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Spider Tank

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Artemus Gordon: So, what does Loveless have? (notices factory complex) Well... he has his own city.
(out of nowhere a giant mechanical spider shows up)
Jim West: He has an 80-foot tarantula.
Artemus Gordon: Yes, well... I was coming to that.

Where Big Creepy-Crawlies meets mecha. A subset of Real Robot, with a decidedly non-humanoid appearance. These are often used by sci-fi series that want to use giant robots, but feel that humanoid shapes won't fit the setting. Even if the setting doesn't use giant robots, and sometimes even if it does, smaller Spider Tanks may be found as robotic drones. In series that use giant humanoid robots as well as spider tanks, you can bet that the humanoid robots will often be more agile than their multi-legged counterparts, despite the fact that the opposite logically would be true.

The form has a few advantages over the human shape:

  • It's lower to the ground and thus less of a target;
  • Your classic Spider Tank spreads its legs out more, making the vehicle more stable overall and allows it to traverse terrain that would give wheeled vehicles considerable trouble.

These help it cheat that pesky Square-Cube Law that gives giant humanoids considerable engineering problems. Of course many settings then turn around and give it pointy ballerina feet, ruining any overall improvement in the ground-pressure department, but hey.

While wheels are faster and more efficient and tracks are best on a soft ground (it's hard to beat one big support area), spider legs can navigate extremely rough terrains and are more reliable because the vehicle can stand or even walk after losing a leg or two. Since "extremely rough terrains" include rubble blasted all over streets or hedgehogs made of rails and "losing a leg" includes little gifts from artillery, you see why an excavator isn't the only potential application. In fiction this means the spider design is most attractive for settings supposed to be gritty and realistic.


Depending on the size of the Spider Tank, it may or may not have wheels on its feet. Caterpillar tracks are also common. If the Spider Tank is under 4 meters (roughly 12.5 feet) tall you can expect it to have wheels or tracks on its feet; if larger, you can expect it won't. It will probably have pointy feet instead. Despite the name, Spider Tanks rarely have eight legs. Four is the most common, and some have six. It's usually guaranteed that they'll have an even number of legs, though.

Please note, Spider Tanks are not tanks designed to look like spiders; they are simply tanks that walk like spiders (or scorpions). If you encounter a giant robot shaped like an insect or arachnoid it's more likely that they are a Ro Beast and not a true Spider Tank. In video games some Real Robot humanoid mechas occasionally have four or more legs, but still have an upper body and arms. They are also not spider tanks, as they do not fulfil the tank requirement. It's also not an arachnid version of the Snake Pit or Shark Pool.

A similar (and broader) concept is Tripods. See also Giant Spider and Giant Enemy Crab for their autonomous organic counterparts. Sub-Trope of Walking Tank and, depending on the type of Spider Tank, Starfish Robots. Contrast Tank-Tread Mecha (for machines with the lower body of a tank).


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Provisional Type Evangelion Unit-05 from Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance.
  • In the second to last episode of Genesis of Aquarion we find out that the Assault Type Aquarion can assume an "Armageddon Formation" where all three vectors combine into a six-legged mech with the PSG cannon mounted on the top.
  • Fuchikomas, Tachikomas, Uchikomas, and just about half the tanks in Ghost in the Shell. They all have wheels or treads on their legs, save for one example from the first movie. Makes sense, since their walking speed isn't that fast, especially for car chases. Looks like someone did his homework on military doctrine this time.
    • Fuchikomas and Tachikomas also have the ability to cling to walls and deploy wires that let them swing around or descend vertical heights, meaning that unlike most other Spider Tanks, these ones actually are basically spiders, or rather, they're Spider-Man, in Tank form. The Tachikomatic Days omake lampshade and parody this.
      Tachiko-Man, Tachiko-Man, doin' the things a Tachikoma can....
    • The Jigabachi attack helicopters resemble wasps (They rear back their abdomens to fire a minigun at their target), named for a type of wasp that hunts spiders. This is also Lampshaded:
      Tachikoma 1: [Worried about an impending confrontation with several Jigabachi] So, wouldn't anti-tank helicopters be like... our natural predator?
      Tachikoma 2: Hmmm... Mister Batou, can we go home? We have upset stomachs.
      Batou: Stomachs? What stomachs?
    • One early episode featured the military prototype with more of a scorpion theme. It was possessed by its designer so he could protest his parents' decision not to allow him to get a healthy body via cyborgization.
  • Staying with the Masamune Shirow theme: Spider Gun Platforms in Appleseed. The fourth volume of the manga also features smaller Attack Drone robots with actual abdomens that are almost entirely made up of a Minigun and its absurdly large ammo drum.
  • And yet another Masamune Shirow series, Dominion Tank Police also has a spider tank in one episode, albeit an opponent for the more normal looking tanks of the Tank Police.
  • Used by Strong Hand in UQ Holder!.
  • The GD-42 Battlemover in Bubblegum Crisis, the "crab mech" piloted by Vision.
  • A number of these show up among the Martian Robot Army in Mahou Sensei Negima!. One in particular, is actually marked U.N. Mars Force.
  • Junji Ito's horror manga Gyo's infected fish (and later, other animals and even humans) ride around on nightmarish metal walking machines constructed by the Death Stench bacteria. The tips of their spindly metal legs are incredibly sharp, being able to badly wound anyone touched by them, and if a vacant walking machine is touched by something, it impales its victim with a set of spikes and tubes to use the unfortunate soul as its latest 'energy source'. One of the first organisms to appear attached to such a walking machine is a Great White Shark (a shark tank, if you will), which appears to be conscious enough to still menace and attack anyone caught in its path.
  • A couple of spider mechs appear in Patlabor, including one for traffic police, one that's supposed to be a luxury civilian vehicle and a third one being a mobile command post used by United Nations forces. All three of them had wheels on the ends of their "legs".
  • The Type IV Gadget Drones in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers. Fast and deadly Mecha-Mooks with six sickle-legs that slice through Barrier Jackets and Knight Armors like butter. The manga also showed experimental versions of Type III Gadget Drones (those big ball things) that were six-legged walking tanks.
  • In Fang of the Sun Dougram, the spider tanks are improved model of Walking Tank Crab Gunner and Tequila Gunner. They have lower profile and more mobile than their predecessor and come in two form. A six legs Desert Gunner and smaller four legs Blizzard Gunner.
  • Howl's Moving Castle is a castle on legs.
  • A number of Scorpion-, Crab- and Insect-based Zoids, notably the Death Stinger.
  • All the mecha in Time Bokan are animal-shaped, from the insect-shaped robots used by the heroes to the assorted robots used by the Skull Trio.
  • In Sound of the Sky the 1121st Platoon has a Takemikazuchi (A.K.A. Tank-kun), dating to the Old Era. It's an impressive machine, able to scale buildings. It spends most of the series in pieces, but Noël manages to fix it in time to save the day. To put that feat in perspective, it's a supermodern piece of precision machinery, and she repairs it with the equivalent of a mix of 19th Century and 1930s technology. Gadgeteer Genius indeed.
    • The flashbacks show that both armies use large numbers of spider tanks, but their capabilities are far less than the Takemikazuchi's, in imitation of which they appear to have been built.
    • All the tanks seen in action are spider-tanks, but the Takemicaduchi is the most advanced tank ever built, a piece of Lost Technology .
  • In the Soul Eater Anime, this is what Baba Yaga Castle (no actual relationship to Baba Yaga, it's the headquarters of the witch Arachne) can become. A giant spider castle tank.
  • Even Gundam gets into the act. Although the Adzam Mobile Armor in Mobile Suit Gundam is more like a hovering gun platform with four landing gear, the Zamza-Zah actually has fully-jointed legs (with retractable crab claws and BFGs in the feet), though it also spends most of it's appearances flying. Destiny also has the Ghells-Ghe, which is an insect-like armor with the upper body of a mobile suit mounted centaur-like on the front.
  • Cyborg 009 had Monster of the Week Cyborg 0011, who's body was basically one such tank, with lasers, a cannon that shot a sticky substance and a missile that, when exploded, unleashed a neurotoxic rain.
  • Small, four-legged spider tanks appear in the AKIRA manga to enforce martial law after Tetsuo releases Akira.
  • The beginning of Strike Witches: The Movie features an entire legion of Neuroi Spider Tanks, one of few land-based Neuroi featured in the series.
  • The Mobile Fortress Destroyer from Konosuba is literally a colossal robot spider that destroys everything in its path.
  • Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva has the entire castle be built upon a huge excavator.
  • The alien forces in Project A-ko use a spider-tank that also doubles as an aerial fighter.
  • In Fairy Tail, the true form of the ancient Reversal Magic Nirvana is the fantasy equivalent of this trope. In other words, a city-sized stone construct that walks on six legs that fires its Magic through a Wave Motion Gun. The heroes are suitably shocked to realize this, having originally assumed Nirvana was some sort of ancient spell or even small artifact.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Anansi from Exoria. Twenty-five meters tall. Carries ten chain guns and dozens of anti-tank top-attack missiles. Runs at three hundred kilometers per hour. Impervious to most conventional weapons. Can jump.
  • The Nephilim Tsuchigumos of Aeon Entelechy Evangelion replace the useless canon CthulhuTech Nephilim. And yes, they are a Shout-Out to Tachikomas.
  • Go-Kun, of course, from Nobody Dies, but more classically the Reego (or some of their bodies, at least). Tres even has most of the semi-sentient giant spiders in Australia worshiping her. (Long story.)
  • The preview for the Bloodbath of the Burning Plains in Turn Of The Tides reveals Sergeant Johnson will pilot a Scarab.
  • In Left Beyond the Omega spend a significant amount of resources developing spider tanks... which turn out to be nigh useless, since the Millennial Earth has no mountains.

    Films — Animation 
  • Syndrome's Omnidroid in The Incredibles. Early versions had two wheels and two arms, but at some point they were mixed together and just kept increasing from there until you got the five- and six- legged, building-sized monstrosities that were actually fought.
  • Near the middle of Beauty and the Beast, the Beast puts Maurice inside one of these which takes him back the village he and Belle live in so that his daughter can take his place as the Beast's "prisoner."
  • One of the mutant toys in Toy Story is a toy car with legs instead of wheels.
  • Megamind: The Button of Doom. Having become defender of Metrocity after the end of the movie, Megamind auctions off his evil weapons, but Minion is fond of the Spider-bot and hides it instead. Then a Humongous Mecha attacks and Megamind has nothing to fend it off with; its spider-like nature comes in useful for a Colossus Climb.
  • A walking steam tank is shown for only one scene in Steamboy, being used by the O'Hara foundation when fighting the British military's treaded tanks.
  • In The Boxtrolls, Snatcher builds one, with the help of captured boxtrolls, to break into the boxtroll lair and round up the rest.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: The AT-TE and (large and small) Spider Droids from the prequel trilogy. The AT-TE is a squat tank-like machine that moves on six spread-out legs for stability and can climb up vertical cliffs. The spider droids are spherical robots with four jointed legs arranged equidistantly around their midsections and powerful laser guns mounted on their fronts (the small ones) or undersides (the large ones), making them essentially ambulatory cannon emplacements.
    • The original trilogy's AT-ATs sort of qualify based on leg count, but ultimately they're less Spider Tanks and more Indricotherium Tanks. Elephant tanks, rather, as the AT-AT leg design and movements were based on elephants walking.
    • In the Expanded Universe, the MT-AT — designed specifically for mountainous terrain — is distinctly more spiderlike in its design.
  • Wild Wild West: The giant Steam Punk spider built and used by Dr. Arliss Loveless.
    • Producer Jon Peters repeatedly insisted a similar spider tank show up in early drafts of what later became Superman Returns, as wittily recounted here by scriptwriter Kevin Smith. It also shows up in Superman: Doomsday, and an animated Smith observes it and calls it "lame".
    • Jon Peters' obsession with the vehicle goes beyond just those two movies. The most egregious example might be his attempt to fit the contraption into the proposed cinematic adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series.
  • One of the rejected designs for Doctor Who : The Movie was a spider Dalek that would unfold its side casing into eight legs. Great, now even stairs won't stop them note . Spider Daleks made it into at least one of the novels, both in Dalek-sized and tank-sized varieties.
  • Comic Book: The Movie: Kevin Smith relates (based on his experience with Superman Returns above, then called Superman Lives) how the director of the movie Hammill's character is making a featurette on (with the ulterior motive to gain control of the production to prevent Adaptation Displacement) wanted him to write a scene where the hero fights a giant mechanical spider. At the turning point of the film his realization that the movie must be stopped is conveyed by having him obtain a copy of the shooting script and discovering the words "Scene 37: The Giant Mechanical Spider".
  • The 1993 film Robot Wars has the last remaining Giant Mecha in the world called MRAS-2 that looks like a scorpion (the sting is a powerful laser cannon). At the start of the film, its purpose is to ferry tourists in the passenger module on its back. Then it's hijacked by a representative of the Eastern Alliance in order to make war. The hero (the pilot of the MRAS-2) manages to find another Giant Mecha, which was thought destroyed in the war. The MEGA-1 is humanoid in form, though. Oh, did we mention that it was made by the same people who brought us Robot Jox (it was even hyped as a sequel).
  • Minority Report has small, drone robots for police searches.
  • Terminator Genisys: Skynet has these defending the base were it's hiding the time machine. They are able to be deployed from the flying Hunter Killers and are quite formidable — only the destruction of Skynet stops John and Reese from being killed by one.
  • Justice League (2017) sees Batman briefly employing a tank with spider-like legs called "the Knightcrawler" to use against Steppenwolf. In fact, the Knightcrawler could even scale walls.

  • In Valhalla, Sasha's entire fleet is made up of walking tanks with four legs and a walking aircraft carrier with eight. These are given purpose in the novel, they need legs to tiptoe across forests that wheeled vehicles couldn't enter. One tank is modified to have eight legs partly in reference to Sleipnir, Odin's eight legged horse.
  • The War Against the Chtorr sci-fi novels has four metre high Vigilante-class military spiders. Unfortunately they're not that smart, which causes the hero any number of problems.
  • Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels Altered Carbon and Broken Angels don't feature Spider Tanks directly, but they are mentioned by various characters. They (and various other robotic war-machines) finally make an appearance in Woken Furies.
  • In the Star Wars Jedi Academy Trilogy, a group of Imperial loyalists breaks out the MT-AT (Mountainous Terrain Armored Transport), an eight-legged spider-tank designed for high and rough terrain. Each leg has its own laser cannon.
  • The Land Frigates from Leviathan are essentially warships mounted on six or eight mechanical legs. A Scorpion Tank belonging to the Ottomans shows up in the sequel, Behemoth.
    • Within the Leviathan series, most motorized vehicles use legs instead of wheels on the assumption that they are either more efficient, powerful, or adaptable. In truth, the sheer complexity of a walking vehicle would would have a staggering cost and inefficiency compared to wheels.
    • At one point in the first volume, Alek considers alternative propulsion and immediately rejects tracks as being fit only for peasant tractors.
  • The Dinotopia prequel has spider-like strutters. Unlike most other examples, they actually have flat, padded feet.
  • The Shannara series has Creepers, although they aren't exactly tanks.
  • A civilian version, more properly described as an Insect Car, occurs in Kurd Laßwitz' short story Die entflohene Blume ("The Escapee Flower", 1910). Here the Martian girl Ha and her brother Hei reach a remote desert valley by using a six-legged Kletter-Auto ("climbing-car") which by the use of suction-devices in its feet can even climb up sheer cliffs "like a wasp".
  • Heavy Object: Deconstructed. Some Objects like the Water Strider have their hovering devices at the end of several long legs. The fact that the legs are extremely maintenance-intensive is a plot point: Qwenthur is able to destroy Water Strider by sabotaging one of the parts that have to be replaced after every sortie.
  • In Ollie's Odyssey, Zozo makes one of these out of parts of the various rides around the amusement park.

    Live Action Television 
  • The Replicators in Stargate SG-1 initially take the shape of small metallic spiders. In later episodes, they combine to form larger insectoid shapes, fully fulfilling this trope.
  • Lt. Shneeberger pilots a robot spider in an episode of Series/Enlisted.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Chaos faction loves this trope. There's the Defiler (demon possessed mech with four legs and two clawed arms), the Brass Scorpion, a giant mechanical demonic scorpion used by the forces of Khorne, and the Soul Grinder, which is basically a demon bolted onto a Defiler's legs. Also note the new "Blood Slaughterer". Their newest codex also gave them the Venomcrawler, a spider-formed daemon engine.
  • The 5th edition Necrons Codex also introduced the Triarch Stalker, although it's only six legged.
    • The Imperium has access to the Adeptus Mechanicus Onager Dunecrawler, which has optional pads to place on the feet to get around the "pointy ballerina feet" issue.
  • Rifts has both Spider and Scorpion Skull-Walkers for the Coalition States, and the Bug and Land Crab APCs for the New German Republic.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Apparatus of Kwalish, an item from the first edition of the game which returns as a standard (if expensive) magic item in 4th edition, is a barrel in which a person can hide himself. Multiple levers allow one to turn the barrel into a Spider Tank (complete with flamethrowers) and control it. It's primarily meant for underwater use, complete with glowing "eyes" with continual light cast on them and retractable claws in the front. Although the item would be invaluable as a Spider Tank if found at low levels, its value is such that (barring deliberate placement by a GM) it can usually only be found in treasures long after the characters would have no use for its combat or amphibious capabilities.
  • Lolth uses a giant version of one of these as her headquarters in the adventure Queen of the Demonweb Pits.
  • In the Spelljammer setting, the neogi use arachnid-shaped spaceships, some of which are well-armored enough to rate as spacegoing Spider Tanks.
  • The retriever is a construct (robot-like animated object) from the Abyss, used to perform certain missions for the demon lords. There is speculation that it was modeled after the spider-like Abyssal predators known as bebiliths.
  • BattleTech: Four-legged ("quad") BattleMechs are a distinct minority, but they do exist. Their main in-game drawbacks are their lack of arms and more rigid firing arcs (partly due to lack of a twistable upper torso) — in particular, the construction rules don't allow for weapons covering their side arcs at all, thus creating significant blind spots. On the plus side, they get minor maneuvering benefits and are less likely to fall down as long as all legs are still working.
  • GURPS Ultratech has the Exo-Spider.
  • Iron Kingdoms: Though not strictly tanks, the Leviathan and Harrower helljacks from Warmachine qualify well enough for this trope. There's also a Cygnar Battle Engine called the Storm Strider, a four-legged machine that blasts its targets with lightning.
  • Paranoia: The MTV (Multi-Terrain Vehicle) in the sample adventure for the second edition. Perhaps unique in being based on a submarine with legs bolted in place. (Incidentally, the manual control system consists of six joysticks, and is about as reliable and intuitive as learning to play the piano with your knees. The MTV's bot brain can handle it just fine, but of course it conks out after a while...)note 
  • Dystopian Wars loves this — not only do the Empire of the Blazing Sun have one (the Taka-Ishi Heavy Walker), but the Covenant of Antrartica's small and medium tanks are quadroped walkers as well. Their Landship however is far from a Spider, but also worthy of inclusion here.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has the literally-named Launcher Spider. A few other mechanical arachnids appear like Steel Scorpion, although this card actually poisons the monster, destroying it in a few turns.
  • Mobile Frame Zero has the Ijad, who favour a low, rounded, quadrupedal structure since their most common combat hosts are quadrupeds, although they're not shy about using humanoid mechs when the pilot has a human partner. The corebook has LEGO assembly instructions for the generic modular Scrambler and the assault/recon Suzerain, both of them insectoid quadrupeds.
  • Marvel Super Heroes supplement Uncanny X-Men boxed set "Adventure Book". In chapter 2 "Lunch Break", while the PCs are eating lunch with the Beast they're attacked by a tank that has a circular body and eight spider-like legs with six 12-foot long Combat Tentacles. It turns out to be a Secret Test arranged by the Beast to find out if the PCs are worthy to be superheroes.
  • Starblazer Adventures, campaign setting Mindjammer. The enemy Venu forces have attack droids that are spider-shaped robots. They can climb walls like a spider and are adept in zero G environments. They're are armed with a Protein Disruptor Cannon and protected by primitive force fields.
  • In Rocket Age the Nazis are the only ones to have been able to reverse engineer Ancient Martian war walkers. Several war walkers fit this trope, but the best examples are the Sturmschreiter, an eight legged behemoth, and the Panzerschreiter Skorpion, an agile six legged contraption built for city fighting.

  • The Swamp Strider and Skopio XV-1 from BIONICLE. The latter was also capable of transforming into a regular tank, but with pincers in place of a turret. Its "turret" was the scorpion-like tail it had. In lore, the Skopio XV-1 is based on, and named after, a species of living Spider Tanks.
  • The Striking Venom and Shadow Clawer sets for the Lego Exo Force line.
  • Attacknids
  • The Masters of the Universe toyline had the "Spydor," whose commercial can be seen here:
  • The HEXBUG Battle Spider is a weaponised version of the HEXBUG Spider, a remote controlled six-legged spider tank, you can pilot it and take down other spiders with its LED laser gun. There's also the Battle Tarantula, an eight-legged spider tank based on the Strandbeest.

    Video Games 
  • In DC Universe Online, almost all types of Brainiac's robotic minions are roughly humanoid or spider tanks.
  • The United Civilized States "Spider", the only six-legged vehicle in Earth 2150, is an excellent example of this trope.
  • Super C had the "Babalu Destructoid Mechanism", the Mini-Boss of the third stage. It doesn't have the planet-destroying power that was stated in the manual, thankfully.
    • It returns in the first stage of Contra: Shattered Soldier.
    • Hard Corps: Uprising has a variation of this called Arachne. Heck, its Japanese name, Asagumo, means "morning spider".
  • Scarabs in the Halo series. It should be noted they're not actually tanks - they're giant Hunters.
    • Halo Wars has a special variant called the Super Scarab. There's also the Scarab's little brother, the Locust.
    • Halo Wars 2 adds the Blisterback, a walking missile battery that can also transform into a plasma-spewing air unit. If you choose Colony as your commander, you can also build Skitterers, which are Mini-Mecha versions of this trope piloted by Lekgolo.
  • In StarCraft, most of the Protoss ground mechanical units are some variation on the Spider Tank. These include the Dragoon, the Immortal and Stalker (upgraded dragoons), and the Colossus. (The sole exception - the Reaver - moves like a mechanical caterpillar rather than a spider.)
    • The Colossus isn't a spider tank so much as it's a 4-legged tripod. The War of the Worlds influence is very obvious when you think about it.
    • Also the Terran Siege Tank, which deploys stabilizers in siege mode but moves on treads. Spider and Widow Mines are spider... well, mines (they burrow and then rush you before detonating (spider) /launch a missile (widow))... not so much tanks.
  • Star Trek Online gives us these as part of the Vaadwaur ground forces. They aren't seen very often, but when they do appear, they're some of the strongest ground enemies the Vaadwaur have.
  • Arm's Spider and Invader, and Core's Roach from Total Annihilation. The Spider actually has spider neurons in it's brain to coordinate the 8 legs.
  • Silent Bomber has the Fire Ox boss. Its four legs have wheels to skate fast and fully rotate in circle to turn the heavily armed head.
  • Shadow Complex has you fight these several different times as minibosses or (during the final boss fight) as as regular enemies. In one such fight you can't even damage the Spider Tank, as it's clinging to the wall high above you (beyond grenade range, and it's bullet-proof)—you have to trick it into repeatedly bursting water mains until it can't climb any higher above the rising flood, causing the tank to become the toaster in a huge Electrified Bathtub.
  • Countless units from Supreme Commander including the Aeon's Harbinger and Sprite Striker. The Cybran have many such units, including The Mantis, The Fire Beetle and The Brick. Two of the Cybran experimental units qualify: The Monkeylord Experimental Spiderbot; and the Megalith: Experimental Megabot (see picture). The Cybran's Tech 2 Destroyer transforms into a giant spider tank to walk on land.
    • Even more bizarrely, one of the Cybran Spider Tanks is a mobile factory that lays eggs which hatch into units.
    • In the sequel, nearly all Cybran land units are spider tanks, and all naval units (barring the giant squid submarine) can become spider-boats and walk on land.
      • The UEF, Aeon and Cybran unit design philosophies are basically "Tanks", "Hover Tanks" and "Spider Tanks" respectively.
  • The Terror Drone from Jet Set Radio is piloted by Captain Hayashi and can launch grenades and shoot heatwaves. It even has police sirens.
  • The soviet Sickle Tank from Red Alert 3 and its predecessor the Reaper
    • The soviet Stingrays become this when they move from sea to land.
    • Red Alert 2 has the Terror Drone, which is a small machine that kills infantry in one hit, and takes down tanks in seconds. And is very bloody fast. It returns in RA3. But now it swims.
    • 4 Tiberian Twilight:
      • The most direct example is a tank called the Spider Tank, which is a small tank which fires a laser, and can burrow into the ground to move around unseen. It even creates a laser "web" when in close proximity to other Spider tanks, which damages units which get caught in the web.
      • Kane's Wrath introduces the Eradicator Hexapod. Granted, it's missing a pair of legs, but still it's gigantic freakin' bug. Also, the scrin have the gun walker, a much weaker and smaller Spider Tank.
  • Eric Gooch, who did 3D modeling for the Command & Conquer series (in addition to playing Seth in the first game), also did this.
  • Final Fantasy VIII had X-ATM092, a spidery robot that is exceptionally difficult to kill with anything less than a ship-mounted machinegun.
  • Crisis Core adds a Guard Spider.
  • Starsiege
  • In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, one of the enemies in Moon Base are spider mechs. And they are also Demonic Spiders, due to their very deadly attacks. They also occupy a huge portion of walkable space, so it's very hard to avoid fighting them.
  • MechWarrior 2 has a bonus 'mech available via a cheat code, appropriately named "Tarantula", that fits this. It's a bit of a hack, in that the engine isn't natively capable of handling four-legged mechs, so the fore legs of the Tarantula are actually its arms. Which can cause bizarre damage effects: shoot off one of the hind legs and you get a three-legged Tarantula unable to move, but shoot both fore legs and it'll still cheerfully hop about on just the hind ones. And if you shoot off both fore legs and one hind leg, it'll stay there suspended and unmoving on... one leg.
  • Spirit of Motherwill of Armored Core 4 and For Answer is a giant walking fortress comparable to the Empire State. With loads and loads of missiles and very huge grenade launchers.
  • Deus Ex has both the small, annoying kind, and the absolutely huge, terrifying kind. Both shoot electricity that, on top of inflicting actual damage, also drains the energy you use for your augmentations.
  • Arachnos in City of Heroes is a villain group that is all things spiders and so they developers couldn't pass up an opportunity to put in anatomically correct (8-legged) spider-bots of all sizes. Players in City of Villains can summon them if they have the Bane Spider or Mace Mastery power sets.
    • The best one qualifying for this trope though has to be the Arachnos Heavy, the biggest and baddest spider-bot of them all that's the size of a tank.
    • Even bigger than the Arachnos Heavy is the Jade Spider, originally just a plot device from the comic, now a monster in it's own right. And it's psychic.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has this for the penultimate boss battle with Metal Gear EXCELSUS, armed with massive HF blades mirroring those of the protagonist Raiden.
  • The Landstalker from Ratchet: Deadlocked is a 4-legged Player Vehicle variety.
  • The Dark Terraformer in it's mobile stage from Jak 3: Wastelander, as well as the Krimzon Blast Bots. The Baron also brings one into the Tomb of Mar in Jak II: Renegade.
  • The Arachnotrons and the Spider Mastermind from the Doom series are essentially demonic spiders (not to be confused with the other variety) with mechanical lower halves with four legs and either a plasmagun (for the Arachnotrons) or a super-chaingun (for the Spider Mastermind). Though they are actually giant brains (with faces) atop mechanical spider-legged platforms.
    • Doom 3 has friendly spider drones in the form of Sentry Bots.
  • The first PS2 Transformers game (the good, non-movie one) has non-transforming spider tanks as a regular enemy. They have three legs, and are pretty dangerous, having powerful (but easily dodged) weapons and no weak points.
  • Dr. Eggman uses a number of machines like this (the Egg Dealer from Shadow the Hedgehog immediately comes to mind).
  • The Hierarchy in Universe At War: Earth Assault use a lot of Spider Tanks. in fact, their bases are giant Spider Tanks.
  • Zone of the Enders: "Enemy Walking Tank: SPIDER."
  • The small spider droids from Attack of the Clones show up as mini-bosses in Star Wars: Republic Commando.
  • Gnomes sometimes use small steampunk-versions of these in the Warcraft setting.
  • A giant mechanical spider featured in Metal Wolf Chaos, which was eventually defeated by the President's giant robot shooting it full of holes.
  • Gecko Sub Boss from Einhänder.
  • The Neotank from the Advance Wars series is a spider-shaped tank and the second most powerful land unit in the series, after the Megatank. With wheels on its feet, it is also the fastest tank in the game, offering it a significant advantage over the Megatank.
  • Para World has a Bamboo Technology version of the scorpion tank variant. It's a close-combat machine that can also harvest resources. There is also, later, a Steampunk spider tank.
  • Quake IV has the cyborg-zombie enemy, the Strogg, strongly favor the spider tank design. Stream Protectors, Harvesters, and the Makron itself all go around on spidery legs despite the existence of floaty technology, which you'd think would be better — which is particularly odd since, once the Makron's legs are damaged at the end of the game, its upper body starts hovering. The harvesters are actually techno-organic, as indicated by their shrieking sound.
  • Wasteland: Honorable mention goes to the dreaded Scorpitron. Of course at least in the original game it's basically depicted as an Ogre with a scorpion tail attached so it doesn't quite fit into the trope smoothly.
  • Warlords Battlecry 2 has the Dark Dwarf's Firebombs, small (and, again, fast) eight-legged machines that suicide when attacked or when they attack.
  • Unreal Tournament III has the Scavenger, a four-legged tank that can transform into a high-speed ball. Also, the Darkwalker.
  • Armored Core: Quad-legged mechs have been an staple since the beginning. They are surprisingly fast bastards, despite often having a high weight. I site Red Rum, of 4A as proof of how fast these fuckers can be (not to mention how difficult the series can get) the only thing that keeps them from being perfect is the high energy requirements.
    • In the earlier games, the main advantage of quads was the ability to fire powerful shoulder guns without using HUMAN PLUS augmentations while being much lighter and more agile than treads. The main drawback was the lack of carrying capacity to mount the biggest of those weapons.
  • Fallout Tactics has a Scurry Robot. They weren't made for battle, but ended up used as makeshift Goddamned Bats, and they can bury themselves for an ambush. Their Walking Tank brothers are much bigger and meaner.
  • Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage has Spider Attack Drones in one part.
  • Thunder Force V has Armed Armament Arm (A3), a spider mech that transforms into a land vehicle,then an aerial robot when damaged enough the first two times. After the third time, its gone for good. The sequel had Barbaric Berserk Beast, an obvious expy of the above mentioned.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has mechanical spiders of a highly realistic 8-legged sort, which you can find in a hostile rips-you-apart disposition or build yourself in a rips-other-people-apart disposition. A variant of the chassis comes with a healing kit instead of rending mandibles.
  • Lost Planet: Extreme Condition has the GAB-25 Vital Suit which can transform between this and Drill Tank modes.
    • An even larger version of the GAB-25 serves as a boss enemy in one of the later levels, and Lost Planet 2 takes it one step farther by making it gattai with the GAN-34 for a boss fight. The feat can be reproduced in both the campaign and multiplayer modes by two players, and doing so nets you an achievement and a title called "And I'll Form the Head!" However, when used by the players, the resulting machine is more of a traditional tank, unlike the boss.
  • The final boss of Time Shift is one of these. Disappointly, you fight it from a rooftop across the street instead of in a cool freeform on-foot battle.
  • Turok : A Spider Tank is a boss in the 2008 Continuity Reboot game.
  • In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, a variation of the Metal Gear (known as the RAXA, and its mass-production model, the ICBMG) uses four legs instead of the usual two, possibly invoking this trope.
  • The Iron Grip series features several of these, including the Fahrong Confederation's Recluse, Warweaver and Widow "arachs". The Widow is quite literally a gigantic self-propelled artillery piece.
  • The PlayStation port of Time Crisis featured an infantry fighting vehicle modified with legs instead of wheels on its 'Kantaris Deal' side story, as the boss of the slowest possible route.
  • Steambot Chronicles features spider legs as a potential upgrade to the player's bot.
  • In Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge, one of Die Spinne's superweapons is a giant, six-legged machine armed with a massive flamethrower.
  • House Atreides' Minotaur from Emperor: Battle for Dune.
  • Razing Storm pits you against one of these in the third stage. It's really persistent, and it uses a Macross Missile Massacre when defeated in a last ditch attempt to destroy your characters.
  • Metal Fatigue has the murderously powerful scorpion tanks as part of the precursor arsenal. Most tanks and other ground vehicles are little more than fodder in the face of Combots, even poorly-equipped ones. A squad or platoon of Hedoth scorpion tanks can handily put a serious dent in an equivalent number of Combots.
  • Both Spyder Scout and Viper the Sniper in Robocalypse are these but they're the humanoid size type, not the massive type.At least Viper makes up for it by dropping anvils on the enemy.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and Skyrim both have the Dwemer-built Spider Centurion Mecha-Mooks, which are Fun Size Spider Tanks that appear in Dwemer ruins.
  • Raiden II : The first boss battle is against a duo of four-legged spider tanks while the first boss of Raiden IV is a single, six-legged tank instead. However, the twin spider tanks return in that game's fourth stage.
  • Pokémon has Metagross, a four-legged pseudo-legendary Spider Hover Tank with Psychic Powers.
  • Battle Clash: Antonov's Standing Tank Ivan, minus the mobility part.
  • Front Mission features several enemy Commander mechs of the sort, which can be obtained by completing special missions and completing the game.
  • Spider Mechanoids from Serious Sam II.
  • Cobar's spider tank from Killzone Liberation also spawned smaller spiderbots.
  • Ray Storm's first boss, Pendragon, transforms between a large tank and a spider walker. Another spider tank in the series is Pro-Tor from Ray Crisis.
  • Mass Effect 3 features Destroyer-model Reapers, which are "merely" 160 metres tall, as opposed to their two kilometer-long, cuttlefish-shaped brethren. However, their defenses still are frighteningly powerful, even being resistant (though not invulnerable) to orbital bombardment.
  • Three Variant Armor from Cyberbots use 4-insectoid legs - Jackal, Cyclone and Talantula.
  • In Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, the Martians expand on their machines' number of legs, resulting in this.
  • One of the bosses in Seek and Destroy
  • The Gradius series has the Shadow Dancer and variations in most of its final or penultimate stages, and in the third stage of V. In many of its appearances, it is invincible and can only be dodged as it passes.
    • In some home console releases (including V), however, you are able to destroy them instead of just dodging.
  • Stalkers from Resistance.
  • The second form of P.N.03's final boss somewhat resembles a scorpion. Sonnenblume (the first boss), the One-Winged Angel form of Orchidee 2.0, and some of the mooks are also spider-like.
  • Metal Warriors had one of these hidden in the first level; it could throw energy webs, use its a melee weapon, and climb on ceilings and walls.
  • Battle Engine Aquila has these for both armies. The Aquilla itself is also a Transforming Mecha
  • Machines: Wired For War has military and nonmilitary variants; the four-legged Reaper, six-legged Commandant, and the helpless crab-walking six-legged Locator.
  • Aztec Wars: The Aztecs have two varieties of the Spider, one with a giant bow, one equipped with a flamethrower. The former is the most expensive unit in the game; it can kill any infantry unit with one shot, but is insanely slow. It is mentioned that, since the Aztecs consider using the wheel a blasphemy against the sacred symbol of the Sun, they're limited to either this or Hopping Machines when it comes to war machinery.
  • Gear Head: Arachnoids, heavy gun-carriers but not particularly maneuverable.
  • Dancing Insector from Star Fox. The level also has spider walker mooks.
  • Red Faction: Armageddon has two spider tanks, the Scout Walker and Mantis.
  • Fracture features one called the Dreadnaught which, as it's name suggests, is the size of a battleship.
  • Vanquish has the KNRB-0 Argus, which is the game's first boss, and later fought as a pair.
  • Living example: Pikmin 2's Man-at-Legs is a four-legged Cyborg Arachnorb fused with a machine gun. Olimar believes that said gun actually controls the spider.
  • Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds not only has the iconic tripods and spider-like handling machines from the novel, but also a plethora of new machines with anything between two and six legs.
  • In Low G Man, the Spider vehicle lacks guns, but has the power to kill enemies by walking into them and can reverse gravity to walk on the ceiling.
  • Watch_Dogs has the digital trip "Spider Tank", where you take control of a giant spider tank, complete with mini-guns and rockets, to terrorize the people of Chicago.
    • And in the sequel they BUILT one. You hack it and destroy stuff.
  • Factions following the Supremacy affinity in Civilization: Beyond Earth tend to use these as their late game units. For example, take a look at the SABR self-propelled artillery unit. Or the ANGEL ultimate unit.
  • In the prologue of Legacy of Lunatic Kingom, Sanae mentions a metallic spider machine that appeared on mountain, that apparently reminds her of Curiosity. The machine purifies everything it passes, leaving no life in its wake (but otherwise leaving the landscape intact). It is implied to be from the Lunarians.
  • In Dynamite Headdy, Maruyama/Trouble Bruin's final mech is Spider Phantom/Super Finagler, which balances on two spiderlike legs.
  • Battalion: Ghosts has six-legged Spider Tanks which can move over mountains, the only units that can do that, aside from the Commandos.
  • Earth Defense Force: The EDF 4.1 Shadow of New Despair re-release adds a spider tank called the "Depth Crawler" The "Depth Crawler" is a four legged tank variant piloted by players and armed with a variety of heavy weapons. It takes the spider part of spider tank quite literally with the "Depth Crawler" able to move up walls and across ceilings just like a spider. Just like the jumping spiders in the game it is also capable of leaping around.
  • Strider has the Mosqueman, a four-legged robot walker, although officially it is described as an "octopus"-shaped robot.
  • Professor Layton and the Last Specter has the villain run a factory that makes these. The finale involves defeating one.
  • Gunstar Heroes has Pink and Black ride in legged contraptions.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has the Corruptor, a scorpion-like robot. It's name comes from it's signature ability to override other machines and make them attack the player as well (not that Corruptors by themselves are exactly weak- that is indeed a grenade launcher mounted on its back).
  • Hysteria from Sundered is a mountain-sized cyborg of a spider tank. Its organic component is a cancerous blob of green flesh that used to be a human being, whose secretions leak from the spider tank’s joints and the barrel of its Wave Motion Gun. It has the ability to sprout gun turrets from its legs, and to fuse its front legs into a bludgeon that it uses to smash human-sized opponents—like the player character—into paste.
  • The Fallen in the Destiny series field lumbering six-legged spider-tanks armed with a chin-based rotary cannon, a turret with a massive long-barrel cannon and four-tube rocket pod, a close-range electrical knockback pulse, and the ability to deploy Shank Attack Drones for support. They're extremely tough, but you can force them to expose their weak spot by destroying their leg armour. It's also possible to destroy the turret-mounted rocket pod on some versions.
  • In 8Bit Killer, among the enemies are cannons that walk back and forth on four robotic legs, shooting the player on sight.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: The third trailer included a small Spider Tank amongst many humanoid robotic Mooks. The tank puts up a much better fight than the mooks, and the Action Girl protagonist can't even scratch it; she can only buy time for her partner to prepare his One-Hit Kill attack.

  • Girl Genius : The "war stompers" of the Knights of Jove are house-sized brass tanks, each mounted on five jointed, spider-like legs.
  • In Homestuck, as part of its extensive array of patterns and themes, each central character has some sort of futuristic vehicle connected to one of their personal motifs— for instance, Rose's struggles with her alcoholic mother are reflected by a rocket made to look like a champagne cork. The vehicle corresponding to Cancer-themed troll Karkat is naturally one of these.
  • In Never Mind the Gap, a bio-weapon war took place some time before the story proper begins, and spider tanks carrying dangerous anti-bio-weapon chemicals played some role in it. In the comic, a bunch of kids accidentally stumble across a buried, broken-down spider tank; one of the characters is filled with nerdy glee at the prospect of restoring it.

    Web Original 
  • Tlf Travel Alerts attempted an ill advised "Spider Tram" which worked great, until it spun a giant web and started devouring commuters. It also caused "Delays Due To Spider Tank".
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-278 ("A Large Mechanical Spider") is a giant mechanical vehicle in the shape of a spider, made of steel, iron, and banyan wood. It can be piloted by humans using mechanical controls. It is also capable of moving around on its own. It escaped in 2008, and was covered up as a performance art piece called "La Princesse". See the Real Life section below.
    • SCP-2069 ("AEGIS"). After the invading robots realized how determined the human race was to fight back, one of the war machines they created was a type of spider tank.

    Western Animation 
  • Shadow Raiders: Planet Ice's Spider Tanks (They're called exactly that).
  • Transformers: A small number of Transformers turn into giant spiders, either mechanical or organic. Tarantulas is the first and most unnerving, and his personality goes far beyond vague malevolence right on into psychosis. Scorponok in both his G1, Energon and Movie incarnations. He's closer to Tank/Scorpion hybrid than most.
    • Shockwave from Transformers Animated normally turns into a tank, but as Longarm Prime, he actually turns into a spider crane
  • Jonny Quest: The original season episode "The Robot Spy". The title device was a globe with a single large eye set in it, with four long legs sticking out of the top. It was invulnerable to firearms up to and including a tank's main gun.
  • The Venture Bros.: Parodies Jonny Quest's Spider Tank with Dr. Venture's obsession over his father's Walking Eye.
  • The MOGURA in Skyland is a large spider-shaped robot that was created to drill for water on an ice-covered block. Once the water ran out, though, it needed to find more sources. As it happens, humans are largely water...
  • The Spider-Slayers from the '90s Spider-Man: The Animated Series (a black widow, a tarantula and a scorpion) doubled up as Combining Mecha. And none of them was original to the series. There have been a lot of Spider-Slayer designs in the comics.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men: The first Sentinel prototype was of a spider/scorpion form. It had some kinks to work out, like not knowing how to avoid collateral damage, and not having an off-switch.
  • In the 3rd episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, while Chip, Dale, Monterey Jack and Zipper look for Geegaw Hackwrench in an abandoned airplane, they manage to trigger traps that were set, and run into a spider-like mecha, which turns out to have Gadget inside, who comes out to greet Monterey.
  • The Decapodians "Mobile Opression Palace" from Futurama. For just pennies a day!
  • Vertex and Vett of Rollbots are sentient versions.
  • Phineas and Ferb has Professor Poofenplotz's "Me-Mobile" from "Isabella and the Temple of Sap", a giant version of her head mounted on spider legs.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars has the Umbaran juggernaut.
  • In Young Justice, the Kroloteans have "mechs" that are Spider Tanks in all but name.
  • Some of Urpgor's machines are variations of this in The Dreamstone. Perhaps the most notable being the literal Spider Tank in "The Spidermobile", to the point of being designed like a spider and even shooting web as a weapon.
  • South Park sent up the Wild Wild West Spider Tank note , where Cartman pretends he's a rapping cowboy who has to save Salma Hayek from a big metal spider.
  • The Simpsons parodies the Wild Wild West spider tank more affectionately when Skinner tries to maintain realism in a Civil War re-enactment, despite the interruption from some nearby World War II veterans...
    Skinner: Tanks?! Oh, this is just too inaccurate.
    [Professor Frink appears behind him in a giant robot spider.]
    Professor Frink: Well then, you're definitely not going to like my steam-powered super-spider. With the stepping and the squishing and the webs made of NYLON
  • Totally Spies! episode "Spies Vs. Spies". At one point the protagonists are tied to a giant web. A large spider robot crawls over them and sprays them with a liquid material which hardens into a cocoon. Clover breaks them out with liquid nitrogen breath spray applied to the cocoons.

    Real Life 
  • Actual vehicles have been built that use the motor configuration of arachnids. However, they move much slower than just using wheels.
  • Big Dog (from Boston Dynamics) may not be a vehicle, but just you wait. LS3 The (canceled) bigger brother.
  • Speaking of walking on soft ground...the Timberjack hexapod deforester which can walk on uneven ground effectively (albeit has very slow turning) is proudly claiming that its feet cause less damage to ground when compare to a normal caterpillar. What kind of magic it use? Rubber dampers.
  • And that's why the cheap robots they're designing to wander Mars are called 'spider-bots'. They only have six legs, though. And they're kinda small. And there will be a lot of them. They're cheap, after all.
  • The Kabutom RX-03, which took 11 years to build, is 11 meters long, 9.5 meters wide, weighs 15 tonnes and carries up to 6 people.
  • La Princesse is a giant mechanical spider, but it's supported by a crane. The legs are just for show.
  • A bunch of people at the University of Louisiana created the Cajun Crawler, which is basically a Segway only with little legs (based off of Theo Jansen's Strandbeests) instead of wheels. The result is one part Nightmare Fuel, and two parts awesome.
  • NASA's ATHLETE (TOW link) project probably applies. They're six-limbed robots/transportation platforms with wheels on the end of each limb, giving them the ability to walk or roll depending on the situation. The "walking" is rather slow, and often consists of "moving the limbs in such a way that we can roll safely again," as each footfall must be human controlled; NASA is working on "autonomous footfall placement" in part to make walking faster. The end goal of the project is to create a robot to carry cargo on the Moon.
  • Mondo Spider. See also on YouTube. So far, it didn't surpass human walking speed, but yes, it turns on the spot. "1,700 lbs of Mechanical Mayhem" is moved by hydraulics powered with 12hp average (30hp peak) worth of electrical motors.
  • Hexapod.
  • The Crabster. If build it could revolutionize undersea exploration by giving it more dexterity exploring the ocean floor and hardiness in the face of aggressive currents.

Alternative Title(s): Spider Mech, Spider Drone


Example of: