01. Sarah Kerrigan (StarCraft)
As a human, a young Sarah Kerrigan was found to have the most powerful psionic abilities in the history of mankind, causing her to kill her parents and fall into the hands of the Confederate government, who made her a weapon. Rescued by Mengsk, Kerrigan began to finally live her own life, only to be betrayed by Arcturus in his quest for power. Taken under the wing of the Overmind, Kerrigan once again became an engine of death until Raynor manages to make her human again. This is where Kerrigan really earns her stars; rather than staying human and rejoining Raynor, Kerrigan decides that her destiny is with the Zerg, whom only she can save from being used as a weapon by the Xel’naga.
02. Samus Aran (Metroid)
Not many jobs are as badass as bounty hunting, especially when it’s in space. Not only is she a space-going mercenary, but one who operates alone, which definitely scores her some solid cool points. To top off the whole strong and silent thing she’s got going on, many a gamer has mistakenly imagined Samus as a man, only to find out that she’s actually a total babe in addition to being a maverick. Basically a much sexier version of Boba Fett, Samus is the very definition of an independent woman.
03. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
A very controversial character when it comes to the depiction of females in gaming, Lara Croft quite recently underwent a transformation in the latest Tomb Raider from Square Enix. In this reboot of the series, we see Lara embark on her unexpected first adventure, setting out to simply survive at first but eventually honing her into the unshakable hero we expect her to be. Seeing Lara’s initial uncertainty and weakness makes her transformation all the more impressive and inspiring.
04. Alyx Vance (Half-Life 2)
Smart, strong and athletic are all traits that could be used to describe this rough and tumble heroine. As the daughter of Dr. Eli Vance, science and technology are second nature to Alyx, allowing her to navigate Combine computer systems or build monster robots like Dog. Just as capable when it comes to a physical challenge, Alyx knows her way around a gun and uses her athletic ability to navigate the ruins of City 17 with ease, facing down those Combine or headcrab zombies with confidence and skill.
05. Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII)
Unlike practically every other human female in the Final Fantasy series, Lightning’s character is not defined by her gender. Often coming off as cold, short-spoken and confrontational by those who do not know her, Lightning tends to hold others at a distance, perhaps fearing the responsibility of having friends. As only the second ever female Final Fantasy protagonist, Lightning radiates strength and determination, making her a natural leader as well as a skilled warrior.
06. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)
An explosives expert and member of Raccoon City’s elite S.T.A.R.S team, Jill Valentine was once an operative in the U.S. Army’s secretive Delta Force and one of the first to discover the horrors created by the Umbrella Corporation. Ever since the Raccoon City incident, Jill has channelled her considerable combat skills towards bringing Umbrella to justice. Always cool and calm when shit hits the fan, Jill Valentine is one hell of a professional soldier.
07. Maya (Borderlands 2)
As one of the six powerful Sirens that exist in the universe, Maya was used from infancy as a tool of control by a religious government called the Order of the Impending Storm. After concluding her training and reaching adulthood, Maya rejected her title as goddess and savior, preferring instead to kill her captors and seek information about her Siren lineage on Pandora.
08. Chell (Portal)
Little is known about the mysterious Chell other than the details found in her personnel file. Also known as Test Subject #1, Chell was initially rejected as a subject due to her abnormally high score in the tenacity trait, which ultimately proves to be the end of GLaDOS. Not especially fast, strong or smart, Chell’s greatest asset is her unassailable determination.
09. Joanna Dark (Perfect Dark)
Inspired by heroines like Dana Scully, Nikita and Joan of Arc, Joanna Dark is the very embodiment of a femme fatale, making use of her considerable training and intelligence to achieve her end goals. Unlike many female video game protagonists, Joanna was designed with practicality in mind, giving her the realistic body type, outfit and short hair style that best suit her occupation as a super spy.
10. Faith Connors (Mirror’s Edge)
Young and independent, Faith Connors risks life and limb to fight the tyrannical grip that holds her city after being taken in off the streets by the rebel organization known as the Runners. All of Faith’s actions are motivated by her hatred for the regime, as her mother was killed during the riots that eventually saw them come to power. A freedom fighter in the truest sense of the word, Faith will stop at nothing to have what she sees as justice carried out.