10. Joanna Dark (Perfect Dark series)
Joanna took the world by surprise when she made her debut on the Nintendo 64. It had been a while since a female character had made it to the center of gaming, unless you count Lara Croft. She was a brass tacks kind of woman who did her missions no questions asked and looked very cool doing it. She was sleek and smooth all rolled into one and can run with any of the boys and show them up when it comes to military tactics. Of course, being a bounty hunter helps her along in the powerful woman department. You have to have a certain something extra in order to dish it out and receive it, and Joanna did it with style.
9. Claire Redfield (Resident Evil series)
What would you do if you had a relative who just vanished? You would go looking for them, right? Well, maybe Claire should have just waited on the phone call from her big brother before racing to Raccoon City to find him. As we all know, once she got there she had an entire city of brain starved zombies looking to eat her and her new friend Leon Kennedy. Much like her brother, she saw the situation before her and took matters into her own hands. After surviving the horrors of Raccoon City, she was not done. In fact, she continued to search for Chris until finally finding him. At every turn, she stood looking the hungry abominations in the face, and calmly and coolly with her shotgun.
8. Jade (Beyond Good and Evil)
Power to the press! That was the message I received from one of the strongest willed female characters I have ever enjoyed playing as. Yeah, having Jade take pictures of animals seemed to be a little ho-humish, but it added that sense of pride that most journalists seem to have. While those animal pictures were used as a source of currency, it was the other pictures we could take that filled us with a deep seeded adoration of delivering the truth to the people. Jade reminded me of some of the strong female reporters who have been present in literature throughout the years, yet she had her own style that refused to be compared to anyone else.
7. Aya Brea (Parasite Eve series)
Imagine a night out on the town. You are going to the opera to see a new show everyone seems to be raving about. Then, in the climax of the opera, people start combusting and the entire hall becomes a blaze of flames. What would you do? Maybe run out with the rest of the crowd. Not this tough New York Cop. Aya races to the stage to confront the woman on stage to question her as to what has happened, yet discovers this woman is crazy as she attacks her. After the initial attack, Aya spends the rest of the game trying to figure out her past and how to put an end to the horrid creatures that are plaguing the city. She does it all with a coolness that not even Jack Frost could rival.
6. Yuna (Final Fantasy X)
The authenticity of a character is important above anything else, and Yuna carried her authenticity throughout two games, a feat that is almost unheard of in any videogame character. Now, I will admit that in Final Fantasy X she had her moments of doubt and insecurity. However, these humanistic flaws brought her into a sharper realization of a great character all the way around. With her own title to lead, she held on tight to the qualities she had in X, but broadened to show growth and perseverance throughout the sequel while she searched for that love she feared she had lost. It was her realism that enabled her to not only save her world once, but twice. That is one quality that should be present in every character: the willingness to save everyone and put your goals aside to do it. Yuna did this and more.
5. Heather Morris (Silent Hill 3)
Heather makes the list mainly for all the crap she had to go through in order to just live. She was the little girl you chased after in the original Silent Hill all grown up. An average teen who should have been able to live a normal life, but it was the undeniable hell town of Silent Hill that refused to let her live her life.
The one thing that was most important to her was ripped from her before she decided to face the horrors she was destined to face. Fear washed over her at every turn the same way it did us. Yet, she carried on. Through the lies and deception, she prevailed until the end. Changed, devastated, and vindicated, how could she ever return to the "normal" world? She did not know, but she was going to find out and we were happy for her.
4. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider series)
When I started this list, I knew that once I was closer to the top it would become increasingly hard. Several female characters out there stand for the vigilance required to be a good character. I have to admit that even though Lara has become an icon outside of videogames, I debated long over including her in the list. However, when I revisited her first outing into the videogame world I realized one thing. Despite all of her design follies, here was a solid female character who has produced several sequels in her series and will produce several more. It is because of the over the top adventures she has taken and the savvy style she seems to increase in each installment that I say she deserves the nod on the list. She is very strong willed and has an enormous amount of character depth that some male characters could take a page or two from.
3. Samus Aran (Metroid series)
Taking on an entire race of nasty aliens is enough to warrant any character the status of ultra cool; just ask Master Chief. However, to have a player drudge through countless levels of these nasty aliens wearing awesome armor and then drop the largest bombshell in videogame history was one of the smartest moves ever. The bombshell, of course, was to reveal the hero we were playing as was a female warrior. For years, Samus has been something of a mold for developers to build after. She has since become one of the most important female characters ever. In fact, next to Ripley from the Alien series, there is no other person I would rather have take on hordes of aliens. Then again, Samus does have the cool armor, so I guess Ripley is out of the question as well.
2. Princess Zelda (The Legend of Zelda series)
I know what you thinking: she is always kidnapped and there is no way she is that strong of a female character. I would have agreed at one time. However, after the years of playing through the rescue mission of Link, I realized something. Zelda was not as weak as we were lead to believe. This became even more apparent with the N64 title The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. Zelda had disguised herself as a warrior named Sheik. Sheik gave us a run for our money more often than not in the game. Shrouded in mystery, she was able to do things we would have never imagined the good Princess to do. Compared to the bombshell of Samus, Princess Zelda revealing to be Sheik might not have been as huge, but it definitely ranks up there. It has quickly become a welcomed character trait of Zelda. To be able to hold her own against the evils that face her kingdom is something another princess could learn.
1. The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)
What makes a woman stand out amongst countless men? Is it her looks, her willingness to do what she needs in order to be noticed, or is it her sense of pride in herself? To me, there is one trait above all others that will always make the female characters of videogames stand out, and that is honor. Not just honor in what they are fighting for or protecting, but honor in themselves. The ability to tell the difference in what was right and wrong and knowing what must be done in order to undo the wrongs that have done. One character sticks in my mind who has more honor in her than nearly every male character combined, The Boss. Yes, she was the supposed villain of the third installment into the series, but she was so much more than that. She didn't constantly try to defeat Snake to prove herself the better; she did it out of honor. She knew what was to happen to her, yet she refused to try to change that. Not once did she beg for the end to be quick. Not once did she try to make a different choice that would ensure her survival. She stood strong waiting for her final dance with the man who would soon discover that the world they lived in was filled with more betrayal than he could take. It was her sense of honor that made you feel that in the depths of your soul both pride and pain over her loss. The Boss is, in my eyes, the strongest female character to appear in videogames to date.