Last week was International Women’s Day, and since March is Women's History Month we wanted to continue the celebration of the ladies by showcasing some of our favorite video game heroines. Breaking boundaries and kicking ass, these ladies inspire us with their bravery, intelligence, sense of humor, and epic combat skills. They’re all a bit different, but all are well worthy of a slot on our list. There are so many great heroines that we had to cherry pick just eight for this post, but perhaps next March we’ll sing the praises of another eight.
Samus Aran (Metroid) – A bad-ass since 1986, galactic bounty hunter Samus is one of the oldest video game heroines, and certainly one of the most beloved. Battling space pirates and their leader Ridley as well as energy-draining Metroids with her wide array of weapons, the first Metroid game employed her powered exoskeleton suit and only revealed she was a female at the end of the game. Since then, Samus has appeared in every installment of the series, and the Metroid games have sold a collective 17.44 million copies worldwide!
Bayonetta (Bayonetta) – Curvy witch Bayonetta fully utilizes her hyper-sexuality in killing lots and lots of baddies, in some of the coolest ways ever seen in a video game. Employing dozens of unique weapons and attacks, Bayonetta's hair can summon demons, her seemingly unpractical heels are also GUNS, and her innuendos are absurdly unsubtle in the best way. Not to mention "Torture Attacks"! Over the top, fast paced action dealt by a fiery witch with a beehive, killer bod, cheeky one-liners, and powerful spells? Talk about female empowerment.
Lara Croft (Tomb Raider) – Everyone loves famed archaeological explorer Lady Croft. Though her original design was specifically meant to be a big-busted fantasy, she quickly became someone sharp, witty, hilarious at times, and sporting an effortless cool that all ladies wish we could emulate. The 2013 reboot toned down her cartoonish features for a more realistic approach to Lara; still sexy, but mostly intelligent, fierce, determined, and vulnerable, bringing those human qualities into focus more than ever before. Personally, I loved it.
Aya Brea (Parasite Eve) - Fearless Aya is a police officer whose tasked with preventing the extinction of all species. Possessing mutated mitochondria and genes garnered from her deceased twin sister, Aya fights mutant creatures created by Mitochondria Eve (another woman whose cells have been mutated by Aya’s sister) with her huge array of weapons and superhuman abilities. At times, she feels overwhelmed by them and the difficult task at hand, which is totally understandable. Being superhuman seems like both a blessing and curse; we don’t blame her one bit.
Nariko (Heavenly Sword) - Nariko is selfless and headstrong, born in the year of the prophesied divine warrior, but considered a failure because she’s a woman. Regardless, she becomes a skilled warrior, wielding the legendary Heavenly Sword in order to defeat the tyrannical rule of King Bohan, all while the sword continually sucks away her life-force. Talk about a tough break. In the end, growing up female turned into one of Nariko’s biggest strengths, proving that anyone can be a hero if they just have the guts.
Zoey (Left 4 Dead) - As one of four playable characters in Left 4 Dead, Zoey is certainly a favorite. Her previous life as a film student with an affinity for horror movies and firearms training from her cop dad definitely built a solid base for taking down the undead. She’s feisty, relatable (skipping class to watch movies? Been there), and possesses killer combat skills. A true zombie's nightmare.
Jennifer Tate (Primal) – Jennifer spends her time in Primal searching for her boyfriend Lewis, whose been kidnapped by demon Belahzur (A male damsel in distress! A switcheroo!) Jen then discovers she has supernatural abilities and uses them, with animated gargoyle Scree tagging along, to rescue Lewis from the hands of the demons and restore order. Hats off to you, Jen. On a side note, it's super depressing Guerilla Cambridge is now defunct because I'd really like to see a reboot/sequel.
Faith (Mirror’s Edge) - Faith left home at 16 after her mother passed and her father fell into alcoholism. Living on the streets and stealing to survive, she was eventually trained to become a Runner, an underground courier with enough parkour skills to ditch an army (or, at least in this case, the City Protection Force). She’s a tough acrobat with the sickest half-sleeve, will go to any lengths to save her sister Kate, and sports the most “don’t-mess-with-me” haircut on this list (angle sharp enough to kill a man) – so I wouldn’t get in her way if I were you.
Heroines of gaming, we salute you! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm feeling the female empowerment so it's time to put on the Gamer Goo & take down everyone with Zero-Suit Samus in Super Smash Bros.