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He was deemed a failure by Dr. Gero, who did not wish to awaken him as he was still "malfunctioning". After 17 killed the mad scientist, 18 woke 16 up out of curiosity. He surprised his fellow androids by being very single-minded, only wishing to fulfill his mission of killing Goku. Another of his personality traits is his closeness to nature, especially little animals, which he kindly lets climb on his shoulders.
He proved pivotal in defending 17 and 18 against Cell, but was eventually severely injured by the latter.
He reappeared for the Cell Games, having been repaired by Bulma Briefs, but failed to eliminate Cell due to Bulma's decision to remove his emergency self-destruction device. He was destroyed by Cell, which enabled Gohan to feel enough anger to finally fight with all his potential against the creature.