Movies and TV shows have all their share of robots, and, fittingly, so do video games. From the adorable to the psychotic, the following robots are all hugely memorable, regardless of whether you play as them or hardly even see them.
Note: the following are listed in no particular order.
Dog (Half-Life 2, PC)
Few, if any, silent characters have been able to hold such a lasting impact over the FPS genre as Dog has; certainly, no other silent robot has. His introduction, a game of fetch that shows you the ropes of the gravity gun, is humble yet wholly poignant — not to mention incredibly memorable. But that initial freshness doesn’t wane from Dog; instead, it grows stronger, so much so that the player forms a sort of emotional attachment to him. Sure, Dog’s scrap metal appearance may not look like much, but, evidently, there’s a lot more going on inside.
HK-47 (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, PC/Xbox)
For all intents and purposes, HK-47 is the polar opposite of Dog. There is, however, nothing wrong with that. Whereas Dog holds an apparent love for the player character, HK-47 harbors a deep hate for his “meatbag” of a master. A hilariously homicidal figure, the robot’s first appearance in KOTOR spawned much deserved acclaim, and so BioWare brought the assassin back in the sequel. It has been quite some time since we last heard one of HK-47’s psychotic rants, but, as rumor would have it, he’s been geared up for a return in BioWare’s upcoming MMO, The Old Republic. Let’s hope that’s true.
- “Shall we find something to kill to cheer ourselves up?”
- “But… but that technical term does not accurately portray the vast amount of bulbous slushiness present in your bipedal form!”
- “Apology: Sorry, master. My optical sensors simply pick up all the water sloshing about your flesh coating. It is… unpleasant.”
- “Commentary: I mean… nice human, goo-oood human…”
- “Statement: You are a very harsh master, master. I like you.”
- “At any rate, I only act as you instruct me… even if that means being… *gulp* … non-violent.”
GLaDOS (Portal, PC/Mac/Xbox 360/PS3)
GLaDOS may very well have been the reason for Portal’s unprecedented success. Indeed, her passive-aggressive and overly-narcissistic personality heralded many to consider her not only one of video gaming’s best robots, but also, by extension, one of the medium’s best villains. Though her style plays off of other like characters, (for example, SHODAN from System Shock and HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey), the witty way in which GLaDOS executes each of her hugely memorable lines — from her reasons for wanting to kill you and her musings about cake — is truly unique and unmatched in any genre, video game or otherwise.
Metro Protectrons (Fallout 3, PC/Xbox 360/PS3)
Fallout 3 is just rife with unsavory characters. In a desert dotted with vicious Mirelurks, fierce Yao Guai and unrelenting raiders, there are, really, few places where one can avoid the threat of death. Not even the subway, it would seem, for even there, robots — outfitted with lasers, of course — stalk you. “Pre-war” in every sense of the word, these fellows may seem rather dilapidated and unassuming, and, too, they can be… that is, if you have a ticket or are adept in science. But, whether they can be friend or foe, few can deny that these clunkers have a refreshingly antique charm that is altogether so infrequent in video gaming.
Chibi-Robo (Chibi-Robo!, GameCube)
An underrated game with an overly cute robot figurehead, Chibi-Robo!’s premise was a seemingly menial one (where one collects “Happy Points” by cleaning up around the house), but its often-tedious gameplay was assuaged by its unyielding charm, most of which is exerted by the title character itself, Chibi-Robo. Sure, Chibi doesn’t have the most pleasant job in the world, but the way in which he completes his tasks — by whimsically prancing around to music — would lead many to believe otherwise.