Monday, March 22, 2010

The Top Five Sexiest Female Sidekicks

It's difficult to find a true "sidekick" in a video-game and far more difficult to find one that's female. For the purposes of this list, a sidekick is defined as an NPC who participates in the experience but isn't an avatar for the player. This definition helps weed out almost all traditional RPGs whose party members you control at one point or another (mostly during turn-based battles). While soldier games (particularly the most recent spate of them) are chock-full of sidekicks, this is a list of the sexiest females so those strapping soldiers will have to wait for the all-male review. Fighting games are also out for the same reason as typical RPGs. Finally, princesses in need of rescue aren't really participating in your adventure and therefore don't make the cut. This begs the question: how many games even feature a female sidekick at all? Well there's Mass Effects 1 & 2 which feature a bevy of attractive ladies (both human and alien) enough to populate this list. But we're taking one candidate per franchise so that leaves four slots open. Read on to find the results.

5: April O'Neil (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
April O'Neil has filled various roles across the two decades since she first graced consoles back in 1989. More often than not, she has been the damsel in distress, motivating the Turtles to leave their pizza parties and wallop some Foot. She was also a playable character in the Smash Brother's rip-off of 2009. But it is her performance in TMNT: Turtles in Time that puts her in at the number five spot on the list.

April has certainly changed a lot over the years. Originally a sassy computer programmer, she seems to have grown younger and younger as the years have gone by. They heyday of her sex appeal came with the Turtles animated TV show (and attendant Turtles in Time videogame) where she was sporting a yellow jumpsuit. While the modern-day April might not race any motors with her baggy jeans and thug-appeal, her early-90's look combined with her sidekick status in Turtles in Time nets her the fifth position on this list.

4: Ashley Graham (Resident Evil 4)
Ashley was both the damsel in distress as well as your companion through your harrowing escape from Los Illuminados in RE:4. While not the offensive tour-de-force Leon needed, Ashley still assisted with opening gates and occasionally kicking ass. Granted she also was forever getting tossed over one bad guy's shoulder or another and getting antsy if you were beneath her on a ladder and aiming skyward. But she was a trooper till the end and managed to stay sexy-prep through the entire ordeal.

3: Cortana (Halo series)
Halo's AI program Cortana emerged a sex-icon with the original Combat Evolved. Granted, her rapid ascension to this status was fueled in-part by Halo's popularity but there's no denying her place among the sexy female side-kicks. Part damsel-in-distress, part voice-in-your-head, and all sass, Cortana won our hearts early. Looking back on it now, it seems like Bungie didn't realize the sex-appeal of their Jane (Orson Scott Card reference anyone?). It wasn't until the fanboys had spoken that Cortana was self-consciously portrayed as an object of desire in Halo 2. But her place on this list was assured, in part, by the character that was developed in Combat Evolved. Cortana is the quintessential best friend tomboy that we fall for, the girl-next-door archetype downloaded onto a data chip that we were happy to jack into the back of our helmets.

2: Rachel (Ninja Gaiden)
Unlike the preceding entries on this list whose roles skirted the line between sidekick and damsel in distress, Rachel was all kick-ass. (Notwithstanding a brief slip-up which landed her elevated spread-eagle, waiting to be rescued by Ryu.) And, more than any other sidekick on this list, Rachel was self-consciously sexified. Battling demons in an indescribable S&M-inspired leather one-piece? Check. Winding up covered in demon-drool that might as well be swimsuit shoot oil? Check. Rachel didn't tantalize us like April's exposed collar-bone or Ashley's chaste pantie-protection. And Rachel didn't win us over with her mind like Cortana's witty nagging. But she wasn't about pretense. She was a sex-kitten and a sidekick, earning her place at number two on our list.

1: Samara (Mass Effect 2)
As mentioned in this list's introduction, the Mass Effect series boasts an impressive number of sexy sidekicks. So why Samara? Why not Miranda or Liara? (Typing this highlights the prevalence of open-vowel monikers for the vixens of the ME universe. Was Bioware consciously appealing to the momma's boys in their fan base? Or is applying linguistic philosophy here a touch too heavy for the top five sexiest female sidekicks list?) Samara beats out the rest of the ME NPCs due precisely to her untouchablility. The forbidden fruit is the sweetest and Samara embodies the woman who is totally out of our league. She's older, she exhibits complete poise, and she could probably throw our skeletons right out of our bodies if we got on her bad side. It is precisely for this fact that she takes the number 1 spot on this list. She is the vanguard of the next generation of females in the constantly evolving videogame universe: one who will never need rescuing but will instead rescue us.