I’m a conformist.
I obey the rules, mostly.
I have my place in society and I’m happy with that.
To a certain extent my entire existence can be considered routine, methodical or even robotic.
Just because I display robotic tendancies doesn’t mean I’m a machine and I’m jealous of that.
Robots are cool. Fact.
Whether you love or hate robots chances are you’ve encountered many of them whilst gaming.
R2-D2, Claptrap, GlaDOS, Terminator, Mega Man, Paradroid, Machinarium, Robocop(?) are to name but a few, and I’m only going to name the ones I’ve personally encountered.
This isn’t just a list of the best robots to be programmed in to a game.
This is an M&S list… yeah, right! Bite me.
Over the years I’ve taken down, taken over and been obliterated by a number of robots whilst bashing the buttons and they’re right at the top of stable character types to choose for gaming that are among zombies, aliens and soldiers. Back in the day when I first caught ED-209 taking down scum for not complying in ten seconds I think I was hooked in wanting to play with robots.
I’ve mentioned Paradroid countless times before. It’s a C64 classic where you have to take over robot units of increasing strength, eventually taking over the ship, by a either blowing them up or attempting to take over the target unit by playing a fairly straightforward board game based on a little bit of logic.
Machinarium gets a mention because it’s a really cutesy and clever puzzler that took me by surprise.
The puzzles themselves vary greatly and are quite challenging between screens. Fans of the puzzles contained within the Myst series should give this a look if they’re looking for a little mental workout.
The illustrative styling works very well with the animation and high level of detail.
The robots that I really want to talk about are the pioneers, the rebels, the classics and the ultra modern mechs that have had my jaw agape for one reason or another.
First on this list is Dog from Half Life 2. Although he’s only a small part of the game he feels like part of the Half-Life family straight away. A bit like a family dog strangely enough!
Constructed from other robots and spares found in the HL2 universe he’s a real mongrel but has had a suitable amount of time spent on developing his own character traits. Valve once again have spent time on the details to deliver a great character. Throughout your journey of City 17 Dog will rescue you and also lead (Get it? As in dog lead! No? Nevermind.) you to your target. A faithful companion if ever there was one.
Next on my list has to be a trio of robots from possibly one of my favourite games of all time, Portal 2.
At the opposite end of the spectrum of helpfulness from Dog of HL2 we have Wheatley. Voiced by comedian Stephen Merchant, we have a comic element that fits perfectly with the storyline which, we all agree at AMOLAG, has been perfectly scripted.
This hapless ball of a robot is just as likely to get a door open for you as he is to remove a platform from underneath you, and that’s before he turns sinister.
GlaDOS is also an excellent character. The pure sarcasm that has been scripted in is unforgetable and right now I am reminded of the slow clapping. She wants to kill you, but not until you’ve been tested to death to fulfill her programming needs.
Again, attention to detail has been key in making the character and animation believeable.
Each of the robots in Portal 2 only has a single eye and no other facial features yet their individual character and persona are emoted perfectly through their actions and movements. This is even seen in the co-op characters where you have gestures to perform.
If you haven’t played Portal 2 yet then you’re a moron.
At the top of my list is a favorite for many.
Claptrap, I’m sure you’ll agree, is simply awesome.
R2-D2 is too obvious and already gets plenty of kudos for being involved in one of the bigest sci-fi film franchises of all time.
Claptrap is the alternative charasmatic small robot who provides comic relief and is a helpful aid as he and his compatriots lead you to goodies when you repair them.
The dancing, the sayings and quirky behaviour of him makes Claptrap not just a fantastic robot character but also places him as one of the most memorable figures in gaming to be placed alongside the likes of Gordon Freeman and his crowbar, Mario with Yoshi and Lara Croft and her… and her… sizable assets.
The Robot Revolution DLC was a great addition to the excellently contructed universe that is Borderlands and I eagerly look forward to the second installment which I’m informed is out soon.
I think Al will be getting to know Claptrap in great detail given that he will be dressing as him for the forth coming Eurogamer expo.
Al, you’re my hero!