There used to be a time where princesses were nothing more than props for a male hero to rescue. There are some exceptions though. I’ve come up with a list of my favorite princesses that are both damsels in distress, badass warriors, and have good stories to tell outside of getting kidnapped and needing to be rescued :).
10. Garnet (Final Fantasy 9)
Princess Garnet noticed the changes in her mother’s personality in Final Fantasy 9. Instead of being locked in a castle and waiting for someone to rescue her she planned her own kidnapping, changed her name to Dagger, and ran with a dude named Zidane. She learned how to be street smart and not depend on everyone for help. She’s soft spoken, but eventually learns how to act more casually and blend in with the common-folk. She’s smart, honest, and deeply cares for her friends and people of Alexandria.
9. Hildegard von Krone (Soul Calibur IV)
Hilde isn’t your average princess. She became ruler of Wolfkrone after her father lost his sanity to the Evil Seed. He was hidden away at the top of Wolfkrone and Hilde became the ruler of the kingdom. She didn’t have time to be a normal kid. Hilde gathered allies and defeated the Azure Knight (Nightmare) and destroyed Soul Edge in the process. She’s a warrior and great leader of a strong nation that’s seen a lot of war. Her entire life has been spent fighting and running a kingdom. She’s a strong leader and can probably beat the crap out of the rest of the princesses on this list.
8. Zelda (The Legend of Zelda)
Zelda has an entire legendary game series named after her with The Legend of Zelda. She may have started off as a damsel in distress, but over time she’s played a bigger role than Link himself in saving Hyrule from the forces of evil. In every new Zelda g.ame Link and Zelda are reincarnated to fight Ganon and put a stop to his evil ways. Zelda is often captured and rescued by Link, but she’s no slouch. She held Ganon at bay from 100 years while Link took a nap in Breath Of the Wild, took up arms and kicked some serious ass in Hyrule Warriors, and has aided Link time after time to seal Ganon away. Link is cool and everything, but Zelda… Zelda has proved that she’s just as strong as Link and plays an important part in gaming history.
7. Nina (Breath of Fire)
Nina, like Zelda, is in every installment of the Breath of Fire series. She’s reincarnated and each iteration of her is different than the one that came before. I love her in Breath of Fire II the most. I like how she ties in to the Nina from the first Breath of Fire. Depending on the game you play depends on the Nina you’ll get. In Breath of Fire II she’s one of 2 main heroines in the game that shows a romance interest to Ryu. The thing I remember most about Nina are her beautiful wings and powerful magical spells and some heart-wrenching scenes involving her sister, Mina.
6. Princess Peach (Super Mario)
Princess Peach is most known as the princess that Mario has to rescue in all of the classic Mario games. She’s grown since then. Peach is hell of a driver in Mario Kart, kicks some serious ass in Super Smash Bros, rocks a shotgun in Mario & Rabbids, and has even saved Mario in Super Princess Peach. She’s done it all. She plays tennis, can make explosions with her butt, and make sure you don’t get her emotional because she will wreck you. Peach is much more than a simple damsel in distress. She’s been a playable character in a few Mario games and her ability to levitate makes her one of the more fun characters to use. Seriously though… if you haven’t played Super Princess Peach on DS you should. It’s really good.
5. Elika (Prince of Persia)
This game shouldn’t be titled Prince of Persia because the “Prince” is not a prince in this game. It should be “Princess of Persia” because Elika is one awesome character that I loved getting to know and the ending to this game is one of the most beautifully horrifying endings in all of gaming. This game was ahead of its time, but we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about Elika. The brave, beautiful, and magical princess. Elika’s story is awesome. It’s shared with the “prince”, but she’s the real star here.
4. Sun Lian (Jade Empire)
This is taking me back! I love Jade Empire and I think it told one hell of a story. Sun Lian is a princess by day and vigilante by night. She’s known as the Silk Fox and she’s one of two romanceable females in the game. She’s smart, fights like a ninja, and, depending on your choices, can influencing the ending of the game. At first she’ll come across as a bossy bitch, but give her time and you’ll see her softer side. Her only weakness is her inability to see her father’s wrongdoing.
3. Lucina (Fire Emblem: Awakening)
Lucina came from a war-torn world. Her father was murdered by his closest friend and the world was literally on the brink of destruction. She grew up fighting and spent her entire life trying to change the outcome of a doomed existence. Lucina found a way to travel back in time before everything went to shit and she helped her father Chrom defeat the Fell Dragon Grima. She’s almost as good as her father Chrom at sword-fighting and is serious about protecting those she loves from harm. She hid her identity by disguising herself as her ancient ancestor (Marth) before revealing herself to Robin and Chrom.
Lucina is as tough as they come. She managed to get four out of the five Fire Emblem gemstones to try and put an end to the end of the world, but in the end it wasn’t enough. She convinced the other children (of the characters you meet in the game) to go along with her plan. If they didn’t she would simply go alone. Lucina is scarred by the horrors of the future, but she doesn’t let that define her character. She can be lighthearted and goofy too and I love the scene when she finally opened up and told Chrom that she was his daughter from the future. A future that he’s dead in. Lucina is one hell of a character and the only Fire Emblem princess to make my list.
Did I mention that she has an abhorrent since of fashion?
2. Alis Landale (Phantasy Star)
Alis is the definition of badass. I’m serious. Open a dictionary, look up badass, and you’ll see her picture. After her brother is murdered at the beginning of the game she vows to get revenge and murder the guy that murdered her brother. What I like about her story is you don’t know she’s a princess right away. She’s not living in some castle. She’s a commoner and had no idea that the brother that she lost wasn’t really her brother. What I like is that the end of the game left the choice up to the player. Do you ascend as Queen or remain a commoner? Later games never answered this question. Alis is skilled at both swordplay and magic and presumably died battling Dark Force alone.
1. Cirilla (The Witcher 3)
In many ways Ciri is as much the main protagonist of The Witcher 3 as Geralt. She’s the strongest character in the Witcher series (both in the books and video games). When she was a child Cirilla escaped a force marriage by wandering off in the woods of Brokilon. There she met Geralt for the first time and the rest is history. Ciri was trained by Witchers to use the sword and learned magic by the powerful Yennefer of Vengerberg. She’s the child of prophecy and is on the run from the Wild Hunt when we’re introduced to her for the first time in the Witcher games. Her story arc in both the books and The Witcher 3 is amazing, but since this is just about video games I’m not counting the book. She’s still a badass and she’s only been in one game. Ciri can be naive, but she’s also kind and once she puts her mind to something there’s no talking her out of it. She’s powerful, but she has trouble controlling her powers and must be under constant supervision. How do you supervise someone that can teleport wherever they want though? Ciri is one of the best female protagonist in gaming as well as one of the best female characters in gaming and I have no problem with placing her at the top spot on my top 10 princesses of all time.
Well this was a very fun list for me to make. I would have never thought of making a top 10 princess list if I had never read about it on shoottherookie. My daughters had fun naming Princess Peach to me 100 times before I started writing about her. It kind of became a quality moment between me and my daughters and that’s always awesome. These are my top 10 princesses of all time. What are yours?