She's Always A Woman To Me (Resident Evil 4)

Being or having no beneficial use; futile or ineffective.
Incapable of functioning or assisting; ineffectual: Ashley Graham is useless in life-threatening situations.

Sometimes when a heterosexual male is confused by the thought processes of the opposite sex, he might say something like, "Why don't women come with an instruction manual?". Of course, this is nothing more than a figure of speech, as women don't come bundled with this accessory, despite how handy it might prove to some men. However, Ashley Graham actually comes with an instruction manual.

When I refer to Ashley Graham, I'm not referring to the plus-size model. Anybody who has played Resident Evil 4 knows the Ashley Graham that I am talking about. She's the (in-game) United States President's daughter and seven years later, she still makes some moments in this more than decent GameCube (and later other consoles) title rather frustrating.

She can't use weapons, she can't climb down ladders, she can't avoid standing in bear traps and she always seems to find herself getting kidnapped or injured somehow (or even killed, depending on how much damage she takes, which isn't very much to deal a death blow). But does she have any redeeming factors? Actually, in my honest opinion, she does.

When I started playing Resident Evil 4, I was amazed by how realistic the scenery was and to be honest it even holds up to some of the graphics on newer consoles. The first part of Resident Evil 4, before you meet Ashley, has an amazing way of making you feel particularly uneasy. It's pissing down with rain, and the graphics are drab and devoid of life (but in that scary atmospheric zombie kind of way), but when Ashley comes in, you kind of ease up a bit and feel a lot safer (despite the fact that if you've actually now got double the amount of characters who can die, resulting in a game over), cause you've got this young bundle of youth running around after you and ducking in time with your every action like she's some sort of cute robot. She also gives you a cheer when you show off some of your 1337 sh00ting skillz, which gives you a well deserved boost to your ego. Oh, and she's handy to use as bait when those evil zombies are hiding out and you can't find them. However, you still have to put up with shooting at bear traps to shut them so she doesn't walk into them (did I mention Ashley needs to go to zombie Specsavers?). This makes me feel like I'm rolling out a carpet for the queen to walk on (you know because the Queen would turn into a pile of ash if she were ever to come in contact with dirt). Then suddenly she's losing health or getting carried away by some filthy zombie and you have to stop what you are doing to go save her. There is one particular bit where she is operating levers on a higher level and you have to shoot the zombies coming at her, whilst protecting your own skin on your level. Does she not have fists? She could punch the zom- ahh... forget it.

Her main catchphrase is "LEON!!! HELP!!!" and if you kind of suck at Resi 4 like me, then you will be hearing this catchphrase quite a lot. It's not surprising that when you win the collectable bottle cap of her, that this is the playable sound she comes with. Take a look at the video below to realise how ridiculously painful her cries for help can be.

You could take most of the lyrics from the song below and change them slightly to discuss Ashley and her many blunders throughout Resident Evil 4 from Leon's perspective. Cause let's face it, as annoying as Ashley can be, we still find ourselves shipping her with Leon... don't tell me you've never thought about that?

For example:

She can show you the way, but most of the time she doesn't help you at all
She walks like a human, but she doesn't notice any traps on the floor
And she'll get kidnapped by zombies if you leave her alone by the door

She attempts to ruin my fun in Resi 4, but she strangely makes me enjoy it more

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