Princess Peach, Aerith Gainsborough, Tifa Lockheart, Claire Redfield, Kill Valentine, Cammy, Yuna, Lightning, Bayonetta, Mileena, 2B, Aloy, Chun-Li. Read that with the tune to More Then Words by Extreme in your head and you will be in the right frame of mind as myself when I wrote it. Picking five female characters from a huge arrangement of characters was always going to be difficult. The ones just mentioned all deserve a place in this list, but it is only big enough for five. Femme Fatal has no place here as we are looking for the baddest, most awesome, dynamic and best-written characters in video game history. you may not agree with me but without further ado let me reveal my personal top five female characters.
Disclaimer – these are my top five and are in no way to be considered an official list.
5 Princess Zelda
Princess Zelda may not have been the first princess by that name within Hyrule. The original Princess Zelda was placed into a comatose state and this was partly to blame on her brother, Prince of Hyrule. At the end of the Golden Era he decided that every princess born into the Royal Family of Hyrule will be named Zelda.
I did not feel that this list would be complete without a mentioning of Princess Zelda. She is a benevolent and kind leader of The Kingdom of Hyrule. Many acts have made her one of the greatest leaders of a kingdom, such as saving the life of Midna in The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess. Not only is she a great princess and leader but she also knows how to fight for good too.
As the series of The Legend of Zelda has progressed, so has Princess Zelda’s abilities. She is shown to have magical powers, have the ability to wield weapons such as a bow and she is also shown to have skills such as telepathy too. Within the Hyrule Warriors series she is able to fight to amazing standards and can also use the Wind Waker to summon wind and lightning. She is a fantastic leader as well as a warrior.
4 Lara Croft
First of all let me get this out there – I am not writing about Lara Croft because of her use as a sex symbol within the industry. There is much contention on the use of her character to sell video games and there is an arrangement of viewpoints from critics in regards to her aesthetics. Lara Croft for me was the Tomb Raider. I grew up playing these games on the Sony PlayStation and this girl could easy kick butt. Yes she was nice to look at to a young teenage boy, but if the games had have been poor in quality then the franchise would have ultimately failed.
Lara Croft as a character shows how a strong lead role does not need to be portrayed by a male. The overwhelming support for the franchise, especially from an era when video games audiences were more male-oriented show that this is fact. The leap from video game to movies is always hit and miss but the Tomb Raider films have all been relatively popular. From Shelley Blond to Alicia Vikander, the role is a prominent and powerful one that should always be celebrated in video game culture.
3 Samus Aran
Metroid was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System and hit the system at full speed. A Japanese action-adventure game whereby the player controls Samus, an intergalactic bounty hunter setting out to save the galaxy. I played Metroid back in the early 1990’s, and I played it a lot. But I was also pretty bad at the game. However I was always under the impression that Samus was male – even the instruction manual referred to Samus as ‘he’ – let’s not believe that Nintendo was the first to popularise modern chosen pronouns.
Samus was always female, but the game would only reward the better players with this knowledge. I myself had to wait until later games and the internet before I myself realised. In Metroid you could complete the game at a casual speed, nice and slow wins the race right? If you did this then a full-armoured Samus would roll to victory ready to reset the console and start again. However, those who were good at the game and able to complete it in three to five hours were given “The Big Reveal”. This was the moment that Samus removed her helmet and low and behold she was a girl. This was an incredible moment for any video game to pull off, but in 1986 it was momentous. Not only was Samus one of the first female protagonists, but the game defined the Metroidvania subgenre and the franchise is also listed as one of the greatest of all time.
Come on – The Last of Us had to make this list. Ellie captured the hearts and souls of millions of players back in 2013 when Naughty Dog released their mammoth game that has become one of two. Ashley Johnson portrays Ellie in both video games and literally deserves an Oscar for her work. Created by Neil Druckmann and inspired by a mute character that was proposed for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, he wanted a strong female character.
The game was designed to central focus around Joel and Ellie’s relationship as he is tasked to escort her across a post-apolocalyptic America as the appears to be immune to the infection that has terminated civilization. Along the way their relationship is tested, and the environment and people left are there to show the brutal side to this outstanding adventure. post-traumatic stress disorder was one of the key areas of research for the development team and Ellie’s personality was also matched to that of Johnson. Ellie’s character is such a strong and definitive creation that led to a sequel which won Game of the Year.
1 Sarah Louise Kerrigan
1998 was the first time we saw Sarah Kerrigan, a Terran Ghost who was psychically trained as an expert assassin and espionage soldier. The character was awesome enough in this role, with some amazing stories, some of which are further explained in the Starcraft novels, as well as some incredible character depth and realism.
After the events of Starcraft Sarah Kerrigan was captured by The Zerg and infested (geneticaly modified). She became under the control of the Zerg Overmind after the conversion of herself to a Zerg/Terran hybrid. During the Brood War she manages to replace the Zerg Overmind and takes control of The Zerg in an attempt to seek dominance over the entire galaxy. She became one of the most celebrated female characters in video game history due to her complexity, compelling narratives, plot-twisting storyline and ultimately being a badass. Not only was she an amazing protagonist, but she was an even better antagonist.
What will next weeks Hi Five be about? Well you can decide. Send us your ideas via Facebook or Twitter and we will pick one at random, no matter how obscure they might be! And the creator will get a mention too.