Sega’s newest release, Binary Domain, has a lot of robots and that’s something we like to see here at the Sega Addicts Headquarters. So much so that we couldn’t contain our excitement for Sega’s newest IP and decided to roll that anticipation into a Top 10 list of our favorite robots in videogames.
Hit the jump to read about our favorite robots to appear on Sega consoles or in Sega published games.
10. Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Michael Westgarth: All of Sonic’s earlier adventures featured robots, and lots of them, however most of these were relatively non-threatening and easily overcome. However, Robotnik’s giant robot at the end of Sonic 3 & Knuckles has always stuck in my mind as one of the most exciting boss battles, and one of the most fearsome robots in any Sega game.
The battle through the game’s penultimate zone, the Death Egg Zone, isn’t an easy one, and after two tricky end-of-stage bosses you might be wondering how it could get any worse. Then, as the boss music changes to an ominous new track, Robotnik’s monstrosity appears and tries to crush our hero with its enormous robotic fingers. Destroying the fingers only makes the situation worse as you are forced to flee the ensuing juggernaut while dodging fireballs that erupt from his nostrils as well as jumping, with split second timing, a concentrated beam of chaos energy that blasts forth from the master emerald embedded in its chest. That right, this mother fudger is infused with raw chaos energy.
Assuming you have all seven or more chaos emeralds, defeating this boss will result in the destruction of the Death Egg and entry into the final Doomsday zone. Transforming into Super/Hyper Sonic, you must pursue Robotnik in his giant robot through space while avoiding wave after wave of missiles as he flees with the master emerald. There isn’t another boss fight like this in the
Sonic series. The sequences’ total length combined with their above average (for Sonic) difficulty, tension inducing music and the sheer deadliness of this hedgehog exterminator, lands it a spot on this top-ten list.
Pat Reddick: Vectorman is the only righteous robot (known as orbots in the game) left on Earth and he’s got to take down a whole army of rogue-bots. How is that not amazing? As far as I’m concerned Vectorman beats out Rayman as the best video game character whose arms and legs are not directly connected to his body. Just think, not only is Vectorman kicking ass, he’s doing so while somehow figuring out how to safely do wireless electronics. Also I think it’s worth mentioning that prior to becoming Earth’s robotic saviour Vectorman worked as essentially a waste management worker; he deposited toxic sludge into the sun. He returns home to find everything’s gone to hell and then takes it upon himself to save the day. That’s right, when you’re playing Vectorman you’re not being tasked by some forsaken legislative body to fix everything, you’re not a ridiculously awesome member of a military-based robot fleet, you’re just a garbageman who felt the authoritarian government was no longer representative of the people. Vectorman is essentially the Fidel Castro or Che Guevarra of gaming, leading the world’s first robotic People’s Revolution. If that doesn’t constitute an awesome robot character, I don’t know what does.
8. Target Earth
Mike Kyzivat: Don’t let the dorky cover fool you, or the bland label on the cartridge, or the fact that it was made by Dreamworks (no not Speilberg’s Dreamworks) This game has some kick ass robots. Well I guess they are more power suits then robots, but that’s close enough. The basic premise is that you are outfitted with a White and blue robot power suit (called an assault suit) and it is your duty to protect earth from a cybernetic invasion called the Chron, it’s all very robotech, or Gundam depending on how old you are, but we are not here to discuss the story.
This was the first game I played where I was in a big powerful robot suit and it was awesome. It fulfilled almost every Robotech wish I had, you could jump and you could fire thrusters to fly and hover for a short time, and there were weapons galore. At the end of each level you would be rewarded with new and interesting firepower for the next stage. Things like a grenade launcher, heavy machine gun, giant shield, extra thrust for hovering, a shrapnel gun that would fire a shell that would rain hot shrapnel clouds down on enemies, etc. Every weapon you could ever want on a 12 foot tall robot. And the game kept it interesting because, at the beginning of each level you only have limited room, so you must choose your load out. This made it fun to try out different weapon combos to see how deadly you could make your super suit. There was also a mission that took place in the deep space so you were free to jet around the enemy fleet anyway you wanted; dog fighting and taking down giant star ships. And then after that stage you went into a stage where you reentered earths atmosphere where the whole level is you falling thousands of feet on fire from reentry shooting down enemies and watching as your comrades sometimes burn up on reentry. Just about the only thing missing would have been the ability to transform into a jet or tank or something.
Also, this was the first game that you really felt that you weren’t one person against a whole army of enemies. There were always comrades in similar robot suits following along, or fighting in the background, or you are given air support so you really felt like you were a part of the war. This added to the feeling of immersion of being an ass kicking robot. Be warned however it is a pretty hard game, but you can handle it your a robot after all.
7. Mega Man: The Wily Wars
Alex Riggen: How could a game where every boss fight is a robot not appear on this list? The Wily Wars is a re-imagining of the first three Mega Man games that originally appeared on the NES wrapped into one Genesis cartridge. While some fans believe the originally Nintendo games were of higher quality, for some Sega fans this was their first chance to battle some of Dr. Wily’s iconic robot baddies like Bubble Man, Air Man, Magnet Man, and many more. This is a game no robot fan should be without.
6. Alien Storm
Josh Newey: You know, it didn’t really occur to me until we composed this list, but when I consider all of the awesome, over-the-top trashcan-throwing characters of old-school beat-em-ups, I’m fairly certain that Scooter from Alien Storm comes out on the top of my list of favorites. Can you blame me? His sequence of attacks is utterly ridiculous, and yet consistently entertaining. How many brawlers give their heroes arm-mounted blasters, over-the-shoulder cannons, bombs that lob from their backs, and an electrical whip? Go ahead, name me one other game.
Perhaps my favorite thing about Scooter is the fact that he looks like some kind of classic robot from an ancient episode of Battlestar Galactica. In a medium where everybody is climbing over each other to make the coolest, most stylish cyborg, Alien Storm opted to reference the classic cheese of 50s B movie sci-fi. Combine that with his jerky, awkward movements and endlessly enjoyable moveset, and you’ve got one of the most important members of Sega’s vast robotic army.
5. Cyborg Justice
Scott Morrison: As the box art says, there are over 200 possible cyborgs in this game. Does it get any better than buzzsaws and bazookas for hands, or tank wheels for feet? Very rarely. Even though the scenery is somewhat bland, Cyborg Justice is a robot fan’s wildest dream as a beat-em-up game. Build your favorite robot, and beat the snot out of enemy robots. Not only do you destroy robots, but you can amputate their limbs and use them as bait for said robots before amputating them further. The only way to restore your health in the game is to absorb enemy robot energy. You can even rebuild the enemy robots just to kill them again. Cyborg Justice is brutal in the way your survive, and also in its difficulty level. The only way to survive is to be quick on your feet and ready to destroy anything that moves. One later game on Sega Saturn harkens back to the joy of destroying robots to win over their weapons: Robo Pit, which any fan of Cyborg Justice should play. If you are a fan of building robots to destroy other robots in order to be the best robot, then Cyborg Justice is for you, because only the best justice can be achieved in the future as cyborgs. Isn’t that right, Detroit?
Sven Wohl: Vanquish is a title that got some bad press and fan reactions ever since the game has been released. I never really understood why, since I really enjoyed it overall, mostly because robots are great enemies, as you should be able to see, considering this list. There are several reasons why they make for great enemies here: They come in huge masses, can pretty much pop out from anywhere and can actually attack you with the sort of recklessness that normal humans normally won’t show. They also come in various sizes and with different weapons and I think that is the most important thing about enemies in videogames: The variety they come in. Since they have no feelings and no ideology, they are also one of the most unproblematic enemies to be found. Makes power-rocket sliding at them while shooting them all the more fun!
3. Gunstar Heroes
Tom Kyzivat: ROBOTS!!!! That’s what you get when you play Gunstar Heroes. Robots. Lot o’ bots. Nearly every enemy in the game is a robot, or robotic in some way, from the generic (and often silly) foot soldiers, to the ultimate creation Golden Silver, the last boss. All that is swell, but one robot in particular stands out in this game: Seven Force! Green, the brother of main characters Red and Blue, controls an utterly badass weapon, consisting of giant mechanical pieces that he can manipulate (seemingly psychicly or maybe through technology) to re-configure into a variety of crazy robotic creatures, in perhaps one of the coolest boss fights in all of gaming history. My favorite forms are the Crab, Soldier and Blaster. This boss really stood out to me as a kid, both as an icredibly cool and fun segment of the game, as a fuel for my increasing love of robots in general. Of course, the fight is only enhanced by the badass music that leads you in.
The same music, by the way, that plays during another amazing boss fight from that game: the Core Guard System. Much in the same vein as Seven Force, the Core Guard uses an even simpler building block element of spheres and builds cool bosses out of them. The first two, Unit of the Hammer and Unit of the Dragon, are pretty straightforward–long, snake-like creatures that move around the screen to eerily calm and reseved music. But then! Ah, then, after defeating those two, it gets deathly quiet, and that familiar “I’m about the get my ass kicked” music rolls in, as we see the Unit of the Runner make his way from the distant core in the background to directly-up-in-your-grille. I still get a rush when I see him approaching. And when I own a home, my security system will be exactly like that.
Gunstar Heroes: a credit to the Murderous Automaton cause! Death to the humans!
Michael Westgarth: Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker for the Sega Mega Drive is a somewhat peculiar title. Don’t get me wrong, moonwalking a 16-bit Michael Jackson to the beat of classic 16-bit renditions of classic MJ songs is awesome, but nab yourself a rarely occurring shooting star and you’re in for a real treat. Before your eyes the King of Pop will grow and transform into the mechanical King of Death. Armed with a multi-directional eye laser and tens of simultaneously firing, heat seeking missiles, he makes quick work of all that oppose him. In terms of mobility, he has rocket boosts coming out of his feet, his armpits and even his robo-behind. There is no escape. The pure surreality that comes from exploding hoards of zombies, humans and wild animals as a giant, Michael Jackson robot ensures the game’s place on this top ten list.
1. Virtual On
Flake: So you start playing Virtual On and off the bat you have two things to ponder: Is it weird that the robots look like Sega versions of old Gundam or Robotech designs? And what is up with these two joysticks? The game starts and you sit back, cold beverage in hand, ready to enjoy the long story line / cinematic opening explaining to you why you, as a giant robot with machines guns or missiles and big guns (possibly wearing pink armor and waving what looks like a wand) are about to battle when you realize that there is no opening! Without warning, you are beset upon by another robot. But it’s okay! The music is awesome and technoey and totally worth mentioning because, as you boost around and use your best attacks, you see a CD pop out of the back of your robot who may (or may not) be wearing pink armor and waving a wand! As you are rocking out, so is your robot!