The will likely be spoilers, but should I talk about something super new I'll warn ya. But consider this a pre-emptive warning! You're WARNED!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The ladies of Resident Evil, ranked!

I still remember my first encounter with Resident Evil: I saw the original big box version at a Blockbuster and rented it for a weekend of gaming with a friend. We started playing and it promptly blew my mind. There was a live-action opening sequence! There was exploration and puzzles! It was scary (dogs crashing through windows, man...)! I could play as a female character! I fell in love fast and hard, and over the years my ardor ain't abated a single bit. This is not to say that I'm a total dummy about it; I have more than my share of qualms with the direction Capcom has taken the series. Once upon a time, I used to buy consoles just so I could play an exclusive Resident Evil title on them, but since Part 5 they're no longer Day One buys for me. Hell, sometimes they're not even Year One purchases anymore. I play them all eventually, though, and even in the worst games I can find a lot to praise (Operation Raccoon City is a shit ton of fun...SO SUE ME). All of this is to say that while I may have been a normal(ish) lady prior to discovering it, Resident Evil is simply a part of me now. You know, like a giant eyeball growing out of my arm.

My love of Resident Evil is a bit like herpes: it's always there, and it will never go away. But sometimes it flares up and consumes my everything. Right now, the fever has got me in its grip, y'all, and I've been playing everything I can get my hands on. I've been subjecting my friend Travis to gaming sessions and endless blah blah blah about it all...and he doesn't care a single bit because he's pickin' up what I'm puttin' down. After ample "I love this character..." / "Well, I love this character...", we decided to formalize our character loves with some Top 10 lists because The Internet fucking loves lists.

Today, we're gonna talk about our favorite Resident Evil ladies because let's face it, the women in the series are way more interesting than the men.

Favorite Female Characters (Stacie)

1. Jill Valentine

I mean, this is a big fat DUH, right? Of course. But listen, as a lady gamer it's important to me that I can play as lady characters (and that the characters are, you know, not lame), and Jill is one of the best lady characters of all time. She's no second-class member of S.T.A.R.S. who flails around with her boobs going every which way, flirting her way through the horror, oh no. Jill is all business, and her business is getting shit done.

2. Jill Valentine

That's right, she's also my Number Two because her greatness cannot be contained to a mere one spot on my favorites list. The advantages to playing as Jill instead of Chris in the original game (increased number of inventory slots, lockpicks, grenade launcher, avoiding the Plant 42 battle altogether) mean I'd choose her even if she weren't so badass.

3-5. Jill Valentine

She took down the Nemesis while in her civilian gear. She isn't all that phased to find her hair newly-blonde after surviving Wesker's mind control experiments. Jill has seen some shit, but she keeps on keepin' on in her quest to take down Umbrella and any other assholes who create bioweapons. She's the motherfucking Master of Unlocking, and she's just the best.

6. Claire Redfield

I'm not sure that Claire ever gets enough credit in the scheme of things. She's not some highly-trained special forces soldier who's been gettin' her combat on for years. At the beginning of Resident Evil 2, she's just a college kid who rides into Raccoon City (on a motorcycle! Claire is so rad.) looking for her brother Chris. When she discovers the city is overrun with zombies, she's all "Okay." and rescues a kid and gets the hell out of there. She has no qualms about following Chris's trail to Umbrella's goddamn headquarters (so brave, Claire, SO BRAVE), and after she's captured, she basically responds to Steve Burnside's "I'll rescue you!" with "I'll rescue myself, thanks." I know one of her amazing jackets says LET ME LIVE, but that shit needs to say LET ME BE GREAT.

7. Helena Harper

If you played Resident Evil 6, then you know that ex-Secret Service Agent Helena has a secret. She'll tell you what her secret is real soon, right after you get to a place! Okay, she won't tell you then, but she'll tell you when you get to the next place, honest. Or maybe the place after that. For real this time! Aw, I don't mean to tease...Helena is awesome and super protective of her little sister. She's also the gayest lady in all of Resident Evil. Come on, she is such a big ol' dyke! Her outfit makes me wish that she'd star in a new TV detective show called Cagney and Lacey and Helena.

8. Alexia Ashford

A super-brilliant badass bitch who is better, smarter, and insanier than me and you and everyone else ever. She injects herself with the t-Veronica virus and lets it gestate during a 15-year cryogenic sleep so she can become even more superior. Oh yeah, and in one of her mutations she turns into a giant vagina-looking thing, so that's obviously worth something.

9. Ada Wong

Ada Wong, aka FLAWLESS QUEEN. She is an oh-so-mysterious double/triple/quadruple agent whose only loyalty is to herself. Who does she work for? Is she a good guy or a bad guy? Do we really know? Do we actually care? NO, because no matter the circumstances, Ada will show up at the last second, backflipping her way onto the scene in some hot red number, throw someone a grenade launcher, and she'll save the day. To what end? I don't care!

10. Rebecca Chambers

I have to admit, I forget about Rebecca a lot of the time even though she's been with the series from the start and even starred in her own title (Resident Evil 0). But when Resident Evil Fever really has me in its clutches and I re-read (YES, RE-READ) all those trashy novels- especially Caliban Cove, aw yeah- I'm reminded that I can, in fact, love a character who often wears a headband and can best be described as "plucky."

Honorable Mention: Lisa Trevor

The Resident Evil remake for GameCube is perfect, thanks in large part to the addition of Lisa Trevor to the RE mythos. She is one of the most tragic figures in the franchise, horribly disfigured thanks to the experiments foisted on her by Umbrella since she was a young teenager. She's also fucking terrifying, moaning and groaning and clanking her chains as she slowly pursues you through the dark. She's a monster who just wants her mommy!

Favorite Female Characters (Travis)

1. Rachael Foley

Rachael really deserved better. She’s only alive for about .5 seconds in Resident Evil Revelations and whoever designed her decided that her breasts should be on the brink of a destructive nip slip at all times. She’s a classic Resident Evil NPC, born to die. There are many reasons that I love Rachael, and it’s sort of hard to explain. Let’s just say Rachael’s on the scene and call it good.

2. Claire Redfield

Everyone wants to be Claire. And why wouldn’t they? She’s effortlessly badass. Like she was born into that Made in Heaven jacket. There’s no bullshit, in your face attitude compensating for anything. She’s tough as nails and she proves that when she saves herself and some annoying kid from many, many horrifying creatures in Resident Evil 2. Afterwards she casually decides to stroll on up to an Umbrella facility and rescue her brother. Just ask Claire’s old pal Steve Burnside how tough she is. He’ll tell you.

3. Jill Valentine

Everyone loves Jill. She’s the OG RE hero and she doesn’t mess around. What I love most about Jill isn’t that she picks locks or that she would go great on any sandwich. It’s that she really grows as a character. And you grow with her. She starts out getting freaked by that zombie eating Kenneth (May he R.I.P.) but by the end of Resident Evil Jill is done with everyone’s shit and you are right there with her. Jill is a survivor, through and through. She gets turned into a remote controlled villain, gets chased relentlessly and poisoned by one nasty Nemesis. She even gets turned blonde by the magic of Resident Evil science. My bff Jill does not give one.

4. Cindy Lennox

It’s hard for me to pick just one favorite from Resident Evil: Outbreak. Alyssa was a reporter investigating Umbrella. She was way sassy and took shit from exactly nobody. Yoko, on the exterior, was as bland as a living piece of printer paper. Eventually you come to realize she’s an ex-Umbrella employee who’s dealing with the knowledge that she played a part in what is happening to Raccoon City. Cindy, however, is nothing more than a waitress who has been thrown into a really shitty situation in which she is forced to survive. A true underdog who, at least in my game, single handedly cured herself of infection and defeated a Tyrant when all of her fellow survivors fell around her.

5. Sherry Birkin

How can anyone not love Sherry? Sure, there was no one who was more of a pain in the ass in RE 2, but she was just a doofy kid who got dealt a pretty crummy hand. She survived Raccoon, thanks in LARGE part to Claire, and went on to become a central character in RE 6. It’s unfortunate that she starred in a game so many people were disappointed with because she turns out to be pretty flippin’ awesome.

6. Rebecca Chambers

Rebecca is pretty cliché in the grand scheme of things. Weak on the exterior, but ultimately proves that there is more than meets the eye. So what makes Rebecca so special? Well, her circumstances. She’s an 18-year-old genius amongst a group of hardened veteran men. Cliché or not, it makes sense that she isn’t physically tough. She’s spent her whole life just being smart. In the end, it’s those smarts that outmuscle her companions and lead her to be the single surviving member of her entire squad. And let’s not forget that when Chris and Jill arrived, Rebecca was all like “Been there, done that.”

7. Ingrid Hunnigan

Hunnigan is never on the frontlines, but she is your lifeline in RE4. What makes Hunnigan so special is that she makes you feel like you aren’t alone. Partners are an important part of Resident Evil as we’ve come to learn over the years. (If you didn’t know that, just listen to Sheva groan incessantly about it for your entire playthrough of RE 5.) Hunnigan does a hell of a job from behind that monitor. When Ada is giving you the middle finger and Ashley is annoying you to the point of no return, Hunnigan is there to make you feel sane again.

8. Ada Wong

Perhaps you’re surprised that Ada isn’t higher on the list. Frankly, for a long time, I’ve been tired of Ada’s shit. We get it, you’re mysterious. She’s the Resident Evil trump card and it’s getting old. Ada was perfect in Resident Evil 2. Back then, the mystery was still charming and you really cared when she seemingly died. Then RE 4 happened… and it was too much. I really feel RE 6 did a good job of re-humanizing Ada. She’s forever a badass, but it was nice to see that she still has people feelings. The ending to her campaign in 6 gave me goosebumps.

9. Helena Harper

Helena grinds my gears for a large part of RE 6. She feels a little forced in her conviction that she won’t tell Leon what is going on. The whole “Just trust me,” bit is a little played out and that’s Helena’s WHOLE DEAL for too long. But when you finally realize what’s going on, it starts to make sense and you realize that Helena really is on your side. A nice change of pace from the super mysterious spy kids bullshit routine we have seen from entry number 7.

10. Carla Radames

The woman you love to hate. I mean, she is as vicious as they come. But she has an agenda and she sticks to her guns. She’s great at what she does, and that’s messing with everyone and everything. When you find out who she really is you can almost understand why someone would do the things that she does. There’s really no excuse for her behavior, but her entire existence is a funked up mess of sad and disgusting psychopathy. It’s hard not to feel just a tiny bit of sympathy.

Honorable Mention: Excella Gionne

Excella was one classy villain. She be lookin’ good and she be knowin’ it, y’all. Her outfit, her hair, her shoes. Immaculate. Unfortunately her attempt to ride Wesker’s coat tails to evil victory led her to become a giant grody to the max leech monster along with hundreds of decomposing bodies. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I’m sure of it. Maybe don’t trust super weirdo villain dudes, no matter how hunky they are? Maybe don’t get involved with gross leech monster bidness? Just don’t ask Sheva what happened. She’s still reeling at the fact that not everyone in the universe understands the importance of PAHTNUHS.

So there you go, our favorite Resident Evil ladies. Who tops your list? I have to admit, that amazing picture of Excella kind of makes me want to give her an "Honorable Mention #2" spot on my list. Tomorrow we tackle the menfolk, stay tuned!

1 comment:

wintus said...

love Rebecca most since playing Resident Evil 1 on Playstation