From the still-underrepresented world of female video game characters, we've pulled together a team of the most memorable, compelling and iconic. Sidekicks are OK; solo stars are better. Damsels in distress were considered...provided they got less damsel-y and more fully realized with each adventure.
Who's No. 1? Let's count them down, from the great to the really great.
This underrated, ill-treated soldier has been celebrated as one of the original Mortal Kombat characters, but she's also been forgotten, left out of several editions. In the end, she's a survivor -- a character that, according to Game Rant, has evolved into "more than just a pretty face."
Caption byJoal Ryan
/ Photo by Warner Bros. Interactive
This "bloodthirsty" half-vampire, half-human is a multimedia force, the star of her own game and movie franchises, as well as the (topless) face of the gaming industry for a famous Playboy profile.
Caption byJoal Ryan
/ Photo by Majesco Entertainment
This character has progressed from a bit part in the original Silent Hill to the protagonist of Silent Hill 3 (and the film, "Silent Hill: Revelation"). The first female (and teenager) to lead the horror franchise, Heather is an upgrade over "her two bland-o male predecessors," Game Revolution judges.
The namesake of the shooter game Perfect Dark is a spy who can really shoot. It's not for nothing that Entertainment Weekly says of the character, "When James Bond goes to sleep, he dreams of being Joanna Dark."
In 1986, the original players of Metroid didn't know until the end of their journey that the armored bounty hunter at the center of the sci-fi action was, in fact, one of gaming's pioneering female power characters.
Chell doesn't speak in the shooter game, but she's heard loud and clear. Her "plain orange jump suit" and "no hint of personality," Games Radar says, "celebrate[s] the empowerment of the feminine rather than subjugating it to objectification by the male gaze."