WARNING: This article contains many spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Why is it that women are underrated as horror video game characters? Time and time again the girls are portrayed as damsels in distress that fail to fight their way out of a paper bag. However, despite the negative light women are forever being shown in, there have thankfully been a few female characters that have redefined and reestablished women’s standards in video games. It seems as though the horror genre especially houses several strong females worth mentioning in today’s article. So we have put together an interesting list to pay tribute to the most bad-ass good and evil horror game females. Enjoy!
10. Alessa Gillespie (Silent Hill, Silent Hill 3, Silent Hill: Origins, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories)
Alessa is the daughter of Dahlia Gillespie, a member of Silent Hill’s religious cult, The Order. She was born with extraordinary supernatural powers that enabled her to do incredible things such as being able to will someone to die. Many in and out of The Order are afraid and shun her for her dangerous abilities.
After Dahlia uses Alessa to birth the Order’s God in a ritual, she is scarred with severe burns on her body. Following this, she is kept hidden away in a basement, receiving constant medical care. With Alessa’s reincarnation, Cheryl appears in Silent Hill, her psychic abilities triggered at an alarming rate, unleashing the fog upon the town. Here lies the reason she was included on this list:
through her psychic abilities, Alessa unleashes the full force of Silent Hill, thus creating it. Silent Hill was already believed to be settled on scarred Native American ground. This means it possibly held some sacred power that amplified Alessa’s damage. So all the mental and nightmarish torture that the characters have to deal with is thanks to Alessa.
9. Alma Wade (F.E.A.R. series)
Another psychic has made our list–Alma Wade is one powerful psychic and arguably one of the most infamous psychic powered villains ever. Since birth, she’s had her psychic abilities and over time they have bloomed into something truly frightening. This character can not only mindlink to protagonists Point Man, Fettel, and Becket, but also has the ability to summon nightmares and hallucinations.
In addition to this, she has pyrokinesis, telekinesis, and literally can melt a person down to the bone. However, perhaps the scariest thing about her is the fact that she is not even a living person. Alma is physically dead and all the chaos she causes in the games are through her soul living on because of her psychic energy. She has been featured on multiple game villains lists. So that paired with the fact that she is one of gaming’s most terrifying villains earns her a spot on this list.
8. SHODAN (System Shock, System Shock 2)
Technically, SHODAN is an A.I computer who only looks and sounds like a female, but that shouldn’t keep her from this list. If you’ve played any of the two System Shock games then you know this character well. Short for Sentient Hyper Optimized Data Access Network, SHODAN served as the A.I for the research and mining station, Citadel. After her system gets hacked and all her moral restraints are removed, she becomes the computer program from Hell. Since she is the A.I program for the entire space station, she has unlimited access and the ability to appear anywhere at any time.
7. Miku Hinasaki (Fatal Frame, Fatal Frame III: The Tormented, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water)
Miku breaks the barriers of what a stereotypical female character is when she steps foot into the haunted Himuro Mansion to look for her missing brother, Mafuyu Hinasaki. She finds no clues of her brother ever being in the mansion and only finds her mother’s old camera.
Trapped in this ghost infested mansion, she uses the Camera Obscura as a means of defence. While also continuing to look for her brother and a way out. Any sister that would risk being murdered by a vengeful spirit for her brother is a bad-ass in my book.
6. Ellie (The Last of Us, The Last of Us: Left Behind)
The lovable, foul mouth, pint sized, legend herself. Anyone who has played The Last of Us can easily understand why Ellie is on this list. She reintegrated the pivotal role women can have in video games, even outside of horror. She is introduced as a teenage girl whom Joel must escort across a post-apocalyptic United States.
However, we quickly realise that she is not your typical female character. She assists Joel in kicking zombies’ and humans’ asses, even saving him from being killed on numerous occasions. In addition to this, she is immune to the virus and is believed to be the answer to a potential cure.
With those many things and her wise beyond her years wisdom, Ellie makes for the perfect companion in a zombie apocalypse and the ideal female heroine.
5. Zoey (Left 4 Dead)
Some might be opposed to Zoey appearing on this list over Rochelle, but we have our reasons. Zoey was an average college student with less than appealing grades. She preferred to watch horror movies in her dorm instead of studying. Turns out this would come in handy during the sudden outbreak in Left 4 Dead.
Part of the reason Zoey was such an interesting character is because she looks like a girly girl, being small and seemingly nonathletic. She looks every bit the stereotypical damsel in distress character. However, she proves looks can deceiving as she kicks as much zombie ass as the male characters around her. At first glance, she doesn’t appear to be the kind of action heroine we’ve become used to and that’s what makes her unique.
4. Ellie Langford (Dead Space 2, Dead Space 3)
For those of you who’ve played Dead Space 2, you’ll be quite familiar with this female character. Before the Sprawl outbreak, Ellie worked as a Class IV Heavy Equipment Pilot under the Concordance Extraction Corporation. When she is introduced to us halfway through the game, she proves herself to be a reliable ally to Isaac and a bad-ass right off the bat. This no nonsense kind of girl’s first scene depicts her blasting Necromorphs down and taunting them.
Following this, she turns her Plasma Cutter on you — Isaac and Ellie have a troubled past together. Later on, a mental patient she is looking after, named Stross, uses a screwdriver to take one of her eyes out. However, this doesn’t break her spirit and she attacks him from behind before he can get to you (Isaac).
Even Ellen Ripley would be impressed of this character’s resilience.
3. Claire Redfield (Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles)
Claire was first introduced in Resident Evil 2, where she entered Raccoon City in search of her brother, Chris. Unlike the majority of the other characters, Claire had no previous training of any kind whatsoever. She only knew a few things that Chris had taught her. Despite this, she was able to go head to head with hordes of zombies in Raccoon City and survive the events on Rockfort Island in Resident Evil: Code Veronica.
Her lack of experience actually made her more relatable and she was even able stand her own against fan favourite, Jill. Claire is now an activist for the organisation TerraSave. She has come a long way from the biker chick she once was.
2. Heather Mason (Silent Hill 3)
Heather is Harry’s adopted daughter and the reincarnation of Alessa Gillespie and Cheryl Mason. This makes her a target of a cult’s priestess, who wants to use her to rebirth the cult’s god. Her father Harry is murdered, she encounters several hideous creatures who attempt to end her life, and she becomes entrapped in the Otherworld. While going through this hell, she remains somewhat numb to the nightmare around her and continues to move onward, unscathed.
Another thing that sets her apart was her sharp-wittedness, short temper, and surprising invulnerability. She wasn’t frail or an innocent schoolgirl like her female counter parts at the time. Heather was only an ordinary teenager who experiences real change, transforming into a truly kick-ass character during her journey. She has been overwhelmingly praised by critics and is regarded as a revolutionary female character in gaming.
1. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil: Revelations)
Where do we even began? In Resident Evil (1996 & 2002), Jill was one of the only two females featured in the game. While Rebecca was a bad-ass character in her own right, she just couldn’t hold a flame to Jill Valentine. From surviving a mansion full of the undead to defeating Nemesis, a supped up Tyrant soldier, Jill has set the standard for female characters in horror gaming. She is highly praised and adored by fans and critics alike, also remaining a recurring character in the Resident Evil series for good reason.
In addition to topping female characters lists, she has topped non sex based video game characters lists numerous of times. There is no doubt Miss Valentine has earned her place as the best female character in horror gaming.