Thursday, March 8, 2012

Top Five Leading Ladies

I had a different story to run today, but then I remembered it was International Women's Day. You go, girls! Well, I guess that isn't politically correct nowadays. How about "you go, women?" There we are. This list does not depict the best leading ladies in gaming history; it's more of a my favorite femme fatales list. Which five fabled females will make the cut?

5) Bayonetta (Bayonetta)

A woman with a quartet of guns named parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (named after Scarborough Fair), Bayonetta is a modern day witch with the looks and legs to match. She was given glasses by the character designer to make her look more "mysterious and intelligent." Whether that actually worked is up to the player. All I know is that if you are the type of player who has grown upset or annoyed with women constantly being portrayed as objects of sex in video games, you will not be happy with Bayonetta. The character and game of the same name almost forces you to see her in various sexual poses, legs spread out, guns loaded (among other things), and libido fully prepped.

4) Princess Peach (Super Princess Peach)

I cannot count how many times Bowser has captured Princess Peach Toadstool, royalty of the Mushroom Kingdom. It is probably up there pretty high. When Mario and Luigi get captured by the king of the Koopas in Super Princess Peach, her Highness gets to take on the role of heroine for once. Joined by a parasol that can speak, Peach packs up her things and heads to Vibe Island and its eight themed worlds in order to stage a rescue of a lifetime. Some critics of the game jabbed Nintendo for hinting that all women are overly emotional. This stems from the fact that you can use one of four powers: Joy, Gloom, Rage, and Calm to assist Peach throughout the game. Have a beanstalk sprout that you need to grow immediately? Cry on it. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Peach uses her charm and dashing looks in her Final Smash to knock all opponents unconscious while she either uses the opportunity to attack or to heal up. Peach is an amusing character that I really adore despite her fragile exterior and constant bouts as the kidnap-ee.

3) Joanna Dark (Perfect Dark)

After scoring a perfect score at the Carrington Institute's shooting range test she was known as Perfect Dark. Joanna is a smart-mouthed, wit-filled secret agent who was the main contributor to ousting the conspiracy between the DataDyne Corporation and the Skedar alien race. She is excels at hand-to-hand combat and she is a master pilot and skilled driver. She has a gun for every occasion. The 2000 original game is one of my favorites of all time. The 2005 prequel Perfect Dark Zero sports a new Joanna with a new more Americanized attitude. Her trademark red hair is still present, but she sports an American accent and acts like a bratty teen... which she is. The English, more reserved Joanna is what I remember most from the franchise and care to take away from the series. Her flirty nature, master of weaponry, fisticuffs, and vehicles make her the female equivalent of James Bond. Except she probably doesn't have all the STDs Bond has.

2) Samus Aran (Metroid)

A former soldier for the Galactic Federation (as seen in the polarizing Metroid: Other M), Samus Aran left the Federation to become a bounty hunter. After witnessing her parents be destroyed by the Space Pirates and their leader Ridley, a young Samus vowed to seek revenge. Her power suit comes in multiple varieties such as the Varia, Gravity, and Power suits. These suits all sport a hand cannon and can be upgraded with new abilities like the Screw Attack, Ice Beam, Missiles, Double Jump, and many more. Her appearance in the most recent Metroid game, Metroid Other M, has sparked a lot of bickering among fans and critics. Some say Samus Aran was ruined and spout other hyperbole while others applaud the humanizing of the character. I am somewhere in the middle (see, gamers? You don't have to see everything as the best or the worst, black or white). A oftentimes strong, silent type, Samus Aran screw attacks the second spot on my list.

1) Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

The most significant female lead in gaming, Lara Croft is a household name thanks to one of the few successful games turned to movies crossovers. Played by Angelina Jolie, the name Lara Croft spread into the mainstream subconscious and is now known worldwide. Not many video game characters much more female leads can say that. She is always viewed as pretty, remarkably smart, and amazingly athletic in games and on film. She is English like Joanna Dark, an archaeologist like Indiana Jones, and oftentimes finds herself exploring booby trap-filled tombs (hence the Tomb Raider title of the series). Eat your heart out, Nathan Drake. She is proficient with handguns, can kick all sorts of villainy butt, and always has a clever witticism to boot. Now if there is one leading lady that earns the right to be number one, it's Lara Croft from Tomb Raider.


We've reached the end, my friends. Which heroes of the female persuasion do you envy the most? Did I forget your favorite? Let me know in the comments section.

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