discouraged/etc.]] However, this [[{{Glurge}} little parable]] does bring up some FridgeLogic: Namely, if that first princess knows how to slay the dragon, why doesn't ''she'' slay the dragon herself?! (Also, why does she keep getting attacked by one dragon after another in the first place?)

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': A major motivation for Robert's Rebellion was to recover Lyanna Stark from Rhaegar Targaryen.
* In one episode of ''Series/RedDwarf'', Ace Rimmer sky-surfs an alligator out of an exploding plane, steals a parachute from the baddie in mid-drop, and shoots up an entire base full of Nazis in order to rescue Princess Bonjella. What a guy!

* ''Pinball/MedievalMadness'' has five of them that need to be rescued, from the ValleyGirl to the JewishAmericanPrincess.
* Occurs in Gottlieb's ''Pinball/SuperMarioBros'', with the Mushroom Kingdom's perennial favorite, Princess Peach.
* Creator/WilliamsElectronics' ''Pinball/TalesOfTheArabianNights'' has the player rescuing a princess that has been kidnapped and imprisoned by an evil genie.
* The goal of multiball in ''Pinball/BigGuns'' is to save the Queen.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The game that Radd is from in the webcomic ''Webcomic/KidRadd'' has this plotline. Interestingly, due to the premise of game sprites as sentient beings who are created for the express purpose of being in games, Radd has no idea he even ''has'' a girlfriend until the narrator tells him so.
* This is how ''Webcomic/{{Exiern}}'' starts.
* Swap out "Princess" with "CEO and former MagicalGirlWarrior", and we've got the main plot for ''Webcomic/LastRes0rt''. Of course, both halves of the rescuer/rescuee equation are female (and said Rescuee is reasonably capable of saving herself), so...
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[https://web.archive.org/web/20140209184616/http://sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3554 Fuschia reads the damned a story about rescuing the princess from the dragon.]]
* In ''Webcomic/RustyAndCo'', their first level has them directed to go rescue the princess. She needs rescuing rather less than it appeared at first, being a PrettyPrincessPowerhouse.
* ''Webcomic/AdventureDennis'', another webcomic inspired by gaming tropes, has its protagonist on a quest of this style, except for a mayor.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Website/TGChan Presents: [[http://tgchan.org/kusaba/tg/res/10458.html Princess, I've Come For You!]] A compilation of what happens when the rescuing knight MEETS the princess. Warning, NSFW (a little).
* WebVideo/ThomasSanders {{subvert|edTrope}}s this in two of his Website/{{Vine}}s. In one, the villain admits that he loves Thomas and not the princess and is carried away by Thomas. In another, another princess knocks Thomas aside and saves the princess, then carries her away while Thomas and the villain watch in appreciation.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/BarbieVideoGameHero'', Level 2 has Barbie save a girl trapped in a tree by matching three gems.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''DarthWiki/RoyalRomance'', Prince Lech saves Princess Mira from a German monster named Gilbert.