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Robotic Undead

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Robots are often compared to the undead due to them being seen as cold, lifeless, and emotionless. Some want to spread themselves and convert others. Sometimes this goes into their aesthetic. They aren't true undead, what with never being living in a strictly biological sense, but look and act the part. Maybe they were dead by robot standards, and have Came Back Wrong like an undead typically does.

See also Mechanical Monster and Skelebot 9000. When an organic being becomes the undead through mechanical means, they're an Artificial Zombie, though still-living cyborgs can often fall into this territory when the machinery eats at their soul.

Not to be confused with Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot, though both tropes may overlap with each other. See also The Virus, Killer Robot, Plague Zombie and Frankenstein's Monster. Sub-Trope of Our Zombies Are Different and Our Vampires Are Different.

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Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Medabots: One episode has a vampire-inspired Medabot called Dracudon. Kam infects it with a computer virus that wipes a Medabot's personalities and transforms them into robotic zombies that exist only to attack other Medabots and spread the virus.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: Any Gundam infected by the Dark Gundam's cells is 'revived' under the Dark Gundam's thrall, along with the Gundam's pilot in a case of Came Back Wrong.

    Asian Animation 
  • Cubix: Robots for Everyone:
    • One of Kilobot's first victims was a theme park robot based on Count Dracula, whom Kilobot impersonated in order to attack Cubix. Unlike most examples of this trope, the "Count Draculix" was completely harmless by himself and only scared people as part of a haunted house attraction.
    • Kilobot himself could arguably qualify being a black-played robot with bat-like wings and Vampiric Draining.
    • The Zombots are Dr. K's skull-faced Elite Mooks introduced in the final two episodes. Their virus spread by draining other robots of their EPU energy, turning them into Zombots as well.

    Comic Book 
  • The Avengers: The "Ultron Unleashed" arc has Ultron play this trope with a sickening twist. Having wiped out a small European nation, Ultron takes the corpses of the fallen citizens and fills their dead bodies with android tech. They are explicitly robots moving the corpses from the inside, but it's meant to be a psychological attack on the Avengers by demoralizing them, having to smash the bodies of the dead to eliminate the androids within.
  • Futurama: One strip of the comic book ("Night of the Automated Dead") has a pile of deceased robots buried under the Planet Express become exposed to a mutated version of a virus that Bender was carrying in an attempt to get out of work, leading them to reanimate and start looking for "boards". Farnsworth is eventually able to find an anti-virus for the zombieism and turn the zombie robots back to normal.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): The Metal Virus arc has Dr. Eggman create and unleash a nanomachine-based virus on the world. The goal was to transform everyone into robotic slaves under Eggman's control but it mutated beyond his control and turned those infected into mindless, robotic monstrosities. Sonic dubbed the infected "Zombots".
  • The Transformers (IDW): The Dead Universe turns those exposed to its energies into the undead. This works just as well on Transformers as it works on organic beings, and several characters wind up being turned into robot undead versions of themselves. Hardhead's personality doesn't seem to be affected by his transformation, but everyone else winds up becoming more evil. A means to restore all of them back to normal is eventually found.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien³: In the previous film's climax, Bishop the android is ripped in half from the waist up by the Alien Queen. His remains are discovered and reactivated, looking a lot like a zombie android with his lower body and most of his face missing, and his internal wiring spilling out like human intestines.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Ultron's initial form, created by taking over a badly-damaged Iron Man drone, resembles a zombie. It walks with a Zombie Gait, has wiring sticking out from its body parts looking like veins and intestines, and it's controlled by a rogue AI that came to life.
  • Maximum Overdrive: Trucks and other machines come to life after a mysterious comet passes overhead granting them not only autonomy but also intelligence and malevolence.
  • Terminator: The T-800's metal endoskeleton looks like that of a human skeleton. In the original film, the T-800 becomes more zombie-like as its flesh coating receives damage, and once stripped of the disguise becomes a mechanical skeleton with a Zombie Gait.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: Cybermen are a race of humanoids that started to change their living parts for mechanical ones at the point of being more robots than even living things. To expand their race, they usually "upgrade" humans and convert them into more Cybermen, all programmed to "upgrade" other living things into them, just like zombies.
    "You belong to us. You shall be like us."
  • Star Trek:
    • The Borg are slow, pale creatures. They also want to convert people to their kind.
    • While the Exo-III androids (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?") aren't particularly slow, they, too, want to convert people to their kind.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
  • Paranoia: The Alpha Complexities adventures has the Vampire Bot 666. Eerie Ominous Pipe Organ music comes from its body and its Combat Tentacles suck the blood of its victims.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Necrons are an ancient race that were converted to robots. They have more emotion than most of the other examples in the newer editions, but those too mentally drained by their existence act much like a zombie horde (minus the flesh eating).
    • For their appearance in Dawn of War, Necron Flayed Ones spawn by crawling out of the ground.
  • Rifts has the Coalition's armies of Skele-bots, designed to be reminiscent of a horde of skeletons re-animating and coming for you. Some think they actually can: a certain battlefield has an enormous pile of wrecked skele-bots lying around, bathed in magic, which some scavengers think mixes with the Coalition's hate and allows the skelebots to come back to life to attack any adventurers looking around for robot parts to scavenge; some say certain of the robots may not be completely dead and will simply do their best to kill anything that gets too close that might be a target, some aren't so sure. The Coalition does nothing to discourage this belief, and will sometimes covertly insert a new skele-bot amidst the wreckage to deter scavengers from looting lots of milspec parts and weapons to sell or use.

    Toys 
  • Transformers:
    • Transformers: Prime:
      • The five-part opening arc, "Darkness Rising", involves Megatron using Dark Energon to revive dead Cybertronians as robotic zombies. His first test subject was Cliffjumper.
      • While "Nemesis Prime" was never alive exactly, it does heavily resemble an undead version of Optimus.
    • Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Zombie robots called the 'Sparkless' impede Optimus' team in the Sea of Rust. Legend has it that they're after the Allspark to bring them back to life.

    Video Games 
  • 8th Man have the robotic zombies in the abandoned laboratory stage, who rises out from beneath the ground much like classical zombies, but have visible mechanical features on their bodies such as screws and wiring.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Played with regarding the animatronic characters. They are possessed by spirits and have zombie-like qualities such as smelling bad and dripping blood. The trope is played a bit straighter with robots like Springtrap, a rotten bunny animatronic that lumbers slowly and literally has the carcass of William Afton inside; Ennard, an amalgamation of robotic parts that drags itself across the ground like a zombie; and Dreadbear, a Frankenstein's monster-like bear animatronic that walks with outstretched arms and is detailed to look like a zombie.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Captain Scervo is a skeleton pirate robot who serves as the miniboss of the Sandship, and fights similarly to the skeletal Stalfos. Why it has an undead look is unexplained in-game, since other robots in the game are far cuter in appearance.
  • Mega Man:
    • Shade Man's stage in Mega Man 7 is a kind of tribute to Ghosts 'n Goblins, so the Mecha-Mooks appearing in the stage are basically robot zombies that conveniently come from the ground to attack Mega Man. Shade Man himself is modeled after a Classical Movie Vampire.
    • Mega Man X:
      • Sigma is the Big Bad of the series who dies at the end of each game only to come back again, becoming more and more deformed with each revival until he looks like a skeletal demon by the time of his seemingly final defeat in X8. Not only that, but it's established that Sigma came to be this way because of the Maverick Virus infecting him when he first met Zero, resulting in the original Commander Sigma being overwritten into the monster that he is now.
      • Perhaps taken a bit too literally in Mega Man X6, where the Final Boss is a partially rebuilt Sigma who is only activated as a last resort by the game's actual Big Bad. Between spreading the Sigma Virus all over the globe and yet another defeat in the last game, Sigma has certainly seen better days: he's clearly in an unfinished state (to the point that his first form's official name is "Sigma (Unfinished)"), makes his entrance by clumsily falling down from the top of the screen, drags around his feet while Limp and Livid, is barely comprehensible save for a single exchange with Gate before killing him ("Oh please. I did not die. Nor did I need your help! Now get lost!"), and is motivated entirely by his animosity towards X and Zero. He gets a little better after going One-Winged Angel, though he's still a hate-fueled rage machine for the most part. And if the ending of X7 is any indication, he might not have been able to fully recover from the events of the last two games, as Sigma appears in a similarly deteriorating body after his final form is taken down.
    • Mega Man Zero:
      • In the first and third games, the boss Anubis Necromancess can summon reanimated broken robots from the desert to harass Zero.
      • In the fourth game, in Fenri Lunaedge's stage, there are broken robots lying around that can be reanimated if special enemies called "Scrap Elves" inhabit their bodies.
    • Mega Man ZX: The sequel, ZX Advent, has Vulturon the Condoroid, a robotic vulture rock guitarist that can resurrect nearby robots from nearby junk with his guitar.
  • Metal Arms: Glitch in the System: The generic enemies of the Junkyard levels are "zombiebots", self-aware, hideous conglomerates of scrap metal and hate that "hunger for fresh oil".
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: The Basilisk is a quadrupedal Walking Tank containing an A.I. modelled after The Boss. Its battle animation contains a lurching bipedal walk clearly modelled after a zombie.
  • NieR Automata: The friendly Non-Ironic Clown Machine Lifeforms in the Amusement Park become infected by the Logic Virus, turning them into nightmarish Monster Clown versions of themselves. Their visual design, from partially destroyed exteriors (to simulate decomposing flesh) to a shambling gait, invokes the Zombie Apocalypse — and in a way, they are undead, since the virus destroyed their personalities and sapience, leaving them as aggressive mobile shells of their former selves.
  • Overwatch: "Zomnics" exist within the fictional story that is told in the annual Halloween Terror event, Junkenstein's Revenge. They are "twisted abominations" that are neither living nor dead and built mainly out of machine parts. Their names are a pun on "Zombie" and "Omnics" (what sentient machines are called in the setting of Overwatch). Also, in the actual Overwatch universe, there are various posters for a film called Rise of Zomnics, which show robotic zombies rising from graveyards or shambling like zombies.
  • Project: Horned Owl: In the game's final stage, Hiro and Nash can enter a hangar filled with half-constructed enemy robots whose bodies consist of an endoskeleton with some wiring and can only stagger towards the two heroes in a manner similar to that of a zombie. They don't really pose a threat due to being activated prematurely without any weapons installed, with Nash addressing how easy it is to blast them apart those.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • Ratchet: Deadlocked: Zombie robots note  are treated with all the fear that undead people would be. Several events involve desecrating a Robot Burial Ground and fighting the resultant horde of mechanical zombies.
    • Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty features a horde of Undead Robot Space Pirates as the main enemy faction of the game.
  • SAR: Search and Rescue is set in a derelict ship where a mutant outbreak occurred. You can come across the vessel's malfunctioning robot units, many of them which are damaged to the point of having their internal circuits and wiring exposed as they stagger around to attack you.
  • Space Debris has a stage set in a decommissioned military base, whose units activates on their own as soon as you enter. Due to being disused for decades and falling apart, the machines moves and acts much like zombies, and the two bosses of the stage — a giant Robot Dog and a skyscraper-sized Killer Robot — looks almost skeletal with their internal frames exposed, pieces of machinery resembling flesh hanging on random parts as they stagger towards you to attack.
  • Warframe has the Sentients, an enemy faction of Ambiguous Robots that teeter on the edge of being Mechanical Abominations; appropriately, being dead for them is more of a gradient than an absolute state, resulting in usually unintelligent, always hyper-aggressive creatures called Eidolons. One particularly massive Sentient killed in the past continuously births Eidolons every time nights falls upon the plains that serve as its grave, some small, others... less so.

    Western Animation 
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: Nos-4-A2 is essentially a robotic vampire, as the name suggests. He can also raise his drained victims as zombies.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: Aya manages to survive being killed by the Anti-Monitor by downloading her consciousness into the mangled corpse of a destroyed Manhunter. While in this form, she walks around with a hunchback and a Zombie Gait.
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • The five-part pilot features them prominently; Dark Energon is shown to reanimate the bodies of dead cybertronians as feral monsters called Terrorcons, which the Decepticons attempt to weaponize on various occasions. In the finale movie Predacons Rising, Unicron reanimates an army of ancient Mechanical Monster fossils for the final battle.
    • Late in the series, a misguided experiment in combining Dark Energon with the flawed recipe for synthetic energon instead creates what are effectively robot zombie vampires, driven by a hunger for the energon in living transformers.
  • X-Men: Evolution: The final episode has a Brainwashed Magneto use his powers to resurrect a recently destroyed Sentinel robot to attack the X-Men. The robot resembles a giant mechanical zombie with an exposed metal endoskeleton.

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