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10 Most Badass Female Video Game Characters


The video game industry is saturated with macho heroes, burly protagonists, and an assortment of characters large and small. Of the titles that have left their mark on the gaming market, most have featured male characters as the leading role. As we approach the end of 2012, I’m happy to see more female representation in the gaming world with virtual women who are strong, tough, and purposeful. With this list, we want to honor the female video game characters with substance and those who wear more than a string bikini.

10. Chloe Frazer (Uncharted Series)

Female Video Game characters

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]”Seems like I am always saving your ass.”

Not only is she a treasure hunter, this Australian badass is equally comfortable in a gunfight or a fistfight, whatever the occasion demands. Chloe is fearless, brave, and possesses a saucy attitude to boot.

9. Samantha Byrne (Gears of War 3)

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]”Don’t mind him, somebody stole his teddy when he was little.”

Private Samantha “Sam” Byrne, also called “duchashka” or “lovely duchess” is not your typical soldier. She’s a battle-hardened veteran who kills alien Locusts by day and fights for humanity’s survival by night.

8. Oerba Yun Fang (Final Fantasy 13)

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]”You want to keep breathing? Shut up and come quiet.”

With a name like Fang, this girl has to be tough. As a member of the Yun Clan, Fang is as intense and fearless as she is compassionate and caring. With willingness to fight and sacrifice for those she cares for and tremendous skill with a spear, Fang is more than able to handle business.




7. Chun Li (Street Fighter Series)

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]”Don’t worry. I didn’t damage anything permanently, I think.”

Driven by a plot of revenge, Chun Li sought to avenge her father who was murdered while investigating the Shadaloo crime syndicate. As a talented martial artist with legs as thick as tree trunks, I’d say Li is undoubtedly a contender in the hardcore category. Since her origins in Street Fighter II in 1991, Li has been an icon of the entire franchise and has been dubbed, the “First Lady of Fighting Games”.


6. Faith Connors (Mirror’s Edge)

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]”The authorities said the changes, the monitoring, banning and regulations, were for the greater good. But good, isn’t the same as right”

Not only is she a free-running expert, she’s a tattoo-wearing, independent woman who jumps off of buildings for fun. To rebel against the totalitarian regime of her city, she joined the Runners, an illegal underground courier group who operate independently without the intrusion of governmental surveillance. Beauty, brains, and passion.


5. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil Series)

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]“It’s true that once the wheels of justice begin to turn, nothing can stop them… nothing. It was Raccoon City’s last chance… and MY last chance. My last escape…”

Special Agents are sworn to secrecy and for good reason. Jill Valentine has witnessed a multitude of government secrets over the years ranging from covert research facilities to genetic mutants. Despite the multiple zombie outbreaks, she managed survive and destroy the most menacing creatures in her path and with limited ammo mind you.


4. Sheik/Princess Zelda (The Legend of Zelda Series)

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]”Time passes, people move… Like a river’s flow, it never ends… A childish mind will turn to noble ambition… Young love will become deep affection… The clear water’s surface reflects growth…”

With exception to Kitana from the Mortal Kombat series, princesses aren’t typically the toughest characters on the block. Princess Zelda fulfills this traditional role with an insufferable habit of getting kidnapped over and over again. In her usual form, she possesses the Triforce power of wisdom…yawn. As her alter ego Sheik, she takes on an entirely different persona becoming proactive, determined, and… a great harp player.


3. Jack (Mass Effect 2)

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]“Turns out, mess with someone’s head enough, you can turn a scared little kid into an all powerful bitch.”

Jack, also known as “Subject Zero”, is a notorious criminal whose crimes include piracy, kidnapping, vandalism and murder. As a biotic, she has immense power allowing her to tear enemies apart and lift foes and objects from a distance. Jack exudes a tough exterior but under the surface, is still haunted by her troubling past. I wouldn’t say that to her face though that’s for sure.


2. Samus Aran (Metroid Series)

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]“My past is not a memory. It’s a force at my back. It pushes and steers. I may not always like where it leads me, but like any story, the past needs resolution. What’s past is prologue.”

Samus shocked the world in 1986 when unsuspecting gamers discovered that the infamous bounty hunter and protagonist of Metroid was in fact a female. As one of the world’s most loved video game heroines, her gender in no way hindered her from a lifelong career battling space pirates, clashing with extraterrestrial parasites, and exploring hostile, unfamiliar worlds. Not to mention that she owns an arsenal of lasers, rockets, gadgets and weaponry that make her formidable against any opponent.


1. The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)

Quote: [quote-symbol symbol5]“One must die and one must live. No victory, no defeat. The survivor will carry on the fight. It is our destiny… The one who survives will inherit the title of Boss. And the one who inherits the title of Boss will face an existence of endless battle.”

The Boss’s story represents a tragic past, a courageous present, and an absent future. She sacrifices her life, her motherhood, and her legacy for the prospect of a country that had turned its back on her. There are very few characters in existence, let alone female characters, that portray this level of depth, complexity, and distinctiveness. Her story paired with her commanding physical ability of CQC (close-quarters-combat) is what sets The Boss apart as the most indomitable, creative, and profound female character of all time.

Are there any strong female video game characters that you’ve come across who are worthy of this list? Sound off in the comments below.

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Taylor Stein

Gamer. Sushi-fanatic. Lover of cats. Cartoon aficionado. Overall big kid. Over the past 5 years I've held a number of different positions in the video game industry from content writer and game critic to marketing specialist and social media guru; it has been an absolute dream come true. Welcome to my journey throughout the world of video games and all around geekery.

  • Zach

    and you forgot Lara Croft?

    • Taylor Stein

      Not left out, purposely omitted. While I respect Lara Croft’s initial impact on the gaming community, the over-sexualized nature of her persona detracts from her “coolness” as a female video game character for me.

    • Little Rabbit

      I don’t think you’ve ever played Tomb Raider, nothing about her is sexualized in the game, there’s no sex jokes or zoom-ins on her breasts ect. The ONLY thing that might make her sexualised is her body but that’s ridiculous if a woman can be as badass as Lara Croft but doesn’t get credit because “Oh, her boobs are too big so her accomplishments don’t matter!” and since when did sexiness contradict badassness? Is Duke Nukem not badass because he’s good looking?

      Sure she wears shorts but you have Jack who’s wearing tiny straps barely covering her nipples, so your comment about Bayonetta doesn’t make sense either.

  • Dre

    What about Nariko from Heavenly Sword?

    • Jeff

      Why in the world is Bayonetta not in the top 5 let alone not being in the top 10?!


    • Taylor Stein

      You are totally right, Bayonetta is more than worthy of this list nice addition!

    • Taylor Stein

      No way! Strong yes, badass? Not in my book. AND I have to mark her down for the whole fighting half naked thing. You don’t see The Boss battling bad guys in her undies!

    • Rob

      Fair and educated list! I agree with most of it, although rather than ME2’s Jack, I would’ve said Miranda actually. I also would’ve switched with yu fang with Tifa Lockhart.

    • Taylor Stein

      So many people like Miranda over Jack. She annoyed me too much: I have perfect genes blah blah blah.

      And of course Tifa is a beast. I felt a little strange putting a bartender on the same list as a bounty hunter, a world class soldier, and a gun-toting mercenary though lol

  • Adam

    Eh, should have added Joanna Dark from Perfect Dark! Great pick for number one though

    • Taylor Stein

      That is actually a really good suggestion, props my friend!

  • Entamrik

    I was suprised how great this list was, it’s almost exact to what I would’ve put on there, minus the few games I didn’t play. Jack’s one of my favourite characters in the ME trilogy and I actually wanted to know more about Faith, but I don’t think we’ll see much of her in the future ;_;

    The only one I might’ve added was Asuka Kazama from Tekken 5 because she’s one of the infrequent fighting game women that both looks and acts like she can take on… well bears and ninjas, plus she has a move where she grabs the foe by the face and smashes their head to the ground, it’s an actual technique and damn brutal too.

  • Aiddon

    hmmm, not a bad list, but not great either. “Badass” is an inherently shallow trait anyway. so it’s logical a lot of characters meant to be “badass” are rather flat and lacking in traits that make a good character. Samus in particular was a blank slate until Fusion and Other M. Chun Li is also a character lacking in characterization and Fang is just TERRIBLY written.

  • Armadillo

    Personally, I feel Samus should take the number 1 spot on any list for top female video game characters, since she paved the way for all of them, and did so without being an overly sexualized bimbo, unlike many other female characters. Alas, Other M did take away much of her character by making her dependent on men to tell her what to do. I tend to pretend that game doesn’t exist, honestly, as I found Samus’ portrayal in it so offensive I had to stop playing after half an hour. That says a lot considering I’m a dude.