Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Robot Wars Series 2 Episode 1 Recap

Returning for its second series is the metal-mashing, chrome-clashing, steel-smashing show that is Robot Wars.

Robot Wars is a show where teams build fighting robots to fight each other.  The first two battles consist of four robots fighting until two of them have become immobilised.  This is Robot Wars jargon for being too trashed to continue battling.  If there isn't a clear winner by the end of the bout, then the winners are decided by judges Lucy Rogers, Noel Sharkey and Sethu Vijaykumar.  From here the group winners face off in a one-on-one round robin system, where the two robots with most points, fight one last time to decide who goes through to the heat final.

To make things more interesting, there are also four house robots who patrol the Corner Patrol Zones (CPZs.) If any robot is foolish enough to enter these zones, the house robots are allowed to run amok.  The four house robots include Matilda, armed with flipping tusks and a lethal flywheel, Dead Metal, something akin to a scorpion with grabbing pincers and a vertical spinning disc, Shunt, who is armed with bulldozing scoops and a diamond-edged axe, and finally, there's the big daddy, Sir Killalot who has a huge pincer and lance.  If this wasn't enough, the arena is adorned with obstacles including a floor flipper and flame pits.  A new edition for this series is the pit release button.  Before, if a robot activated it, it would simply open the pit, but, now, there's a 50% chance that it'll allow the house robots to run rampant for ten seconds.

Other than this, the show is much the same as last series.  Dara O'Briain, Angela Scanlon and Jonathan Pearce have all returned to present and, again, this series consists of five heats and a grand final, making it in six episodes in total.  I was hoping it would be much longer, but I guess it's still early days.  Maybe it will be longer in later series.  That's enough talk.


Rapid Vs Jellyfish vs Nuts 2 vs Terrorhurtz

Four very different robots here.  Rapid was your classic wedge design with a flipper and also the highest pricetag of the competition at £25,000.  Jellyfish was a peculiar machine.  It was low to the ground and didn't have any welding in it and consisted of bike treads and God knows what else.  its weapon was a clamping arm.  Third were were Nuts 2 who competed in the last series with no real success.  They returned with a similar robot armed with a spinning flail.  Last up was Terrorhurtz who competed in the days of Craig Charles.  They were armed with a double-headed axe.

However, the most impressive robot in this heat was Rapid who flipped the other robots around the arena.  jellyfish's curious design made it difficult to get hold off, and its clamping arm was less than effective.  Although Nuts tried to utilise its flail, it had the misfortune of running into Matilda's flywheel: the force of which ejected it from the arena.  Soon after Jellyfish were immobilised sending Rapid and Terrorhurtz, despite the latter doing very little.

Sabretooth vs TMHWK vs Crank-E vs Aftershock

Sabretooth is another veteran of the wars, which also had the dubious honour of never aiming a fight.  To help change this, the team installed a flailing drum weapon.  The sabretooth robot was has been around since the beginning of the millennium, so you have to admire the team's tenacity.  TMHWK was a Duth robot armed with a Tomohawk axe.  Crank-E had a vertical spinner, as did Aftershock.  Aftershock was the reincarnation of S1 grand finalist, Shockwave, which had been a pushbot.

In a fight with three spinners, TMHWK never stood a chance.  Sabretooth tore into it, buckling its armour, preventing them from ever getting their axe into play.  Whilst TMHWK was being brutalised, Aftershock was punishing Crank-E.  Aftershock's flywheel spun at 3,500 RPM and it was vicious.  Crank-E was wrestled into submission leaving Aftershock and Sabretooth as the convincing winners.  It was quite sweet really; the Sabretooth team couldn't believe that they had won, as they were so accustomed to losing.

Sabretooth vs Terrorhurtz

This was an interesting fight.  Sabretooth's spinning drum was vicious and Terrorhurtz's axe wasn't on full power, so I thought that Sabretooth would easily win.  I was wrong.  Whilst Sabretooth did win.  Terrorhurtz did not make it easy.  Sabretooth ripped off pieces of their armour, but Terrorhurtz came back fighting.  Sabretooth's spinning drum broke down, leaving Terrorhurtz to start putting dents in it, leading it to start smoking.  However, this damage wasn't enough to stop them from losing the judge's decision.

Rapid Vs Aftershock

This was a fight of two halves.  Rapid started strongly, flipping Aftershock around the arena, and putting their untested self-righting mechanism to the test.  Just when it looked like Rapid had it won, Aftershock came storming back by hitting sweetspots and immobilising Rapid.

Sabretooth vs Aftershock

It was time for the two most powerful robots to face off against each other.  If you thought this fight would be evenly matched, you'd be wrong.  Sabretooth did not stand a chance against Aftershock.  Aftershock defanged Sabretooth, making it look like a scared kitten, as it ripped away its armour.  Aftershock were the convincing winners.

Rapid vs Terrorhurtz

Before this battle begun the drama had already started.  Rapid's damage was irreparable meaning that the robot worth 25k had to give up their place to the bizarre Jellyfish.

Jellyfish looked liked it was made out of lego and it was about as useful as lego.  Terrorhurtz easily took it out with one well-targeted axe blow.  Hitherto, Terrorhurtz had been seriously underperforming.  This is a robot who reached fourth place in S6 of the old Robot Wars and has gone onto win subsequent untelevised competitions.

Terrorhurtz Vs Aftershock

This was another great battle, which could have gone either way.  Aftershock went straight on the attack, but Terrorhurtz defended well, keeping their more sensitive areas, away from Aftershock's lethal disc.  Terrorhurtz were also able to draw Aftershock into the CPZ, where Shunt was able to attack Aftershock.  Aftershock was able to recover from this and reined down hell on Terrorhurtz, which in its panic, drove onto the floor flipper.  Eventually, Aftershock's spinning flywheel flicked Terrorhurtz over and it was unable to self-right, leaving it immobile.  Terrorhurtz had crashed out of the competition again..

Jellyfish Vs Sabretooth

The last fight before the heat final was between Jellyfish and Sabretooth and was a lot closer than you might think.  Jellyfish's bizarre design made it difficult for Sabretooth to get hold of it, and Jellyfish's clamping weapon actually worked, as it had Sabretooth stuck on it.  When Sabretooth wasn't getting Jellyfish sting, it was being flicked upwards by the force of its spinning drum.  The match ended with both robot immobile on one of the flame pits.  The match went to the judges who awarded it to Jellyfish, but this wasn't enough to go through to the heat final.  Despite losing this, Sabretooth was up against Aftershock for a place in the grand final.

Aftershock Vs Sabretooth

If you thought this would be a close-fought battle, I hate to say that it wasn't.  Aftershock was on top for most of it, buckling Sabretooth's armour and chasing it around the arena.  Sabretooth never recovered from this onslaught, as it was pressured into the CPZ, where it became the plaything of Killalot.  This damage was enough to immobilise them leaving them as worthy runners up to grand finalists Aftershock.

Whilst very much the same as series 1, the old formula is still working well.  I do still miss the long-format with semi and quarter finals though.

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