As busy as I am, I couldn’t help stopping by to give a quick post in tribute to Women in Horror month. I’ve decided to blend this a bit with my passion for gaming, so here are my top five women in horror gaming.
Jill Valentine, Resident Evil 5
As much as I didn’t like the game, I couldn’t help but like this revision to the Valentine character. She was strong, capable, deadly and didn’t need to say a word (which, in terms of Capcom characters, is a huge blessing), whereas in the original Resident Evil she was effeminate to the point of being handicapped (two extra item slots and a lock pick?). Sure, roughly fifteen years passed between those games, and Valentine received superpowers in the meantime, AND she was fighting for the bad guys in RE5 because she was afflicted with a mind control toxin, but any woman who isn’t afraid to throw down gets two thumbs up in my book.
Nicole Brennan, Dead Space 2
The beautiful nightmare that was the apparition of Brennan was one of the most intriguing examples of insanity I’ve seen in a game. There was enough of the original Nicole to keep both the player and Isaac Clark thinking there was hope, but she was demented enough to make you fear her. Assertive, confident and sociopathic to the end, Brennan was a character that I loved and hated in equal measure (for all the right reasons). Combine this with the heartbreaking backstory of her death and you have one of the best female pro/antagonists in a horror game.
Kirie Himuro, Fatal Frame
Otherwise known as the Rope Shrine Maiden, this woman’s will to live was so strong that it wound up destroying ancient magic, unleashing hell and turning a mansion full of people into a ghost-filled nightmare (and how can I not love the fact that she unleashed Malice, the premise of my first novel?). However, she makes this list for her afterlife, rather than her human life.
I can honestly say no woman has ever scared me as badly as the first time you fight Kirie, her ethereal form floating closer as you raise your camera, the trusty device that has sent a myriad of souls to the grave, and take a picture… but nothing happens. Unfazed, she lunges towards you to rip your soul from your body. Her infinite hands and indomitable power lands her securely at number 3.
Alex Roivas, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
A Lovecraftian adventure for sure, this woman finds herself reading a book made of bones and animal skin, reliving the lives of everyone who has held the book as she (and the people who have used it) slowly lose their mind. The final player in a 2,000 year game to destroy the world, she has a few short days to master a millennia of spells, incantations and information, uniting the souls of the damned and ancient artifacts from all over the world at her ancestral home in Rhode Island.
For one, the fact that she stays sane when the game makes the player think they’re going crazy is impressive. Her upper body may explode while walking through a doorway, statues turn to watch her, the walls drip blood, but she presses on, even as the game pretends to lower your volume, restart or even delete your save files (I’ve never had a game play me until ED:SR!).
However, if the player is determined enough, she slays THREE gods in what had to have been the most mind-blowing epilogue I’ve experienced in my two meager decades of existence. Resilient, relentless and level-headed in the worst possible situations, Alex Roivas is my second favorite woman in horror gaming.
Heather Mason, Silent Hill 3
She is as vulnerable as Kirie is strong, and even more broken. Heather Mason, the third incarnation of Alessa Gillespie, is on my top five for finding the strength of insanity (if anyone’s interested, I’ll upload my post on why Mason is out of her mind). Not wasting any time questioning why the world has gone to hell, or where the monsters are coming from, she leaps into action ready and willing to slay whatever comes her way. After finding her father murdered, she realizes she has no choice but to embrace the madness around her. As she seeks vengeance, she brings down a cult, vomits a baby and kills a god. Let’s face it, few women have had so colorful a life, but the fact that her character can so perfectly embody strength and weakness at the same time is what earns her the number one slot- she isn’t just a powerful character, she’s real.
Well, Travlers, thus ends my top five; I hope you enjoyed it, but feel free to agree, disagree or comment below. And, before you say anything, Alda from F.E.A.R. didn’t make it because she’s a girl, not a woman (and I didn’t like F.E.A.R.). Fairwell, friends- I’m off to celebrate the real women of horror in what ways I can!