Unlike many Hollywood movies, women in horror gaming have a strong track record of being the hero, not the victim.
They’re also pretty well represented in the genre compared to a lot of other types of games. Here’s my totally subjective list of the most kickass women in horror gaming:
10. Heather Mason (Silent Hill 3)
Heather is the protagonist of Silent Hill 3, my personal favourite in the series. After awakening from a horrific nightmare, she faces a fight for survival which will reveal the secrets of her past and her role in the fate of humanity. It’s a deep, twisting plot and Heather’s bravery in the face of it all earns her a spot on this list.
9. Fiona Belli (Haunting Ground)
Teenager Fiona Belli’s story also begins with an awakening, this time in a remote Italian castle. She soon encounters its various residents, and with the help of adorable German Shepherd Hewie, begins her fight for survival. Fiona embodies the essence of a survival horror character: She’s unprepared and underequipped, but determined to survive and find out the truth.
8. Rochelle (Left 4 Dead 2)
There’s not a whole lot of storytelling in Left 4 Dead, but the voice lines give each character a strong sense of personality. Rochelle is probably the most caring of the group of survivors, always spurring on her teammates when things are looking rough. And her job as a TV producer always sounded really cool to me.
7. Sam Giddings (Until Dawn)
Although there are multiple playable characters in Until Dawn, Sam is at the core of the story. She’s easily the most likeable among the group of friends, and has a deep appreciation of nature and animals that seems lost on the others. She’s played brilliantly by Hayden Panettiere, and features in some of the game’s most exciting moments.
6. Clementine (The Walking Dead)
The main character of the superb Walking Dead interactive series by Telltale starts off as a frightened, vulnerable young girl. As each series progresses and time and circumstance bear down upon her, Clementine hardens in a way that’s both believable and moving to witness. Her interactions and the events seen from her perspective make the Walking Dead games some of the best storytelling in video games ever.
5. Claire Redfield (Resident Evil)
There were bound to be a few Resident Evil stars on this list. Claire Redfield is presented as a college student looking for her missing brother at the start of Resident Evil 2. She soon shows herself to be an extremely capable survivalist. Alongside rookie cop Leon Kennedy, she achieves incredible feats to keep herself and her partners alive. Her interactions with young Sherry Birkin in the 2019 remake are among the best plot elements in the entire series.
4. Ellie (The Last of Us)
Like Clementine in The Walking Dead, Ellie’s story sees a young woman at the cusp of adulthood having to deal with extraordinary circumstances. Though she’s only 14, she holds her own and often shows a sharp contrast between Joel, as she’s never known life before the world changed. Those of us who’ve managed to avoid spoilers for The Last of Us 2 are anticipating how she’ll develop when that game drops next month.
3. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)
Another Resident Evil veteran, Jill Valentine was one of the two playable characters in the OG Resident Evil. With unique skills including lockpicking and, yes, playing the piano, her side of the story is distinctly different to Chris’. And as the protagonist in Resident Evil 3 and with a supporting role in RE5, we get to see how she’s stayed strong in the face of several outbreaks.
2. Amanda Ripley (Alien: Isolation)
The original Alien is one of my favourite films of all time, and the fact that Alien: Isolation is canon in the movie universe is fantastic. The game stars Amanda as she searches for her mother, Ellen, in the far reaches of space. Her skills as a mechanic allow her to use the environment to her advantage as she stays hidden from the overwhelmingly powerful xenomorph. And Andrea Deck’s fantastic voice acting brings the emotion of her struggle to life.
1. Ada Wong (Resident Evil)
With unclear motives and an ice cold attitude, Ada is easily one of the most intriguing characters in gaming. Her revamped look and background in the RE2 Remake have made her even more interesting than in previous titles. With rumours of an RE4 Remake on the horizon, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the mysterious woman in red.