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Robot Soldier

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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!"

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.

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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.

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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Subtropes:

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.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • 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.

    Films — Animated 
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    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 

    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 
  • 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.

    Real Life 

    Video Games 
  • An important part of the backstory of Cave Story involves a war, in which an army that was sent to exterminate the Mimiga creatures living on a remote island. 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.
  • In LBX/Danball Senki: While the Innovators use LBX robots, the Black Intelligence Division and the Red Military Division train their soldiers to use LBX efficientalally to the point where they can stage numerous terrorist attempts, seige an assualt at the end of Artemis, and engage in a huge LBX war between them and the Seekers during the attempted siege on Tiny Orbit.
  • 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.
  • 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 and android armies can be built for either planetary defense or invasion.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 

    Webcomic 
  • In Hue Are You: Blue and Red both qualify as this with weapons of mass destruction and their general classification is called "Solider 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.
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