By the end of the ’90s, the 16-bit era ended and 3D took over. With the PlayStation and 3D graphics cards out there allowing for new possibilities, narrative and gameplay, the ’90s produced some of the most attractive characters in video game history.
But let’s not rush forward. Games in the first half of the decade featured primarily improved 2D graphics, creating some really detailed and memorable characters.
Chun Li, Ryu, Ken and Guile in Street Fighter II (1991)
Bubble Bath Babes (1991)
Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat (1992)
Mai Shiranui in the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series (1992)
Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2 (1992)
Spellcasting 301: Spring Break (1992)
Night Trap (1992)
Time Gal (1993)
Morrigan Aensland in Darkstalkers (1994)
Samus Aran in Super Metroid (1994)
Tanya in Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996)
Leisure Suit Larry 5-7 (1991-1996)
Princess Rosella in King’s Quest VII (1997)
Elaine Marley in Monkey Island 1-3 (1990-1997)
Nico and George in Broken Sword I-II (1996-1997)
Although the PlayStation was already out in 1994 in Japan, the real 3D breakthrough happened two years later with the release of Core Design’s Tomb Raider. Can’t say that these early 3D character models were perfect compared to the beautiful 2D ones, but it they made strides as the years went on.
Kazuya, Michelle and Anna in Tekken (1994)
Princess Peach in Super Mario 64 (1996)
Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield in Resident Evil (1996)
Duke in Duke Nukem 3D (1996)
Lara Croft in Tomb Raider (1996)
James Bond in Goldeneye 007 (1997)
Tifa, Cloud and Aeris in Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Aya Brea in Parasite Eve (1998)
Elexis Sinclaire in Sin (1998)
Red Lotus in Deathtrap Dungeon (1998)
Solid Snakeand Meryl in Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Heishiro Mitsurugi in SoulCalibur (1998)
The Hunter in Quake III Arena (1999)
Squall and Rinoa in Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
Compared to the ’80s the ’90s introduced a vast amount of attractive characters. Our list is just the tip of the iceberg, so make sure to leave your picks and favourites in the comments!