The G1 Best Ever: Robots
Hello, fellow meatbags, and welcome to another episode of The G1 Best Ever. Robots have a rich history in video games, and today, we talk about the very best of them. Now, its important to know the difference between a robot and an AI, which is why you won't see characters like SHODAN or GLaDOS appear. Still, there's a lot of ground to cover, so wait in anticipation to the robot uprising and starting reading:
What makes a robot good? Jet packs? Rocket launchers? Giant buzz saws? A learning fist? Sure, those are all great, but remember what robots were originally built for: The word "robot" was derived from "robota", which translates to "work" in several Slavic languages. So obviously the best ever robot has to be the one that is the most productive. And no single robot has ever done a greater service to mankind than the Sanderson family's Chibi-Robo (not to be confused with one of the 999,999 lesser Chibi-Robos).
These 10cm (or ~3 inch, if you prefer dumb measures) tin men are designed to help in whatever way they can and to just generally make people around them happy. I know what you're thinking: How can something that spends its entire existence cleaning the floor with a toothbrush and retrieving frog-headed rings that got stuck in the drain possibly be considered the best robot ever?
True, there's nothing epic about any of the first 90% of the game (except for Mr Sanderson's mustache).
But what about the time Chibi-Robo contacted aliens and then helped and befriended those aliens, who in return gave it infinite battery power, which it then shared with every other robot on the planet?
You know how experts worry about the wars that will be fought over oil once it's almost gone? Well, Chibi-Robo eliminated any chance of there ever being a lack of energy, which will not only end most man-made pollution, but also stop and prevent thousands of conflicts in the future, saving millions if not billions of lives. This makes this little fellow more beneficial to the human race than anything or anyone else ever.
The best ever robot in a video game in my opinion is from a game that I seem to be the only one to have ever heard of. My best ever robot in a video game is Razorfane from the Unholy War.
Basically Razorfane is a humanlike robot (By that I mean it's a robot that looks like a human, sorry for the bad wording.) His presence is felt as soon as you first see him in the opening video of the game. Walking through a desert shooting saw blades from his arm. One arm shoots saw blades, the other is a chainsaw. If that's not enough he can spin his entire body 360 degrees in one movement and make bladewalls as big as he is in one freaking movement.
His stage is a labyrinth of steel, with trampolines so you can get above and walk on the walls. In terms of robots, I wouldn't want to be in a labyrinth with any robot, let alone Ravorfane. It's a cold blooded killer, plain and simple and not only will Razorfane kill you but it'll laugh while doing so. The only place safe from Razorfane is the sky, and even then you can unlock BetaRazor who is essentially the same character but with the ability to fly. Even if you do manage to bring down Razorfane it's badass because of the sound given upon dying.
You would think being a robot with all of these razors and being weighed down and everything would make him be pretty slow, right? Wrong. Razorfane is pretty fast, can jump pretty high and packs a punch as well which is awesome.
No matter how I put it, I can't sum up how awesome I think Razorfane is. Maybe I'm blinded by nostalgia because it was my favourite character in one of my favourite fighting games of my childhood or maybe it's because Razorfane is truly awesome. One last thing. Fane means temple or shrine (or at least according to Google it does). So in theory that means Razorfane's name means that it's a shrine of razors. Unfortunately as far as I'm aware the Unholy War never got a sequel or anything and no one seems to have heard of it so that's another reason why Razorfane is the best ever robot, no one knows about it so it's also a hidden gem on the PS1.
If anyone knows anything from seeing the DEATH BATTLE of Wily vs. Eggman, it's that Metal Sonic is goddamn awesome.
He started off as just a robot made to surpass Sonic, but then went to become the main villain of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, and then he became an Ultimate Metal Overlord, and then... the Olympics? Okay, Metal Sonic's role has kinda been downgraded since his appearance in Sonic Heroes, but that doesn't mean he's just another one of Eggman's robots. Just as Wily has Bass and Zero, Eggman has Metal Sonic, the Ultimate Metal Overlord for about an hour.
Metal Sonic first appeared in Sonic CD as a boss (and was accompanied by a rocking boss theme that was remixed to be even better in Generations), but was quickly destroyed after losing to Sonic in a race. As I said before, he became a primary character in the Sonic The Hedgehog film, but I can't really describe that as I haven't seen the film in forever. It took about a decade for Metal Sonic to appear in another (completely new) Sonic game, but when he did return he got a massive upgrade. No longer was he the easily destroyed robot that lost to Sonic all those years ago. He was upgraded to main villain and became the Ultimate Metal Overlord.
It took the "REAL SUPERPOWER OF TEAMWORK!" (along with the usual Chaos Emeralds) in order to defeat The Ultimate Metal Overlord Metal Sonic. I would talk about his various abilities here, but I think the DB crew has done a much better job than I ever could trying to explain everything he can do.
Since Heroes, though, Metal Sonic hasn't really been that present in the series, only showing up in a few spin-offs and being the Classic Era rival character in Sonic Generations. However, he'll always be the Ultimate robot of pretty much any video game (if Death Battle proved anything).
If society ever manages to create highly advanced, fully automated robots, chances are they will be thoughtless drones, good for nothing except the tasks they were programmed to do. Thankfully, fictional robots don’t need to be restricted to this sort of drabness. With a special little ingredient we call ‘agency’, a robotic character can quickly become far more fascinating than any average skin-bag. BY that point they have all the capacity for emotions humans have, and metallic armor with military-grade weapons built in to go with that emotion. Of course, the best robot characters, for me at least, are a mixture of the mindless drone-iness most are known for and something resembling human emotion. And I don’t think many find quite as perfect of a mixture as Robo from Chrono Trigger.
The Robo Rick Roller joins Chrono’s crew when he is discovered in the post-apocalyptic future in disrepair. Thankfully, Lucca gives him a tune up, and the cheery robot with some convenient amnesia and an unbounded fascination towards humans is back in action! Unfortunately, it’s not long after that he learns the oppressive robots within the factory they were invading were his own robot brethren. Said robots quickly begin attacking him, and Robo more or less becomes hated and ostracized by his own people. That isn’t the end of evil robots being dicks to poor Robo. Any player who chooses to go to the Geno Dome and fight Mother Brain (no, not that Mother Brain) will find that she…It gets angry over Robo being nice to humans too.
Robot or not, this scene was a tear-jerker.
It’s not all sadness and rejection for Robo though. He has Chrono and other flesh-wads as friends after all! Many parts of the game emphasize his struggle to comprehend human emotions, but in the end he naturally gains a true understanding of what makes emotions work. One side-quest in particular where he spends centuries farming to restore a forest comes to mind when I say this. It’s very charming seeing a robot talk about how attuned and fond of the natural organic world he has become.
As far as gameplay ‘mechanics’ (pun intended) go he’s also a pretty good party member. Not the best, but he has a good number of uses and attack options. Every aspect of Chrono Trigger as a game has been analyzed by its fans to death. Robo's character is no exception to this, and with good reason.
To me he acts as one of the few counterbalances to the many stories of robots turning against humanity by being filled with unmitigated kindness, specifically because of his free will, and showing what humans and highly advanced robots could accomplish together. Even when tasked with spending 400 years caring for crops, heck, even at the risk of ending his own existence by changing the apocalyptic future he was created from, he refuses to falter in helping the people who helped him. How could the ultimate mechanical helper and friend not be the best ever robot?
Gaming has featured many robots and while many of them are deadly machines of DEATH like HK-47, I think I’m going to pick someone that is capable of becoming a source of destruction alongside the master of time. Who might that be you ask, well none other than Clank from the Ratchet and Clank games.
Now Clank wasn’t always great as he was kind of an idiot in the first game in which he fell for a very obvious trap by the dashing yet idiotic Captain Qwark, but at the same time in this game Clank did get helicopter blades, jetpack, and the Hydro pack which makes those water sections go by a lot quicker. While Clank was rather helpful I didn’t really like him in the first game all that much really in part due to how much of a dolt he was, but while I might not have liked him in the first game he did get better and a lot more interesting with later games to me.
While Clank did manage to transform into a giant robot of death within the first game, I didn’t really remember it as that section was short, and the fight after that was rather annoying. At least in Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal as well those games just happen to be more fun in general, and the giant Clank sections just felt better overall in terms of control (they also had a moment that felt straight out of a Godzilla movie) which just made these stages better. Plus I also do like how Clank became comic relief without really being annoying with the added benefit of getting a laser, but more importantly becoming the MASTER OF TIME. So while Clank might have just started off as that backpack that can hold a lot of things, he has ultimately become a funny, helpful, and one that can help you maximize destruction if you’ve have more chaotic needs.
And that's it, the G1 Best Ever Robots. Of course, there are quite a few omissions here (including a certain favorite Blue Bomber), but that's because its so incredibly though. What's your favorite video game robot? Lets us know in the comments. Until then, happy gaming!