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"What if this thing can read our minds?" Commander Kotay was saying.
"Then we must use soldiers who do not have minds," replied his companion.
"Alright then, I'll send in the latest intake from West Point."
"No, you military moron! I meant robots!"
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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 (even an Elite Mook or Giant Mook), to an implacable killing machine, to the hero of a story. You'll see them often in a Robot War setting.

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Related are Starfish Robots, which these robots may take form of in more realistic settings; and Mechanical Abomination, which could be a soldier as much as the robot soldiers' mastermind.

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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Related tropes:


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Castle in the Sky prominently features very powerful Robot soldiers, who act as the guardians of the titular castle.
  • Dragon Ball features Major Metallitron/Sergeant Metallic of the Red Ribbon Army; Android 8 was intended to be one as well, but wound up having a gentle heart. Though Android 8's creator would go on to create several more Androids bearing the Red Ribbon Army's logo, the army itself was destroyed long before then, excluding them from this trope.

    Comic Books 
  • ABC Warriors follows the exploits of an ever changing group of robot soldiers.
  • DC Comics' J.A.K.E., the G.I Robot.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The battle droids from Star Wars are robotic soldiers, and they comprise the vast majority of the Separatist military forces during the Clone Wars. They are also the current page image for Mecha-Mooks.
  • The titular robots from the Terminator franchise, which are soldiers, spies, and assassins used by Skynet to serve as it's infantry force, infiltrate human society, and eliminate certain targets. Also the Hunter-Killers from the same series, which serve as Syknet's armored and air forces fighting a war against the Human Resistance in the post-apocalyptic future.
  • Judge Dredd: Rico finds and reactivates an old ABC Warrior robot.
    ABC Warrior: Status?
    Rico: Bodyguard.
    ABC Warrior: Commander?
    Rico: Rico.
    ABC Warrior: Mission?
    ABC Warrior: (rising to its feet) War!
  • Future World (2018): Once humanity invented hard AI androids, they were used as soldiers, and this spiraled into a global war which completely destroyed civilization. Ash seems to be one, given her extensive combat skills (why she's made to appear like an attractive young woman is another question-possibly for infiltration however).

    Literature 
  • The Ganymede Takeover. Rebel Leader Percy X has gotten hold of a weapon that turns illusions into reality, so robot soldiers who are invulnerable to its effects are sent against him.
  • The History of the Galaxy: during the First Galactic War, they were used by the Terran Alliance as foot soldiers and commandos, when they started running out of warm bodies to send into the meat grinder.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inazuman Flash has Udespar, the Killer Robot general of the Despar Army. The Robot Fighters are this as well, though some seem to be cyborgs.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "I, Robot", the robot Adam was created by Dr. Charles Link as an experiment. When Dr. Link lost his funding, he was forced to find alternative sources of finance. To that end, he entered into business with a defense contractor who wanted him to create an army of robot soldiers. Adam was to be the prototype. When Dr. Link attempted to erase his memory files, a malfunction caused Adam to reactivate and he killed his creator.
  • Red Dwarf has the Simulants, a race of murderous robots that were built for a war that never took place.
  • War of the Worlds (2019): Technically cyborgs, they're sent by the aliens to kill all surviving humans after the EMP blast wipes out most.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Rifts has Coalition forces with their various models of Skele-bot, plus the Northern Gun entity and Triax Industries producing various kinds of robots which can be programmed and armed for security, law enforcement support, and military use. The Mechanoid Invasion book also shows various kinds of combat robot deployed by the Mechanoids, including two different models of humaniform robot as frontline infantry; an ironic joke among the Mechanoids, which is lost on most humanoids.

    Video Games 
  • An important part of the backstory of Cave Story involves a war, in which an army (or several from various factions) was sent to conquer a powerful treasure on a remote island, native Mimiga creatures be damned. Though it's not immediately obvious, the player character is one such robot. Initially, he meets several NPC's who wonder if he's "a soldier from the surface". Then Professor Booster clarifies that he is a robot soldier. Shortly after, you meet Curly Brace, another robot and a veteran of the same war as him — but from a third-party faction with a slightly different objective.
  • In Distant Worlds, the "Robotic Troop Foundry" allows an empire to manufacture robot armies.
  • Fallout has had three robot armies so far: the robot armies controlled by the Calculator in Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, Robert House's Securitron Army from Fallout: New Vegas, and the Synths controlled by the Institute in Fallout 4. The pre-war USA also had several models of robot soldiers supplementing their human army, many of which roam the wastes killing anything they encounter after two hundred years of decay. Of course, only their Morality Chip tends to be damaged, you can generally expect their movement sytems, weapon systems, and Self-Destruct Mechanism to work like new.
  • LBX: Little Battlers eXperience: While the Innovators use LBX robots, the Black Intelligence Division and the Red Military Division train their soldiers to use LBX efficiently to the point where they can stage numerous terrorist attempts, siege an assault at the end of Artemis, and engage in a huge LBX war between them and the Seekers during the attempted siege on Tiny Orbit.
  • 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. They're put into distinct units such as "Marine Unit" or "Arctic Unit" to cover activities in different areas.
  • Overwatch takes place after a massive war between Humanity and their Omnic creations. One of the playable characters is a former frontline combatant for the omnic side.
  • Ratchet & Clank always features hordes of robot soldiers. While there are usually organic fighters in there as well, they will be vastly outnumbered by robots on both sides of the conflict. A notable case of this is the Galactic Rangers in the third game.
  • In Stellaris, with enough research, robotic armies can be built for either planetary defense or invasion. They cost somewhat more than regular armies for the same offensive strength, but they have twice the health and don’t take morale damage.
  • Team Fortress 2 has Mann Vs. Machine mode, which pits six players against hordes of their robotic counterparts. The robots are more or less the equals of the base players, but are disposable and expected to die in droves anyway because their AI is pretty bad and the human players have tons of purchasable powerups. There's also a slightly-too-literal example in the Robot Soldier, which, thanks to using the Soldier's existing voice lines, comes across as a giant Cloud Cuckoolander Robotic Psychopath.
  • Dark Forces revolves around the Galactic Empire conspiring to put a line of these into production: the Dark Trooper. Far from being easily-mown-down cannon fodder like the B1 battle droids, Dark Troopers are hulking, armour-clad brutes with weapons to match.
  • Mutant Football League features BruiserBots, the remains of a US Army project built to combat a demonic invasion in the wake of the fourth world war. Being a Black Comedy, they took to playing football like homicidal, armored ducks to water and are content to simply prove the superiority of silicon over their organic counterparts. On the field they're as tough as the proverbial brick latrine and half as fast, making them natural choices for linemen and linebackers, but can also prove invaluable as hard to kill quarterbacks.
  • In 2019, a former designer revealed that in the Might and Magic games preceding HOMM V, this is what the Angels actually are. They are self-aware androids created by the Ancients who were sent out across the galaxy to hunt down the Kreegans wherever they appear.
  • Tactical Dolls from Girls' Frontline. Depending on the faction, they range from specialized combat models with barely any humanoid features to civilian A-Dolls equipped with fire control software and a firearm made anywhere between the 19th century and the late 2010s.
  • Red Alert 3: The tutorials inform you that all soldiers and vehicles destroyed are in fact extremely lifelike robots, so don't feel bad about butchering them. [[spoiler:It turns out this is entirely true in the Imperial and Soviet campaigns where the American president/Emperor were robots all along.

    Webcomics 
  • In Hue Are You: Blue and Red both qualify as this with weapons of mass destruction and their general classification is called "Soldier Bot".
  • Questionable Content: These are rare because most AIs don't want to jeopardize their newly-won civil rights by stoking human fears of a Robot War. Bubbles the android defied her AI elders and enlisted out of patriotic duty; as the only survivor of her squad, she's a Shell-Shocked Veteran who needs a lot of time and encouragement to come out of her metaphorical (and literal) shell.

    Web Original 
  • The Terran in Chrysalis (Beaver Fur), being an uploaded human brain with the goal of exterminating the aliens who exterminated humanity, naturally had to build themself an arsenal of — among other things — remotely controlled robot soldiers. Their first design is a kind of dog-spider with an autocannon on its back. It's highly effective, but not put into prouction as per the limits the Terran imposes on themself to avoid Cybernetics Will Eat Your Soul. Instead, they choose a design resembling a shorter-than-average human with clawed, three-fingered hands and wearing a stylized cross between medieval armor and a spacesuit.
  • RWBY gives us the Atlasien Knights, used by the Atlas Army. Their official purpose is to defend people from Creatures of Grimm so humans won't have to risk their lives, but they prove to be utterly worthless. During the Fall of Beacon in Volume 3, Roman Torchwick uses a computer virus to turn all of the robots against the heroes. In Volume 7, the Knights are seen defending the city of Mantle, but their inability to keep even low-level Grimm out of the city shows that their placement is to demonstrate how little Atlas (More specifically, Ironwood) cares about Mantle.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 

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