Ugly polygon "babes" of yesteryear

3D games, as a rule, don’t age well. The games of the last couple console generations might have been awesome for their time, but take a look at them now and it’s hard to see them as anything other than jaggy abortions in which cardboard rectangles masquerade as limbs. And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, most of those games contain female characters who, in their day, were genuinely considered sexy. So much so that an entire generation of gamers wasted hours scouring the internet for mythical “nude codes.”

Above: Adon from Turok 2 isn’t quite as nice to look at as you remember, is she? She has it better than most

Now, though… it’s not so much that we no longer want to see these characters naked as that we wouldn’t want to be in the same city where they were naked. As badly as their games have aged, these former sex symbols have it worse, going from objects of desire to terrifying box-monsters with creepy heads and pyramid breasts. In the name of embarrassing everyone who lusted after them and mortifying everyone who didn’t, we’ve rounded up a selection of these sad creatures and put them on display.

Jill Valentine

As seen in: Resident Evil 3 (PSOne, 1999)

How she’s remembered:

Nothing wrong here; the miniskirt, boots and tube top create a simple yet iconic look, while the tied cardigan screams, “Hey zombies, my shoulders are unprotected and delicious!”

How she actually looked:

Jill doesn’t look so bad by PSOne standards, but the stringy hair, smear of a face and single, staring eye make her more unsettling than most of the creatures in the game. Also, if we were zombies, we’d want to bit into something with fewer sharp ridges than that club of an arm.

Joanna Dark

As seen in: Perfect Dark (N64, 2000)

How she’s remembered:

Rare’s flagship heroine is alluring and smartly dressed for combat. Or at least she was, back before she started feathering her hair and appearing in godawful launch games.

How she actually looked:

Unfortunately, the closest the N64 could ever come to “alluring” was “sexless 12-year-old boy with sharp knees and strap-on chest lumps.”

Aya Brea

As seen in: Parasite Eve (PSOne, 1998)

How she’s remembered:

With her huge eyes and somewhat unorthodox design, Aya Brea was always a strikingly attractive… something. God, is this really the best Square’s high-end machines could render in 1998? No wonder everyone thought that Final Fantasy movie looked so awesome.

How she actually looked:

This may be a rare case of the in-game version of a character looking much less frightening than her pre-rendered counterpart. If we squint, she almost looks like a passable Final Fantasy character.


As seen in: Battle Arena Toshinden (PSOne, 1995)

How she’s remembered:

Toshinden’s hyperkinetic, dagger-happy little person was always the grating embodiment of anime cuteness, and she only got weirder, flouncier and more beloved by fans as the series progressed. One look at the green hair, huge eyes and barely restrained crotch, and it’s not hard to understand why.

How she actually looked:

Put this one down to blatant false advertising; in reality, Ellis was a squat, neckless homunculus with weirdly proportioned limbs and a pillow for a chest. “Lose,” indeed.


As seen in: Battle Arena Toshinden (PSOne, 1995)

How she’s remembered:

Toshinden’s resident dominatrix/private eye, meanwhile, had a more understated and timeless look. It’s hard to go wrong with black leather and a whip on a fighting-game character, particularly in the slightly more juvenile ‘90s game market.

How she actually looked:

Oh… oh holy God. Sofia has wider shoulders than most male bodybuilders, and those breasts could probably plane a two-by-four. Never mind that her face looks like she’s stifling a sneeze. How did we ever think this was sexy in 1995?

This look also informed the publishers of the PC version of Toshinden 2, who figured that the best way to lure back fans was to go whole hog and turn Sofia into a nightmarishly incompetent drag queen:



As seen in: Thrill Kill (PSOne, canceled)

How she’s remembered:

When creating Belladonna, the minds behind Thrill Kill looked at Toshinden’s Sofia and decided to do something similar, but also throw away any pretense that she was supposed to be anything other than a (deadly) object of lust. And so she was geared up in fetishy costumes, including nurse and maid outfits and this Bettie Page-inspired leopard-print number. And, what the hell, she’d carry a cattle prod instead of a whip, sure. She was going to be the sexiest character ever to star in a fighting game, and the fact that her game was never (officially) released only made her 10 times more desirable.

How she actually looked:

Sorry, did we say she was going to be the sexiest character ever to star in a fighting game? Because we meant to say she was going to be the most laughable rendering of the female form since Custer’s Revenge. Oh, sure, she animates suggestively enough, but when combined with her goofy expression and hip joints best described as “wrong,” the effect is the exact opposite of boner-inducing.

We were also going to talk about her roster of sexualized moves, but then we were distracted by the fact that whoever modeled this background has never seen a urinal before:

Natalya Simonova

As seen in: GoldenEye 007 (N64, 1997)

How she’s remembered:

Izabella Scorupco was lovely and forgettable as GoldenEye’s “good” Bond girl, and imagining her face made it much easier to overlook the thing we’re about to show you.

How she actually looked:

Oh, Natalya. Sweet Natalya. We used to care so much about protecting you from running headlong toward blazing enemy guns. We even spared Boris Grishenko’s life so that you wouldn’t admonish us with your slight disapproval. But now you’re just a squarish robot with monstrous shoulders and a face made of ham. We’re sorry, darling, but what we once had can simply never be again.

Xenia Onatopp

As seen in: GoldenEye 007 (N64, 1997)

How she’s remembered:

Meanwhile, Famke Janssen’s “bad” Bond girl (shown here as rendered in Goldeneye: Rogue Agent) is mainly remembered as the sexy villain who players quickly and unceremoniously perforated in the middle of a jungle. But even though her menace was overshadowed by the far-more-terrifying Jaws, she had a badass quality to her that made it a little disappointing when she finally bit the dust.

How she actually looked:

Rose-colored nostalgia-goggles aside, Xenia Onatopp was even boxier than Natalya, with a disturbingly overlarge, pompadour-topped head. Those clublike arms aren’t doing her any favors, either, what with their inability to properly grip that wispy suggestion of a pistol. God, let’s just move on before she slowly and robotically rotates her head in our direction and her eyes light up and she screams in murderous recognition and we all have nightmares for life.

Claire Redfield

As seen in: Resident Evil 2 (PSOne, 1997)

How she’s remembered:

In the pre-rendered parts of Resident Evil 2, Claire’s toughness and vague resemblance to Claire Danes made her an instantly beloved icon of horror gaming.

How she actually looked:

In the rest of the game, however, no amount of slick modeling from the shoulders down could make us fall in love with that impatient expression and those Groucho Marx eyebrows. What was sexy then is grounds to walk into zombies now.


As seen in: Fighters Megamix (Saturn, 1997)

How she’s remembered:

While this is vaguely creepy and actually from the box of Virtua Fighter 3, it nonetheless captures what Dural was supposed to be: a slick, sexy cipher that reflected all the other characters and gave off a kind of sexy-robot vibe.

How she actually looked:

In the Saturn era, however, Dural a stripy gray thing with weirdly pendulous breasts, no chin to speak of and an unchanging, eerie statue face. Fighting her was the stuff of nightmares, but probably not for the reasons her creators intended.


As seen in: Kagero: Deception II (PSOne, 1998)

How she’s remembered:

Most of Kagero’s advertising focused on Millennia’s back and its distinctive tattoo – which was probably fair, since it’s what you’d be seeing for the majority of the game. Coupled with her curt bob and chain-bedecked outfit, it made for a look that stuck out in gamers’ minds for years (never mind that awful render of her on the box).

How she actually looked:

After looking at her from the front, it’s easy to see why all those ads put so much emphasis on her back. While she looks acceptably feminine for a PSOne-era character, her toddler face and its suggestion of a pendulous double-chin make us feel a little dirty for objectifying her like this.

Natsu Ayuhara

As seen in: Rival Schools (PSOne, 1998)

How she’s remembered:

Rendered with typical slick Capcom flair, Natsu’s the most appealingly tough high-school volleyball star to ever appear in a fighting game. Her expression speaks volumes, and every last one of them is about how she’s going to kick your ass with that ball.

How she actually looked:

Natsu’s in-game character, meanwhile, is like the opposite of Millennia’s. Her face isn’t too bad, but everything below it is an absolute mess, from the puffed sleeves disguising giant shoulders to the giant hammer-hands to the oddly high and off-center crotch.

Tiffany Lords

As seen in: Rival Schools (PSOne, 1998)

How she’s remembered:

If you’ve ever wondered how Japanese game designers imagine American high-school cheerleaders, look no further than Tiffany. Her stars-and-stripes outfit would barely qualify as clothing at a fetish party, and her open-mouthed grin projects a monumental level of airheadedness. In short, she’s everything most gamers want to see from a fighting-game character.

How she actually looked:



To be fair, this is to restore… restoration… uh, health?

And that’s a friendly spanking. Between friends. Yep.


  • oldgrammastinkyfeet - July 9, 2009 7:56 p.m.

    Friendly Spanking...
  • FrozenImplosion - July 9, 2009 8:01 p.m.

    hahahahha I love how the URL for this page actually reads: "/f/ugly-polygon-babes-of-yesteryear/" Idk where the f comes from, but I thought it was pretty funny that it happened to be before the word ugly.
  • RageNEWLAND - July 9, 2009 8:06 p.m.

    Maan, I never realised how ugly these people aree :O :'(
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - July 9, 2009 8:19 p.m.

    The /f/ stands for "features."
  • Amnesiac - July 9, 2009 8:33 p.m.

    So much nostalgia...ruined...
  • KillDrone - July 9, 2009 8:38 p.m.

    Lol GamesRadar is only about boobs and ass! ;-P Great article Mikel
  • asspills - July 9, 2009 9:20 p.m.

    haha wow good article... you have now officially ruined my memories of Joanna Dark, Adon, Tifa, and Jill Valentine for me... my childhood self hates you.. Also, that Millenia one from that Kagero game or whatever has actually held up really well... Not saying she looks good... *shiver*... but all things considering she is totally passable as a humanoid illustration of a female.
  • Tasty_Pasta - July 9, 2009 9:32 p.m.

    Hahah, the GTA hookers have always been so bad.
  • Jacob816 - July 9, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    Haha, good article Mikel. I'd make a boner joke here, but honestly I'm drawing a blank.
  • civver - July 9, 2009 10:09 p.m.

    "John F. Kennedy’s redneck cousin" Hahaha.
  • nadrewod999 - July 9, 2009 10:32 p.m.

    Weird article. Never before seen so much bad 3D rez in one place. Nevertheless, still was a good article.
  • PCG_Evan - July 9, 2009 11:23 p.m.

    Yessss Rival Schools. So much innuendo and underage sexual taunts. Thank you for this moment.
  • Yeager1122 - July 10, 2009 12:41 a.m.

  • Ddz53 - July 10, 2009 12:48 a.m.

    I actually laughed at the Voldo description
  • Doomwaffle - July 10, 2009 12:59 a.m.

    Well, I'd tap that.
  • Weasel - July 10, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    Actually surprised Fear Effect didn't make this list, since that's another PS1 game that got most of it's publicity from it's 'sexy' female lead. And the implied lesbianism from the sequel.
  • Xeacons - July 10, 2009 1:31 a.m.

    OHGODOHGOD MY EYES!!! Tim Curry from Rock Horror! BAAAD Image!
  • WonsAuto - July 10, 2009 1:48 a.m.

    The four people above me somehow posted a year ago. o_O Also, this could've used some of the female wrestlers from the Smackdown! series.
  • WonsAuto - July 10, 2009 1:49 a.m.

    OK, never mind that thing I said about the people posting from the distant past.
  • solidsnake_5552000 - July 10, 2009 1:51 a.m.

    "You can’t fool us, Michael Jackson". That comment almost made me cr*p on my pants. It is very hilarious. But seriously Nina looks like him in that shot.

Showing 1-20 of 90 comments

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