From the scantily dressed fighters in Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter to Princess Peach, the classic princess in distress, women haven’t always been represented realistically (or appropriately) in video game history. Nevertheless, they have always showcased some of the most amusing and remarkable outfits in modern popular culture. The heroines of video games are celebrated through fanart and cosplay homages, with some of them becoming popular household names, like Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft.
With this in mind, let’s take a look back at some of the fiercest, most outrageous and iconic looks ever seen in video games herstory.
Kitana & Mileena (Mortal Kombat)
Kitana and Mileena, the masked sister assassins of the Mortal Kombat franchise, know how to command attention when they walk into a fight: they have been serving body and killer lewks since 1993, as well as some of the most gruesomely entertaining fatalities in fighting games. While Kitana prefers to hide her beauty behind a mask and razor-sharp steel fans, her evil clone Mileena is not as shy. But be very careful asking her for a kiss, as she will probably bite your lips off with no remorse.
Palutena (Kid Icarus)
In Kid Icarus, Palutena is the benevolent Goddess of Light, and her ethereal look is likely based off of the Greek deity Athena, from whom she borrows staff and shield as a staple of her classical style. Just a recommendation for mermaid-haired Palutena: Honey, be careful with all those shiny accessories and stay indoors during lightning storms! Coco Chanel’s wise advice – “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off” – has never been more appropriate.
R. Mika (Street Fighter)
The addition of professional wrestler Rainbow Mika in Street Fighter 5 stirred up quite a bit of drama, even before the game was released. Her goofy costume design has been defined misogynistic by some critics, while others found her too frustrating to play against, because of the character’s peculiar “vortex” fighting style. Love her or hate her, it is impossible to be indifferent to the bold outfit and the signature moves of R. Mika, as this blonde bombshell can easily whomp down any opponent with nothing but her butt. #SKILLZ
Dramatic visor move: check. Massive piece of accessory: check. A high ponytail reaching for the sky: check. Fearless sniper Widowmaker is, without a doubt, the Gia Gunn of the gaming world. Absolutely!
Bayonetta is the typical video game character that makes you wanna scream “Yaaaas!” at the screen every time you see her. This sexy and confident witch has more head-turning outfits than Gaga could ever dream of, and she loves guns so much that you shouldn’t be surprised to see two smoking barrels secured to her heels. When Bayonetta is looking at you through her “naughty secretary” glasses, it’s like she is telling you: “Yes, I’m sexy as hell. So what are you gonna do about it?” But be careful with your answer, because you’ll likely have a bullet lodged in your head before you could say a word.
Juliet Starling (Lollipop Chainsaw)
Juliet, high school senior during the day, zombie hunter at night, is the spiritual daughter of Regina George and Ash from Evil Dead. This bubbly blonde loves the color pink, strawberry lollipops (“Are lollipops food?”), and her favorite hobbies are cheerleading and bisecting the undead with a bedazzled chainsaw. Forget the classic damsel in distress trope often seen in video games: Juliet is not waiting for her boyfriend to come and rescue her. As a matter of fact, she doesn’t mind wearing his decapitated talking head on her hip, so that they will never have to be apart again. Codependent much?
The Saints (Hitman: Absolution)
Nuns. With guns. And the sudden reveal of a latex fetish outfit. These ladies certainly know how to make an entrance.
Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
Probably the most recognizable video game vixen of all time, Lara Croft will raid through any tomb in a skin-tight top, leather harness and khaki hot pants. Despite her appearance being at the center of numerous debates about the over-sexualization of female characters in gaming, Lara is hands down the most iconic adventurer of all time. Her effortless mix of casual and practical, yet sexy attire has inspired all of us, quickly becoming the ultimate last-minute Halloween outfit for legions of girls and gay guys alike.
Evie Frye (Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate)
The character design of Evie Frye in the latest installment of Assassin’s Creed is the perfect case of a well-balanced mixture of femininity and practicality, without falling into garish or absurd clichés. Her costume is feminine without having to display unnecessary flesh, while its fit and finish reek of perfection. Without a doubt, Evie represents one of the most stylish and best-dressed characters of all time, an example that will hopefully lead to a more authentic representation of women in the future of video games.