Rosa, Paola and Teodora also fall into this, the first being part of the Venetian Thieves Guild and more than capable of handling herself even with an arrow in her leg, the latter two being Assassins and performing leaps of faith at the end of :Memory Block 11. Catarina Sforza also gets in on the trope during the Battle of Forli expansion.
Jaheira of the Baldur's Gate series is both a warrior and a druid, not afraid to criticize the PC for doing stupid things, and assumes a role of either leader or trusted advisor. She also has fabulous stats and wears the pants in her marriage. As a typical example of how good the adaptation is, she becomes an awfulFaux Action Girl in the novels.
It doesn't end there, however. Viconia and Imoen are also highly competent warriors, as is Neera from the Enhanced Edition.
The first game also has Safana, Branwen, Dynaheir, Shar-Teel, Faldorn, and Alora, all of whom are capable in their own right.
Mazzy and Nalia from the second game also join the fray. So, while Jaheira is easily the #1 Action Girl of this franchise, there are certainly other ladies who deserve mention.
Savyna and Xelha in Baten Kaitos, Eternal Wings And The Lost Ocean.
Eleanor Lamb from Bioshock. We may only get her briefly, but she kicks so much butt. Dr. Tenenbaum also deserves credit for surviving Rapture and WWII with only her smarts and her gun. We may not see her fight, but she must've to live to that age and still be alive (and escape)
The female versions of the bloodlines in Bloodline Champions. The point of the game is fighting the enemy team, after all.
Katt/Rinpoo from Breath Of Fire 2 may wield a staff, but don't let that fool you. First seen battling at a colliseum for shits and giggles, she joins up with Ryu and becomes one of the best physical fighters in the game.
Staff my ass. She uses a Zhua! A sub-section of staff with a big-ass, heavy, SHARP claw on the end. For bonus points: Said claw is a Katt's claw! Don't think there's a difference? The Zhua has been known to crack a man's skull cleanly in two with a single swing. And that's BEFORE they get the sharp end out.
Ophelia, Lita, the Razor Girls, and the Zaulia in Brütal Legend. In other words, every woman in the game.
Anyone from the Belnades clan of witches, and Maria Renard who was fighting monsters before puberty.
Sonia Belmont, the first Belmont, at least until they dreamed up Leon several years later, and then retconned her out of the timeline altogether.
Ayla from Chrono Trigger is easily the most powerful character (while fighting barehanded), even without magic powers like the other protagonists. And in-story, she is the leader of her village, and its most skilled warrior (even Kino, her boyfriend, is weaker than her).
Princess Marle is a pretty badass archer herself.
Lucca too. Just look at her Big Damn Heroes scene, and her awesome firepower!
After that in Tiberian Sun we had Umagon, a mutant lady who was Put on a Bus during the expansion.
Red Alert 2 Tanya returned portrayed by Kari Wuhrer.
Tiberium Wars introduced a new Nod Commando with a sexy accent and an eyepatch, and it's expansion also introduced a squad of sonic grenade launching jetpack women in form fitting Powered Armor.
Red Alert 3 once again had Tanya (this time Jenny McCarthy), along with Natasha (Gina Carano), and Yuriko. Oh, and there were flying anime-inspired laser dominatrices; I am not making that up.
Due to budget limitations, we never get to see Sergeant Brooks of the Crusader series of games in an actual fight, but when you consider the lower-ranked NCOs are afraid of her, she lips off multiple times to a superior officer who also happens to be someone who could probably kill her without a breaking a sweat, and survives WEC captivity with no wounds requiring anything more than a two-day stint in a (probably poorly-equipped) hospital, she almost certainly counts.
Monica from Dark Cloud 2, a time-traveling princess who's just as good with a sword as she is with fire magic (and she's cute, to boot).
Other ladies who deserve mention include Xing Cai, Yue Ying, Bao Shanniang, Diao Chan, Lian Shi, Xiao Qiao, Wang Yuanji, and Zhen Ji.
Eternal Sonata has a few; Viola, Falsetto, Claves, Serenade, Salsa, and March. Polka can also fight rather decently, although she serves more as a healer once more characters join the party.
The Etrian Odyssey series always features two female character designs for each class, and favors using mostly women in its official artwork. In addition, each class has an 'official' representative that symbolizes that game:
Rosa takes a while to grow into the role, but after spending a third of the game as the Damsel in Distress, she firmly places herself into this category. Although she does get special mention for going off on her own to search for Cecil earlier on. That took some serious guts.
Final Fantasy VI: Celes and Terra are ultimately the most powerful fighters and the most powerful spellcasters in the game, including using "knightly" equipment that most men aren't up to equipping. This is particularly obvious in a Natural Magic Challenge game...
Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy VII can punch and kick her way with the best of them. She has been trained in martial arts since she was a child, and has super human reflexes and strength. Yuffie Kisaragi the teenage ninja also qualifies, though her action is based more on speed than strength.
Final Fantasy VIII's Quistis and Selphie, being fully trained Seeds, surely qualify. Rinoa becomesone very late in the game due to becoming a sorceress. She fights beforehand, but as more of a back-row support character than complete Action Girl.
"Let me see if I'm understanding this. Freya is one of the main heroines of a JRPG — and she doesn't at any point have the hots for the hero, never needs to be rescued by the hero, and in fact shows up the hero in a monster-slaying competition? (Unless the player really knows what he's doing during the Festival of the Hunt sequence, that is.) And wait — does Freya really offer zero fanservice? Not even the slightest effort is made to cater to Secret of NIMH fanboy furries? (..) And am I really not imagining the game, when Freya ends up with the guy she has the hots for — a guy who, again, isn't the game's male main character? Whoa. Not only might Freya be the best Dragoon in Final Fantasy, the best female party member in the whole series (at least from a feminist perspective)."
In Final Fantasy X-2, all three of the main characters are Action Girls, with Yuna trading in her summoning for twoblazing guns, Rikku being her usual genki self, and Paine, a new character whose main weapon is a sword.
Ashe and Fran from Final Fantasy XII. One of them is a Badass Princesswho kicks ass with a sword while being refreshingly proactive throughout the story, the other is a sky pirate who can easily hold her own with any kind of weapon she wants (her primary one appearing to be a bow & arrow), and also probably has a long history of ass-kicking.
Exactly half of the player party in Final Fantasy XIII consists of Action Girls: Lightning Farron, Oerba Yun Fang, and Oerba Dia Vanille.
Lebreau as well. Even though she's just an NPC with limited screentime, she sure does make the most of it!
Almost all the girls who don't fit in the White Magician Girl mold in Fire Emblem. They're always treated as equal to, and are always every bit as competent as, the men. Leave it to Fire Emblem to feature plenty of beautiful ladies who kick epic proportions of ass in each game. The fact that this series takes place in a medieval setting makes it all the more awesome.
The best example is Princess Ayra from Fire Emblem Jugdral. She is a very tough lady and has the deadly skill Astra, which allows her to hit five times in a row for one round, which can easily mow down almost all enemies. This quote probably sums up her status as Action Girl, as she threatens her "boss" for using her beloved nephewas a hostage:
"You better not double-cross me, Kinbois, because I'll hunt you down and put your head to a stick! Even if it takes me to the ends of hell! Got it!?"
From the First Generation, there's also Raquesis, Briggid, Fury, and Tiltyu. And the Second Generation has Ayra's daughter Larcei, Deirdre and Arvis's daughter Julia, Ethlyn and Quan's daughter Altena, Tiltyu's daughter Tinny, Fury's daughter Fee, and Briggid's daughter Patty. If you don't pair the First Generation ladies and get the replacement units instead of their daughters (save Julia and Altena), you'll have Radney, Linda, Femina and Daisy. Even if they don't hve the bonuses of the already mentioned ladies, they still get the jobs done. (Specially Linda.)
Thracia 776 is kind enough to provide us with Mareeta, Macha, Sara, Misha, Evayle, Amalda, Karin, Miranda, Tanya, Olwen, Selphina, and Lara.
Another case in point, Mia, from Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn. She travels around the world, looking for her ultimate rival. And in battle, she has awesome growths, slicing and dicing enemies to bits with her sword. And, she even drags the resident healer to her training sessions to ensure that she doesn't have to hold back. Said training sessions are always with Ike, who has a similar "no holds barred" training ethic to her. Everyone else on the mercenary crew is too scared to spar with either of them.
Titania is another glorious example. We also get Nephenee, Jill, Lethe, Tanith, Marcia, Lucia, Astrid, Calill, and Ilyana. And Radiant Dawn also adds Nailah, Sanaki, Vika, Sigrun, Heather, and Fiona.
Even Princess Elincia becomes one in the second game, after slowly heading in this direction at the end of the first game.
Lyndis, one of the three main characters in Blazing Sword, is a strong heroine who travels across the continent to defeat her evil uncle, and later joins the main party again in Eliwood/Hector's story as the female lead to fight against the Big Bads. She's also notable for being one of the most recognizable women in the series, which shows how awesome she really is. This quote, just like Ayra's, defines Lyn's Action Girl status, which she says in her conversation with the Final Boss:
"The nomads of the plains do not abandon their fellow tribespeople. Eliwood and Hector are my dearest friends... Their sorrow is my sorrow. Their anger is my anger. Nergal! In my friends' names, I will cut you down!"
There's also Fiora, Rebecca, Karla, Louise, Nino, Farina, Isadora, Vaida, and Florina.
Marisa from Sacred Stones is a renowned mercenary who spent her whole life training to be a master of the sword, and as a result, has a very good reputation for her fighting abilities. And for good reason too, she's a damn good unit.
Princess Eirika, the female lead, also gets plenty of Action Girl moments. Notably when she leads a group of about ten people into an enemy war zone to aid her brother, or when she calmly tells the Big Bad she's going to kill him. Not bad for a previously sheltered princess!
Even when in the beginning she gets whacked with a Distress Ball for about five seconds, Princess Tana is a Plucky Girl who refuses to stay aside even when her brother Innes tells her that she's still too green for battle, and is rewarded by becoming a damn good unit.
We're also graced with Vanessa, Amelia, Lute, Myrrh, and Syrene. Oh yes, and L'Arachel after she promotes.
Miledy Sword of Seals easily enters the Top 5 of most badass female characters in the entire series, which is REALLY saying something. As the lovely bodyguard of Guinevere, the local Damsel in Distress, you know this girl has a nice history on the battlefield. And when she joins your team under her lady's command, she quickly puts her experience to good use and just keeps getting better. Once she promotes? She becomes a borderline One Woman Army. Easily one of the most valuable units in the game.
Lilina, Fir, Sue, Thany, Igrene, Wendy, Echidna, Tate, Cecilia, Dorothy, Fa, Cath, and Sophia also join the fray, and are all forces o be reckoned with. (Though a couple of them may need some leveling up first.)
And also; Minerva, Palla, Catria, Linde, and Tiki (who makes a comeback in Awakening). As you can probably tell at this point, Intelligent Systems loves this trope.
Fire Emblem Awakening gives us a doozy of an Action Girl cast. And it even cranks it up a notch with the mostly female-only skill "Galeforce", which grants them another full turn if the beat an enemy. Who exactly are all the Action Girls in this game? Ahem...
Cordelia, Sully, Flavia, Tharja, Cherche, Say'ri, Tiki, Panne, Anna, Miriel, Nowi, Sumia, and Female Avatar. Lissa and Maribelle become this after promotion. And Olivia? First dancer in an internationally released FE game who can fight. And that's just the first generation.
The second generation adds Lucina, Severa, Cynthia, Kjelle, Noire, Nah and Female Morgan. Yeah, it's that kind of series.
Lieutenant Keira Stokes of F.E.A.R. is the only female in the Delta Force team, but she's in Delta Force. No further explanation required.
She also survives to the end of the game, unlike the majority of the team.
The third Gears of War marked the first time female characters were playable on the battlefield. The in-universe explanation for the lack of female soldiers previously is that humanity is on its last legs and the women are needed to help maintain the population; any female COG soldiers are actually infertile and perform support roles. Prior to the second game, the only female Locust we see are the Berserkers, which are huge, ugly hulking beasts.
Anya Stroud, the Mission Control for the first two games, becomes a frontline soldier in the last game (along with other female Gears, Samantha Byrne and Bernadette Mataki) because the stakes were a lot higher now.
Alicia Valera is another female COG who is part of Zeta-Six, who performs a Heroic Sacrifice for the rest of her squad.
Queen Myrrah, the Locust Queen, likewise takes up her battle armor in the last game because her people are fighting for their very survival.
Feena and Milda from Grandia are certified Action Girls, making for a nice change of pace in the JRPG genre.
Grandia II has the awesome Millenia, as well as Tio.
Many examples throughout the Growlanser series. Although all of the Growlanser protagonists are male, most of them are closely associated with an Action Girl right from the beginning. Julia Douglas from the first Growlanser is a notable example, being the first female to earn the prestigious "Imperial Knight" title that both Wein and Charlone aspire to in The Sense of Justice.
In the Halo 3 level "The Covenant", as Sergeant Johnson is held prisoner by the Brutes, Miranda Keyes crashes her Pelican through the Citadel's window and starts blowing away the Brutes with her shotgun.
Other badass ladies include Alice-130 from Halo Wars, Veronica Dare from Halo 3: ODST, Noble Two (aka "Kat") from Halo: Reach, Sarah Palmer from Halo 4, and a bunch more Spartans and Marines in the Expanded Universe. It can also apply to the only human in the Haloverse equal to the Master Chief in overall deadliness, if the player chooses to make Reach's Noble Six female.
Queen Catherine Ironfist of Heroes of Might and Magic III, a cunning tactician, skilled warrior, and phenomenal leader. Then there's Mutare, a young human woman who rises to prominence in the "dungeon" cities of Nighon (populated mostly by monsters like harpies, medusas, minotaurs, etc.), makes a grab for power the moment her enemy shows a sign of weakness, and ends up the ruler of all Nighon due to being transformed into a sentient black dragon. There are other female warrior-types who probably count, but those two are the only ones with real characterization — the other characterized lead, Adrienne, doesn't count, because she's a Magical Girl.
Kate from Hydrophobia certainly fits this trope. Taking fearlessly diving under flooded corridors and tackling armed terrorists with only the slightest prompting from an annoying Scotsman. Also shown that she did quite a bit of rock-climbing before the incidents of the game too.
The titular Jeanne from Jeanne Darc, naturally. Also Beatrix, Rose, Claire, and Liane.
Anne in Jurassic Park: Trespasser. Favours guns, but will use sticks if necessary, and enjoys counting the number of rounds left in a gun out loud, and also has a heart-shaped tattoo on her breast that is an indicator of how much health she has left. Wow.
Aqua from the Kingdom Hearts series. Kairi begins to gravitate from Distressed Damsel to this in Kingdom Hearts II, where she gets a Keyblade and fights a horde of Heartless alongside Riku, though at this point she's still a beginner ala Ven from "Birth By Sleep". Xion would probably be more of an intentional case of Faux Action Girl, since she can only fight when unknowingly sapping strength from her friend Roxas. Also, it's contested both in-game and outside it whether or not Xion can be considered 100% female at all...
Ariel and Mulan get to show their Action Girl chops as party members, Mulan is especially interesting since she's a complete joke while she's in disguise as boy, but once she drops the disguise she Takes A Level In Badass.
Naturally, Tifa and Yuffie's appearances can add them to the list as well, especially when they help Sora fight off a whole swarm of Heartless. Tifa gets bonus points for briefly going toe-to-toe with Sephiroth in Cloud's place.
Bastila Shan in Knights of the Old Republic. And, like Ashley in Mass Effect, she pales in comparison to the female Player Character, particularly when you learn that the incredibly badass Darth Revan everybody's been talking about all game, the one who beat the living daylights out of the Mandaloriansand the Republic, Jedi Order and all? You're her. That is, if you happen to play that way.
Mira and Brianna the Handmaiden in the sequel, not to mention the Jedi Exile, who unlike the previous game's PC has been established as female in canon.
And Mission and Juhani.
It's also worth nothing that Mission isn't a Jedi or a trained soldier; she's a 14-year-old street punk, and can still hold her own along the professional fighters. Growing up on the streets of Taris will do that to a kid.
Tess and Ellie in The Last of Us continue Naughty Dog\'s tradition of strong female characters who are more than able to hold their own in a fight, and even have to rescue the player on occasion.
Skyward Sword also has Impa, who serves as Zelda's bodyguard. It's implied she's this in Ocarina of Time too, considering the fact that she was able to get through the Shadow Temple on her own.
The Gerudo are apparently an entire race of them.
Lennus II features an interesting example of a woman named Nikita, a burlesque dancer by profession, who reveals that she had worked to perfectly tone her body not to please the eyes of others, but to fight! "I want to fight! I want to fight! I want to fight!" If you dismiss her from your party, she'll hate you for robbing her of the chance to be an Action Girl. And if you keep her, she'll become an awesomely powerful fighter.
Live A Live has, from the Xin Shan Quan Master's chapter, Li Kuugo, former bandit and one of three possible characters to become the inheritor of the Xin Shan Quan martial arts style. Of the three possible characters, she is the fastest and has decent attack power and health (far faster than Sammo, more health than Yuan, although that ceases to be an issue as your level increases). Of the three characters, she starts with more attacks than Yuan, but less than Sammo, but is the only one of the three to get a whole-screen attack. Like the other two, she becomes death incarnate once she gets her ultimate tech.
Just like their comic book counterparts, all of the women in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games are super-hardcore, super-badass Action Girls; Ms Marvel, Storm, Elektra, Invisible Woman, Songbird, Spider Woman, Jean Grey, Psylocke, and She-Hulk. And whatever new playable female characters that might be in the third game.
Ashley Williams in Mass Effect 1. Of all of the squadmates, she is the best all-around fighter, being able to use shotguns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles, wear heavy armor, has high hit points (second only to Wrex) and health regeneration, and can use Immunity, Shield Boost, and Adrenaline Burst. None of your other squadmates can do all of this.
Mass Effect 2'' gives us four new action girls: Miranda Lawson (the Illusive Man's right-hand woman and Shepard's second-in-command), Samara (asari matriarch, Knight Errant, and Punisher), Jack (trained from childhood to be the ultimate biotic), and Kasumi Goto (possibly the galaxy's best thief). Tali also returns, having taken a level in badass since the first game. That's not even going into the NPCs.
All of these characters, however, are altogether outdone if CommanderShepard is played as a woman. While any of the above can take out entire squads of soldiers by themselves at higher levels, Shepard routinely smashes entire armies and Eldritch Abominations with little trouble.
Mona Sax of Max Payne 2 is a very capable assassin who is the title character's equal when it comes to guns and ass-kicking in general. You get to play as her during the second act, when Max gets in trouble at the construction site and Mona has to ensure that he stays alive. You also step into her shoes during the third act, when Max gets a bullet in the head from Vlad at the funhouse and Mona "comes to get him through the fire." The two eventually go on a two-person castle storm on Woden's manor.
From Mega Man ZX, there's Aile and Ashe. Ashe moreso, because she's an experienced Hunter who can kick ass with just a pistol (And Model A increases her ass-kicking ability quite a bit). Even more impressive is when you realize she can beat bosses with a weapon from the armory of one of few groups from Zero and ZX whose weapons are typically useless in the hands of anyone else besides bad guys and other heroes.
And Aile and Ashe are humans, in a series of robotic protagonists. That makes it even more impressive.
Metal Gear Solid 3 has The Boss, who is a very extreme example of this trope, probably closer to an Action Hero with breasts and bordering on a female Ace: physically powerful, emotionally intelligent, and deeply perceptive. She beats the snot out of the main character repeatedly; fought in World War II — while hugely pregnant — and became a hero; and makes everyone cry at the end. For a lot of rather complicated reasons, she has never been considered a Mary Sue and is probably the most popular female character in the fandom.
Meryl becomes one of these in Metal Gear Solid 4. The members of The Beauty and the Beast Unit from the same game are part this trope and part horror.
Her exploits in-universe are legendary to the point of being mythical; Federation Marine logs in Metroid Prime 2 have at least one of the marines expressing doubt that Samus even exists because the things she's accomplished are so unbelievable.
Phantasy Star has what is probably one of the earliest examples of this trope in the form of Alis (Alisa in the original Japanese version). When her brother is killed at the beginning of the game by the evil King Lassic's forces, she doesn't hesitate to go kill him. She's a strong physical attacker with plenty of HP and defense, while her magic is actually pretty poor compared to Myau and Noah/Lutz's (an inversion of early RPGs stereotyping female characters as frail spellcasters).
In Planescape: Torment, Annah is a fierce and fearless knife-fighter. She's drawn to the protagonist almost against her will, but then so are the rest of the NPCs, thanks to their torments.
Chell from the Portal games. Armed with only a portal gun, the long fall boots and her own brains, she'll escape death traps and fight robots. Just watch!
Lani, Kidra, and Santes from The Reconstruction. Lani is Hot-Blooded, prone to yelling a lot, and bashes any foes that come her way with a giant tower shield. Santes blasts any foes in your way to oblivion with Judgement.
Don't forget Sheva Alomar or Claire Redfield either.
Rebecca is an interesting case; in the original RE, she was The Chick, in Resident Evil 0, she's one of a duo of protagonists, and holds her own. It's weird to play 0, where she's quite capable, and then go to REmake (which happens in the same damn week), where she borders on Damsel in Distress at times.
Could border on Fridge Brilliance if you think about it. Rebecca has only been a cop in the sleepy midwestern town of Raccoon City for two months when RE 0 rolls around. She goes through what could range from 18+ hours to several days of continuous stress and danger, fights several unstoppable killing machines and [[Kaiju creatures straight out of Japanese cinema]], is constantly having to watch her back since she's hanging around with a dangerous convict, is exposed to grime and other pathogens constantly, finally blows the place up and escapes in the nick of time AND THEN immediately heads for the mansion (maybe a trip of a few hours) where she finds that shit has gone to hell there too. It's the better part of a week before Alpha team arrives as backup so Rebecca has been dealing with that constantly for that amount of time in the RE 0 lab and then the mansion all without proper rest, supplies or ammunition. She had nothing left to fight with at the end of 0, so she'd be scrounging bullets and ammo around the mansion and wouldn't have a chance in hell of getting a good rest, not with all the hell going on around her. By the time Chris finds her she's basically running on empty: Sleep-deprived, adrenaline-poisoned, hungry and dehydrated and physically overtaxed. Frankly I'm surprised she was even coherent at that point.
Ginchiyo Tachibana and Ina from Samurai Warriors 2 are easily the toughest women in the game. Whereas the other female characters either wear robes (Okuni, No) or are ninjas (Nene, Kunoichi from SW 1), Ina is the daughter of Tadakatsu Honda (regarded as the strongest in the land) and wields a giant bladed bow while wearing armor (and one of her alternate costumes in Warriors Orochi 2 has full body armor). Ginchiyo wears full plate and chain mail, wields a serrated, lightning-imbued sword and has one of the most devastating movesets in the game. There's even a line group between her and Zhang He (a very un-masculine character from Dynasty Warriors) in Warriors Orochi:
Zhang He: You are supposed to be a woman, where is your sense of grace? Ginchiyo: You are supposed to be a warrior! Where is your sense of masculinity!?* Septerra Core presents Maya, Led, and Selina as these.
Heather Mason from Silent Hill 3. Arguably, the very nature of the series makes the other female characters varying types of a Faux Action Girl at the very least, but Heather is probably the most well-known and easily identifiable example of a true Action Girl.
Blaze the Cat is the most straight example from the Sonic the Hedgehog games, but Amy is no slouch with that hammer of hers and Rouge has a more subtle brand of asskicking. Cream... could be considered more of a Technical Pacifist, with her Chao partner Cheese delivering all of the direct attacks. Shade the Echidna from Sonic Chronicles is another perfect example, armed with twin blades, grenades and martial arts.
Mary Jane in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (the next gen console verison that is) well help Spidey fight off symbiotes with a shotgun, while suffering from a broken arm. Black Widow will also blast a few symbiotes with a SVD.
MJ took a massive Level in Action Girl in this game, if you compare her potrayal in any other game she's always a helpless Distressed Damsel or a Suporting character in the Cinimatics, here, her deathcount for Symbiotes is higher than any other normal person in the game (Not Counting those with SHIELD level training), & she put fear into Luke Cage, LUKE CAGE! Watch his introduction, & then remember that he was Scarred of a girl whose constantly wearing a see-threw top in the game.
Charlotte, Ionae, and Grace, the three sharpshooters in The Spirit Engine 2. While they have low defense, they can dish out significantly damaging ranged attacks, as well as a poisoning attack.
Speaking of which, Fara Phoenix displays similar characteristics.
The DS iteration of the series has one possible scenario in which Krystal, Katt Monroe, Lucy Hare (Peppy's daughter), and Amanda (Slippy's fiancee) team up to save Corneria. A good day for gender equality indeed.
Several girls from the Star Ocean series, including:
Star Wars: The Old Republic has many, including every female companion and possibly the PC. NPC action girls include a Mandalorian bounty hunter, the wife of a Sith lord, and Satele Shan, descendant of Bastila Shan andRevan.
The Suikoden series has too many Action Girls to count. Since each game has 108 Heroes, it shouldn't be that surprising that there are one or two of these.
Maia and Sangaril from the (unfortunately) obscure RPG Summoner 2.
Princess Peach is infamous as a Damsel in Distress, but there are a few games where she really gets to shine. The levels in badass she takes in these games don't generally tend to stick in subsequent games, but it's still nice when it does happen. Listed just below are the games where she becomes an Action Girl:
By virtue of being a fighting game series, Super Smash Bros. features a bunch, which include Samus Aran, Jigglypuff, Princess Zelda (also as Sheik), Princess Peach, and Nana. But special mention goes to the Wii Fit Trainer, who attacks opponents with what are basically yoga poses. All those other women had at least some taste of action in their original franchises, even Peach; the Trainer's games never featured any action at all.
From Tales of Symphonia, we have Sheena Fujibayashi, Presea Combatir, and Colette Brunel. Sheena is the standout case, dishing out plenty of flashy ninja moves and use some powerful Summon Magic. Meanwhile, Presea is a Little Miss Badass who's choice of weapon is a giant ax that is literally heavier than she is and her physical strength is the highest in the game. An finally; Colette, despite her occasional Distressed Damsel tendencies, is perfectly capable of handling herself on the battlefield.
Raine Sage is also seen kicking ass in the opening sequence, and can be a force to be reckoned with once she starts learning offensive magic of the Holy Hand Grenade variety.
Even Philia is quite fond of throwing bombs at people before nuking them into oblivion.
And let's not forget Nanaly Fletch from Tales of Destiny 2, a hot, tomboyish Archer who can kick your ass and look good doing it.
Farah Oersted in Tales of Eternia is so powerful that she is capable of firing three consecutive beast heads with the technique "ground breaker" and she does this ENTIRELY BAREHANDED.
Meredy can also tear enemies apart with her magic, and is never once in distress.
Sophie from Tales of Graces is probably no more than five feet tall and is skinny as a rail, but she can beat baddies into the ground with her gauntlets like no one's business.
Also Pascal from the same game.
Cheria Barnes is one of the most-used characters because of her flexibility in combat. She can fight at long range or in melee, she can cast magic, her abilities allow her a lot of maneuverability, and she can heal.
Judith is the resident air master of Tales of Vesperia and was so popular that she was accepted as one of the characters to appear in Tales Of Vs.
Rita Mordio, the local Tsundere of the same game, is also a beloved Badass Bookworm. She also appears in Tales of Vs.
Patty Fleur from the same game seems to be a pretty good fighter herself.
Even Estelle has some nice fencing moves, is the party's resident Combat Medic, and overall quite a tank. Granted, she does get hit HARD with a Distress Ball at one point, but before and after that, she still counts.
Milla Maxwell from Tales of Xillia is a massively badass young lady with killer looks and a Determinator-like attitude. She will not ever back down from a mission or a fight and consistently displays awe-inspiring skill with both a sword and magic. She starts out as somewhat of a Crutch Character: ridiculous skills to start with until she gets Brought Down to Normal near the beginning, resulting in her gradually learning all the abilities that she used to rely on the power of the Spirits for. The results of this are quite astounding.
Elize Lutus. She may not pack a punch in close combat, but may the spirits help you if you underestimate her ability to smack the bejeezus out of you with magic.
Hermana Larmo, Iria Animi, and Ange Serena in Tales of Innocence. Also, QQ Selezneva in the remake.
And now we have Alicia in the upcoming Tales Of Zestiria, who's actually going to be a princess but insists on being treated as a knight. She's even got the armor and the Blade on a Stick. And she's cute, to boot.
Tears to Tiara: Most of the named women characters are one, except the ones who were first seen residing in Avalon. Rhiannon gradually turns into one near the end of the anime series.
Tears to Tiara 2: All female characters minus little girl Charis. The heroine is the Goddess of War.
Alicia Winston in Time Crisis 3. Not only does she subvert the series' trend of Distressed Damsels, which the past three games had, but she's also a playable character in the PS2 port.
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. She is practically the Trope Codifier for video game protagonists who fall under this trope. At the height of her popularity, she was probably both the best recognized, and the most popular video game character originating in the western hemisphere. And her gender has never really been a matter of suspicion (a common problem in earlier, sprite-based characters). Given that all of her adventures have involved her shooting enormous amounts of ammunition at similarly enormous enemies, she's the Action Girl many would most readily identify.
Basically any female character in the Touhou series is an action girl, excluding few exceptions like Kosuzu Motoori or Hieda no Akyuu.
Despite being relegated to Alternate Continuity, Mercury from Tron 2.0. Current champion of the Game Grid, armed with not a classic disk, but a nasty Rod Primitive, fights off a horde of Z-Lots to get Jet and Ma3a to safety, gets Jet out of the lightcycle arena death trap twice. Not as much of a shock when you find out who programmed her...
Uncharted. Chloe is an action girl of Nate's equal, and Elena is a journalist who... happens to kick a lot of ass. Somehow. Who's complaining?
Oh, so very many in Valkyria Chronicles. Alicia, Marina, Rosie, Edy, Lynn, Jane, Catherine, Freesia, Rosina, Wendy, Audrey, Aika, Varrot, Juno, Aisha, Nina, Yoko, Elysse, Ramona, Cherry... Actually, let's just put almost every single girl in the game, shall we? Even Isara and Nancy have their moments.
Selvaria, the local Dark Action Girl, is arguably the most badass girl of them all, being able to wipe out every single unit on your squad, destroy tanks with one single blow, and deflect enormous attacks with her weapon.
Speaking of which, Aliasse, Lavinia, Coleen, Anisette, Rene, Chloe, Juliana, Nichol, Marion, and Sofia from Valkyria Chronicles II are every bit as kickass as the girls from the previous game.
Her sisters Hrist and Silmeria have no trouble keeping up with her in a fight, while their patron, Freya, is legendary among Tri-Ace fans for how overpowered she is. Silmeria's mortal vessal, Alicia, grows into one after the two are seperated, and the valkyries have no shortage of female warriors and mages among their einheirjar.
The Walking Dead - Episode 4 introduces Molly, who is a bit out of place in the series as some kind of post-apocalyptic ninja who is worth more in a fight than all the other characters combined. She beats up both Lee and Kenny empty handed but usually fights with an ice axe calld Hilda.
WarCraft has Tyrande Whisperwind, Maiev Shadowsong, Shandris Feathermoon... Action Girl is the Hat of female night elves. Also Garona Halforcen. Really, though, (nearly) all female player characters are this.
World of Warcraft's Cataclysm expansion introduces Fanny Thundermar of the Twilight Highlands. She gets kidnapped by ogres as part of the main questline, but by the time the player reaches her... she's brushing herself after killing her three ogre jailors bare handed, asking you "What took ye so long?"
Every female party member to join with Rhue at some point in The Way series qualifies.
Rubi Malone from WET is voiced by Eliza Dushku. That pretty much says it all.
The underrated Wild Arms series has at least one Action Girl each game.
Cecilia from the first Wild ARMs is a Rebellious Princess who sets out on a quest completely on her own and joins the party with some lovely magic powers. Probably one of the earliest video game princesses who wasn't a Damsel in Distress.
Wild ARMs 2 has not one, but three; Kanon, Lilika, and Marivel.
Virginia from Wild ARMs 3 serves as the game's protagonist, and wields Guns Akimbo along with some nifty healing powers to boot.
Her rival, Maya, is also quite capable.
The best example is Raquel from Wild ARMs 4, a swordswoman and Lightning Bruiser of epic proportions. She can easily engage the enemy before anyone else and often kill them in the same turn, and even comes with some engaging Character Development.
Rebecca from Wild ARMs 5 also comes with guns, and can randomly shoot up to two to five times in a row!
Any fighting game girl fits by default, but a few are more noteworthy:
The famous Chun Li from Street Fighter II and beyond could turn anyone's head with her looks or one (thousand) of her ridiculously fast and powerful kicks. Her SF legacy is continued by ladies like Cammy White, Rose, Sakura Kasugano, Karin Kanzuki, Makoto, Elena, Hokuto, Pullum Purna and others.
Nina Williams from Tekken would also count... though she might be a bit Darker than the norm. Anna Williams, Michelle and Julia Chang, Ling Xiaoyu, Jun and Asuka Kazama, and Christie Monteiro would be more straight examples, then.