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What with video gaming being a fundamentally electronic medium, it’s no surprise that robots have featured prominently over the years in the interactive entertainment annals. From the cute to the wisecracking, all the way to the downright homocidal, every variety of awesome automaton is explored in this list the Hey Poor Player team have painstakingly assembled. Do you agree with our collection of mechanical mates and monsters? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments section!
Mega Man – Mega Man
The Blue Bomber… The Super Fing Robot… Jump and Shoot Man… This gear-filled guy has been known by many names throughout his lifetime, but, no matter what you call him, there’s no denying that Mega Man is one of the most iconic robots in video game history. Like, ever.
Creation of Doctor Light and younger brother to Proto Man, Mega Man has been stopping Doctor Wily’s nefarious schemes ever since the very first Mega Man game was released back in 1987. Throughout each of his adventures, Mega Man has been aided by an arsenal of abilities including his Mega Buster, Weapon Copy System, and canine companion Rush (does owning a dog technically count as an ability?), allowing him to take down any opponent with ease and adapt to adverse situations on the fly.
Mega Man’s popularity has also grown so much over the years that Capcom wasn’t even able to confine it all to a single Blue Bomber. The original Mega Man series has spawned several new franchises since its creation — including (but not limited to) Mega Man X, Mega Man Legends, and Mega Man Battle Network — all of which have managed to showcase everyone’s favorite blue robot in unique and novel ways. There may be a lot of robot video game characters out there, but there will forever be only one Mega Man. …Well, okay, not literally, but you get what I mean.
Aigis – Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
The release of Persona 3 marked a major turning point in the Persona series as a whole, including (but not limited to, of course) a larger focus on the characters themselves. And, while the whole of P3’s cast was most definitely all-star in every regard, there’s no denying that Aigis’ role within the game was among the most unforgettable.
Originally designed to be little more than a human-shaped weapon built for the sole purpose of destroying Shadows, Aigis’ time among the member of SEES would show her that there was more to life than a series of endless battles. The more time Aigis spent around other people, the more she became a person herself — a development which eventually led her to wonder just was it that she wanted to do with her life, and what she was capable of even doing in the first place.
There are plenty of arguments that could be made regarding why Aigis is such a great character (I mean, have you ever seen her in a fight??), but the most memorable thing about her in my opinion is the way in which her character developed over the course of Persona 3. There was never a magical moment when Aigis “learned how to be human” — rather, the majority of her character revolved around softening her sharp, mechanical edges as best she could. By the end of Persona 3 Aigis wasn’t simply a robot any more, but she wasn’t a human, either. She was, simply put, just Aigis — and it’s that shaky combination of insecurity of not knowing where she’ll end up and determination to do her best regardless that makes this robot one of the most relatable of all.
Jack – Tekken series
A mainstay of the Tekken series, Jack and his successors make our list of top video game robots. The mechanoid was designed by the Mishima Zaibatsu and the G Corporation to serve different purposes. For instance, in earlier iterations, Jack defends a young girl called Jane, after it witnessed her mother dying. In Tekken 5, Jack was designed to enter The King of The Iron Fist Tournament. However, for most of the most part Jack is the foot solider for battles between the Mishima Zaibatsu and the G Corporation.
When I play Tekken with my mates, not that many of them go out of their way to play as Jack, which is a terrible shame. Despite the fact he’s large, unwieldy and slow, I quite like playing as him. It’s dead easy to throw down volleys of punishing punches, with a few irritating Cossack kicks here and there and then finish off by jet boosting onto my opponent’s face.
Slylandro Probes – Star Control 2
Star Control 2 is remembered as an all time classic perhaps chiefly for its brilliantly inventive cast of alien races to encounter. Casting the player as a space captain leading a galaxy-wide rebellion against the tyrannical rule of the Ur-Quan, one of the more memorable (and frequent) encounters the captain has is with the Sylandro probes. The automated probes first greet the captain with the reassuring message: “WE COME IN PEACE”. However, the probes then quickly state their need to “break target into component materials” and try to destroy the captain’s fleet – a course of action rather at odds with their initially pacifistic message. As the probes continue to multiply throughout the galaxy, encounters with them increase in frequency and finding out what’s causing their rampage becomes paramount.
Later on, the captain discovers the homeworld of the Slylandro and finds out they’re a peaceful and affable race of gaseous beings who are shocked when confronted with the fact their destructive probes are threatening all galactic civilization. When pressed, they realize that they must have programmed their probes incorrectly, accidentally placing the priority for self-replication too high, inadvertently sending them out on a mission to roam the galaxy and destroy ships and use their components to replicate themselves! The Slylandro, feeling rather apologetic they’ve accidentally started a galactic genocide, give the probe’s self-destruct program to the captain, helping him to ultimately rid the drones. When the captain bids farewell to the Slylandro with a “Goodbye, Slylandro gas bags!”, the Slylandro chirpily reply “Farewell, human fluid sack!”
– Jonathan Trussler
HK47 – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2
You’ll find a lot of noble, bots who are tireless in their desire to serve humanity on this list. However, HK-47, the assassination droid from the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series is defined by his contempt of “organics”, who he mockingly refers to as “meatbags”. Built by the Sith lord Darth Revan, HK-47 was created to assassinate Revan’s enemies covertly. As such, his personality is gleefully homicidal, and he takes a perverse pride in his efficiency. When the player acquires him from a dealer, he slides very easily back into his old ways of murder and mayhem.
HK47 was beloved for his darkly humorous quips. He also has an amusing knack for giving a one-word pressage for the subject of what he’s going to say before he says it. For example, makes it clear the nature of his upcoming verbiage to fellow droid T3-M4 saying: “Statement: Oh, do shut up, you beeping little trash compactor!”.
He also makes sure to let you know he’s going to give helpful advice on prisoner transportation, saying: “Suggestion: Perhaps we could dismember the organic? It would make it easier for transport to the surface.”
HK47 was such a popular enduring classic character, he also starred in other Star Wars games such as KOTOR 2, The Old Republic and Star Wars: Galaxies. For making the beer-swilling Bender of Futurama look like a proverbial choir droid by comparison, the menacingly charming HK47 earns his place on this list.
– Jonathan Trussler
Robo – Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger is a fantastic RPG featuring time travel as one of its main plot points. Starting in a slightly post medieval era, your party eventually finds itself flung into a post apocalyptic far future. It’s here that you meet the charming robot aptly named Robo (after some much needed repairs, that is). Robo is an adorably rotund, steampunk-esque robot whose design comes courtesy of the game’s character designer Akira Toriyama. Robo is a charming, curious character who spends a decent portion of the game analyzing and learning about humans and how they work.
Whether its exploring his origins in the ruins of 2300 A.D. or spending 400 years tending to a forest to restore a massive drought brought on by monsters, Robo tends to be a pretty busy party member with good character development for someone who is anything but human. He’s also pretty versatile in combat. Sporting the equivalents of fire, shadow, and even some healing magic, he’s a great asset to bring along in many of Chrono Trigger’s battles.
Jehuty – Zone of the Enders
It’s a common theme for protagonists in Japanese media to be unassuming civilians and suddenly finding themselves placed in control of devastatingly powerful super weapons (i.e. Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion). Howver, it’s not every day you see someone get a robot that is in actuality a key to a space fortress that has enough power to destroy an entire solar system.
Featured in both Zone of the Enders games, the Jehuty is an Orbital Frame, a giant robot that utilizes mysterious “Metatron” energy to be capable of ridiculous feats. Moving hundreds of thousands of kilometers an hour in space or entering and exiting the atmosphere with no damage is easy for an Orbital Frame, and Jehuty is the most advanced example ever built. It also features an incredibly advanced AI that guides both protagonists through their respective games. When it sheds its outer armor, it’s capable exerting more power than its seemingly more powerful brother unit the Anubis.
Despite a rather literal cockpit placement, Jehuty has an army’s worth of armaments and has an overall awesome design by none other than Metal Gear Solid series artist Yoji Shinkawa. A badass robot through and through.
– Kevin Chapman
Welltall – Xenogears
Take Jehuty’s entry, add in a dash of split personality disorder, and you get yourself a Welltall from the PS1 RPG classic Xenogears. Piloted by the game’s protagonist Fei Fong Wong, Welltall finds itself in his hands through the machinations of the mysterious figure Grahf.
Sporting a sleek, mechanical design with nice shades of blue offset with some bright splashes of red, Welltall holds a terrible secret. When conditions are right, Welltall interfaces with Fei to become Welltall-Id (along with Fei’s alter-ego Id surfacing). Completely transforming and turning red, Welltall-Id is a tremendously powerful Gear whose power rivals that of an Omnigear (a gear who has been transformed into a higher powered form by reacting with an ancient Anima Relic). With near limitless ether energy and immense destructive power, Welltall-Id has multiple cities and even a continent under its destructive belt.
Though the Welltall-Id form is ultimately lost when the original Welltall is destroyed in battle, the rebuilt Welltall 2 ends up becoming the omnipotently powerful and titular mecha Xenogears. With enough power to convert other gears into Omnigears on its own, and ultimately the destroyer of the false god Deus. Welltall certainly is the “Vessel of the God Slayer”
– Kevin Chapman
Valimar the Ashen Knight – The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel
Not all mecha are strictly mechanical. Sometimes otherworldly magic is involved in their creation. Valimar the Ashen Knight is one of the eight Divine Knights of Erebonian legend in the Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series of games. Not much is known about the Divine Knights and how they were made, only that they are able to host a pilot by making them a chosen one and that they can utilize ancient Animist monuments to instantly transport themselves over great distances quickly. They also sport immense combat ability.
Valimar was originally utilized by prince Dreichels Reise Arnor during the War of the Lions 250 years prior to the start of Trails of Cold Steel. Soon after, he became the 73rd emperor of Erebonia and unified the entire region. After Emperor Dreichels sealed Valimar away on the recently founded Thors Military Academy, he was later found by Rean Schwarzer and his classmates after they cleared the many trials laying in Valimar’s tomb. Valimar ultimately chose Rean as his pilot, and they have been inextricably linked since.
Valimar differs from most other mecha in that he is totally sentient. Communicating with Rean and his classmates and even offering heartfelt advice at times when Rean is struggling. Valimar is as much a party member as he is a weapon. With Rean’s help, he also knows his way around a sword and can take down the Noble Alliance’s mass produced Soldat units with ease – though the other Divine Knights prove to be a challenge at times.
– Kevin Chapman
Blade Wolf – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Sometimes your robotic friends in games might not start off as such. Take for instance Blade Wolf from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Originally built as the AI robot LQ-84i, this quadrupedal killing machine wanted protagonist Raiden dead, and had the chainsaw mounted to its back to make it happen.
After Raiden beats LQ-84i, rather than destroy it he sends the shell and AI back to his team at Maverick Security Consulting to have it rebuilt and reworked into the admittedly much cooler looking (and less killing and maiming prone) Blade Wolf. With all links to the Desperados mercenary group removed from his AI, Blade Wolf is totally devoted to helping you out in taking them down. Talk about foe turned friend!
Sporting a learning neuro AI and basic verbal interface, Blade Wolf is an invaluable member to your team, and offers a wide variety of insights, mostly due in part to his development where his creators spent much of their time developing his AI through in-depth sociopolitical conversations. With Blade Wolf, you have a sleek killing machine, invaluable canine-esque comrade, and someone to discuss the dangers of rapid globalization with! He also looks adorable in a poncho and sombrero, so that’s a plus too (even if it’s just fanart).
– Kevin Chapman
Zero – Megaman X Series
One of the most badass robot’s to ever reach the pinnacle of badassery, Zero is the reploid hero we’ve all come to love and respect. He made his first appearance in the popular 1993 Mega Man X title and has been a primary character ever since even becoming the main protagonist in his own titles. From his bright red armor, long flowing ponytail,and one awesome energy sword, Zero is easily one of the most recognizable faces of the franchise. Zero was created by Dr. Albert Wily to be better than the original Mega Man and Bass in every single way and oh boy was he.
Due to a flaw in his system Zero was sealed away, because of his violent nature and inability to follow orders. Later found by maverick hunter’s it took then maverick hunter commander and future series antagonist Sigma to defeat him(both becoming infected with the maverick virus in the process of the fight). Zero eventually became a part of the 17th elite unit, where he met series protagonist X and the two become close friends. They literally resemble the Ken and Ryu relationship and it’s a very interesting dynamic to see translated in another one of Capcom’s titles.
Zero doesn’t copy abilities like X, instead he learns techniques making him unique in his playstyle. Zero is the traditional glass cannon due to a lack of upgrades but that’s ok we still love watching him chop reploids to ribbons.
– Greg Peterson
Claptrap – Borderlands
You first meet this over enthusiastic braggart at the very beginning of the Borderlands game and boy does he leave a lasting impression. Having a name that’s synonymous with drivel or babble kind of lets you know about the personality of this unit. Being the only one designated with a name (Claptrap P. Claptrappington) this lovable little guy acts as your somewhat guide and very often comic relief. Opening doors, making jokes and receiving the occasional abuse from bandits Claptrap is definitely a mainstay within the series. The love for this guy was shown when he was actually a combatant in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, remember people his combat style is not stupid it’s advanced. Whether he’s having his eye making a joke at the worst time possible or just going on and on with useless babble, Claptrap is one unforgettable robot
Metal Sonic – Sonic the Hedgehog Series
The bright blue, evil, badnik created for the sole purpose of destroying Sonic (even though he stole his swagger). Metal Sonic made his first official appearance in the 1993 title Sonic the Hedgehog CD for the Sega-CD. One Dr.Eggman’s most powerful creations, Metal Sonic is modeled after our blue hero with extreme accuracy. Not only can he match Sonic in every aspect, he can also predict his movements and counter accordingly.
The craziness ends there he can also perfectly replicate the abilities and skills of others. He’s got energy shields,pulse lasers and even surpassed Sonic in the speed department. It’s pretty easy to see why this blue bot of terror can give our furry hero a bit of a problem.
Don’t let his stoic appearance fool you, behind that metal exoskeleton is an AI constantly plotting on a way to destroy our speedy hedgehog pal.
Cait Sith – Final Fantasy 7
Cait Sith the lovable robotic cat riding a robotic moogle and guys he’s got an irish accent too… still trying to figure that one out. He’s been featured in many Final Fantasy 7 spin-offs and is even a playable character in Dirge of Cerberus. Introduced to as as a spy for Shinra controlled by Reeve, Cait Sith eventually gives in to his torn loyalties choosing the side of the games main cast.The AI does seem to eventually gain sentience which may possibly explain why he has the irish accent. In later titles Cait Sith is seen without his moogle buddy in later titles and movies and is instead shown riding Red XIII, this is a nod to his original concept by Tetsuya Nomura.
Using megaphones as weapons on top of two most random limit breaks in the game, Dice and Slots. Cait Sith also boasts some of the most materia slots in game making it easy to take advantage of his magic stats. It’s hard not to love this guy from his cute design and random irish accent Cait Sith will remain on of top bots in gaming.
YoRHa No.2 Type B-Nier:Automata
YoRHa No.2 Type B or 2b for short is the main protagonist of Nier:Automata. This femme fatale is the all-purpose battle android deployed to battle the machine-like lifeforms that have invaded earth. She was created some time before the events of the game and given the orders to observe 9S the ever-so curious scanner unit and destroy him in case he duh to deep into Project YoRHa. Killing the poor guy and wiping his memory over and over eventually impacted 2B as the two had become very close over the course of hundreds of missions. She may seem emotionless but mess with 9S and this chick will slaughter you without hesitation.
This kick-ass droid comes with a multitude of close range combat weapons, like swords, spears and much more and can attack from a distance using the pod support system. 2b does eventually save the day and defeat the machine leader but that wasn’t the end for her. She also is featured in Bandai Namco’s Soul Calibur 6 as one of the most annoying DLC characters that we’ve ever come across but still she’s one awesome robot.
– Greg Peterson
Chibi Robo – Chibi Robo
Who doesn’t want an adorable little house-robot cleaning your house? First stealing our hearts in GameCube’s Chibi-Robo!, this diminutive helper doesn’t just mop up kitchen floors and pick up trash — it landscapes parks, blows up robot spiders, encounters extraterrestrial life, travels through time to collect Nostaljunk, and yes, dances. Did we mention it also repairs broken families and fulfills the dreams of sentient toys? Truly, Citrusoft’s brainchild is an invention for the ages — cute, world-changing, and life-saving.
Sadly, Nintendo/Skip/Bandai’s little robot that could never caught on, and is likely all but left for dead after 2015’s Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash went with a whimper; in fact, you probably never bought his games, did you? Look into that face and repent.
– Anthony Pelone
Nine – Super Robot Wars V
When your franchise is called Super Robot Wars amazing robots would be a given you’d assume. However, most of the robots in SRW are mechs. So, for the purpose of this list, they don’t count. The keyword there though is most. Since, SRW does have its fair share of sentient robots. With one of the most recent being Nine from Super Robot Wars V.
At first glance you might think Nine is just a normal girl. However, the truth is more complicated than that. Nine is actually “System 99” or the system that operates the VangRay. A mysterious mech that the protagonist finds at the beginning of the game. After spending some time interacting with either Chitose or Soji, System 99 ends up creating a body for itself. Partly to only locate the protagonist after they’re separated. But, also to better be able to interact with humans and study them. In fact that’s a major part of Nine’s character.
The mysteries around Nine are a big part of Super Robot Wars V’s plot. But one thing that’s she’s very keen on studying is the concept of love. In fact, many of the “interviews” she conducts when a pilot reaches ace status is to ask them about love. Which often leads to much hilarity. My favorite though has to be her conversation with Shinji from Evangelion which has the poor boy running away screaming.
Nine, not only able to remotely pilot and control a giant mech, but also able to be more terrifying than an Angel to Shinji Ikari.
– Benny Carillo
Monokuma – Trigger Happy Havoc: Danganronpa
“It’s punishment time!” If you’ve played Danganronpa then you know those words. And you know exactly why Monokuma is not only to be respected, but you already know that he belongs on this list. For those who aren’t familiar with the Headmaster of Hope Peak’s Academy, let me fill you in. Oh, and don’t worry, I won’t be revealing any major spoilers. You owe it to yourself to get those answers yourself.
While Monokuma might look like a stuffed bear, that is a very deadly mistake to make. No only is Monokuma a robot, he can go toe-to-toe with anyone there. Including Sakura Ogami, the Ultimate Martial Artist. However, Monokuma has no interest in personally annihilating his charges. No, he just wants to teach them one thing: Despair.
Monokuma’s game is to pit the students in a death game against each other. If someone kills another student and gets away with it after a class trial, they get to escape the academy! But, if they are found guilty, then they’ll be punished personally by Monokuma. And he has some very creative ways of doing this. Surviving Monokuma’s game is quite the task. And it doesn’t take long before some students start succumbing to the temptation of freedom-by-murder.
Who’s the mastermind behind Monokuma? And can anyone beat him at his own game? I leave that to you to discover yourself.
– Benny Carillo
Legion – Mass Effect 3
Legion is a bipedal, armoured platform, sent by the Geth collective to gain an understanding of the wider universe, and specifically, Commander Shepard. It’s available in Mass Effect 2 and 3, depending on whether you make the right choices, to find it in the first place and to preserve it’s life.
Legion is probably, one of my favourite characters in Mass Effect 2 and 3. It’s the centre of one of the major plotlines, that poses the question, whether the Geth, as robots, have the right to exist.
Created by the Quarians to serve as helpers for their society, the Geth broke the confines of their programming to achieve sapience, which resulted in a war against their former masters.
The Quarians claim that the Geth must be destroyed, as they pose a considerable threat to their society. But the Geth argue that they must be give the right to live, so they can find sentience and take their place in the Galaxy.
In one mission, you must to choose to save the Geth, at the cost of the Quarians and vice versa. It’s an agonising choice and depending on how you’ve managed your paragon and renegade levels in Mass Effect 3, you might be able to save them both.
But I think for me, when you distil the argument between the two races down to its most basic level it represents the themes at the heart of the Mass Effect series. Will organic beings ever be able to get over their basic prejudices to recognise robots as their equal? The Leviathans didn’t think so, and as such, created the Reapers who ruled the galaxy for a billion years.
– Jon Davis
Metal Gear – Snatcher (and Metal Gear Solid 4)
The name Metal Gear strikes terror into the heart. It doubtless brings back flashes of mechanical monstrosities towering above, screeching with synthetic fury, ready to deal death unto all in its path and unleash a backpack full of nuclear missiles around the world. The Metal Gear Mark.II however, is a cute little mechanical buddy for Snatcher protagonist Gillian as he hunts down the body-snatching Snatchers plaguing the cyberpunk metropolis of Neo Kobe. The fearsome reputations of the original Metal gear is invoked when first encountering the Metal Gear Mk.II as it is introduced with grandiose music and a big shadow appearing…
… but the big shadow belies the cute little blue robot who then rounds the corner! According to its engineer, Harry Benson, it was modeled after “the Metal Gear menace of the late 20th century.” The Metal gear Mk.II is a trusty companion throughout Snatcher, serving as a save point, a video phone and a data analysis bot all in one!
The Metal Gear Mk.II from Snatcher was prefaced by the robotic companion the aged Solid Snake has in Metal Gear Solid 4 (that other franchise from Hideo Kojima). The the Mk.II in MGS4 doesn’t speak to Snake the same way its Snatcher counterpart does, it still helpfully delivers weapons and various supplies to Sanke whenever it’s called upon! Snake’s scientist buddy Otacon even mentions that in 50 years time everyone will want such robotic buddies. From the Mk.II’s delightful appearance in Snatcher, it’s easy to see why!
– Jonathan Trussler
Ribbot – Animal Crossing
What, you’ve never met an amphibious robot jock? Not only has Ribbot has scored a perfect attendance record for each and every Animal Crossing game, but he’s one of Animal Crossing’s two robotic villagers (the other being Sprocket the ostrich) — in other words, count yourself lucky if he moves into your village! While he’s not afraid to play up his robotic exterior in his Space and Mad Scientist home decor, he’s treated just like everyone else, so don’t be afraid in striking up a game of hide-and-seek!
Regardless, we can’t help but wonder: how can a robotic frog drink Blue Mountain coffee complete with two spoonfuls of sugar? Does he also share a mental link with his Tall Quazoid? Perhaps those answers are best left unknown.
– Anthony Pelone
Browny – Contra Hard Corps
While Browny’s appearance may not be as intimidating as some of the other mechanized marauders on our list, don’t let his pint-sized exterior fool you. Though he may look a bit like a fancy Japanese garbage bin, he’s a force serious to be reckoned with.
Built for war, this model CX-1-DA300 Combat Robot packs a versatile arsenal of weapons including a rapid-fire Victory Laser, Shield Chaser, a freaking Electromagnetic Yo-Yo to turn the forces of Major Bahamut into piles of twitching biomechanical gristle. This burgeoning arsenal, combined with a suite of gadgets that make him ideal of penetrating enemy computer systems, make him a veritable Swiss army knife on the battlefield.
No doubt about it, Contra Hard Corps is one of the most challenging games on the Genesis. Thankfully, this cybernetic commando has a few tricks up his sleeve that can make Konami’s 1994 run-’n-gunner a bit less agonizing to get through thanks to his smaller hitbox, diminutive size, and almighty Electromatic Yo-Yo which can deal massive damage to even the most fearsome alien aggressors. Oh, and did I mention bulbous bullet-slinger can hover? That’s right, go ahead and tell him he looks a bit like a sentient Keurig machine and see what happens. You’ll be pushing up K-Cups in a landfill, mister.
These battle-tested skills, combined with his jolly demeanor, make this lovable bucket of bolts a surefire winner in our book.
– Francis DiPersio