We're big fans of female assassins, as long as we aren't their targets. Video game developers love them, too. And whereas female killers may not be quite as popular as bald space Marines, they've still carved out a niche for themselves as a go-to archetype in several games.

We've rounded up some of the most efficient and brutal female killing machines in video games. Make sure to tell us your favorite in the comments section.

Geisha, "Shogun 2: Total War"
"Shogun 2: Total War" isn't out yet, but we've seen firsthand footage of the crafty Geisha in action. Sneaking into an enemy's camp, she enters the general's tent and silently subdues him. And not in the way you'd expect from a geisha. While her method isn't foolproof (she can be discovered and killed before completing her mission), it's a pretty devious way to dispatch an enemy leader and demoralize an entire army before battle.

Keep reading for more of our favorite femme fatales.

Lucy Stillman, "Assassin's Creed"
Modeled after and voiced by Kristen Bell, Lucy Stillman may not seem like the stereotypical assassin -- but that's part of the illusion. Despite looking like she just got a mani-pedi, she's more than capable of holding her own. In the opening segment of "Assassin's Creed II," Lucy and series protagonist Desmond Miles break out of a complex where he was a prisoner and she was a mole for the assassin organization. She does the heavy lifting, too -- taking down armed guards with her bare hands (and feet).
Kaede, "Onimusha"
A more traditional representation of the female assassin, Kaede is a "kunoichi" -- a woman ninja. Hot female ninjas are a yen a dozen in video games -- as the rest of this list illustrates -- but Kaede makes up for it with dagger-throwing skills and a crazy thigh tattoo. She was originally contracted to kill the game's main character, Samanosuke. Instead, she let him live and traveled with him across Japan killing demons. It's the classic Japanese love story.
Hibana, "Nightshade"
It's not every day that a female game character sports a skintight suit that has no real benefit in battle besides accentuating her flawlessly rendered figure. Wait, that does happen every day. Still, Hibana (another kunoichi, and not the last) tears up demon spawn with panache. The opening level takes place atop a flying stealth bomber for Christ's sake!
Ayame, "Tenchu"
One of the first kunoichi to make a name for herself in mainstream video game culture, Ayame appeared in the original PlayStation game "Tenchu" and has been making appearances in subsequent titles since, much to the delight of fanboys. She's especially brutal: One of her assassination techniques involves jumping on an enemy's head and snapping his neck with her thighs. She also has no qualms kicking guards in the balls.
Kurenai, "Red Ninja: End of Honor"
The developers behind "Red Ninja" either thought regular, hot female ninjas were getting passé or they are unrepentant perverts. One look at Kurenai and the correct choice is obvious. They could have easily stopped at busty, but what's the point if her heaving bosom isn't on the cusp of falling out of her kimono -- which just happens to be more of a miniskirt.

Unsurprisingly, Kurenai can use her looks (and lack of clothing) to her advantage: She can perform special stealth kills by seducing enemies into letting down their guards, right before they let down their pants. Ninjas are trained to be masters of deception, after all.
Violette Summer, "Velvet Assassin"
Based on actual WWII spy Violette Szabo, Violette Summer sneaks around war-torn Europe dispatching Nazis with a knife in "Velvet Assassin." She's not against dressing up as one herself in order to complete a mission either. In a genre dominated by no-nonsense military men and Japanese stereotypes, it's nice to see a British woman doing a little wetwork. We're even willing to overlook the last two levels of the game, which have Violette running around in a decidedly un-assassin-like little white teddy. It's not so much exploitative as it is plain weird.
Kaede Smith, "Killer7"
Kaede Smith is similar to the other Kaede in name only. She is a modern-day assassin working with an eclectic group called "Killer7." The really weird catch is, she and the other members are all physical manifestations from within the mind of one man. So, she doesn't really exist. Or does she? Crazy plot devices aside, the barefoot assassin has her own issues -- like cutting her wrist to expose hidden areas with the ensuing blood spray. Or rhetorically asking her victims, "Hurts, doesn't it?" right after shooting them.
Rubi Malone, "Wet"
Voiced by actress Eliza Dushku, Rubi Malone swears like a sailor and drinks like a fish -- our type of girl. She also kills people for money. (Well, no one's perfect.) Rubi is great at what she does though, bounding around seedy alleyways like a sociopathic Kerri Strug. Using dual guns and a katana, she marries the best of Eastern and Western assassins.
Which female video game assassin is your favorite?
Geisha10 (2.6%)
Lucy Stillman106 (28.0%)
Kaede42 (11.1%)
Hibana9 (2.4%)
Ayame74 (19.5%)
Kurenai36 (9.5%)
Violette Summer20 (5.3%)
Kaede Smith8 (2.1%)
Rubi Malone74 (19.5%)