Chell  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Chell  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Girls with Guns: Top 10 video game women with serious firepower Thu, 27 Aug 2015 09:38:22 -0400 David Fisher


That's all folks!


This is the end of my Top 10 Girls with Guns list. It's great to know that there's such a diverse set of women in video games that are able to stand among the guys in the big-leagues in terms of firepower, but I'm sure everyone can think of their own favorite gun-gals.


This is where I turn it to you! What other gun-totting girls in gaming can you come up with? Where would you place them on the list? Do you disagree with any of my claims or placements? Leave your opinions and ideas in the comments section below!


#1 Samus Aran - Metroid


Some of you might be unimpressed by the Metroid protagonist taking the #1 spot, but hear me out because Samus Aran just might be the most dangerous gun-girl on this list. In fact, her abilities not only rival, but surpass Bayonetta's in combat, and here's why.


Unlike Bayonetta, Samus's weaponry has no drawbacks. Should Bayonetta die, her soul is forfeit. While this doesn't matter too much, there is one thing that does: Samus's suit never tries to kill her. In Bayonetta 2, Bayonetta's own demon summoning tries to kill her. Had Jeanne not stepped in the way, Bayonetta would be having a nice date with the devil as her soul gets eaten by demons. Samus? No such problem.


Okay, so maybe that's not fair, but lets look at their weapons. Samus has Power Bombs and the Hyper Beam. Both weapons are capable of penetrating walls, armor, and killing just about everything except for Samus. Even if we take the Hyper Beam out of the equation, Samus's Ice-Plasma-Wave-Long Beam of doom is enough to take out Bayonetta's demons. How do we know this? Because both demons and angels in Bayonetta bleed, and if there's anything that Metroid fans know it's that if it bleeds, Samus can kill it.


If that's not enough of a hard sell for the toughest critics, consider this: Samus has a tendency to not destroy temples or cities. No... Samus destroys planets. Over her career Samus has completely destroyed several planets, namely: Zebes, SR-388, and Phaaze. She also technically destroys Dark Aether if you want to count that too.


Tack on Samus's numerous suit upgrades, energy tanks, and weapons and you have one of the most over-powered heroines in the history of gaming. With such a track record, Samus Aran gets the honor of the #1 spot on this list.


#2 Cereza/Bayonetta - Bayonetta


This sultry, sexy, and over-the-top gun-slinging babe is perhaps one of the most controversially discussed females in gaming. Why? Because even feminists can't seem to decide if she's a derogatory or empowering character.


While I'll leave that debate to someone else, I will say that Bayonetta certainly earns a #2 spot on this list. Having saved the world from apocalyptic destruction on more than one account, our little "Cherry" is one of the most lethal women in this list. With the powers of Hell at her disposal, Bayonetta has taken on - not one - but two gods, multiple archangels, several archdemons, and Rodin (basically Satan himself) in her short career.


Bayonetta's arsenal is nothing to scoff at either. If you thought dual-wielding guns was impressive, Bayonetta quad-wields a series of swords, pistols, flamethrowers, and rocket launchers. On top of that she has the ability to summon archdemons at will. While she is technically the hero of her series, she tends to be just as destructive as her opponents. Bayonetta has destroyed planes, airfields, skyscrapers, towns, cities, and more without much effort at all.


But there's always a bigger fish. That leaves us with the #1 gun-gal on our list...


#3 Commander Shepard - Mass Effect


Commander Shepard is perhaps one of the most powerful - and empowering - females on this list. Not only can she look as realistic, unrealistic, beautiful or... homely... as you want. She can also be as flirtatious or as dangerous as you want. But we're not here for her social life. Instead, we're here for the weapons of mass effect (get it?) that are at Shepard's disposal.


In example, Shepard is capable of using a number of weapons types ranging from space pistols, to shotguns, assault rifles, and snipers. However, it's Mass Effect 2 in particular that Shepard carries around the most heat. Weapons like the M-920 Cain nuclear launcher or the M-490 Blackstorm are literally weapons of mass destruction. This puts her above Nova Terra since she can pretty much launch a miniature nuclear bomb at any time.


While this is great and all, Shepard herself is not exclusively a woman, nor is she a character of her own. Since players have to decide what kind of woman (or man) Shepard is, she gets placed at #3 on this list.


But hey, for any fanboys or girls she certainly earns my #1 spot as the most fun at parties though, especially when Wrex and Grunt are around.



#4 November "Nova" Terra -Heroes of the Storm


Another member of the Blizzard's universes, November "Nova" Terra is among the most lethal. Imagine this: your job as a government assassin is not only to take out notorious criminals like the terrorist "Jim Raynor", but also to take out the unruly Protoss, and colossal enemies like the Zerg Ultralisk. Sounds like a difficult job, right? Not for Nova.


 As a Ghost operative, the Dominion Army is Nova's weapon. Her ability to call down nuclear missiles, Battlecruiser Yamato Cannons, and siege tank strikes puts her authority and destructive capabilities well beyond those of her predecessor, Sarah Kerrigan (when she was still a ghost that is). She also has the benefit of having a permanent cloaking generator, something that is only granted to the highest-ranking Ghost operatives.


That not enough to convince you? Well how about this: she is the only Terran Ghost known to mind control her opponents. That means no one is safe from her reign of terror.


With this stellar set of abilities, Nova Terra gets a well-deserved #4 slot on this list. Now if only she could get her own game...


#5 Sgt. Bama "the Hammer" - Heroes of the Storm


What do you do when you are pulled into an otherworldly arena, and forced to do battle against demons, angels, aliens, and magical creatures? If you're Sgt. Bama "the Hammer" Kowalski, blow them to hell with your Crucio-Class Siege Tank, that's what!


While Sgt. Hammer isn't exactly the most impressive gal on our list in terms of enemies killed, she does sport some impressive firepower and destructive capabilities. Just about everyone and everything that gets in the way of her siege tank is dead. This is without mentioning her arsenal including: spider mines, arclite siege cannons, her blunt force gun, and good ol' napalm strikes.


As a result, Sgt. Hammer climbs the ranks and demolishes the previous gun-girls with a #5 standing.


#6 Lara Croft - Tomb Raider


Lara Croft is by no means superhuman. In fact, Lara is just another explorer in search of treasure and other ancient goodies. However, she often finds herself in situations that are supernatural in nature. In the Tomb Raider series, Lara is known to face off with a number of of mythological creatures such as minotaurs, Japanese oni, Egyptian gods and more! Even when she's not fighting other-worldly creatures, Lara has a habit of running into one too many Tyrannosaurus Rex.


Since she also has a bad habit of destroying more tombs than she raids, Lara earns her spot at #6.


#7 Jill Valentine - Resident Evil


Jill Valentine is a force to be reckoned with. A survivor of the S.T.A.R.S. Mansion Incident, Jill has been known to tango with the dangerous T-Type Nemesis bio-organic weapon developed by Umbrella Corps. She has also been known to use just about any weapon from a lowly Beretta pistol to rocket launchers and flamethrowers depending on the situation. Her abilities in combat were only increased as a result of the P30 device attached to her chest in Resident Evil 5.


Jill is certainly one of the more dangerous ladies on our list - both as a life-saving ally, and a life-threatening enemy. However, she is not one of the most destructive. Her abilities for survival and combat earn Jill Valentine the #7 spot on our list.


#8 Alyx Vance - Half-Life 2


Alyx is perhaps the first crush of many young gamers. Appearing in Half-Life 2 (and the subsequent episodes), Alyx has fought against the alien Combine in an effort to save humanity. Mixing it up with a skill-set that includes: CQC, pistol and shotgun use, coming back from the dead, and causing dimensional tears alongside Gordon Freeman, Alyx is a force to be reckoned with.


Among Alyx's kill-count are a number of headcrab zombies, antlion guardians, and presumably larger Combine war machines. Paired up with her personal pet-project (I'm really sorry for the puns today, guys), she is the ultimate survivor in the Half-Life universe. Her intelligence, reputation, and general bad-assery earn Alyx Vance the spot of #8 on this list.


#9 Claire "Lightning" Farron - Final Fantasy XIII


While Lightning is known for taking down enemies that are larger than her on a daily basis, her skill-set is one of the least explosive in the Final Fantasy franchise. In fact, her exclusive skill - Army of One - is basically nothing more than her slashing and shooting an opponent multiple times despite it sounding like a much more impressive ability.


What's worse is that she is almost always accompanied by a team, and among those team members is Vanille, a spell caster whose basic abilities can at times be more destructive and visually impressive. However, for her ability to fight much larger enemies on a consistent basis (and her gunblade technically being a gun) Lightning earns the #9 spot on this list.


#10 Ellie - The Last of Us


Ellie is the female lead in the PlayStation exclusive title The Last of Us. In her battle for survival, Ellie has used a variety of weapons to defeat hordes of fungal-infected zombies. Among her arsenal is a pistol that never runs out of bullets (gameplay mechanic, I know), molotovs, hunting rifles, shotguns, and more. To top it all off? She's only 14 years old!


While this is impressive and all, Ellie only makes this list because she is able to fend off adult-sized humanoid enemies. Having never even fought the larger bloater zombies by herself, Ellie earns herself the spot of #10 on our list.


Honorable Mention: Chell - Portal


Portal's Chell is quite the intelligent little devil. Navigating through GladOS's puzzles, confronting GladOS with nothing more than the Portal Gun, and destroying Aperture Labs - only to do it all again in Portal 2! If that's not enough of a resume for this gun-toting lady in heels (excuse me... Long-Fall boots) then maybe the fact that she's got the guts to leave Aperture into the open world of the Post-Half-Life series will sell you on that. Remember, she did wake up hundreds - if not thousands - of years after the first game according to this timeline.


While Chell is by far one of the more interesting characters on this list, her Portal Gun barely qualifies under our "firearm" criteria. However, her clever use of GladOS's own rocket launcher and turrets to destroy the evil computer mastermind gives her just enough destructive tendencies to earn her an honorable mention on this list.


The realm of video games is perhaps one of the best places to find women of all shapes and sizes. One of those shapes and sizes just so happens to involve destroying just about everything that gets their way with serious firepower. There's just something about these gun-toting gals that draw in male and female audiences alike, whether it's the sex-appeal or in some cases a female power-fantasy (something that is severely lacking in the market).


Today we'll be looking at the 10 most powerful girls with guns in the video game universe. To fit the criteria the character must rely on these firearms for the greater portion of combat, and destroy at least one enemy that is twice their size.


With the criteria in check, let's take a look at the Top 10 Video Game Women with Serious Firepower!

Ladies in Gaming: Portal's Chell and GLaDOS Fri, 24 Jul 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Jackson Ingram

The video game industry has a sexism problem.

We can date this back to 1981 (when Mario had to rescue helpless damsel Pauline from Donkey Kong) and trace it up to modern games like Arkham Knight (in which Catwoman's jumpsuit zipper is tragically broken far below her cleavage). Games just don't always have the most positive female representation. Women are either passive and helpless or oversexualized and objectified.

While we should still be critical of sexist tropes and portrayals, the fight for equal representation should also highlight positive examples of female characters. With FIFA 16 finally including female teams and a surge of playable women featured at E3 2015, we're hopefully taking the first tentative steps in the right direction. This column will feature a variety of Ladies in Gaming that, while far from perfect, show a promising evolution in the video game industry.

Portal: Please Resume Testing

When it was released as a part of the Orange Box back in 2007, Portal was just an unknown newcomer sandwiched between pre-established additions to Half-Life and Team Fortress. The innovative first-person puzzler surprised everyone when it emerged as the breakthrough hit of the bundle. While the sequel introduces the recorded ramblings of Aperture Founder Cave Johnson and robotic ally-turned-enemy Wheatley, the original game starred only two characters: a stoic young test subject named Chell and a dry-witted homicidal supercomputer called GLaDOS. And both were women (or at least programmed with female-identifying artificial intelligence).

Silence is Golden . . .

Even going off of appearance alone, Chell's inclusion as top-billed protagonist is refreshing, to say the least. Naturally, as a test subject, she is outfitted with a standard-issue jumpsuit. Testing is hard work though, so Chell quickly sheds the top portion, revealing . . . a completely sensible tank-top. Not ridiculously tight or short. Not reminiscent of a corset. And not warranting any gratuitous shots of her chest. Solid design work.

On top of that, Portal includes one of my favorite wardrobe subversions in the history of gaming. Action games tend to (inexplicably) put their leading ladies in stilettos - running, jumping, and fighting five to eight inches off the ground. Don't get me wrong, heels are hot. They're also impractical, uncomfortable, and unnecessary.

At first glance, Chell appears to conform to this ridiculous trend. Upon closer inspection (and a playthrough), however, it becomes clear that she is actually wearing what Cave Johnson refers to as "Long Fall Boots," equipment designed specifically to protect Portal Devices when their test subjects fall from great heights. It also saves the subject's knees from being torn apart. The Long Fall Boots not only absorb the fall's impact, but are also gyroscopically designed to keep their wearer upright, even when they're flailing through a Portal. How useful. They also look damn good.

Chell - Portal 2

So to recap: Chell is a non-white woman wearing practical clothes in an active, leading role. I'm actually swooning. This is too good to be true!

Isn't it? I mean, Chell doesn't say a single word throughout the whole series. She's a woman without a voice. Isn't that . . . kind of damaging to her agency?

Not in the slightest.

It should be noted that Valve is fond of the Heroic Mime bit, even using it for Half-Life's main protagonist, Gordan Freeman. Chell's tight-lipped nature shouldn't be much of a surprise.

Plus, the "silent hero" archetype isn't new to gaming, it's just usually reserved for men. Men who don't have time for chit-chat, who are all movement and adventure and action. It's kind of nice to see Valve recognize that women can be equally action-oriented.

And what would Chell say to GLaDOS anyway? Would she barter for her life? Reason with an AI? Throw insults right back at her? Nope. Those would all feel cheap. Chell just hunkers down and survives. Valve's Erik Wolpaw even hints that her silence is in-part a rejection of GLaDOS's games. She won't give her the satisfaction of a response.

Most interestingly, Portal 2 takes Chell across the line of "won't talk" to "can't talk." After she awakens, Wheatley suggests that her years of stasis have taken a toll on her motor functions, specifically speech. The intermittent grunts of pain or exertion from the first game are also gone, supporting the implication that she is now functionally mute.

Chell's disability is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. She is more than a stand-in for player-insertive storytelling and conveys her personality through actions, rather than words. Even without a single line of dialogue, we know that Chell is a smart, self-assured woman with a strong will to survive.

. . . but Snark is Silver

Typically playing Chell's antagonist is GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), a highly sophisticated AI designed to oversee the Enrichment Center. After her activation, however, she strays from the gameplan, launching a hostile takeover of Aperture Science, flooding the facility with deadly neurotoxin, and killing almost everyone inside of it.

GLaDOS was initially only intended for the first portion of Portal, but she was so well-received that her role was expanded considerably. Nearly a decade later, she's considered one of the greatest video game villains of all time, carrying the weight of Portal's well-tuned narrative with an onslaught of harsh, witty dialogue.

GLaDOS - Portal

GLaDOS works because she feels real. Okay, I'm not suggesting that we all have killer robots in our lives, but we should all know what manipulation feels like. GLaDOS starts out as a reassuring guide in a world that makes no sense. It soon becomes clear, however, that her intentions for Chell are far more sinister than simple testing. GLaDOS uses a variety of tactics to "encourage" her test subject, ranging from the promise of cake to fake apologies to very thinly-veiled insults. At one point, she even coerces Chell into bonding with a Weighted Companion Cube, only to make her incinerate it shortly thereafter. GLaDOS is abusive, narcissistic, and utterly transfixing, a far cry from countless cardstock villainesses motivated by petty jealousy and simply going through the motions of domination.

GLaDOS is more than a single-sided circuit-board coded with evil. The sequel shows us many new shades behind GLaDOS's programmed personality after she is forced to ally herself with Chell against Wheatley. When the two women work together, rather than in opposition, they're able to achieve common goals and reach a tenuous understanding.

Additionally, her relationship with Wheatley can be thought of as an allegory of patriarchal concepts and stereotypes limiting women's full potential. GLaDOS is by far the most intelligent and powerful character of the series. Wheatley, a male-identifying AI, was specifically designed to inhibit her functions. Without her personality cores, she becomes far more powerful.

Obviously, the analogy stops at deadly neurotoxin. Let's not get carried away.

Testing Concluded

So what do you think? Are Chell and GLaDOS good examples of positive female representation?

Ladies in Gaming will be back for more compelling women on August 7th, kicking off regular updates every first and third Friday of each month. Until then, happy testing!

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