When we left off, we’d just gone through the first initial melees. With those completed, we now know that Terrorhurtz, Sabretooth, Aftershock and Rapid are into the next round, the round robin tournament in which everybody faces everybody else once, with 3 points given to the winning robot if they are victorious by knockout, and 2 if they win via a judges’ decision. If you lose, well you get nothing, and you’re probably going back to the pits with several pieces missing, such is the nature of Robot Wars.
Head to Head 1: Sabretooth v Terrorhurtz
Sabretooth waited so long to actually get a televised win that it didn’t really register with them that they’d actually achieved it when Angela went up into the control booth to tell them. But they are through, and facing one of the most terrifying axes in Robot Wars- Terrorhurtz. At least, it’s terrifying if it works, and right now it isn’t working to full capacity. So there’s that problem to deal with, mainly by coating the entire system in lube and hoping for the best. Sabretooth on the other hand are trying to raise their ground clearance slightly, so that the robot doesn’t catch on the arena floor, and they can use their 7000rpm spinning drum for maximum effect.
Dead Metal is in the arena for the first time this episode! Also there is Shunt, now we’re up to the two house robots in a battle format. It’s a dastardly duo of destruction to join the competitors. But the stage is set, let’s get the 1v1 battles underway!
Terrorhurtz are fastest to get away, and they go straight for Sabretooth, slamming into them before the drum can get up to speed. It seems to work, and Terrorhurtz are all over Sabretooth, pushing them around and into the arena side wall. When Sabretooth finally manage to spin themselves around and try and attack with the drum, it merely bounces off the front armour plate of Terrorhurtz, and allows the axebot to make their first swing, hitting Sabretooth square on the top of their robot. Another hit catches the edge of the robot. But Sabretooth escape, and with their agile little robot they squirm round to the rear, unarmoured part of Terrorhurtz. KABAM! With one hit, Sabretooth tear the entire tail section out from Terrorhurtz, practically eviscerating it.
And Sabretooth don’t stop there, launching follow up attacks that send Terrorhurtz barrel rolling through the air. With the entire rear end now completely defenceless, it’s an easy target for Sabretooth to tear through, causing extreme amounts of damage before Terrorhurtz finally runs away. “Very bad” John Reid shouts from the control booth and he get Terrorhurtz out of there. No shit.
Terrorhurtz are now pretty much on the run, like robotic outlaws. You can see how much the tail end meant to that robot, because right now every time it moves forward, it tries to rear up like it’s doing a wheelie, something that the tail would have stopped before. It’s not long before Sabretooth come back in for another hit, sending Terrorhurtz spiralling once again.
Terrorhurtz now have more problems to compound them, namely the fact that one of their wheels aren’t moving freely, and now all they can do is go in circles around Sabretooth, who are still trying to get in there and cause more damage. Terrorhurtz desperately try to use the axe to claw their way back into the fight, but the shots miss. There is looking less and less chance that THz can do anything to claim victory, bar Sabretooth spontaneously combusting. But that doesn’t mean Sabretooth are cruising, not when you look at the massive chunk taken out of their drum spinner.
Sabretooth now, in all their wisdom, can see that Terrorhurtz aren’t moving, and decide to go for the pit release button. But of course, this year the pit release doesn’t just release the pit, and this time around we get to see the rogue house robots! Shunt is the lucky robot chosen here, and he goes straight in for Terrorhurtz. The axe crashes down, puncturing something in the middle of the Terrorhurtz structure. Not that it matters seeing as THz are pretty much finished anyway. The clock counts down, and Terrorhurtz are immobile! 3 points go to Sabretooth, and the battle rages on.
Head to Head 2: Rapid v Aftershock
Now onto the other two competitors we have here; Rapid and Aftershock. Rapid looked good in their first fight, taking aim mainly at Jellyfish and causing them all kinds of problems, whilst Aftershock pretty much tore apart Crank-E in their initial melee, showing the immense power of the vertical spinning disc. Rapid have a few problems to sort out first, namely trying to realign their front forks that allow them to get underneath other robots, which is kinda crucial for a flipper. Aftershock on the other hand are so powerful that they burnt out some of their wiring. So that needs fixing too.
But with everything fixed and ready to go, we’re ready to head out into the arena. And for this your house robots are Shunt (Who refuses to leave), and for the first time this series, Sir Killalot. Let’s begin!
Both robots go right for each other’s proverbial throats straight away, but Rapid’s repairs to their front forks have worked, and they manage to get in underneath Aftershock, before pushing them across the arena and flipping them into the air. Now we didn’t know if Aftershock would have any way of being able to self right, but as it turns out, the sheer power of the flywheel hitting the floor is enough in itself to get Aftershock back on its wheels.
Now I mentioned this before, but one of Rapid’s problems is the fact that the flipper doesn’t close particularly quickly after its been fired. And with Aftershock back with us, the now sticking out flipper is an easy target to attack, bend and buckle. Rapid try to get out of there, but not quickly enough. And Aftershock aren’t going to let up, landing the little blows that keep Rapid skittering across the arena and eventually into Sir Killalot. After a brief tangle, Aftershock lands the hit that matters, the one that turns Rapid over itself. Rapid tries to flip itself back over, but the flipper is so powerful that it somersaults and lands still upside down.
And that’s it, really. Aftershock power down the weapon, though I’m not sure that was entirely voluntary or if they blew yet more motors (I’m going with the latter). But Rapid are beached, unable to right themselves and completely out of it. 3 points are going the way of Aftershock, that’s for sure.
Head to Head 3: Sabretooth v Aftershock
When we left Sabretooth, they were in quite a bit of trouble. Namely, they had a massive chunk taken out of their spinning drum, and it had consequently stopped working. So to get it working again, they’ve had to basically bolt on the other piece and hope for the best. Hope is not something that comes to mind when facing Aftershock, however.
Before that, we have the little filler bit where Dara and Angela go and visit Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, and a robotic connect 4 machine. What proceeds is Angela having her arse kicked by a robot that can think for itself and adapt to situations. Basically, Robot > Human when it comes to Connect 4.
But back to the battle. Both Sabretooth and Aftershock have wins in the first fight under their belts. But somebody is going to have to lose, and the winner is going to be in pole position to take a place in the top 2. It’s battle of the spinners- Aftershock’s vertical flywheel or Sabretooth’s horizontal drum? Only one way to find out, and that’s going back into the arena! Your house robots for this fight are Shunt and Sir Killalot. So creative. Off we go!
Aftershock look menacing as they come up to Sabretooth, who are somewhat hesitant about going head on at their opponents. Aftershock has no such worries, and go for it. As Sabretooth try to get around Aftershock, they connect with the large vertical spinner, which tears a piece off the robot. Aftershock tries to follow up, but Sabretooth manage to just about get away.
Except, they manage to get away for about 2 seconds before Aftershock is right back on them again, tearing into them piece by piece with the flywheel. It’s like a game of dodgems, except Sabretooth are the ones being barged around everywhere. Eventually they get hit onto the floor flipper, which tosses them over onto their back. Now I thought Sabretooth might be invertible, but apparently not. And that just leaves them open targets for another Aftershock attack. And another one. It’s consistent aggression that won’t let up, and Sabretooth pay in the end by losing their top panel from the robot- well, it’s hanging off at least.
Sabretooth decide that they’ve got nothing to lose- which is true- and hit the pit release mechanism. This time, the pit does descend. But now Sabretooth have trapped themselves in the corner and Aftershock are ready to unleash their wrath. What happens next is the most explosive and utterly destructive attack Robot Wars has seen since the reboot. Sabretooth are dead, but Aftershock just keep coming. Attack after attack after attack. By the time it’s finished, there’s barely anything left of Sabretooth to salvage.
Aftershock haven’t just beaten Sabretooth here, they’ve humiliated them.
Head to Head 4: Terrorhurtz v Jellyfish
Now if proceedings were normal, then our next fight would be Rapid taking on Terrorhurtz. Except, Rapid got their arse kicked so hard by Aftershock, they can’t actually fix the robot in time. It’s also a consequence of Rapid having over engineered their robot to the point where they can’t reach the part they need to fix without dismantling everything. So we need a new robot to take its place. But who? Well if you cast your mind back to the melee that Rapid was a part of, who came 3rd? Jellyfish. Yes, the giant wobbly mass of white plastic that is Jellyfish is making a triumphant return! But how will they get on against the might of Terrorhurtz? Will Terrorhurtz have even rebuilt themselves? (The answer to that is yes).
With both robots ready, it’s almost time to begin. Your house robots are Matilda and Dead Metal, because the obvious lack of spinning weapons in the arena needed to be addressed. It’s the last place shootout, let’s get it underway!
Both robots go straight for each other, crashing into one another in a plastic/metal mashup, that bounces and bends. Terrorhurtz manage to land a hit with the axe, so that’s definitely still working. Jellyfish wobble their way away from the action, but the robot can only go so fast, and Terrorhurtz are right with them, eventually pushing them back so far that Jellyfish crash into the arena side wall.
That blow seems to have done something to Jellyfish, who have stopped moving. They’re now a rather large, open target for Terrorhurtz, who try one more cursory attack. But Jellyfish are going nowhere. It’s a rather short battle and a disappointing one for the bloop machine, but it is what it is, and Terrorhurtz now have 3 points to move them off the bottom.
So now things are nicely set up. Aftershock are looking good on a maximum 6 points, but aren’t guaranteed anything just yet. Theoretically any of Sabretooth, Terrorhurtz or Jellyfish could still qualify. Yes, Jellyfish- If Aftershock beat Terrorhurtz and Jellyfish beat Sabretooth (Or what’s left of it) by knockout, then THz, Sabretooth and Jellyfish will all be on 3 points, having each beaten one of the others but not both. Now that would be interesting. But does it happen? That’s for the final part of this opening day recap, which I’ll have for you tomorrow.