Samus is a good choice as a strong female character. I will add Gordon Freeman as a favorite. Half Life 3!!!!
For my part i's Crash (Crash Bandicoot) and Spyro (Spyro the Dragon)
Crash and Spyro are definitely some classics :D
In my mind things like Banjo and Kazooie fit in there too with ones like Crash and Spyro. Overally I love the n64 era of gaming - though it hasn't aged all that well.
Gandhi from Civilization.... watch your back or he'll nuke you!
Gandhi from Civilizaiton is a fun one😃I love when neat characters come from bugs.
Two more of my favorites: Donkey Kong and Yoshi😃
the dudes from contra and circus charlie🙂