We've all had at least one crush on a video game vixen. Don't go denying it. We can see it in your eyes. While most have outgrown such childish urges, some still harbour affections for virtual cuties hidden from the judgemental eyes of wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends, and, most important of all, mothers. Here, we list the objects of our Top 10 Video Game Crushes. Read on, fondly remember the good old days, and let out the longest sigh you can muster.
Princess Peach Toadstool, Super Mario Bros.
The original object of video game geek affection, Princess Peach is as cute as she is downright annoying. She's kidnapped with such unnerving regularity that we're forced to consider that she actually wants to be snatched. Still, Mario does his bit every time, saving the damsel in distress and the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser's evil machinations without a whisper of discontent. Those kisses at the end of each game make it all worthwhile, you see.
Tifa Lockhart, Final Fantasy VII
Tifa, from classic Japanese role-playing game Final Fantasy VII, was cute, but she packed a punch. As a senior member of the AVALANCHE terrorist group, she was schooled in the art of kicking butt, but she did so with an elegance that hinted at a softer interior. And wasn't it a glorious sight? Her kicking butt, we mean... not her butt. Well, we mean that, too. Ah, you know what we mean.
Chun-Li, Street Fighter II
If life was a comic, then we'd "swoon" with delight over Chun-Li every time we, ahem, played with her in Street Fighter II. Chun-Li's one for all you leg-lovers out there. Her "stems" seem to go on forever, and her thighs... well, the mind boggles at the thought. Anyone who claims they didn't pause the game while she was doing her "Spinning Bird Kick" special move, which saw her spin insanely fast while upside down, is lying. We all did. Because we had a big fat crush on her.
Alyx Vance, Half-Life 2
The thing with Half-Life 2's Alyx was she was insanely realistic. So realistic, in fact, that as Gordon Freeman's relationship with her grew she became less like a video game companion and more like a real-life companion. One who, you know, if you had a shave and maybe splashed on some Old Spice, might, you know... not find you insta-vom repulsive. Some have taken this video game crush too far, doing unhealthy things with blow-up dolls, make-up, and head bands.
Jill Valentine, Resident Evil
If you're a member of a group called STARS, you're going to be fit, aren't you? And if you're in a video game all about flesh-munching zombies, you're going to be double-y fit, aren't you? That's exactly what Jill Valentine, the tough-talking, undead-destroying vixen with a virtual gun, was in the first Resident Evil game. There was something ever-so-slightly fragile about her - she took less damage and ran slower than Chris Redfield, but she could pack more ammo, had two extra item slots, and could pick locks. She sure as hell picked the lock to our heart.
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
Prior to Lara Croft's debut appearance in Tomb Raider, video game crushes more often than not involved cute girls who barely said two words to the player. Lara Croft changed all that, with an "I'm smarter than you" attitude, dual-wielded uzis, and... ahem... massive mammaries. Let's be honest: we all fancied her because she was well fit, but there was more to Lara than that. Her complete disregard for animal rights turned us on, as did her posh English accent and mouth-watering flexibility. In this video game crush, Lara wore the trousers, and that was absolutely fine by us.
Princess Kitana, Mortal Kombat 2
Rivalling Princess Peach for number one video game monarch is Princess Kitana from the Mortal Kombat series. Peach may own Kitana in the cuteness stakes, but Kitana wins out in sheer sex appeal. Kitana doesn't mind showing off some skin, and she has a sultry fan (don't get too close, it's sharp!). And don't let Kitana's age put you off, either. She may be 10,000 years old, but just think of the things she could teach you.
Princess Zelda, The Legend of Zelda
We love Peach and Kitana, but if we were stranded on a desert island and could only keep one video game princess for company, it would be Princess Zelda from the Legend of Zelda series - we've had the hots for Zelda's pointy ears for years, ever since her 8-bit days, in fact. She's a bit like Peach in that you only have to turn your head for a second and she's gone, whisked off to some godforsaken tower by evil bad guy Ganondorf. But unlike when rescuing Peach, we're always happy to help. More than happy.
Hitomi, Dead or Alive
18-year-old karate expert Hitomi is a half-German, half-Japanese character from the Dead or Alive series. She doesn't mind wearing bikinis. She's won an award for hottest and most realistic video game pole strip scene. She's got an innocent schoolgirl vibe going on. That is all.
Meryl Silverburgh, Metal Gear Solid
The great thing about Solid Snake's relationship with rookie sidekick Meryl was that you could decide her fate. If you resisted Revolver Ocelot during Metal Gear Solid's infamous torture scene, Snake rescued his damsel in distress. If you submitted to Ocelot's torture, however, then poor Meryl bit the dust. This, obviously, wouldn't do. How many replayed the game, spurred on by an overpowering crush on Meryl, to see her safe? Just us then.