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Cybernetic Mythical Beast

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A truly steampunk dragon — a monster of the Age of Steam — could be a glorious fusion of mechanical engineering and esoteric technologies. Its gleaming metallic and wooden fittings rumble and hum as internal boilers and generators work to capacity, clouds of superheated steam adding to its fearsome demeanor...
But this could be any good high-steampunk machine, which may say something about dragons or something about steampunk.

Many fictional creatures, such as dragons, griffons, merfolk and so on, are generally thought of as belonging to the Fantasy genre and its derivatives, and thus aren't usually associated with tropes pertaining to science or technology. However, it's not unheard of for them to appear as sci-fi variants of themselves when fused with technology, ranging from partly organic Cyborgs to outright robotic fantasy beasts.

This can serve as a way to include fantastic creatures in Science Fiction, Space Opera, or Steampunk settings where their presence would otherwise be thematically jarring: a magic, flying, fire-breathing or magic-slinging monster from folklore may not gel well with the basic conceits of a scientific or pseudo-scientific adventure, but if a work already includes complex, functional robots as a common setting element, there's nothing really stopping people from modeling them after whichever real or fictional creatures they want to. Likewise, things like built-in flamethrowers, antigravity or flight systems, lasers, or nanotech can go a long way towards justifying common fantasy creature tropes and abilities in settings where saying that A Wizard Did It isn't generally an option.

Of course, cybernetic mythical monsters can be included for no deeper reason than the fact that they look cool.

See also Mechanical Monster, for when robotic beings are portrayed as powerful and monstrous foes, a trope with which this can easily overlap. Often a source of or the result of Post Modern Magick. Compare Deus Est Machina, i.e Cybernetic Gods, and Mechanical Abomination, which Cybernetic Gods often are. Alien Fair Folk, where mythical or fantastical creatures are equated with space aliens, is a related blending of myth and science fiction.

Sub-Trope of Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ayashimon: Kotton is a humanoid ittan momen (a living cloth youkai) that somehow integrated a motorcycle engine into his body, presumably to make himself faster.
  • Digimon: A lot of Digimon are based on mythical creatures of various kinds, and Ultimate and Mega-level Digimon tend to become cyborgs or robots (theoretically to represent them using technological upgrades to push themselves to ever-greater heights of power).
    • The Agumon line is based in roughly equal parts on theropod dinosaurs and dragons, and like most Digimon, become cyborgs in its last few stages. The primary Ultimate level, Metalgreymon, is essentially a bipedal dinosaur dragon with a metal helmet bolted to its skull, a robotic left arm and a missile launcher in its chest. An alternate variant, based off of Metalgreymon's pre-anime design and description, is explicitly described as having been corrupted by its attempts to digivolve into a machine. The Mega level, WarGreymon, is a much more humanoid cyborg.
    • The Dark Masters, the Big Bad Ensemble of the original Digimon Adventure, include two such dragons in their ranks.
      • MetalSeadramon, the ruler of the oceans of Spiral Mountain, is an armor-plated cyborg sea serpent with an energy cannon in his snout.
      • Machinedramon, the ruler of Spiral Mountain's industrial areas, is a fully robotic tyrannosauroid dragon chimera made up of the robotic parts of other strong Digimon.
      • As Digimon species rather than individual villains, both are possible end results for the dragon-based Betamon line, although Machinedramon can also digivolve from the Agumon line. One of Machinedramon's primary preevolutions, the Betamon-line Megadramon, is also a winged, legless dragon with arms ending in three-pronged mechanical claws and a metallic cranium.
    • Cyberdramon is a humanoid cyborg with implanted rubber armor, mechanical limbs, numerous exposed cables, transparent sections showing its inner wiring, and a metallic plate clamped over its head and face. A redesigned version appears in Digimon Fusion with a blue metallic exoskeleton, a cluster of simple Glowing Eyes on its otherwise featureless face, and a tail ending in a large arrowhead/jet intake.
    • Maildramon, despite looking mostly like a dragon completely covered in plate armor, is classified as a Cyborg Digimon. Digimon Adventure: (2020) introduces its Evil Counterpart, DarkMaildramon, which is just as heavily armored and still classified as a cyborg.
    • Orochimon, which despite not being part of the Dragon's Roar field is considered a draconic Digimon, is a gigantic snake with seven mechanical heads that act as limbs.
    • Among non-draconic Digimon, Sleipmon is a robotic six-legged centaur based on both Greek and Norse Mythology, while AncientSphinxmon is a cyborg sphinx.
    • Guilmon from Digimon Tamers, much like Agumon, is a draconic dinosaur (with a demonic twist due to being Virus-type) whose Ultimate form is a cyborg. WarGrowlmon has two vernier rockets attached to its shoulders and razor-sharp blades for arms. Its Mega form, Megidramon, is a cyborg Draconic Abomination whose existence threatens the entire Digital World.
    • Cerberusmon is a giant, three-headed dog with armor plating grafted all over its body. In Digimon Adventure: (2020), it can extend the extra heads at its sides on cables.
  • Dragons in EDENS ZERO are gargantuan Mechanical Lifeforms that soar through space and can easily be mistaken for comets from a distance. It's unknown where they come from or who made them, just that they've supposedly existed since ancient times, judging from an image of old-fashioned hieroglyphics in this predominantly futuristic setting.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Artifact creatures — golems, clockwork creatures, fantasy robots and other artificially animated entities — are common enough in the setting, and many of them are based off mythical and fantasy beings.
    • Dragon engines are Mechanical Lifeforms in the shape of dragons hailing from the mechanical hell-world of Phyrexia. They were introduced to Dominaria by Mishra's use of Phyrexian dragon engines and his own copies during his war against Urza, and later by Phyrexia's invasion of Dominaria. One of the most notable examples in the game is Ramos, a dragon engine brought to Dominaria by Mishra and reprogrammed by Urza to serve as a protector rather than a destroyer, and who brought a large number of Dominarian refugees to Mercadia to protect them from the Sylex Blast.
    • Other mechanical and artificial dragons include Clockwork Dragon, Cloudheath Drake, Henge Guardian, Draco, and Steel Hellkite.
    • Out of game tradition, every single gnome in the game since the original Clockwork Gnomes has been portrayed as a robot or a being of living clockwork.
    • Masticores are a rare creature type resembling wholly robotic manticores, which can superheat their stingers in lieu of injecting poison like their flesh-and-blood counterparts do.
    • The Alaran shard of Esper is home to a society that enhances every creature it can with metal that it possibly can. As a result, almost every living thing there is a cyborg of some kind, including fantasy staples such as sphinxes, sea serpents and leviathans.
    • Assorted mechanical beasts include Clockwork Hydra, Platinum Angel, and Wurmcoil Engine.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Cyber Dragons are an archetype of Machine monsters resembling robotic snakelike dragons. Examples include the basic Cyber Dragon, the three-headed Cyber End Dragon, and the more crudely built Proto-Cyber Dragon.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: Right from its name, Mechagodzilla is a cybernetic Godzilla, with Kevin's skull being incorporated in its metallic head.
  • The Legend of Wisely, a sci-fi fantasy film, has a spaceship shaped like a Chinese dragon rising out of the Chinese-Russian border. It turns out this was actually a transport used by Ancient Astronauts before the beginning of history, and their landing several millennia ago is the inspiration behind Oriental dragons.

  • Ani-Droids: A Centurion-class ani-droid looks like a 30-foot tall mechanical dragon.
  • The Book of Dragons: In "Matriculation", the main character flies on the back of a clockwork dragon that she inherited from her father.
  • Dragons Can Only Rust and Dragon Reforged by Chrys Cymri are about a robot dragon on a quest to learn whether or not he has a soul.
  • In the "Tale of the Computer That Fought a Dragon" from Stanisław Lem's Fables for Robots (a.k.a. Mortal Engines; 1964), set on the planet of Cyberia, the faulty transmission of a royal order causes a computer which is tasked to build synthetic enemies for the wargames of the king of Cyberia to construct a hostile elektrosmok ("electro-dragon") on Cyberia's moon. The electro-dragon, which grows uncontrollably by devouring the moon piecemeal and transforming it into its own body, soon threatens Cyberia and lays claim to the throne, but is defeated in time when it is persuaded to "to subtract itself from itself".
  • Havemercy features dragons that are in fact Magitek machines.
  • The Iron Dragon's Daughter: Dragons in this world are completely mechanical, although sentient and sapient (and homicidally angry), and are used as the in-world equivalent of fighter jets.
  • Ripley's Bureau of Investigation: In The Dragon's Triangle, reports of a dragon off the coast of Japan turn out to be due to the presence of a giant dragon robot.
  • The Terra Ignota series has U-beasts, fantastic and incredibly realistic creatures such as dragons that are created by robotics and powered by AIs.
  • Wrong Time for Dragons: The Dragon Created who appears as the Big Bad at the end of the book is not described in detail, but is strongly implied to be an either robotic or cybernetic construct (because real, biological dragons are extinct in the setting), and is depicted as such on the original cover.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Demon: The Descent goes all over the place on this one, as demons have Demonic Forms that reflect the purpose they were crafted for before they Fell. As they are agents of the God-Machine, this can sometimes make them look like divine cyborgs with a grenade launcher and tank treads.
  • Exalted: Cogwheel dragons resemble gigantic robotic dragons made entirely out of brass, with crystals for eyes. They're a type of metal elemental, created to regulate "natural" processes within the world-body of the mechanical Primordial Autochthon.
  • GURPS Dragons, when discussing the potential for including dragons in science fiction settings, brings up the possibility of using robots or a mixture of cybernetics and genetic engineering in order to explain a fantasy dragon's classic abilities in settings where using magic to bypass the laws of physics isn't an option. Similarly, dragon-shaped machinery is an option for Steampunk settings, and a tremendous, complex machine, growling with internal processes, shining with brass and shrouded in clouds of steam, easily brings draconic imagery to mind. The book then notes than any good steampunk machine should look like that anyway, however, which it concludes may say something about steampunk or something about dragons.
  • King of Tokyo: A dragon-shaped giant robot called Meka Dragon is one of the playable characters. The spin-off game King of New York has a robotic-looking Draconic Humanoid character called Drakonis.
  • Paranoia: A Dragon article about unusual dragons in RPGs other than D&D includes the D.R.A.G.O.N.-bot ver 3.1, a vehicle in the shape of a large winged reptile designed to infiltrate the deepest and most mutant-filled areas of Alpha Complex, which just happened to resemble dungeons filled with monsters.
  • Pathfinder: Clockwork constructs, extremely complex mechanical entities that unlike golems do not depend on bound elementals to work, include variants such as clockwork angels, clockwork dragons, clockwork fiends, clockwork goblins and clockwork leviathans.
  • Star Frontiers: The Sathar like to create cybernetic attack monsters. Starspawn of Volturnis features the Cybodragon, which is a giant lizard with a flamethrower installed in its mouth and laser rifles for eyes.
  • In Transhuman Space, cybershells in the form of fantastic beasts are not unknown, but are rare outside theme parks such as the Greek Mythology-themed space station High Arcadia. One exception is the medusa, a moderately popular fashion accessory which comprises a headpiece from which sprout multiple robot snakes.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Several daemon engines (daemon-possessed warmachines) use this aesthetic, such as heldrakes (dragons with flamethrowers built into their mouths), maulerfiends (dragon-headed centaurs with Combat Tentacles) and forgefiends (centaur with guns for an arm and a head).

    Video Games 
  • Chrono Trigger: The Dragon Tank is a Steampunk tank made to look and attack like a dragon. It lets out a roar when you finally destroy it.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: The Empire's Transforming Mecha (the Mecha/Jet Tengu) is designed after a tengu, while the King Oni Humongous Mecha is, well, an oni with Eye Beams.
  • Cyvern: The Dragon Weapons is a Bullet Hell Shoot 'Em Up which features cyborg dragons that shoot missiles, drop bombs, and have a powerful Breath Weapon attack.
  • Doom features a bunch of mechanical demons, such as the Cyberdemon (a Minotaur-like creature with mechanical legs and an arm-mounted rocket launcher), the Arachnotron and Spiderdemon (monstrous brain-like creatures mounted on mechanical legs), the Mancubus (an enormous and bloated humanoid with two attached flamethrowers instead of arms), the Revenant (a skeleton wearing silver body armor with shoulder-mounted missile launchers), and the Icon of Sin (the final boss, a massive goat-like biomechanical head on a wall). Overall the game mixes sci-fi ambients with a horror/mythological theme.
  • Freedom Wars: Dionaeas are wyvern-like Abductors from On High with long, forked tails that end with snake heads for, well, abducting citizens and Accessories. Plus, Dionaeas can fire giant laser beams out of their horns from miles away, and touching those lasers is a guaranteed death sentence unless you have the Full-Of-Life Augmentation.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft: The card Mechanical Whelp depicts a small robotic dragon and summons a bigger Mechanical Dragon when it dies.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic IV, Dragon Golems are one of the tier 4 units for the Academy faction. They are clockwork quadrupedal walking tanks piloted by dwarf engineers.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man X:
      • Mega Man X4: Magma Dragoon is a dragon Reploid with fire powers and martial arts prowess. The intro boss, Eregion, is a huge robotic dragon that attacked Sky Lagoon, the intro stage.
      • Mega Man X5 has Spiral Pegasus (aka "the Skiver"), a robotic humanoid pegasus who was a member of Repliforce's air force (from X4) and commands the winds.
      • Mega Man X6: Blaze Heatnix is a phoenix robot with fire powers who hides in a volcanic region. He's highly proud of his abilities and looks down on the weak.
      • Mega Man X8 has Avalanche Yeti, a robotic yeti who hides in a base in the Arctic and can manipulate ice.
    • Mega Man Zero: The common Reploid (i.e., robots) bosses are called "Mutos/Mythos Reploids", so named because many (though not all) of them are modeled and named after mythical beasts. Examples include Maha Ganeshariff (Ganesha of Hindu myth) in the first game, Panter Flauclaws (Flauros of Ars Goetia) in the second, Cubit Foxtar (the Kitsune of Japan's folklore) in the third, and Mino Magnus (the Minotaur of Greek myth) in the fourth.
    • Mega Man ZX Advent: In the first phase of the Final Boss fight, his throne morphs into a 3-headed robotic dragon.
  • Metroid: The space dragon Ridley, one of Samus Aran's most iconic foes, is brought back after being nearly killed by Samus through heavy use of cybernetic prostheses and enhancements, resulting in him coming back for vengeance as the cyborg Meta Ridley.
  • In the Monster Rancher series, the Tecno Dragon is a dragon-type with some traits of the mechanical Henger monster.
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution: Mecha Naruto can transform into Nine-Tails Mode and pilot a Robeast copy of Kurama the Nine-Tailed Demon-Fox.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Deino line were originally going to be dragon tanks. The tank tread patterns on Hydreigon's chest are all that remain of this. The Paradox Pokémon Iron Jugulis (which is a futuristic descendant of Hydreigon) is depicted as a robotic dragon as a Development Gag to its original design.
    • Miraidon, the Box Legendary for Pokémon Violet, resembles a robotic dragon that acts like a motorcycle.
  • Robot Unicorn Attack Evolution progressively evolves your character into a new animal the better you do. Eventually you turn into a Rainbow Robot Unicorn Dragon, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin — a robotic dragon with a unicorn horn.
  • RUINER: Despite taking place in a dystopian Cyberpunk setting (or rather because of it), this game has two kinds of hostile cyborgs themed after creatures from Greek Mythology: the Heavy Cyborgs and the Harpies. The former are robot minotaurs armed with a pair of adamantium claws and a seething hatred for organic life, and the latter are skeletal cyborgs armed with various weapons, such as laser cannons or grenades, along with a lust for destruction. If you're not careful, these guys will turn you into a burning mush of minced meat.
  • Saint Dragon is a horizontal shooter where instead of a spaceship. you're in control of a robotic oriental dragon. That breathes projectiles at incoming enemies.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Egg Dragoon is a large dragon-based mech created by Dr. Eggman, with a gigantic drill on its left arm and a six-barreled cannon on its right arm. It first appeared in Sonic Unleashed as the boss of Eggmanland, and later re-appeared as a boss in the console and PC versions of Sonic Generations and Sonic Forces.
  • Super Paper Mario: Fracktail is a gigantic robotic Eastern dragon, and was created by the Ancients to protect the Pure Heart. He's friendly towards Mario at first, until Dimentio short-circuits him and causes him to attack. Wracktail is an evil gigantic robot Eastern dragon — a Psycho Prototype of Fracktail's who was sealed away due to his god complex, to be precise. In both cases, they must be defeated by attacking their exposed antennas.
  • In the old arcade shooter Syvalion, your ship is shaped like a robotic Chinese dragon, and instead of lasers like other common arcade shoot-em-ups at the time you breathe fire at enemies.
  • Too Human is a cyberpunk re-imagining of Norse Mythology where the trolls and giants are rogue robots and the "gods" are cyborgs created by the Aesir corporation to fight them. One of the early boss monsters is based on Beowulf's Grendel.
  • Wild ARMs:

  • In Girl Genius nearly all monsters are constructs produced by Sparks and are generally either fully mechanical or biomechanical in nature.
    • Draconic creatures include Franz, a dragon-like cyborg created by the Heterodynes to guard their treasury, and a super-pretentious red dragon Wulfenbach sent against them.
    • The army unleashed by Baron Wulfenbach during the siege of Mechanicsburg includes Phlogiston-Powered Mantigoons, manticore-like vehicles with segmented tails tipped with powerful flamethrowers.

    Western Animation