The embodiment of heroes is no longer a purely male domain. Meanwhile, more and more women appear in video games as smart, beating or even bullet-happy protagonists. In this feature, we would like to introduce you to what we think are the ten toughest of them.
#10 Jill Valentine
Jill Valentine was already available in the first part of Resident Evil as a playable character. It was not without reason that many players chose the hard soldier instead of her male counterpart Chris Redfield in the fight against the zombies. During the search for the Bravo team in Raccoon Forest, she was still a member of the Alpha team of the Special Tactics And Rescue Service, in which she played the role of the mechanic. It was another reason why she was able to crack locks and was otherwise more technically adept than her colleagues. In later parts, Jill, whose design originally came from series creator Shinji Mikami, showed even more of her talents as an all-rounder.
However, Jill did not only appear in various parts and DLC extensions of Resident Evil – among others in the boss fight with opponent Albert Wesker in Resident Evil 5. She also appeared in several of Paul W.S. Anderson’s films. Jill Valentine has also made guest appearances in other series, including the fighting game series Marvel Vs. Capcom. Jill Valentine is one of the most popular characters among cosplayers, especially in Japan.
#9 Chloe Frazer
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
With her loose mouth, you’d think she was Nathan Drake’s sister. Chloe Frazer, the heroine from Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is neither related nor related by marriage to the protagonist from Naughty Dogs action-adventure. Chloe first appeared as a minor character in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Nadine Ross, her sidekick in The Lost Legacy first played a role in Uncharted 4: A Thieve’s End. Even beyond her adventurous nature, Chloe Nathan Drake is in no way inferior to her. In search of a valuable artifact, she steams through open game sections in a jeep, explores dark temples and solves puzzles. Maybe she even has a little more brains than Nathan, because the puzzles in The Lost Legacy are much trickier than all in Uncharted before.
Chloe can handle a pistol, assault rifle or rocket launcher. Unlike Nathan, however, she can solve many situations slowly. So with Chloe, we infiltrate enemy camps and smoke them out without even an enemy noticing. Spectacular action, however, is by no means neglected in the spin-off. We shoot helicopters from the sky, chase after a moving train or climb around the scene in India on huge statues that could even make Reinhold Messner dizzy. In any case, Chloe’s debut as a playable character is more than successful. We’d be happy to have the tough lady back any time.
No, YorHa Model B No. 2 is indeed not as snarky as Bayonetta. The protagonist of Nier: Automata (2B for short) remains quite relaxed even after big battles. But that’s not just because 2B is a female Android we’re going into battle within Platinum Games’ action sequel. The heroine, however, has it fistfully behind her ears when it comes to penetrating her opponents in the Open World role-playing game. That happens primarily with short-range melee weapons, so you’ll need to stay in close range. However, the decisive factor for victory or defeat is not only the handing out but also the skillful evasion of enemy attacks. As sober as 2B may seem in many respects, it still offers excellent potential for identification. The heroine from Nier: Automata owes this not least to the game world of her adventure.
Who are Ryu or Guile, you might ask sometimes? Because when we think of Capcom’s Street Fighter series, the first thing that comes to mind is the Chinese fighter Chun-Li. I am the strongest woman in the world is one of her sayings that immediately springs to mind. But it wasn’t until 1991, about four years after the Fighting Games debut in Japanese arcades, that they made their way to becoming an icon in Street Fighter. Since then, however, Chun-Li can no longer be imagined away – and this is not only due to her taut thighs, with which she performs her famous continuous kick, or her generally high sympathy values. Because no other fighter in Street Fighter celebrates his victories as gracefully and enthusiastically as she does.
Indeed, their attractiveness also plays a role here. But hardly any player should worry about the fact that their Chinese name roughly translated means something like spring beauty. Rather, they are their versatile martial arts. Even if Chun-Li’s attacks do not have the same force as Blanka’s or M. Bison’s, the strong fighter makes up for this disadvantage with her sophisticated technique. She also played an important role in various animated films. There is only a little glorious appearance of Chun-Li. But in the movie Street Fighter – The decisive battle by director Steven E. de Souza none of the characters could show themselves in a positive light. In addition to the core series, Chuni-Li also had important appearances in several other places. She also fights in Street Fighter X Tekken and is also playable in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.
#6 Samus Aran
Even more than 30 years after her NES debut in 1986, bounty hunter Samus Aran has not grown tired. Eleven more adventures were to follow until the Wii offshoot Metroid: Other M in 2009 – in 2017 a heavily revised new edition of the second part appeared under the name Metroid: Samus Returns for the 3DS. But we have something even bigger in store for us in the future than the successful remake of developer Mercury Steam. Some time ago, Nintendo announced a continuation with Metroid Prime 4. As the name suggests, this continues the Metroidvania series in the 3D form begun with Metroid Prime.
Here too we will fight our way through a complex game world and successively expand our scope for action with new gadgets and weapons. Brilliant elements from its predecessors, such as the Morphball, are likely to play just as important a role as Samus’ spectacular armor. Nintendo will indeed not be stingy with innovations. However, the Japanese provider is still withholding details on the exclusive switch title. But the chances are good that this will change at E3 in June. We are already sure that the fierce bounty hunter will not be out of business in year 32 of her career.
The Last of Us
Especially in movies, but often also in video games, characters in childhood can get annoying. In Naughty Dog’s survival action game The Last of Us it’s completely different. In it, we fight mainly in the role of survivor Joel for survival. The secret star of the adventure, however, is 14-year-old Ellie. For years the brave girl has been struggling more or less alone with the zombie apocalypse and had to leave her childhood behind. She is the only person who has survived a bite from the infected without becoming one of them. Ellie proves that she can fight herself in the main game of 2013, which appeared about a year later as an improved new edition for PlayStation 4. Finally, the focus was on Ellie in the download expansion Left Behind, which according to some players was even better than the main game.
In The Last of Us 2 Ellie will return at Joel’s side. When the brave young woman appeared in one of the first story trailers of the sequel, it was no coincidence that a cheering storm broke out, which felt even a little bigger than Joel. We firmly expect that we will slip into Ellie’s role more often in the sequel. When exactly the reunion with Ellie in The Last of Us 2 will take place, Sony has not yet revealed. The impressions so far suggest, however, that Uncharted developer Naughty Dog will leave nothing to chance. At present, there is every reason to believe that the Californians could even make their technically outstanding Uncharted 4 look mighty old.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Many players would not have thought that the Dutch development studio Guerilla Games would be such an exciting open-world adventure apart from their Killzone series. Horizon: Zero Dawn taught her otherwise. Is it the fantastic graphics, the diverse Open World or is it the action-packed battles against the mechanical creatures, often inspired by dinosaurs, that captivated us in this way? The answer is simple: All these points contribute to the fascination of the game. Perhaps the biggest part of the immersion has the heroine herself. As an outcast warrior Aloy, we use bows and arrows, spears and many other useful tools to mess with battle machines that have gone wild and are getting ever closer to the secret of their origin.
Aloy has already returned once in the expansion The Frozen Wilds. After the great success of Horizon: Zero Dawn, a sequel to their adventure on PlayStation 4 is likely. Anything else would surprise us. After all, the redheaded heroine effortlessly entered the league of the most hardened female heroes of all time at her first appearance.
The games of Platinum Games are creative, pretty weird and often incredibly fast. Despite extraordinary titles such as their Wii debut Mad World or the arrow-fast action game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, it is above all a series that brought the Japanese studio many fans: Bayonetta. The Umbra witch fights creatures from heaven and hell in the first two parts, recently released for the Switch, to maintain the balance of powers. The smart fighter does not only maltreat the sometimes house-high opponents with blows, kicks and blue beans from her guns. From her hair, she forms magically powerful beings, which break up the adversaries in the form of dragons or gigantic fists.
The power woman is also known for her snappish manner. There is a certain arrogance, but you can forgive Bayonetta quickly if we rush into the great battles and start one combo after the other. A third part, which will be published exclusively for Nintendo’s Switch, is already in progress. There are no details on how the witch’s adventure will continue. But if Bayonetta 3 is only half as good as its two predecessors, we indeed don’t have to worry about an action-packed and entertaining beating trip.
#2 Cate Archer
No One Lives Forever (NOLF)
Cate Archer has a lot in common with James Bond. Both are secret agents of British secret services and have cool gadgets like a lighter you can weld. But the protagonist from No One Lives Forever is different. She fights with conventional weapons from the sub-machine gun to the katana with her opponents. However, she also throws bananas to make them slip, puts on plush slippers to make them hard to hear when sneaking, or distracts her opponents’ fighting dogs with a provocative robot poodle. Incredibly stylish and with a highly satirizing character, the series is also dedicated to its setting in the Swinging Sixties in the midst of the Cold War.
Despite the success of the series of developers Monolith Productions (F.E.A.R), a continuation is currently not in sight. Monolith itself is now part of Warner Bros. interactive entertainment, but the rights to the brand are probably partly owned by Activision after the takeover of the former publisher Sierra.
#1 Lara Croft
It is an absolute style icon and also well known outside the world of computer and video games. Lara Croft owes this not only to the two feature films starring Angelina Jolie – the third film with a new leading actress will follow this year. In the game, archaeologist Lara Croft represents something like the female counterpart of Indiana Jones. Besides her considerable knowledge of ancient civilizations and powerful artifacts of ancient cultures, Lara is also very well versed in the use of weapons. Thanks to her acrobatic abilities she reaches seemingly inaccessible places with daring climbing interludes and risky jumping maneuvers.
Her lush appearance on her game debut in 1996 in Tomb Raider was already sexist. But as short as her shorts were and as much as her sex appeal persuaded adolescents around the world to put up posters of her in her sanctuary, something else led to success. Lara’s adventures always shone with a complex game mechanics of shooters, skill passages and puzzles. Besides, there is a strong tendency to storytelling and cinematic staging. But another important building block, like many other video game heroes of their time, was Sony’s first PlayStation on which Tomb Raider sold particularly well.
A few years ago, the long-time developer Crystal Dynamics granted the action icon a fresh cell treatment. She is still Lara, but the new, younger Miss Croft now shows her vulnerable sides more strongly. The adventurous scientist is as successful as ever. After the pure Tomb Raider christened serial reboot in 2013, Rise of the Tomb Raider already followed me a sequel. The next part, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, shouldn’t be too long in coming. But Lara is on almost all important platforms. With arcadic spin-offs such as Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris or Lara Croft: Go, publisher Square Enix continues the brand on mobile platforms, among others.