Having finally gotten over the fact Foxic didn’t make it past the first round of battles- though I still want that onesie- we now move into the section of split opinion, the Head to Heads. This is a section that has really split opinion, with some people liking the balancing nature of having to face everyone else, but others believing it either doesn’t allow you to go full out in fear of too much damage being caused, OR too much damage actually being caused and the robot being un-repairable, a la Rapid. I like it because it gives us more battles to enjoy, and some dramatic shots of people frantically trying to put their robot back together. But I can see the other side of the argument too.
But anyway, the head to heads are still a thing and will continue to be a thing, for this series at the very least. We have four robots ready to battle it out in the form of Heavy Metal, Concussion, Thor and M.R Speed Squared. A drum spinner, a full body spinner, an axe and whatever Heavy Metal is supposed to be. Lots of potential for destruction, for upsets, and for all the rubber pieces on the wheels of Heavy Metal to fall off, which is exactly what they do (spoilers).
Head to Head 1: Thor v Concussion
The two winning robots from melee 1 come back to fight each other in the first of the head to heads. Neither got out of the battle unscathed, and both have had to do a series of repairs in order for them both to actually be in the fight. Concussion have to replace an entire motor, whilst Thor are having problems with one of the wires in the axe mechanism. But there’s still a fight to be had, and a fight there shall be.
In the arena for the house robot we have a scrapyard hedgehog and a mutant dinosaur. I am of course talking about Dead Metal and Matilda. It’s time to get the head to heads underway!
Both robots start things off with a head on collision that does nobody any favours; Concussion’s drum hasn’t got up to speed and Thor’s attempt to land a blow with the axe misses completely. Thor then decides to branch off and go the Foxic route of hitting the pit release mechanism. But this time the dial swings to the right, and we get rogue house robots! Both Concussion and Thor start to run away, but Dead Metal is out and on the prowl. They catch hold of Concussion, putting a nice dent into the armour before finally letting them go.
Concussion take their time in the corner to start moving properly again, but once they do, they’re back on the hunt for Thor. The two robots bump into each other a few times, but eventually it’s Concussion that get the upper hand, landing a few blows on Thor’s edgier parts of the robot. It doesn’t look like too much damage is caused, until suddenly Thor starts venting CO2. Now that could definitely pose a problem.
Concussion and Thor keep going at it though, trading paint as they bump and barge. Thor has stopped using the axe, perhaps unsurprisingly given the current situation, and are more relying on attrition. They also end up relying on Concussion to drive over the pit, which as we all know doesn’t sit quite flush to the arena floor. So now Concussion, because of their low ground clearance, are completely trapped. Thor sees this as an opportunity to join in the mix, and we end up with a weird amalgamation of robot on robot because neither of them can get out.
Thor eventually gets out and senses an opportunity to press the pit release button, but once again the rogue house robots appear. This time its Matilda, who tries to go for Concussion, but when she gets onto the pit, it sinks even further. I’m not even joking. The pit is sinking. Thor comes over and starts beating Matilda up with the axe, until Dead Metal comes across and frees everyone EXCEPT Concussion, who are still trapped there. They’re now pretty much going in circles, and Thor can smell victory. Thor goes over to try and finish Concussion off, but accidentally manoeuvres into the drum and flips over on contact! And with not enough gas pressure, Thor can’t self right! What a turn up this is, and Concussion, despite still being trapped, get the 3 points! Cue much celebration in the booth.
Head to Head 2: M.R Speed Squared v Heavy Metal
Here are two more robots with problems to fix. M.R Speed squared are living up to last year’s performance and the robot has now stopped spinning properly after their flight through the air in the melee, whilst Heavy Metal have to contend with a buckled wheel and a rotating arm that isn’t rotating properly. I’m also inconvenienced by the fact iPlayer has stopped playing sound, which is annoying but probably minor compared to their problems.
Your house robots for this battle are Shunt and Sir Killalot, refreshing the line-up once again. Let’s do this!
M.R Speed Squared start the battle by getting their now working spinner up to speed, but Heavy Metal don’t want to wait that long, and charge in for an attack, which sends M.R Speed Squared flying whilst simultaneously knocking the spinning disc out of commission in 3 seconds flat. Nice start.
Heavy Metal continues underneath MRS^2, pushing them around the arena with ease until guess what? They hit the lip of the pit again! EVERY DAMN TIME. They have massive wheels so it’s easy enough for them to reverse out of there, but it ruined a beautiful attacking move. It doesn’t deter Heavy Metal, who are dominating a hapless MRS^2. They push them hard into the arena side wall, turning them over, before taking them back and, once again, running into that bloody pit.
Something that’s not unimportant is happening to Heavy metal, and that’s the loss of their little rubber studs from the wheel. With each one that’s lost, they lose more and more grip, and potentially unbalance the wheel angle to the floor. It doesn’t matter here because they’re facing a weaponless opponent who can do nothing, but for the future. Anyway, Heavy Metal decides they’ve had enough of regular fighting, time to hit the pit release. And this time, finally, the pit descends.
Heavy Metal seems to shift up yet another gear now, taking MRS^2 to new places, such as the floor flipper, which flips them back over, and Shunt’s CPZ. Now M.R Speed Squared has a poor record against axes and, sure enough, Shunt’s axe goes straight through.
MRS^2 runs away, and very almost runs into the open pit. They play a bit of cat and mouse with Heavy Metal in that area, but the cat catches up and with nowhere else to go, Heavy Metal forces M.R Speed Squared down into the pit. Sure, they go down too, but that doesn’t matter. 3 points to Heavy Metal!
Head to Head 3: Heavy Metal v Concussion
Before this head to head starts, we get our usual segment with one of the judges, this time head honcho Noel Sharkey. As I watch this I still have no sound, so I can’t tell you exactly what they’re talking about, but just know it’s basically about the role autonomous robots can have in doing things for us one way or another. I can’t remember.
Back to something I can remember, and that’s our 3rd head to head of the episode between Heavy Metal and Concussion, our 2 winners so far. Only one can keep up that record though, and whoever does will put themselves in a perfect position for the heat final. Concussion are still having lots of problems with their robot, one of which I’m fairly sure involved a speed controller. Either way, they only just managed to make it out in time to battle. Close one.
Your house robots for this fight are Dead Metal and Matilda. I sincerely hope Matilda doesn’t sit on the pit this time. To business!
Heavy Metal start the fight by trying to give Concussion the run-around, but Concussion aren’t going to take that lying down and chase back at them, eventually leading to a head on collision. This time Heavy Metal can’t get underneath as they did with M.R Speed Squared, and instead end up butting the drum. One head butt is so hard that Heavy Metal actually swings back over on its wheels, which is a first.
Concussion doesn’t let up, battering Heavy Metal into the arena side wall where they are vulnerable. They then step back, line themselves up, and take a pot shot at one of Heavy Metal’s highly exposed wheels, tearing it clean off and sending it flying out of the arena!
I mean there’s not an awful lot Heavy Metal can do now, given that they have one working wheel and basically no weapon. They’re soon counted out, and Concussion go home with the 3 points.
Head to Head 4: Thor v M.R Speed Squared
On the other side of the void, we have two robots that have zero points and are looking at an early exit if they go out. It would be a shock to lose Thor this early, but probably not quite such a shock to see M.R Speed Squared go given all their problems. Sorry guys. But hey, their problems at least enable us to get a much needed shot of someone beating something up with a hammer, which we were deprived of last week by Shane Swan’s Push To Exit not getting past the melees.
It’s a rematch of the fight last year that ended with Thor putting the mighty axe through M.R Speed Squared’s body armour. Is history about to repeat itself? Your house robots are Sir Killalot and Dead Metal. All systems are green, the battle is underway!
True to form, M.R Speed Squared instantly manages to break something, namely the disc, and so is basically weaponless two seconds in. To make matters worse, Thor is on a rampage, and goes in on the attack instantly, landing a heavy blow with the axe that puts a nice dent/black hole in the armour of MRS^2.
The battering continues as Thor pushes M.R Speed Squared into the arena side wall, an act that gets them stuck on top of Thor. But Thor calmly fires the axe in a violent motion to shake them off and leave them on the ground, unmoving. Yes, it would see that M.R Speed Squared are already dead. Killalot takes a cursory nibble at the carcass of what was once a functioning robot, but apparently doesn’t fancy them too much because cease is called soon after. It was a rather short fight, but then this just goes to show exactly what Thor can be capable of. Total domination.
So, 4 fights down in the head to heads and just 2 to go. Concussion are through, M.R Speed Squared are out. There’s going to be another crunch battle, this tie between Thor and Heavy Metal to see who takes the final heat final place alongside Concussion. But that’s for tomorrow’s post. Until then…