We’ve been gripped by robot fever. Now that Detroit Become Human is finally out, David Cage’s latest project has given us a window into a not-so-distant future. Maybe you’re wary of our technology-filled reality and how grim it looks. Alternatively, you could be making preparations to worship our robot overlords. It’s a divisive issue, but it’s not only about looking ahead. It’s time to look back on some of the worst robots in game history. Think of them as cautionary tales, if you will.
5. Metal Sonic from the Sonic series
There’s just something wrong with robots imitating animals. Metal Sonic is a prime example of a profoundly wrong military creation. Previously considered a relic of the past, he ricocheted back into our lives in Sonic Forces and it looks like he’s here to stay. Maybe it’s the cold, steel muzzle. Maybe it’s the claws and the fact that he’s an emotionless husk of a childhood hero.
However, the most unsettling aspect of Metal Sonic is his homicidal urges. This guy wants nothing more than to put Sonic six feet under, and he’s almost strong enough to do it. Robots like Metal Sonic think that morality is a crutch for the weak. His modus operandi is stealing your girlfriend, and he fires death rays. This is one evil robot, and he’s bad down to his riveted bones.
4. GLaDOS from the Portal series
Let’s get some semantics out of the way first. Yes, GLaDOS is technically an artificial intelligence unit. However, she’s got a central control core and she’s capable of operating a mechanized killer factory. For that reason, she makes our list; it’s not her winning personality. GLaDOS is a lean, mean, psychopathic machine. While she initially wormed her way into our hearts with promises of cake, we know better now. The cake is a lie, and so is her empathy.
If you thought Metal Sonic was bad, at least he’s got an excuse for his deadly fixation. GLaDOS wasn’t programmed to be a killer. When it comes down to whether it’s nature versus nurture, spending time in her personal torture chamber makes the distinction largely irrelevant. Her sadism extends to robots too, which is basically like killing family. She’s definitely twisted.
3. Jack from Tekken
We’re still on the topic of robots that could kill you. However, Tekken‘s hunk of steel isn’t quite on the homicidal manic spectrum. Yes, he’s got biceps the size of Christmas hams. Yes, he’s packing a whole lot of torque in his beefy torso. However, Jack’s shown flashes of humanity here and there, particularly when it comes to Jane from Tekken 2. While Metal Sonic has one mode – Killing Machine – this chunky boy of cogs clearly has something simulating a heart. Why is he on this list?
Even though there’s a number of different canonical reasons as to why each Jack prototype exists, one thing is clear. He doesn’t really… do anything cool with his powers. His personality’s 180-degree change from angry ironman isn’t super convincing. Furthermore, he’s long been considered bonehead that’s best played by, well, boneheads. I mean, he makes a living in later Tekken games by pummelling the stuffing out of older models of himself. That’s probably a little too on the nose.
2. Claptrap from the Borderlands series
It’s about time that we moved onto non-threatening robots. Some androids are clearly capable of extreme feats of self-preservation. Others, like Jack, lean towards extreme feats of strength. However, there are a select few that exhibit traits akin to deadly clumsiness. Claptrap is one of those robots. His sheer inability to keep it together lands him on our naughty list, even though the chattering idiot means well.
Encountering Claptrap for the first time is a memorable encounter. Some might even go as far as to say that he’s a beloved part of the Borderlands base games. They’ve clearly spelled “bumbling” wrong. Being geographically-challenged and prone to destruction might be cute when it comes to puppies. However, there’s nothing adorable about a trash can-sized robot with that killer combination of personality traits. Claptrap is a staple of the series, but he somehow always ended up dragging the Vault Hunters into his mess. Would we like him better if he was a robot assassin? Maybe. He’d certainly be more useful in a firefight.
1. HK-47 from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Speaking of robot assassins… HK-47 is a prime contender for heavyweight champion. While Claptrap’s chatter may have been mostly banter, HK-47 is a totally different kettle of fish. If the fish were piranhas and the kettle was a metaphor for your life. That’s a clumsy description, but so is that rust bucket from Star Wars. In the same vein as his Borderlands counterpart, he doesn’t look aerodynamically possible of killing anything. However, anything’s possible if you believe.
HK-47 definitely believes. He believes that his human masters are inferior and in need of fixing. He believes that unadulterated violence is the quickest way to a someone’s heart. Most of all, he’s got an uncanny lust for blood that could rival some of humanity’s most storied cannibals. He’s not only a true believer, but a true robot of action – he’s got the means to carry out his dastardly plans, and he racks up a rather impressive body count if you play your cards right. HK-47 doesn’t aspire to being human. He knows that he’s better than all of us.
For every terrible robot out there seeking to mimic or mock us, we’re sure there’s a pleasant parallel. However, they could also just be well-placed propaganda from smarter androids used to lull us into a false sense of security. We’re not suggesting that you should take a hammer to your Roomba. But if you’ve come across any robots in your gaming adventures that have given you bad vibes, let us know in the comments section below. Better to be safe than sorry!