Woah! That's cheating, sneaking up. Do you have your legs on silent?
— The Tenth Doctor to Cybermen, "The Next Doctor"
This is a Sound FX
trope relating to any robot, cyborg
or Mechanical Lifeform
that makes mechanical creaking sounds when they move around. Most Real Life
robots tend to make loud snaps and hissing noises due to the hydraulics or compressed air they use for movement and creaking noises mean that somebody has to pick up the oilcan stat
unless they fancy replacing components.
Anime and Manga
- Chachamaru in the Negima!!? second series had robotic noises added to accompany her movements.
- While the Combat Cyborgs in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha are normally silent, body parts that have been damaged beyond a certain point will emit mechanical whirring sounds when they move, as shown in the hospital scene after the massive terrorist attack by Jail in StrikerS.
- Dorathy from The Big O makes very smooth mechanical sounds when she moves Depending on the Episode
- Friendship is Witchcraft features in episode 4 a discussion about robots. Episode 5 focuses on one, and her servos could use some maintenance. Not that anyone cares.
- Star Wars is guilty of this, with most civilian droids making odd pneumatic whining sounds whenever they move and military droids that have an inexplicable clanking sound accompany their every step, even while walking on grass.
- Although not technically a robot, the powerloader used by Ripley in Aliens makes satisfying hydraulic whirrs and clomps as it moves around.
- Johnny 5 makes all kinds of noise when he moves around, but it's natural, since he's animatronic.
- The bomb disposal robots in Bomb Patrol Afghanistan are noisier than you would expect of a military gradr machine. Then again, it is designed to be remotely operated an possibly make heroic sacrifices so the humans won't have to get up close and personal with IEDs.
- The Cybermen in Doctor Who. Lampshaded in one episode when they somehow manage to sneak up on the Doctor and he asks them if they've "got their legs on 'silent'".
- In Star Trek, we have Borg drones that make mechanical and electrical noise when moving, or assimilating.
- Robocop in the TV series. When walking he only made stepping thumps, but moving anything else made mechanical noises.
- The robots of Steam Powered Giraffe let out occasional hydraulic hisses and whirrs, particularly when they start up or power down.
- Most robotic constructs in World of Warcraft are rather clanky. Justified because most of them are hostile or potentially attackable NPCs, and all NPCs have a combat noise. Robots are just noisier than most.
- For a time, having the Lil' Smokey non-combat pet out was a great way to annoy other players due to how noisy the thing was.
- There are creaking/squeaking robot enemies in the video games Banjo-Kazooie and/or Banjo-Tooie.
- The Arachnotrons, Spider Mastermind and the Cyberdemon from Doom make a hell of a noise when they walk around on their metal legs.
- Tekken's Jack-type cyborgs make a satisfying crashing noise when knocked over, although they're quiet when moving.
- The Dwemer Centurions in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind produce a distinct metal-on-stone clacking sounds whenever they are near.
- Omega makes these only in Sonic 2006.
- The various Robot Mercenaries of Grey Mann's army in Team Fortress 2's Mann Vs. Machine mode clatter, sputter, and clank as they move around. Most obvious in the trailer video but they're still fairly noisy in the game. This is masked somewhat by their tendency to babble constantly.
- In Transformers, you sometimes (different series are different on this, and many things) hear sounds as the robots move. Transformers Animated in particular has fun with it, with high-pitched whirring noises that say 'high tech' for most of them, but the old geezer of a medic, Ratchet, makes much creakier noises.
- Subverted in The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Wedding": we Flash Forward to the far future (2010) and see what we think are a group of robots clanking by, but it's really just several college kids going to The Wizard of Oz auditions in Tin Man costumes.