Samus Aran. Lara Croft. Chun Li. Bayonetta. These and a handful of others females are the first ladies of gaming, having headlined classic titles in a hobby where male protagonists are the norm. These ladies rock, for sure, but there are plenty other female video game stars that deserve shine. Ladies that don’t take no guff–the most bad ass, if you will. Here are the top five most bad ass female video game characters.
Ayla (Chrono Trigger)
When you think of a beautiful blonde with a killer body, does a Marilyn Monroe type come to mind? Ayla is just like that, except she prefers bare knuckle skull bashing instead of marrying men in the public eye. The hero of Chrono Trigger‘s prehistoric age, Ayla is the tribal chief of a clan engaged in a constant power struggle with Azala, the head of a humanoid Reptile faction that’s at war with early mankind. Unlike the majority of ’90s RPG women that were typecast as delicate magic users who played support roles, Ayla is a tank of a woman who deals great physical damage. But Ayla’s no one trick pony; she has the the second highest defensive rank behind Robo, a non-living being. Ayla may speak with Savage Hulk’s cadence, but she can kick ass at a level that few video game females have duplicated.
Yuko Ahso (Valis)
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s understandable. Yuko Ahso was the heroine of Telent’s Valis franchise, a series of games that had a few stateside releases, but really shined in Japan in a long-running string of successful Famicom and PC Engine titles. Yuko’s story is typical anime/manga fare: a Japanese schoolgirl (I know, I know) discovers a magic sword, realizes that her best friend is a demon from another dimension, and that she is a prophesied savior of world. Despite the ho-hum plot (which is highlighted by gorgeous anime-style cutscenes), Yuko hacks and slashes her way across urban rooftops, subways, arctic levels, and other locales. After slicing her way through the demon hordes, Yuko eventually ascends to heaven and passes the ass-kicking abilities on to another. It’s high-time for her return on contemporary consoles.
Leona (King of Fighters)
Leona made her SNK debut in King of Fighters ’96 as the replacement for her adopted father, Heidren, on the Ikari Warriors squad ( joining original members Ralf and Clark). Although Leona’s original outfit (not pictured here) saw her decked out in ridiculous military-themed top, shorts, and boots combo that made her very much resemble the toughest Girl Scout ever, she is a howling wolf behind her stoic demeanor. Not only is she skilled in military combat (reflected in her move sets that feature hard slices, and explosive supers), but she is also cursed with the insanity-inducing Orochi bloodline which she fights to control. Should she fail, she’ll transform into an ultra-powerful demon-woman who would snap as she did in King of Fighters 2003 (similar to Iori Yagami in King of Fighters ’97) and lay waste to man, woman, and man-child (here’s looking at you, Bao).
The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater may have focused on the rise of Big Boss (the father of Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, and Solidus Snake), but the it could be argued that the game is truly the story of The Boss. This hardened founder of the secret Cobra Unit and mother of the U.S. special forces claimed victory at Normandy, participated in NASA’s Mercury Project, and gave a C-section birth (resulting in a bad-ass snake-like scar) on the battlefield to the infant that would grow up to become Revolver Ocelot. These instances along would be enough to elevate The Boss to bad ass status, but her ultimate sacrifice, posing as a traitor so that she could recover The Legacy and die at the hands of her mentee Naked Snake to prove the U.S.’ innocence in a nuclear attack on Russia, makes her an immensely tragic figure. And a true patriot.
Shiki (Various SNK fighting games)
Talking about having a hard life. Raised the servant of a dark wizard, Shiki was brainwashed, lost her memory, and then fell in love with an evil clone (and bears his child). After all that, Shiki’s implied death may very well have been a relief. Still, despite all of the chaos surrounding her, Shiki proved herself one bad ass fighter in Samurai Shodown 64, SNK vs Capcom Chaos, Gal Fighters, and other solid SNK 2D fighters. Not only can Shiki teleport around the playfield, drain opponents’ life forces to increase her energy meter, poison or confuse foes, and move at super-speed, but she wields twin katanas for marvelously delightful hack-and-slash fighting action.