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)
Quote: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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)
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: “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)
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: “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.