I’m A Survivor: 8 Of Survival Horror’s Toughest Leading Ladies

The survival horror genre, being all about survival and horror, is a great place to find some of the most memorable and badass characters in video gaming. It’s also especially great when they’re female.

Sure, I’m biased in that I am one too. A female, that is, not a badass video game character (to my utter despair). But badass female characters are just particularly cool because they also bash ye olde stereotype of females as mere damsels in distress, a stereotype that is thankfully now more outdated than ever. There sure are a lot of them, but here are our picks for the toughest leading ladies in the survival horror genre.

Regina (Dino Crisis)

This fiery-haired intelligence operative from Capcom’s classic Dino Crisis games is the epitome of cool. Smart, witty, beautiful, able to take on dinosaurs and not die – she’s the whole package. The kind of gal you get confused over: do you want to be her or to be with her?

Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)

Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without some mention of Resident Evil. Capcom is evidently in the habit of thinking up some superb female characters, and Jill is undoubtedly a legendary one. In fact, she was survival horror’s first playable female character back in the first Resident Evil game released in 1996.

Heather Mason (Silent Hill 3)

Heather (slash Cheryl, and sort-of-slash Alessa) is probably the most interesting of our bevy of badass beauties. Unsurprising, seeing as everything in the Silent Hill world is interesting. Heather has one of those addictive personalities where it’s difficult not to like her. Besides that, she’s incredibly tough, bravely facing up to all the wild goings-on in her brutal Silent Hill-y world.

Susan Ashworth (The Cat Lady)

Susan is by far the most unassuming heroine of our bunch, which is exactly how she is intended to be portrayed in this brilliant game. Unassuming, but absolutely unstoppable. Besides the whole immortality thing, she’s survived dreadful ordeals in her personal life with unparalleled resilience. And she loves cats, which is always going to count in one’s favor.

Amanda Ripley (Alien Isolation) 

Daughter of the equally superb Ellen Ripley, Amanda is awe-inspiring in her ability to survive against all odds, all the while holding onto her level-headed and no-nonsense attitude. Anyone who has to deal with a xenomorph’s shenanigans aboard a crumbling deep-space station is surely deserving of recognition. Amanda just happens to do it so dang well, too.

Jennifer (Rule of Rose)

Our dear friend Jennifer has to deal with so much trash. This controversial game manages to create some of the most disturbing situations in gaming history: can’t get much worse than children tying live rats to the end of sticks and rubbing them in each others’ faces. Or tying up a dog and suspending it upside down in mid-air. Poor Jennifer has this and much more to contend with in her twisted upbringing, and although she is portrayed throughout the game as rather helpless, that moment when she finally stands up for herself is quite breathtaking.

Ellie (The Last Of Us)

This is a no-brainer. Ellie has to be one of the single most legendary video game characters of all time, with an unmatched fighting spirit and feistiness that is nothing short of brilliant. She manages to be both unwaveringly brave and charmingly innocent at the same time. Everybody loves to love Ellie.

Clementine (The Walking Dead)

We’ve watched her grow from a little sprout in a baseball cap into a young woman capable of pretty much anything. She’s had to endure more than one could imagine (that final scene with her and Lee? Can we not?) and yet somehow manages to remain a source of unending hope and determination. The Walking Dead‘s Clementine has gone down in history as one of the most superb epitomes of strength and bravery ever to grace the gaming world.

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