There are plenty of female characters in games that are either over sexualised, or "damsels in distress." However, there are also a large range of video game women who can defend themselves, and aren't just sex symbols. These are the types of video game women I prefer to watch or play as in a game.
Leading ladies are pretty popular in games nowadays, so join me as I count down my top 5 gaming heroines.
5. Samus Aran (Metroid)
Encased in a body suit for the majority of the Metroid series, it was easy to mistaken Samus for a man. However, underneath all that armour stands a woman who is a respectable and fearless bounty hunter. Over 25 years have passed since we were first introduced to Ms. Aran, and yet she still manages to hold her position as one of Nintendo's most popular characters.
Her stand-out moment: Defending the galaxy from hoards of space pirates and exterminating the Metroid species. In other words-Samus generally kicking arse.
4. Alice (American McGee's Alice, Alice: Madness Returns)
Alice may be going through a lot of mental issues throughout the game, but the reason why she has made it into this list is her determination, and courage.
American McGee's Alice and it's sequel, Alice: Madness Returns is a bizarre but highly intriguing twist on the classic Lewis Carroll story, Alice in Wonderland. In this version, Alice is battling her inner demons, whilst trying to save her mind's creation-Wonderland, from the evils that lurk inside her head.
In the real world sections of the game, Alice proves herself to be a confident, well-spoken and strong individual. The Wonderland segments provide us with Alice's strength, agility and determination.
Her stand-out moment: Taking down a host of bosses with her range of weapons, then ending it with a wisecrack.
3. Princess Zelda (The Legend of Zelda series)
Unlike Mario's Princess Peach, Zelda is not always kidnapped (although this has happened a few times by Ganon/Ganondorf). Zelda displays magical powers, is responsible for the Triforce of Wisdom, has helped Link out on many occasions, and constantly plays a prominent role in the series.
Her stand-out moment: Transforming into her alter-ego, Sheik to assist Link on his quest in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
2. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil series)
Jill Valentine first appeared in the debut Resident Evil title as one of the prominent officers of the S.T.A.R.S. team. Since then, Jill has featured in more Resident Evil games than any other character, which is some feat.
Jill is an independent and tough woman, who will probably always be remembered for being the "Master of Unlocking", as well as, according to a certain Barry Burton, almost becoming a "Jill sandwich." Jill next makes an appearance in the Nintendo 3DS title Resident Evil Revelations. Somehow, I think we'll be seeing Ms. Valentine for a long time yet.
Her stand-out moment: Defeating the terrifying and hardy Nemesis without another team member in sight.
1. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider series)
Search Lara Croft on the internet and no doubt you'll come across some mocked up art of her naked, or sexualised in some form. Also topping many "sexiest gaming characters" polls, as well as having a legion of fans who fantasise about her, Lara is much more than just a sex symbol.
For one, Lara properly introduced heroines to the gaming world in a large scale when the first game exploded on the scene in 1996. Tomb Raider introduced gamers to a woman who could scale walls, display extraordinary acrobatics, shoot dual pistols at a host of creatures, whilst, like Indiana Jones before her, collecting artefacts.
Lara demonstrates that she is not just a busty woman in skimpy clothing, and helped to redefine gender in games back when the original was released. Lara made a successful transition from video game character to cultural icon to two time Guinness World Records holder. With more games on the horizon, there is no stopping her yet.
Her stand-out moment: Demonstrating her agility and sharpshooter skills whilst taking down a T-Rex single-handedly, with two small pistols.