Created By: KaputExaltation on May 15, 2017 Last Edited By: KaputExaltation on May 20, 2017

Robot Soldier

A robot that serves in an army.

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This trope is about any Robot that is built for the intent purpose of participating in a war as a combatant. These machines either supplement soldiers as a part of a battle force, or replace them entirely. They can be anywhere on the Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence, but generally stand between 1 and 3 on the scale. Obviously, these robots are not Three-Laws Compliant, since they must be able to violate the First Law on a regular basis. This does not necessarily mean they are psychotic mass murder machines, though depending on who built them and why, they easily could be.

The distinction between this trope and Mecha-Mooks is that Mecha-Mooks are, well, Mooks. By definition, Mooks are disposable, mass produced bad guys with few or no special attributes that only exist to be easily destroyed by The Hero. So while robot soldiers can be mooks, there's no law that says "all fighting robots are mooks". A robot soldier can easily be anything from a mook, to an implacable killing machine, to the hero of a story.

A REMINDER: This trope is for soldiers that are also robots, not simply any machine that is able to fight. The robot must either be a part of a military unit, or be specifically made to serve as part of a military unit, or they are not this trope.



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Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • May 15, 2017
    Gotta find an example of robotic Redshirt Army.
  • May 15, 2017
    Comic Book example: G.I. Robot, from DC Comics.
  • May 15, 2017
    Is this a sub-trope or super-trope to Killer Robot?
  • May 18, 2017
    This is neither a subtrope nor supertrope to Killer Robot. The Killer Robot trope specifies that it covers any "machine guided by a level of intelligence and a homicidal urge to Kill All Humans." This trope isn't about killing humans specifically, or any genocidal tendencies. It's a supertrope regarding any kind of robot that just so happens to be used as units in an army. Any kind of army, good, evil, or otherwise.
  • May 18, 2017
    • In Cave Story, you play as a robot soldier—though it's not immediately obvious. Initially, you meet several NPC's who wonder if you're "a soldier from the surface". Then Professor Booster clarifies that you're a robot soldier. Shortly after, you meet Curly Brace, another robot and a veteran of the same war as you.
  • May 18, 2017
    ^ To invoke a classic software developer cliche, the difference between this trope and Killer Robot is that here, Kill All Humans is a feature, not a bug.

    I think this would be about machines and robots that are purpose built to fight in war and serve no other purpose. Are more likely to look less humanoid than other designs as all that they are required to do is to hold and fire a gun, and advance forward... which doesn't require the complexities of a humanoid design to accomplish.

    As a clarification I have, does this count Real Life drone warfair (i.e. The device is piloted, but the pilot is not inside the craft) or is this strictly limited to only machines capable of independently navigating the battle field and correctly targeting an enemy combatant verses a friendly combatant (i.e. The Star Wars Battle Droids).

    Again, this is slowly becoming Real Life as several militarizes are looking into practical applications of robotic ground forces, though these tend to look more like small vehicles with weapons mounted to them, rather than anything humanoid.
  • May 18, 2017
    • Overwatch
      • Bastion started life as one of these in the Omnic Crisis before being critically damaged and spending decades in the undergrowth, which turned it from Killer Robot to ab animal loving Technical Pacifist.
      • Orisa also started life as a mass produced OR 15 unit (which was law enforcement, but otherwise fits) which was destroyed by a supervillain named Doomfist, before being upgraded by a Teen Genius into a superhero-esque protector.
      • Both of the PvE events featured omnic enemies; "Dr. Junkenstein's Revenge" has undead robot mooks which mainly damage the door the players must defend, "Uprising" features the forces of Null Sector, an Omnic terrorist group who have restarted production of the military units from the war (including Bastion units which serve as Elite Mooks).

    • In Timesplitters, several recurring characters are robots who were built for combat:
      • Gretel Mk. II is described as an expert assassin (compared to the rest of the line, which are basically just robots who shoot things with no real backstory).
      • R-100 and their Legacy Character models in the later games are intelligent robotic soldiers who were built for a Robot War. Notably the R-109 featured in 2's main story mission was avenging the other robots who died in that war.
  • May 18, 2017
    • Mega Man X: Some Reploids of the verse end up betraying humanity and became destructive for one reason or another, called "going Maverick". In response to that, Doctor Cain formed the Maverick Hunters, an organization filled with robot soldiers to fight these Mavericks.
  • May 19, 2017
    The Laconic could be shrunk by removing the mook references?

    Can they be intended as a One Man Army or do they have to be part of a unit?

    This should be related to Killer Robot with their parent being all the Robot Tropes...

    • Recettear: Arma: A robot girl called an Ancient Weapon that can use a variety of weaponry, from fists, to machine guns to space-warping sphere makers.
  • May 19, 2017
    In Stellaris, robotic armies (android armies with the appropriate technology) can be recruited (built?) for planetary defense or invasion. Does that count as an example?
  • May 19, 2017
    Closely in the mold of Attack Drone, but here goes:

    • The evil T-X assassin from Terminator 3 Rise Of The Machines activates and reprograms the prototype robot motorized guns housed in the same military base where John Connor is trying to convince military commanders not to initiate Skynet. The repurposed robot effectively liquidates everyone in the command center, and almost succeeds in killing Kate Brewster. However, its primitive target scanning categorizes anyone lying prone as a casualty, and thus ignored Kate as "debris."
    • The Iron Giant wanders the Maine woods, searching for a purpose after a bumpy landing on Earth corrupted its memory. An exposition scene later in the story reveal this robot normally would be part of a hostile invasion force, meant to crush a world's defenses, eradicate the indigenous population, and prepare the planet for their creators to colonize.
  • May 19, 2017
    For clarification: this trope is about robots that are also soldiers. They can be anything - a non-combat robot that decides to fight a war, or purpose built killing machine, an attack drone, infantry personnel, an airship totally run by AI, an eldritch world destroying supercomputer... as long as it is both a soldier (as in, a component of or built to be part of a battle force) and also a robot. Cave Story was the reason I suggested this: there wasn't a trope available that adequately described the main character: he's a robot that was built for a war, but he isn't a mook at all.
  • May 19, 2017
    So don't the TS examples count?
  • May 19, 2017
    I don't follow Timesplitters myself. There's nothing stopping anyone from adding more relevant examples after the page is up... In fact, that's supposed to happen. One thing I'm noticing, though, is that some people are misinterpreting this trope to mean "robot built for combat" or "robot built for killing". It has to specifically be part of a military battle force. As in, a literal soldier, or a robot used specifically by a military. Assassins aren't soldiers, and neither are bounty hunters, which the above Mega Man X robots seem to be.
  • May 19, 2017
    ^ No, Maverick Hunters of Mega Man X is really like military, with distinct divisions like Marine Units or Air Force units. Mavericks also don't have "Bounties". I know more of the series than you do.
  • May 20, 2017
    ^^ Well, as I said in the example; the R-100 line are exactly that (although the R-109 has been sent on a solo mission his backstory specifically describes him as having been part of an army).
  • May 20, 2017
    Some of those sub-tropes are more like Sister Tropes, and could be mentioned in the body, but shouldn't be listed where they don't belong. I'm talking about Mechanical Abomination, Starfish Robot, and Robot War.

    The first two don't need to overlap with this trope at all, and while a Robot War needs a Robot Soldier, the War is a plot/setting trope, while this is a character trope.