— Emily Dickinson
When we think of Female Protagonists in video games, various names spring to mind right off the bat like Samus Aran and Lara Croft.
|This game was released this year and featured, ‘Nilin’ in an action oriented memory altering futuristic game.
There are not as many games that feature a female lead in a video games on their own, as marketing claims the games simply do not sell well enough. Putting playable female characters in Gears of War was seen as a fresh concept, but the creators still felt that if they had placed a female as the main character in a game, people wouldn’t buy it. This sounds like it could easily be a chicken and the egg concept. They won’t market or spend a lot of money on a female main character, thus no one knows about the game, leading to no one buying said game, thus proving marketing’s point not to spend a lot of money or promote games with lead female characters.
That always seems so strange. When I see a female on the cover of ANY video game box, I’m far more likely to pay money for it than seeing a big angry looking guy on the cover. It seems strange that young males are not as attracted to females as they are to big bulky guys right?
First, a game may not be perfect, it might even be awful, that will factor into determining it’s ranking. Second, this is all pre PS1 era. So Joanna Dark and Lara Croft are out.
Third, the female must be the first character, no selecting a different character at the start, this eliminates Super Mario Brother 2, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Dixie Kong and so on. You can choose to play a different character in those, so they are disqualified. In this list, only main female protagonists. Other characters may join, but she must be the lead. The true hero of the game.
Last, no Samus Aran. I have nothing against her, she’s awesome, that’s the problem, when we think of old school females in games we immediately think of Samus. She’s just too big, a monolith. Take her out and you have a much harder time thinking who there is, and I love challenging myself.
There were some truly breakout characters for video games back in the hey day that, due to that same lack of marketing, are virtually unknown today! So here are the top 11 female protagonists in old school video games that are NOT Samus Aran.
Platform: Multi-platform in Japan, NES in America.
American Release Date: 1987
Average Cost: 5.00
Athena Asamiya is the fighter with pink hair and a schoolgirl uniform in the SNK fighting game series. She first starred in a game called Psycho Soldier where she was a pop star that fought monsters in Tokyo. So standard Japanese schoolgirl. We can’t count the fighting game series, and Psycho Soldier you can choose a boy or a girl so that doesn’t count either, however her ancestor is apparently the warrior princess, Athena who starred in an arcade game that was ported to the NES system.
|Athena’s Japanese cover|
The story just gets weirder. Athena was a headstrong princess in a place called (not making any of this up) the Kingdom of Victory. So she was bored and decided to open up a door that they had just sitting around in the basement that was said to lead to a horrible place. Par for the course on NES games. She goes into it and falls into the world of. . . well, a place called, Fantasy World, which was dominated by the Evil Dante.
|And he was FABULOUS!|
The game makes an odd point that she loses her dress and items on the way down, thus why she is in a combat bikini. You can only fight at first using kicks, yet you gather items and equipment as you fight, armor, helmets and stronger weapons and lose them about as easily as Arthur does in Ghosts and Goblins.
So here’s the deal, it’s pretty cool that we have a princess that loves jumping headlong into battles with nothing, then tearing the items off of her kills and battling on. This could be an amazing concept and I enjoy the character’s concept. However, this is not a great game. Ready for a spoiler? There is no ending of the game. Seriously, it features her standing around with the castle behind her. No story, no text, not even a final score. Her game series was the same thing too, lazy writing. In the second game, she is bored again, in the first game she went through the ‘door which shouldn’t be opened’, so in the second she goes through (seriously not making this up) ‘door that shouldn’t be opened B’.
So Athena, a powerful warrior princess who loves getting into trouble and saving lost worlds. I like the idea if not the execution.
Equivalent Game: Adventure Island at best
Good: Great premise to build on
Not so Good: This was not a good game
Great: Appeared in remakes as a pretty tough fighter in the SNK series
Terrible: Have I mentioned how awful this game is? Here watch this:
10. Krion Conquest
American Release Date: January 1991
Developer: Vic Tokai
Publisher: Vic Tokai
Average Cost: 35-60
So you know what else happened in 1999? A Krion Robot empire attacked us. No kidding! Luckily there is a mercenary who has summoned the one thing the robots are not immune too. The emotion we call love. And a magical girl called Doropie, or Francesca in the american version. That’s right! Robots are vulnerable to magic. Watch out T1000’s, we know your weakness. . .
|He’s learned how to love! Magic is all we have now!|
So I have some bad news, but first let me tell you the game itself. The designers were working on a game based on the Wizard of Oz. See the name? Doropie and Dorthy? Anyway, they decided to make her magical, set her up with a witch outfit and a broom to ride around on. There was a lot of fighting to get the main character to be a boy. I’m guessing some of this so stay with me, she is tethered to the mercenary and somehow knows the person called Gokuraku, who is in command and leading the attack on earth. Eventually, Doropie is blackmailed and sets Gokuraku loose somehow and it ends up getting her friend, the mercenary killed. She fights her way and defeats the empress and brings peace back to the world.
Not to bad. Even if it is basically a copy of the Mega Man series.
|Hey mercenary dude, let me handle this kay?|
Here’s the problem. They cut everything out of the american release. Other than the starting cut scene, you get three lives, no continues, no cut scenes, no ending, nothing. They cut everything out of the american release, resulting in a frustrating game with no story besides the opening war and her saying her name. They had planned a sequel to correct that and do more, but the SNES was too costly, so they had to abandon it. Shame too, I would have liked to know what in the world was going on as it sounds pretty neat.
Doropie or Francesca was a magic girl riding a broomstick who was fighting against an old enemy while trying to protect not only the world but the person who believed in her. At least that’s how I want to interpret it. It would be neat to get a revised version of this with a storyline to explain a few of the things I am just guessing, however it may end up being really bad, so perhaps the one in my head is better.
Equivalent Game: Mega Man
Good: Pretty OK platformer
Not so Good: No story to speak of
Great: You can shoot diagonally and crouch!
Terrible: No saving or continues, just lots and lots of deaths and restarts.
9. Arkista’s Ring
American Release Date: June 1990
Developer: American Sammy
Publisher: American Sammy
Average Cost: 15-20
Here is a game so unknown that we have no clue who worked on it. I searched for hours trying to find any names of any of the designers or music artists who created this interesting gem of a game and got absolutely nowhere.
So let’s summarize. You are NOT Arkista. Arkista is a city in a fantasy realm, and the ring of Arkista (see what I did there?) is a magical item that would protect the city and the surrounding areas. The world is inhabited by elves and they apparently had no where else that was safe so they flocked to this city. Oddly enough there was a few other treasures, the Elf Mirror and the Wealth Amulet. Sure why not.
So as with any fantasy world you obviously need a villain. All these happy go lucky smurfs need a Gargamel. And they had an Evil Shogun who resided in Ninja Dungeon. Wait. . .am I reading that right? Yeah. Ok yeah. Evil Shogun. Ninja Dungeon. Continuing. So the ring obviously wasn’t all that great at its one and only job as his ninja henchmen, after getting beaten by turtles and rabbits, just waltzed in and stole the ring while everyone slept.
You really should take a look at the actual story in the manual by the way. They double up on the adjectives like crazy. “Happiness and Prosperity”, “Wicked and vile”, “peace and harmony”. We get it. . .
Things went bad quick, and what did the elves do? They hid under the bed and freaked out.
But not all of them.
In walked the elf warrior Christine! She boasted how she would fight her way through the area and take back the treasure fighting zombies and ninja’s and more all on her own with only a bow and arrow. Well not only was everyone a huge coward, they didn’t even believe she could do it. They scoffed and shook their old baggy elf heads and didn’t even bother to even consider the idea that she could succeed.
To heck with them! She didn’t care what they said, she was going to rock it anyway and left without another world even with the elders disbelieving in her.
The game was crazy hard. You had to fight through 33 levels to beat the game, but that wasn’t the true ending. To beat the game properly, you had to fight your way through the levels FOUR TIMES. Each time they got faster, stronger and harder. Link had a difficult time, but he only had to go twice. FOUR TIMES. No save feature, no codes.
Christine was one bad elfin warrior, and using only a bow and arrow, she cut a swath through every level, trap, and warrior they threw at her, and with no help from anyone.
|Bite me Zelda! I’ll save Link!|
(picture on Devientart by msipher)
Closest equivalent Game: Legend of Zelda
Good: Simple playstyle with upgrades
Not so Good: Difficult ninjas, no saving
Great: Challenging and interesting to find new power ups as you play
Terrible: The ending is so pointless after all that work
8. Guardian Legend
American Release Date: April 1989
Average Cost: 10-15.00
Take Gradius mixed with Zelda and blaster master to get a feel for what kind of game this is. Interested yet? The Guardian Legend starred a female that could transform into a spaceship. She was a transformer basically. Her job was to stop a planet from hitting earth. Others had tries, so when you arrive on the planet, you must fight your way through and pick up messages from those who tried and failed to stop the planet.
This game was pretty huge back in the day and was nominated for all sorts of awards due to its multiple play styles. Once again however, american marketing seems to hate having really nice box art. Here’s what was on the Japanese cover.
WHOA! Crazy right? That looks amazing! Here was the European cover.
Wow, that’s pretty. . . Now here’s the American cover that you might recognize.
Yeah, THAT’S why you probably don’t know about this game. Two evil looking eyes over a fire pit? That could have been anything!
This is a decent game to pick and try, but you might need a guide as it is really hard, much like the Blaster Master game was. Watching someone fight the last battle by hiding in one corner and getting one hit every twenty seconds makes me think that this was a precision game.
|“Optimus, I know it took all of you to waste a planet killer, but it’s cool, I got this.”|
I could see this remade with a deeper story line and combat mechanics. We could use some action games whre you create weapons with your body and then turn into a spaceship to attack star fox style.
|Put me in coach! I would rock in both Japan and America! Didn’t you see Miss America?|
The nameless robot was a lone protector, perhaps created in a final hour against unstoppable odds, and when everyone else failed, she fought onward on the hopes of those who had fallen before her to succeed where hey could not.
Closest Equivalent Game: Blaster Master
Good: Solid game and neat concept with plenty of cool characters
Not so Good: Really really difficult and long with no saving
Great: Fantastic design on the character and did I mention she is a transformer?
Terrible: No personality or explanation of who she is, but heck it’s a nes game, let’s instead hate the COVER!
American Release Date: November 1991
Developer: Cyclone System
Average Cost: 5-10
So in the future we have really screwed up, and by the future I mean in the late part of the 1990’s. Games and movies really assumed that we’d screw things up around the late 90’s. 1999 seemed like a particularly apocalyptic year for so many stories. Then again both Pokemon and the Star Wars prequels debuted that year so we’ll let you stew in that for a while.
The main character is Moby who serves as chief techno song writer. Heh, joking. Moby is a professor’s daughter who’s fiance Ziggy went missing on a mission and yes it really is Ziggy. She took along a pilot, a scientist and a biologist. I think she was just there to kick butt and run stuff.
|I’m here to kill horrific biomonsters and excavate the energy from the depths of the earth, and I’m just about out of earth.|
You use the little ship and drive or fly through the tight areas to get further into the the area, shooting at enemies. However eventually it kicks you out, and Moby runs off, green hair and all into the depths to fight monsters and gain more access. She runs into the previous crew and finds they are toast, but her fiance is missing. Records indicate that something else is down there including bioweapons they have to fight.
The story they wrote for her was supposed to be a tragic tale of fighting against nature rather than embracing it, showing the real world consequences of creating more and more weapons. The infighting between the underground cities were taking their toll, and the people above were just cannon fodder, leading to a painful twist ending that actually had me tear up as a kid. The last message was one of death and destruction, with nothing left but a memory of the past. It was supposed to make you feel something as you dealt with each person’s fears and worries, and pressed onward hoping, only to have it dashed to the ground. With the game released so close to the SNES it went largely ignored and both Japan and America mocked it as being a bit clunky by trying too much. I mock it’s ridiculous cover art which looks like a rock album cover.
Thing is that many of the original creators still felt that they had put a lot of time and effort into the game. I beat the game without any strategy guides when I was home sick so it isn’t impossible like many other games. The story was compelling enough to keep me moving forward, the game switched up enough to make me curious, and is one of the many parts of my childhood that instilled me with a love for green haired girls made much easier by Japan.
|Final Fantasy 4|
|I approve this.|
|I loved her!|
|I was 8 when I had my first nerdy cartoon character love as per the Nerd Commandments.|
Moby was a captain, as well as an accomplished fighter, a brave warrior, and still she fought for the person she loved and the fate of the world above, stranded miles deep beneath it’s surface. She fought her way through deep caverns, bio-monsters and even took the fight on foot, watching as everyone around her perished or was hurt and suffered, but never backing down. She saw the last remnants of a civilization that had destroyed itself, pleading with whoever could hear them to not make the same mistakes, and having lost everything she cared about, she would understand it greater than anyone else could.
There is still a fan base, primarily by some of the creators who felt that their game was deeper than was created on the Nintendo system. Check out one of their fan sites for it.
Closest Equivalent Game: Metroid
Good: Mulitplatform gaming keeps it switching up
Not so Good: That 90 metal cover art and the bizarre dialogue.
Great: Chapter cut scenes are great fun to enjoy
Terrible: The walking outside parts and the first person monster battles that had you waiting on information to defeat them
6. Ghost Lion
American Release Date: October 1992
Average Cost:: 25-35
|The white lion is actually the final boss, not her friend like the cover makes it seem.|
So a young girl heard her parents speaking of a mystical White Lion that attacked the village but was driven off by a warrior. Her parents go to investigate and see if the White Lion was real or not and leave, only to disappear. The young maria leaves to find out what happened to them, and falls into a strange new world. She has to wander around and gather various spirit items who will help fight for her. This is a tougher RPG than most as you don’t gain levels traditionally, on top of that your stats include courage and hope. You gather ‘hope’ fragments that boost your strength like heart fragments in the Legend of Zelda.
|I’ve taken courage damage!|
This was a sweet whimsical RPG, a hidden gem. It wasn’t the greatest of games, it had plenty of flaws, but I loved the feminine concepts invoked in the game. A young girl setting off to find her parents, gathering hope and courage and others who will fight alongside of her. Various spiritual allies who care for her and wish to set her parents free. It’s a beautiful fantasy world that I could see living inside a young girl’s mind, goblins stealing stardust, werewolves and mushroom villages. It has a very sweet feeling to it. To be fair I haven’t beaten it myself, even if I watched the ending.
I liked the nature of it, Maria is strong willed and pressed onward, while lost in a strange world, was helping people, learning more about herself, gathering courage and friends, while fighting for her lost family. The end was when everything was fixed as it it never happened, yet a remnant of her journey she kept, proving her trials were real, an as she lay upon a tree and gazed at the stars, she knew her own strength would serve her in later days. Check out the cover art and tell me you aren’t curious.
|Now THAT looks legendary!|
Closest equivalent Game: Dragon Warrior
Good: Well designed rpg style
Not so Good: While the ending is sweet, it’s a bit short
Great: Tough as nails in a great way
Terrible: This game does not make a ton of sense
5. Alisa Dragoon
Platform: Sega Genesis
American Release Date:
Developer: Game Arts/ Gainex
Average Cost:: 25
Action packed platformers were pretty self explanatory. Most didn’t need a story, you were a kid, you wanted to waste monsters with swords and stuff, you’d figure out your own story. I would have assumed evil powers and a lone fighter looking to avenge the death of a loved one or something like that. In the American and European version, she is a gladiator who kills evil monsters with her various pets and goes off to kill a ‘silver star’ that has crashed on their planet. However, for the sake of this article, lets hear the Japanese story plot as well.
|Plot? Who needs plot?! Just let me kill things!|
On this world, we assume another world or just a crazy version of earth, there is an evil villain named Baldour. They suck big time and took Alisa’s dad, a great sorcerer, imprisoned him in a cocoon and threw him into outer space where he was tortured and killed. See? Always something like that. So Baldour makes his way to earth and begins attacking the planet. Perhaps her dad was special or something, or they just had a rough high school together. In the end she falls from the sky and is saved by her pet dragons or whatever they are.
The game was pretty tough, you had to conserve your energy and tactically use your pet dragons. It was difficult but rewarding to play and was well reviewed, more so in America than in Japan.
Alisa Dragoon was a warrior who fought against unstoppable odds and a great evil, utilizing weapons and trained monsters at her disposal while cutting a swath across the creatures and monsters to cut out the heart of the evil itself.
Closest Equivalent Game: Golden axe
Good: Beautifully crisp animation and design work
Not so good: Will kick your tail all over the countryside
Great: Worked on by Gainex and working designs and inspired by studio Ghibli, this was one polished game!
|No joke! Check that logo there! Game Arts!|
Terrible: Never got another game made!
4. Popful Mail
Platform: Sega CD
American Release Date: Febuary 25, 1995
Publisher: Working Designs
Average Cost:: 90-150
Bounty hunter with a need for gold and mischief, Mail, was chasing after a bounty and lost them, however when a new bounty worth twenty times that popped up she forgot all about him and went after bigger fish. This was one of the games by working designs, animation, voice acting and well preserved. It was a side scrolling action game made by Nihon Falcom.
|This was after losing the bounty ‘Nuts Cracker”. That’s not a joke, that’s a statement.|
Now you do get to control two other characters later one, however this still counts as you mainly focus on her and she is the one to take on all the major bosses, including the final baddie. She doesn’t back down and loves to adventure.
|Look at the monsters eyes, they bit off WAY more than they could chew with Mail. She ENJOYS this!|
I love how when faced with the prospect of dealing with one of the most powerful wizards and THEN finding out there is an even worse overlord that they was controlling them and will destroy the world, she just shrugs her shoulders and gets excited about swiping this powerful being’s treasure.
Mail was whimsical and heroic. She was always looking for excitement and adventure and didn’t mind changing gears if her needs suited her. When she captures the rogue wizard and learns of the evil that is soon to come, she straps on her sword and takes it head on, reveling in the adventure (and loot) it will bring. At the end, she even shows her gentle nature by freeing the original bounty she was after in the first place, knowing more than the others that he never wanted any of the evil to happen. The wizard yelled a few words of triumph, but gave up moments later,seeing what his ambitions led too.
Closest Equivalent Game: Ys Series
Good: Great dialogue and animation
Not so Good: Platforming was a bit tricky, at times a little too corny.
Great: Fantastic fun and fast gameplay
Terrible: Really expensive to find.
Platform: Sega Genesis/ Turbo CD
American Release Date: First one – 1991
Developer: Telenet Japan
Average Cost: 35-40
This is not the novel by Philip K Dick the author of many fine novels that most people have only seen the movies too. This is an old genesis game I first played at a friends house and enjoyed tremendously. So a schoolgirl in Japan had a recurring nightmare with a strange voice calling out to her. I get the feeling that every Japanese schoolgirl has a secret destiny of some kind. One morning while going to school, a friend bids her farewell, ominously saying they’ll meet again soon. Shortly after monsters attack the city and before they can hurt her, the same voice she heard in her dream throws a sword called ‘Valis’, from seemingly nowhere. A dark emperor wants to destroy two worlds and it’s up to her to save both worlds. Several games in the series were made, side scrolling platformers where you had to fight the denizens of an evil world from spilling into ours. It was your standard style school girls japanese story line. The games were well made, fun and very difficult. The first game, Valis the Phantasm Soldier, was well received, being released in 1986 on the MSX and 1987 on the Famicom, it only made it to america in 1991. Four games in the main series were made, the last one being for the Super Nintendo.
In each game, the story line changed and unfolded. The first game started with the dark warlord Rogles, as he attempted to seize power on the world of Vecanti. With the world in peril, they cried for help, and a young girl answered the call. Yuko was summoned from earth to wield a sacred blade and liberate the citizens from the darkness. She finds herself having to fight her best friend Reiko who was mind controlled by him, and in the end while she defeats him, watches her best friend die in her arms. That was a pretty heavy story for a game, and yet it wasn’t over.
The next one, Valis 2, or in America, ‘Syd of Valis’, a new ruler appears named Megas who wants to wipe away any memory of the Warlord Rogles. He murders any supporters, however he also recognizes Yuko and her Valis sword as a threat to his claim for the throne and orders in minions to kill her before she can do so. Never a bright move. Despite her just wanting to chill and relax, she takes them out without a second thought being the awesome heroine she is. This freaked out Megas who completely underestimated the power she held as she takes him down just as easily, returning peace to the citizens. All so she can just get her school work taken care of. Sheesh.
At this point, no one wants to mess with her, so she should have been cool, however in the third title, the spiritual planes have become a battleground. This dude named Glames shows up causing trouble, wanting to destroy both worlds so his spiritual army can inhabit them. A warrior from that world sneaks into Earth realm seeking to find a way to fight against Glames. Instead of just asking for help, the warrior, Cham, steals Yuko’s sword and makes a run for it. Not only does Yuko have to run after her in her pajama’s,
|Things happen, she deals with it.|
but Cham STILL gets beaten with barely a fight against Glames
|Yuko: Seriously? Do I have to do EVERYTHING?!|
and Yuko has to save her as well, by leaping off the building to reclaim the Valis sword and then fly out.
|Up Up and Awaaayyy!|
She rescues both Cham and Yuko’s twin sister Valna, and then takes the battle to the front lines. She takes on Glames but also has to deal with a revitalized Rogles that he tried to resurrect. After taking them both out, they figure she has had enough and since no one wants to mess with her, they make her a deal to be the world’s deity. Yuko gives up being the warrior and on boring old earth as she has a lot more fun wasting monsters than hanging around earth, and instead gives it all up to rule over the entire world as a goddess.
Yuko was an ordinary schoolgirl thrown into an impossible situation, having to fight against an entire empire with no help other than her sword, and no abilities other than the ones she learned just by getting in there and figuring it out. She had to lose many things that she cared about, and fight battles that were never her own, eventually becoming a legend that would live on in new warrior maidens who would look to her for courage and inspiration for generations to come.
As sword wielding heroines go, she was pretty awesome.
Closest Equivalent Game: Strider
Good: She has some role model status. Plenty of games with great cut-scenes and stories, even upgraded versions that look amazing. Sword wielding monster busting, all girl attack squads go, this is the fantasy side scrolling action game for you.
Not so good: Mini skirt bikini armor.
Great: Gameplay Just girls being friends and working together to kick butt.
Terrible: The fifth game. To celebrate her anniversary, Japan went hard core pervert on her. Her fans were not happy and thus they stopped making them. Thanks a lot Japan.
2. El Viento
Platform: Sega Genesis
American Release Date:
Average Cost: 40
This game switches it up, and instead of being 1999 as was the standard, decided to go back to 1928. Pretty good so far right? El Viento means ‘the wind’ in Spanish (or so I’m told). When a tornado appears in New York, Devil Worshipers believe it is a sign of the return of a devilish lord named ‘Hastur’. They are trying to complete a ritual which requires an ancestor to be sacrificed so that Hastur can use their body as a creepy unholy vessel.
The vessel is the blonde sorceress Restiana who as usual with female villains in Japan wears as little as possible. The founder of the religion, Henry, tells her that she will just gain the power of Hastur, not that it will take over her body, mutate her into an abomination and red her spirit from her body. Details details. . .
|Even if that thing is my dad, that’s just super creepy. And put some clothes on!|
They are getting the money and power by promising Vincent DeMarco that he will be granted money and power, so he uses his connections to make certain that they can summon the demon on the Empire State Building.
There is however one other descendant of Hastur. By the way, NO information is ever given into why a Demon Lord from another world has descendants in this world. I suppose things were crazier back in the day. The young girl, Annet confronts the group, armed with a trust boomerang, and refuses to join them, pointing out that as a human, demons are just bad news.
|Boomerang action! Link eat your heart out!|
The game is really fun, although tricky and difficult. Having to bide your time and attack at the right moment can be difficult. No cheap shots in this game. When you get hit, you lose life, but you arent knocked backwards to die. In fact most of the time you are in enclosed spaces with no chance of falling into an abyss of death.
|Just need a quick nap.|
You travel all over the world, I get the feeling they wanted to feel like you were an explorer, just an anime version of Indiana Jones. Oh but she is not Indiana, that part is already taken. However he is nothing more than a back character most of the time. He got a game before hand that shows how they met, but not much else.
|This is how he found her in the ruins. She is either asleep or fighting.|
The stories ARE however interconnected. The first game in a trilogy that is supposed to be about Earnest Evans.
|Love me George Lucas!|
|I can rock a whip toooo!|
The game releases are not in chronological order, as in El Viento, she is trying to destroy the demon, and Earnest is a friend, however in the second game, Earnest Evens, you start as Earnest and find Annet lying in some ruins.
|Earnest: So, you got a boyfriend before you were asleep or is it too soon to ask?
Annet: I woke up ten minutes ago. Man, you’re needy.
By the third game, we’re back to Annet, who is trying to stop some dude in the second game from destroying the world, but that one never made it to america.
|That’s when she upgraded to a sword. Booyah!|
Final thoughts on Heroine: Annet goes it alone even with her demon blood and fights for what’s right in the world, even when that means having to kill old friends who have gone down the wrong path. She never backs down, but always tries to help the person see what they are doing, and help those that are being misled. She prefers to save rather than destroy, but when it comes down to it, she does what she must. The series had a lot of love and really wanted to create a franchise series like Ys, but it never made it very far.
Closest equivalent Game: Valis and Strider
Good: Amazing graphics and gameplay
Not so Good: Weird spelling and grammatical errors in short dialog.
Great: The people who did this went on to become Namco Tales Studios!
Terrible: The people who did this went on to become Namco Tales Studios!
1. Phantasy Star
Platform: Sega Master System
American Release Date: 1988
Average Cost:: 25-35
|A classic for the Sega Master System, a system enjoyed by the coolest guys in the world.|
Alis Landeel is like any normal 15 year old girl. Just trying to live on the one of three planets that isn’t covered in arid desert or frozen ice and trying to avoid the oppressive robot-cops who patrol the streets thanks to the cruel tyrant King Lassic. Sadly, it was not to be, as within moments of starting the game and seeing igloo shaped homes, her brother Nero is killed in the streets. As he lay dying he tells her to stop the King and to seek someone called Odin.
|Not to be mean, but this is the opening scene. So let’s go on our adventure already.|
After that it’s time to rock and she begins her quest immediately. Traversing area after area and dealing with every single person’s inane problems, she gains a crew of people to help her. After having to rescue Odin who was turned to stone by medusa, he realizes she is pretty much in charge and lends her his strength.
This was not a wait-and-see kind of girl. This was take charge, kick butt and deal with the rest later. After all when the fate of three worlds is hanging in the balance, you do what you gotta do. Even at the end, the guy asks her if she is ok killing an old man and she shrugs her shoulders and attacks, possibly starting the phrase, ‘You’re going DOWN old man!” Classic badical stuff. Turns out the King was under the thrall of an evil cult that had enslaved him. Most people would have laid it down and said ‘job well done’, but not Alis. No she looked deeper and found something far worse than than the old King and took that evil on as well. At the end, she found out she was royalty and if she wanted to she could become queen of the whole place. The game actually let’s you decide if she should rule the world, or just be free to travel endlessly.
|She’s got a universe to protect|
Alis is mentioned many times and her legend is known even millennia later as the first and greatest hero. Alis fought to avenge her brother, but eventually for herself and for the entire worlds that existed.
She was her own hero who did what she wanted in the end and made her own lot in life, not being a descendant of some great legend, but just by standing on her feet and moving forward, becoming the legend without ever realizing it.
When her sword was used, her spirit was one of the few that helped guide the new hero on using it in later games, so even gone she still keeps on fighting, never truly leaving the world alone.
|I only appear sweet and safe|
She did all of this wearing a purple chest plate and a pink dress.
Closest Equivalent Game: Dragon Warrior
Good: She rocked, she took fought, she saved the world and did it all leading the way.
Not so Good: Didn’t really get to know her very well, and no nice remakes
Great: One of the biggest hallmarks of fantasy role playing series
Terrible: Turned into another MMO (sorry everyone, may be a great game, but I prefer offline games)
Faria needs it’s own classification honestly and we’ll get to that in the future. It does start you off as an unnamed female who wakes up and has to start fixing all the issues and woes of the kingdom dealing with an insanely crazy wizard with dragon quest style rpg gaming. She is an amazing warrior, and yet. . .
Alright, if you plan on playing the game, spoiler alert ahead.
The girl was actually a guy under the same curse as the princess. It is revealed at the end of the game.
|Oddly enough the princess was fine either way.|
An interesting note, it might actually say more about Faria being the first game to feature a transgender lead as it was a woman who the entire time felt like a guy, because that’s what they were.
There are a lot more female protagonists in video games that I think people realize. Perfect Dark, Bloddrayne, Clock Tower, Xenosaga, Trace Memory, Beyond Good and Evil, Eternal Darkness, Remember me, I could go on. Just have to figure out what ones you love.
Until next time!