Female video game characters have come a long way. Once used primarily as damsels in distress, the fairer sex wasn’t exactly well represented when it came to the early days of this new interactive medium. However, as video games became more and more popular, female characters finally broke free of their helpless maiden role and became interesting, well rounded characters in their own right. Thankfully, developers and artists still kept the more ‘feminine attributes’ of these characters and they continued to bring sexiness to even the most masculine, testosterone-fuelled video games. From blotchy bunches of pixels to photorealistic 3D models, some of these characters have been entertaining players in more ways than one for over 30 years.
10. Juliet Starling – Lollipop Chainsaw
Juliet Starling is the embodiment of pretty much every fetish and kink you can think of. A sexy and barely legal blonde girl who wears a cheerleader outfit and likes nothing more than sucking on lollipops, it wasn’t exactly an accident that the character is as blatantly sexualised as possible. However, although she looks like she belongs in a very niche genre of adult games, Juliet Starling is the star of Lollipop Chainsaw; a bloody hack ‘n slasher which sees her slicing and dicing through waves of undead foes with a trusty chainsaw.
9. Cortana – Halo Series
Proving that even in the future people are still probably going to be obsessed with putting a pretty face to their computer characters, Cortana is an AI construct from the Halo series. As sexy as she is super intelligent, Cortana is blue-skinned with tastefully covered black, circuit board style strips and electrical pulses running up her body. However, despite this weird, electrical vibe, she’s always a welcome sight in Master Chief’s neural interface.
8. Princess Peach – Mario Series
It’s hard to think of a female character who plays hard to get more than Princess Peach. The object of Mario’s affections, the Goomba-stopping plumber goes through an awful lot to get to Peach in Super Mario Bros., yet each time he thinks he is close to rescuing her he discovers that the Princess is actually in another castle. It’s a frustrating and admittedly pretty cheap tactic to extend the game, but it neatly sums up the relationship between the two characters as she barely offers Mario anything more than a kiss throughout the entire series. She may seem a little prudish and her iconic pink ballgown definitely isn’t as revealing as the outfits worn by other video game characters on this list, but there’s something about this royal subject that players just can’t get enough of.
7. Bayonetta – Bayonetta
Plenty of female characters have impossibly proportioned physiques and just plain impractical costume choices, but Bayonetta is definitely one of the most confusingly sexy characters in recent memory. A leather clad, gun-toting witch, Bayonetta has massive breasts, long flowing hair which she can use to attack foes with and, perhaps weirdest of all, she wears a pair of dorky-looking glasses at all times (the game’s director Hideki Kamiya said this was to make her seem intelligent and differentiate Bayonetta from other female characters, but it’s still an odd fashion choice). Even for a Japanese game it’s hard to take the whole conflicting ensemble seriously, but Bayonetta is an undeniably hot character despite the fact that her appearance makes her look like annoying American politician Sarah Palin.
6. Ada Wong – Resident Evil 2
Never one to let the zombie apocalypse impede on her fashion choices, Ada Wong is probably best remembered by gamers because she wears a revealing, leggy red dress. She may have been a double-crossing secret agent and it wasn’t always clear whose side she was on, but Ada brought some much needed sexiness to a series which had far too many things with rotting flesh.
5. Strippers – Duke Nukem 3D
Macho ass-kicking, bubble-gum chewing Duke Nukem likes nothing more than saving the world from aliens with one bullet at a time, but that still doesn’t mean he hasn’t got time for the finer things in life. Duke Nukem 3D broke the mould with its highly interactive and destructible environments, but what most players remember from the game is that they were able to tip strippers money in return for a quick flash of their breasts. Pressing the action key near the pole-dancing honeys will make Duke hand over a folded dollar bill and say a typically cheesy quote (“Shake it baby!” or “Wanna dance?”) while the stripper removes her top and shows off some multi-coloured nipple tassels. It’s a seemingly pointless interaction as the player doesn’t get any health or power ups by doing it, but its little moments like this that makes Duke Nukem 3D one of the best FPS games ever made.
4. Lara Croft – Tomb Raider Series
Few video game character’s appearances have been the subject of as much intense debate as Lara Croft’s. When she debuted in the original Tomb Raider game in 1996, players just couldn’t get enough of this strong, badass female character. However, some players felt like this seemingly positive feminine image was undermined somewhat by the attention focused on Lara’s huge breasts which were exaggerated even more by her impossibly tiny waistline. Her figure may have had some sharp polygon edges, but her posh voice, fierce attitude and skimpy outfit were undoubtedly created with sexiness in mind. Lara was one of the first video game characters to really break out as a sex symbol in the mainstream and the game’s developer Eidos Interactive always made sure to use that fact to their advantage. Although the latest title in the Tomb Raider series has done away with her unrealistic proportions and revealing outfits, Lara is still one of the hottest characters in gaming.
3. Samus Aran – Metroid Series
Still one of the most ass-kicking female protagonists of all-time, Samus Aran was also the very first playable female character in a video game. However, the twist was that most players didn’t realise this fact until the very end of the game. The first Metroid title was released in 1986 for the NES and, depending on how quickly players completed the game, they got to see Samus reveal what was underneath the armoured Power Suit. Samus removed her helmet to players who finished the game in between 3 to 5 hours, but those who were skilful enough to do it in under an hour got to see her in a bikini. Thankfully, more recent games in the series haven’t made it as difficult to appreciate Samus’ curvy form and she even traded her frumpy, bulky body armour for a sexy skin-tight Zero Suit in Metroid: Other M.
2. Joanna Dark – Perfect Dark
It may seem wasteful dedicating a spot on this list to a protagonist from a first person shooter purely for the reason that you spend most of the game only looking at their hands, but Joanna Dark still appears in enough in-game cut scenes for players to get a good look at what they’re working with. Developer Rare had set themselves quite a goal when they decided to return to FPS games having revitalized the genre with Goldeneye three years earlier, but they managed to outdo themselves by creating an even sexier secret agent than stuffy old James Bond. However, Joanna doesn’t bother herself wasting time with the art of seduction – although she easily could – as she’d much rather just shoot people in the face.
1. Chun-Li – Street Fighter Series
The fighting/beat ‘em up genre has some tough competition when it comes to the hottest video game girls. The likes of Soul Calibur, Tekken and even the grim and gritty world of Mortal Kombat all have female fighters who wear next to nothing while they’re kicking ass (and that’s saying nothing of Dead or Alive – a fighting series wholly devoted to girls wearing nothing more than underwear and bikinis). However, although her original graphics are a bit dated and she doesn’t quite have the photorealism of her modern competition, it’s hard to beat the original Chun-Li from Street Fighter 2. Thankfully she hasn’t aged in the newer games since her first appearance in 1991, and players still find the leggy high-kicker as hot and intimidating as ever. Other girls in the Street Fighter series may wear much less (Cammy instantly springs to mind) and recent makeovers of Chun-Li have seen her wearing skimpier clothing, but nothing beats her original costume. It’s easy to see why this is the empowering and revealing outfit of choice for many sexy video game cosplayers.