Still, it's not uncommon for adventure games to mix in action elements. Some adventure games focus more on fighting than puzzle-solving, or split the two down the middle.
Adventure games also emphasize the collection and utilization of items, which are then used to delve further into the game's world. The Legend of Zelda series is an excellent example of an adventure series, as its protagonist, Link, gathers up equipment that helps him gradually make his way closer to the final boss (usually the Gerudo thief-turned-monster, Ganon, who is never up to any good).
To continue using the Zelda titles as definitive examples of adventure games: consider that Link's quests almost always have a healthy dose of puzzle-solving, too. A player will often find him or herself locked in a room until he uses the items and moves at his or her disposal to break free. Also, while action games usually require the player to use brute force against end-stage boss enemies, big battles in adventure games require more finesse: finding a weak point, for instance, or puzzling out the correct way to use an item against the big baddie.
Adventure games and action games do have something in common: both genres have been around for a long time. One of the very first adventure games was a text-based cave-exploration game called Colossal Cave Adventure that was assembled on a computer by Will Crowther in 1976. Crowther based the game on his enthusiasm for the Mammoth Cave System in Kentucky.
Later versions of Colossal Cave Adventure featured graphics and sound, though the text-heavy, exploration-based core gameplay still remained. Over time, adventure games became far more graphic-heavy on game consoles like the NES, whereas PC-based adventure games were built around a lot of reading.
Interestingly, Japanese game consoles (particularly the Nintendo DS) host many "interactive novels," which are far closer to Colossal Cave Adventure's original vision for an adventure game. Those interactive novels were rarely translated or localized for English-speaking audiences, though there is one notable exception: Chunsoft's 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which was brought to North America by Aksys.
Other examples of adventure games on the Nintendo DS and 3DS include The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, Hotel Dusk, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.