We can all probably agree on one thing: robots are awesome.
From the likes of super-cutesy droid R2-D2 to the uber-destructive, stair-hating ED-209, the entertainment industry has created an amazing variety of robots over the years. Video games especially make great use of robots: you’re not just relegated to watching them, but often get to play as them too.
ReCore is the latest example, and it takes an innovative approach, with upgradable Pokemon-like synthetics integral to the entire game. For fans of robot-based games, ReCore is sure to be an unforgettable experience, but only time will tell if its metallic characters are worthy of joining the other most iconic robots from across gaming history.
Speaking of which, what are some of the most awesome video-game robots of all time?
Not only is Clank adorable, he also makes a great backpack, has as many attachments as a decent Dyson, and can even sprout into a much bigger form when needs be. What’s not to love?
Officially known as XJ-0461, Clank’s story expanded across multiple games, leading to some fascinating revelations. Not many of us might have predicted he’d go on to serve such a grand purpose (no spoilers here!), but not even that can tear him away from his buddy, Ratchet. Sweet stuff.
Dog is one of the many wonderful things about Half-Life 2. Not only does he just look great, he’s also something of a powerhouse, able to help turn the tide of battle when it matters most.
On top of all this, Dog’s energy and excitable character brings a little comic relief to Half-Life 2, and the loyalty he displays towards Alyx is pretty darn touching. His eye-gestures and mannerisms are brilliantly designed, giving him the power to emote and helping to make him even more lovable.
Mega Man is, without doubt, one of Nintendo’s icons. Even if you’ve never even played one of his games before, you’ll recognise that shiny little blue dude anywhere.
Mega Man (AKA Rockman in Japan) may look cute, but he’s a pretty tough guy: he’s got that iconic arm-cannon, of course, which has helped him to protect the world from evil many times. His story has grown beautifully over the years, and he’s also transcended games to appear in an animé series and a comic-book adaptation published by Archie Comics.
Portal 2’s Wheatley is a favourite robot of many. With his comedic personality and disarming nature, Wheatley is a loveable figure in his debut game … well, for the most part.
Switching the character was a touch of genius on Valve Corporation’s part (something they’re not exactly in short supply of), and helps to make the game even more memorable. Still, the only thing that might make or break the character for some is that he’s voiced by Stephen Merchant.
Robo has a quintessentially ‘robot’ look, with his big eyes and chunky body. He’s a key character in Chrono Trigger’s story, and his wide range of skills (bombs, lasers, a tough arm) makes him one of the game’s most useful figures.
He’s also involved in one of Chrono Trigger’s most unforgettable moments: upon meeting his old robot-pals again, they take exception to his helping outsiders and beat him almost to a pulp. Luckily, he’s restored and becomes a valuable part of your group, but it’s a powerful scene nonetheless.
Borderlands has its fair share of quirky touches, and Claptrap is one of the strongest. Being given a pretty hyperactive personality, Claptrap is not averse to bigging himself up at times, but goes on to play an important role at various times while providing his fair share of comedic moments.
Claptrap’s ability to select the best approach to specific battles makes him indispensable in a brawl, as do the bonuses he can bestow on his teammates.
It’d be tough to make a list of awesome robots from video games without this deadly machine.
As a prominent figure from BioWare’s iconic Star Wars masterpiece Knights of the Old Republic, HK-47 is a skilled assassin with a rich history. As you progress through the game, HK-47’s story is gradually revealed, and his initial distaste for organic entities brings plenty of humour to an otherwise pretty straight-faced game.
He’s also different to some of the other robotic characters we see in the Star Wars universe, bearing more in common with the mechanical bounty hunter, IG-88 (when we first meet him, at least).
This particular robot (in disguise, no less) has starred in plenty of games, but not all of them make the most of his abilities.
Still, in a few different Transformers games, Optimus has been a total badass and immense fun to control. In 2004’s Transformers, released on the PS2, Optimus is by far the strongest playable character, with decent speed, solid combat skills, and a big fat gun perfect for bringing Decepticon scumbags down. Being able to outfit him with wings is a blast too, and that final fight with Unicron is still an absolute treat.
He’s also a fantastic hero in War for Cybertron and its sequel, Fall of Cybertron. Not only does he look incredible in both his robot and vehicle form, he’s also voiced by Peter Cullen (to Optimus Prime what Kevin Conroy is to Batman), which helps to give the games an authentic Transformers feel.
Optimus is a brave, selfless, focused leader who’d do anything for his comrades, which makes him feel like a ‘pure’ character to control. Still, he’s not just the brains of the operation – he can take down the biggest, baddest Decepticons like a beast.
One of Fall of Cybertron’s best scenes sees Optimus fight alongside Metroplex, an Autobot so huge he barely fits on screen. It’s an unforgettable sequence you want to play again and again.
What are your favourite robots from gaming history? Let us know!