Whether as a love interest or an easy plot device, young royal ladies always find themselves popping up in videogames. Strikingly often, these princesses need the player to embark on an epic journey to save them. But every once in a while, it's the princess who ought to be doing the saving while the defenseless man waves a handkerchief flirtatiously. Here are six princesses that are way more badass than their supposed "rescuers."
Prince of Persia stars an athletic, acrobatic and youthful ruler of a forbidden Arabian land who possesses ancient magic and knowledge meant to combat a god of evil. It also stars a prince. He wears scarves. Elika can leap, climb and fight just as well as the Prince, except he needs her magic to surmount many obstacles. The player controlled Prince is only truly useful during the short, basic, one-on-one combat; even then a third of his attacks involve Elika flinging herself, unarmed at an enemy. The Prince's biggest contribution to the team is owning a donkey.
During the JRPG golden ages, you could always count on a solid Breath of Fire game to tide you over between Final Fantasy releases. And in those games, you could always count on a silent blue-haired hero named Ryu to meet up with an adventurous Wyndian princess named Nina. Unlike most RPG princesses, Nina knows that white magic is for suckers and controls wind and fire as well as any dark sorcerer. While Ryu is prone to waking up in fields naked and remembering only his name, Nina is apt to murdering centaurs who try hold her ransom at age eight. Not to mention the fourth installment of the series when she infiltrates enemy territory to rescue her sister, Princess Elina. Not only is she more badass than her rescuer, but she herself is a princess rescuer. Meta.
Unlike her Mario counterpart, Zelda has always been capable when things get stabby. Even in her earlier iterations, Zelda has always held some kind of power, even if it's only the ability to call for help across time and space. More recent incarnations find her as a key player in Hyrule's salvation. In Ocarina of Time, while Link is napping through puberty, Zelda is clad in a ninja's robe making sure there's still a world to save when he finishes his growth spurt. In Twilight Princess, Link is wrestling goats and dueling scarecrows while Zelda stands with Hyrule castle's last line of defense against Zant. Zelda has always been pivotal in defeating Ganon, but recently, she's been the only one keeping the window of opportunity open while our green-garbed elf boy collects bugs or scours hedges for money.