news\ Sep 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Top 10 Toughest Females in Gaming

Top 10 Toughest Females in Gaming
By Nick Akerman

A countdown of the memorable women in video games 

With Bayonetta strutting into stores this week, it's time to take a look at the toughest female characters gaming has provided gaming with over the years. We're talking ladies of steel; the kind that don't need to be suffering with hormonal pains to rip your head off. Gone is the insistent need to shop and the power to chat your body into a vacant boredom – these girls have far more pressing matters to get on with. By 'pressing,' we mean they are out saving the world or imprinting their high-heels into the faces of cowering men everywhere.

Before we get started, there is a simple rule for our countdown: only one female character per series is allowed on the list.

10. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil series):

Despite her romantic surname, Jill's resilience to the threat of the undead is no love lost. Trapped inside a mansion with hordes of slithering, groaning men, she's able to pop a bullet into slumping brains before they close in on her. Jill's legend stretches far past being able to dispatch a pack of bloodthirsty dogs or a giant spider before death arrives, she's also one hell of a puzzle solver. So much so, fellow STARS member Barry Burton described her as the “master of unlocking” in her original adventure.

Despite many men hoping he was referring to the key to their heart, he of course meant she is rather useful with a lock pick - something every tough women needs to ensure their dutiful quest isn't hindered by a simple door. Even when Jill faces adversary that cannot be shot down – a crushing ceiling for example – her adeptness at making it out alive immediately puts her into our top 10.

9. Chun-Li (Street Fighter series):

As the only female character on the original Street Fighter II roster, Chun-Li had her work cut out for her. Combining a deceivingly cute Chinese figure with explosive power, her disproportioned thighs have long been in the hearts of many male gamers across the world. Dressed to impress with classily modified outfits, Chun-Li has always outshone other female members of the roster who were added at a later date. In fact, her lightning kicks are so formidable that not even her innocent squeaks and grunts are enough to ease the pain once she's finally done with you.

In the hands of an expert player, Chun-Li's extreme pace and deadly mixed martial arts combos are more than a match for the obvious threat of Ryu and Sagat. She's tackled a hulking Russian wrestler, a clawed Spanish cage fighter and even the psychotic M. Bison for nearly 20 years, but Chun-Li still heads Street Fighter's appeal on the female front.

8. Joanna Dark (Perfect Dark series):

Miss Dark makes it onto the list for many reasons. Firstly, she appears in the future, and has almost definitely outlived the global warming apocalypse we will have all succumbed to by 2016. Secondly, as a spiritual successor to James Bond's legendary GoldenEye 007, she's been crafted with an air of calm slickness just like Ian Fleming's revered agent. She is also the first female on our list to utilize stealth and high-tech gadgets to get the job done. Whether she is setting explosives up to turn her enemies into pulp, or using the trusty Locktopus to surpass a bolted door, her arsenal is varied enough to overcome anything evil corporation dataDyne can throw at her. Joanna's auburn tainted hair should act as a window to her soul for any potential foes: quick-thinking, tactically astute and ready for all hell to break loose, her fiery personality and leather-clad costumes should be admired from a distance only.

7. Faith (Mirror’s Edge):

She's only been with us for a little more than a year, but Faith's mark in the last 12 months shouldn't be doubted. As a child, she witnessed the death of her mother during a political riot and that kick-started the urge to revolt. As oppression grew, so did her ability to wreak havoc on those punching the city forward with an iron-fist. By 16, Faith took to the streets as a petty thief - the beginnings of what would become a gutsy rebellion against 'the cause.' On a typical night out, Faith made herself useful by utilizing her ability to break into apartments and grab the loot before getting caught.

Her life as a free spirit came to a sudden end when Mercury converted her to a Runner, after her attempt to burgle his apartment backfired. Now an adult, Faith’s ability to live on the edge often involves heart-stopping moments of sheer insanity; any woman with the agility and guts to outrun armed police deserves to be recognized as physically tough. As the revolution continues, Faith’s determination to escape unharmed against all odds without the need of weaponry makes her one tough cookie.

6. Sonya Blade (Mortal Kombat series):

Much like Chun-Li, Sonya Blade was the first playable female character in a monster beat ‘em up series. Her appearance may be less innocent than her Street Fighter counterpart, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t broken hearts all over the world. She represents everything a 21st century women should be capable of: mentally focused, intelligent and mean enough to hand a stern-beating to any man that steps out of line.

As long-term admirer and Outworld thug Kano should know, any male that hears the words “Finish Him” after a brief tussle should not get excited.


5. Nariko (Heavenly Sword):

If Kratos were ever to settle down, it would surely be with the PS3’s toughest heroine. Beautifully barbaric and merciless, her elegant combat inspired many to pick up the console in 2007. Similar to Mr. God of War, Nariko possesses the ability to wield legendary weapons with devastating effect. Backed up by an honorable clan, her handling of the ‘Heavenly Sword’ had many jaws hitting the floor on launch day.  

Besides, if her ranging attack style and ballerina-like fluidity didn’t impress, her long flowing red hair and pin-up good looks instantly made her a fan-favorite. As tough as Kratos but lacking the demonically sinister looks, we can only imagine their relationship would come to an untimely QTE-based end when she receives Facebook pokes from admirers.


4. Rubi Malone (WET):

It’s a testament to Rubi’s strength as a character that she makes it to number four, especially after starring in arguably the weakest game on the list. Not afraid to do the dirty work, Rubi has forced hordes of men to meet their maker via her time-slowing skills. Her uncanny likeness to Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Bride’ from the Kill Bill franchise should be condoned, but at least creators Artificial Mind and Movement had the initiative to produce a whisky-slugging, sword wielding female for us to get to grips with.

As the title suggests, Rubi is at her most dangerous when splattered with blood as the taste of the enemy’s crimson catapults her into a ferocious rage. Her proficiency with dual-pistols, a blade, and even heart-splintering crossbows have literally made men disappear on impact – something every woman this side of Pluto dreams of.

3. Blaze Fielding (Streets of Rage series)

Long forgotten by many gamers, Blaze Fielding’s adventures as a thug-jobbing, street-cleaning activist were remarkably vicious. Every attack she unleashes is met with one of the most satisfying sounds in gaming - the Streets of Rage crunch of impact. Strolling along the town to an unforgettable soundtrack, Blaze’s appearance indicated she was heading straight to the disco once the bully beating was done.

Her toughness doesn’t stop at hand-to-hand combat, though; she’s an expert swordswomen and knows how to swing a metal pole towards an opponent’s cranium. Her true talent comes from her digestive skills however, as picking out binned apples and roast turkeys (including the plate) and swallowing them whole is more than enough to propel her towards the summit of the list.

2. Samus Aran (Metroid series)

Not instantly attractive like many of the mistresses on this list, Samus Aran is unlike any other female gaming character. The Power Suit she spends most of her time in doesn’t hide the fact that she’s one of the toughest gaming characters ever. After being orphaned and raised by alien beings, Samus took on the might of bad guys across the galaxy single-handedly, firing them into the solar system with a range of futuristic beams and cannon blasts.

As a ruthless bounty hunter, the first time many of us took control of Samus there was little indication her suit wasn’t running on testosterone. When the revelation immerged that she was in fact a woman, her dominance over a traditionally male role paved the way for other strong female characters. Only now can we sit back and revel in the fact that, when off duty, she’s preparing to audition for the next Legally Blonde film.


1. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider series)

There was never any doubt. Lara’s strength, intelligence, agility and fearless attitude have made her much more than the toughest female in gaming – she’s a cultural icon. Her “well-rounded” figure and Indiana Jones style escapades are known beyond the realms of gaming, and have been brought to Hollywood via superstar actress Angelina Jolie.

Despite a wilt in critical success for the Tomb Raider series as of late, Lara has always been at the top when it comes to gunplay. Her ability to quick-draw two pistols has helped defeat humans, tigers, and many other ghastly beasts, and backed up her straight-talking British accent all over the world with firepower. Lara’s search for mythical artifacts across three generations of consoles are full of bullet-evading somersaults, rolls, and last second ledge grabs that immortalized her as a global superstar. Throw in the fact she loves to ride motorcycles, and can lock her butler in the freezer whenever she wants, and you have yourself the toughest female superstar gaming has ever produced.

Honorable Mentions: Misty (Pokemon series), The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3), Nina Williams (Tekken series), Claire Redfield (Resident Evil series), Cammy (Street Fighter series), Sakura (Street Fighter series), Kasumi (Dead or Alive series), Luger (Killzone).



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