NOTE: This article may contain plot spoilers. Read at your own risk.
It’s October and that means it’s Halloween month. This is the time for all of us gamers to be whipping out all of our horror-themed games (I know I’ve been doing it; Dead Space, Dead Space 2, Silent Hill, and Fatal Frame have been on my schedule).
So, for the Halloween season, I felt like an article in reference to horror games was in order and I thought I’d make one honoring some of video game horror’s awesome females. In a plethora of horror video games, both old and new, you see many a male character always at the forefront, but there are also women characters who are doing just as much damage if not more. In no specific order, I’ve brought you ten out of a wide assortment of female characters in horror games who are rather badass in what they do and what they’ve done in their respective games. without further ado, let’s get started:
Miyako (Forbidden Siren, Siren: Blood Curse)
Hanuda Village is not exactly the safest place to be. Afterall, everyone likes to turn into shibito who’s only purpose is to kill people, thus transforming them into shibito.
And then there’s Miyako. Miyako comes from a family lineage tied into priesthood and thus is born with the ability to stave off the curse that envelops Hanuda village from time to time. She may not seem like much when you play the game–in both games, she is a secondary character that just accompanies the main protagonist; in the original game, she’s blind which keeps her from not being able to avoid attacks as well–but it’s through her that the Hanuda Village curse is destroyed. After she cuts herself intentionally, she melds her blood into into the main protagonist’s blood and transfers her spirit into his weapon which allows the protagonist to face and defeat Datatsushi/Kaiko head-on.
She basically has the power to defeat an ancient God. ‘Nuff said.
Claire Redfield (Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles)
Resident Evil games are fairly well-known for giving us some awesome female protagonists: Jill Valentine, Sheva Alomar, Helena Harper, Rebecca Chambers, and Sherry Birkin to name a few. However, the thing that sets Claire Redfield apart from the others is that when she first popped onto the bio-terrorism scene, she had no formal training–at least on a highly advanced level like many of the other characters. Her brother, Chris, did teach her some skills here and there, but she wasn’t any type of highly-trained officer or agent at the start; she was just a tough biker girl. However, she still managed to hold her own during the Raccoon City siege and also during the Rockfort Island events. She’s in Terra Save now, but it’s those moments toward the start that really set her apart.
Ellie Langford (Dead Space 2)
If you’ve played Dead Space 2, then you should be quite familiar with Ellie. Working under the Concordance Extraction Corporation as a Class IV Heavy Equipment pilot before the Sprawl outbreak, she prove to be a very helpful ally from the time you meet her about halfway into the game. And if you’re familiar with Ellie, you’ll know she doesn’t take crap from anyone and her stance for being awesome is rather evident from the first time you come across her path wherein she’s blasting Necromorphs down whilst taunting them before turning her Plasma Cutter on you (due to some apparent past betrayals).
Later, she even has to occasionally deal with Necromorphs while looking after Marker mental patient, Stross. She ends up losing an eye to Stross and his trusty screwdriver, but she immediately goes after him before he can get to you so she can kick his ass.
So, yeah…she’s pretty much a badass. Something tells me that even though she goes crashing down to Tau Volantis in Dead Space 3, she’ll get by just fine.
Rei Kurosawa (Fatal Frame III: The Tormented)
Sometimes being awesome in a video game doesn’t necessarily mean that you blast whatever is in your way. That’s where Rei Kurosawa, the main protagonist of Fatal Frame III: The Tormented comes in. At the start of the game, Rei has lost her fiancee in a car accident and then finds herself under the effect of a curse wherein a tattoo slowly consumes her body, threatening to send her to her death. Also, there’s ghosts and nightmares…lots and lots of ghosts and nightmares.
The fact that you’d have to deal with the recent death of a loved one is already an upsetting and saddening event, but when you start throwing in nightmares, hauntings, and the prospect of being ultimately killed in a certain amount of time, your life could take a generally maddening turn. However, Rei holds herself together really well and keeps going through with trying to figure out what everything means–even when the boundaries of dream and reality begin to blur through and her friends being affected start to fall around her, she doesn’t give in. So, I have to give this to Rei because she shows great mental and physical fortitude in an event that could usually break anyone down quite easily.
Alexia Ashford (Resident Evil: Code Veronica)
As much as I’d like to avoid using characters from series I’ve already mentioned, I had to put in Alexis Ashford in for one reason…
…she sent Albert Wesker, possibly the most well-known (not to mention main) villain of the Resident Evil series, running because he couldn’t harm her. If you haven’t played Code:Veronica, you could probably find a video of it somewhere. She pretty much backhands him away and sends him running all over the place using her control over fire. He then, pretty much, hightails it after seeing Chris and leaves Chris to deal with Alexia.
Wesker was stationed as this near-impossible villain to take down until he suffered from a missile to the head. The guy had abilities that were superhuman. None of this worked against Alexia who had been infused with the t-Veronica Virus, an alternate version of the Progenitor.
I’m wondering if, given enough time, she could have decimated Wesker in battle. Anyone want to take a guess on this one?
Kaede (Onimusha: Warlords)
Note: You would not believe how hard it was finding a picture of Kaede. Where’s all the Kaede love?
Some of you may argue that Onimusha: Warlords is not a horror game, but I’ll argue that due to the simple fact that it had the right kind of ambiance and atmosphere to qualify it somewhat as a horror game (or horror-themed). As such, I shall include Kaede, the kunoichi partner of series veteran Samanosuke Akechi, in my list.
Whereas Samanosuke needs to acquire Oni power and use various magical weapons to wage combat against the Genma hordes, Kaede is all about utilizing her cunning and agility. Yes, she does get a magical dagger later on in the game, but she was already doing rather well way beforehand. Her kunai also pack quite the punch–sometimes even more so than anything Samanosuke has at that point in game (at least whenever I played the game).
The fact that she places herself into insurmountable odds with only her wits shows that she has fantastic reserve in the face of combat. I think that would qualify her as awesome in my book.
Alma Wade (F.E.A.R. series)
You can’t go wrong with a powerful psychic, and Alma Wade, at least in gaming, is probably one of the most infamous of psychic-powered villains. The range of her psychic powers is almost frightening especially since she had most of them around the age of three and would only further develop as she got older. Not only can she mindlink to the protagonists (Point Man, Fettel, and Becket), but she has the ability to summon nightmares and phantasms, conjure fire through pyrokinesis,use telekinesis, and the ability to literally melt a person into nothing more than a skeleton surrounded by bubbling flesh goo.
If you’re thinking that I’m putting her on the list mainly because of her powers, well then you must be psychic. To make psychic matters worse, keep in mind that she is actually physically dead and all of what she does in the games are due to her psychic energy living well on after physical decay.
In the short time that Alma has been present in the gaming world, she has made onto various “Top Villains” lists all over. That coupled with the fact that she’s one of gaming’s most frightening villains pretty much cements her for a place on this particular list.
SHODAN (System Shock, System Shock 2)
Speaking of crazy villains, here’s SHODAN. I understand that she is a computer program and all, but she looks and sounds like a female so I figured she could make my list.
If you’ve played either of the System Shock games, then you’ll know who SHODAN is and what she’s about. Short for Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, SHODAN served as the primary A.I. for the mining station, Citadel. That is until she is hacked and her ethic barriers are removed. This, of course, turns her into quite the frightening computer program.
What makes her such an awesome character is her presence. The fact that she is an A.I. program for the entire station means she has unlimited access and you never know when she’ll be making herself known. And don’t even get me started on that creepy voice that shifts between, and sometimes combines, different pitches and tones while saying various threatening lines (I looked them up on WikiQuote, damn it!).
Technology knows no other awesome villain then the majesty that is SHODAN. Her animosity and ever watchful cyber-eye should keep you unnerved through the ordeals you have to face.
Alice Liddell (American McGee’s Alice series)
You have to give props to a character who is more comfortable in the throes of insanity. After all, no one wants to deal with the aspect of the mind, but Alice from American McGee’s Alice games is that type of person. If you’re not familiar with Alice, she is the main character of the American McGee games in which the land of Wonderland, as well as Alice’s life, take on very macabre and tragic turns. Throughout both games, it’s hinted greatly that Wonderland is more of a state of imaginative insanity.
In both games, Alice’s insanity is presented as a positive element. In the first game, Alice uses Wonderland as a way to overcome her own guilt due to her being the only survivor of the fire that killed her family. In the second game, it’s used as a way to unravel what happened exactly on the night of the fire. Either way, Alice allows herself to be part of it since not only does it help her figure out her problems or questions, but it also seems like the only place where she feels like she belongs.
I won’t spoil the ending of the second game, but just keep in mind that last thing I said previously. It plays out in the second game’s end. So, that’s Alice–one of the few characters that willingly allows herself to traverse into the gates of insanity. For that, I’d have to say she’s rather deserving on my list.
Alessa Gillespie (Silent Hill, Silent Hill: Origins, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories)
Another psychic has made it onto my list, but for a much different reason. Alessa Gillespie was born to Dahlia, a member of Silent Hill’s The Order, a fanatical religious cult. Alessa was born with vast psychic powers on the level of being able to will someone to die. Because of this, she was not well-liked by people in the community.
After a ritual was performed on Alessa to help birth the Order’s deity, simply called God, Alessa ended up suffering massive burns on her body and was kept hidden in Silent Hill’s basement treated constantly with drugs and unable to give birth to God. When Alessa’s reincarnation, Cheryl, appeared back in Silent Hill, Alessa’s psychic abilities triggered at an enormous rate and unleashed the fog upon Silent Hill.
And therein lies the reason for her inclusion on my list: Alessa, through her psychic power, unleashed the full force of Silent Hill thus “creating” it. Silent Hill was already known for possibly being located on sacred Native American ground, thus it might have held some sacred power. Alessa triggered this power exponentially and ended up creating the Fog World and, possibly, the Other World.
So, all the characters who have had to go through some form of mental torment, having to face down all their inner fears, guilts, and problems in some nightmarish form–they can thank Alessa for bringing it to the forefront.
Well, that’s my list and I hope you enjoyed it. Do you agree with any of my entries? Disagree with any of my entries? Feel free to leave any comments; I do know there’s a long list of awesome women characters in all of horror gamedom that I most likely didn’t get to.
By the way, who would encompass your list if you made one?