Friday, 2 September 2016

Robot Wars 2016 review, episode 6 (Final)

After 5 weeks of pure carnage and controversy, of audiences and announcers, of rising stars to fallen giants (ok, that was meant to rhyme, but if you pronounce the nt's as r's it works...), we are at the final of the revamped series of Robot Wars!! Now for my own text based commentary, one week late (because mainland Europe doesn't show the BBC).

The intro sequence, I'm fairly sure it's re-hashed from the previous intro sequences, with a bit of  extra voice over from Dara and Angela. Dara sums up the previous episodes nicely in one sentence! Although he misses out the spikes in summarising the perils of the arena.

So we have TR2, a thoroughly enjoyable robot to watch with the youngest driver. Carbide, probably the most popular! Apollo, with a very powerful flipper. Shockwave, who shocked us by beating Thor. And Shockwave, the controversial winner of the last episode after being beaten in the heats. Nonetheless, there is one spot left for the runners up. And the judges have gone for... Thor!  Good to see at least one former Robot Wars competitor. Now we see the format for the episode- group battles, followed by another set of head to heads.

Group battle 1: Pulsar, TR2 and Thor. Possibly the less destructive of the 2 group battles but could be tactically very interesting. TR2 seem a bit nervous about the fight. Thor has the experience but can it survive more flips and hits? Pulsar are possibly the weakest one in here, especially with their motor issues!

Judges get the first view of the night there just before the battle. Shropshire, Northampton and Gateshead, a distinctly midlands/northern battle we have here! Shhhhunt and Dead Metal, the brothers of brutality, take their positions in the arena. And off we go (with some odd gestures from the cockpit)!! A direct reference to the controversy fro Pulsar. Thor  moving round the most but currently no real damage being done, but Pulsar is already having problems with the motor. TR2 misses with the flipper! Second time lucky and Thor goes over! TR2 on top here, sending Thor to all sides of the arena.  Pulsar has been flipped and will be lucky to progress any further, but Thor is picking a fight with Shunt! Not a good idea... TR2 still not perfect on the flips but they constantly applying pressure onto Thor. Pulsar may have been counted out here, but not before causing some damage to Shunt's axe!!! TR2 very impressive overall, a slightly disappointing battle but TR2 demonstrating their credentials. Pulsar unlucky but I'm not sure what else they could do. Sounds like those flips Thor took have shifted bits inside it. Again those graphics aren't very clear. I can sort of tell that Pulsar is out...

Group battle 2: Carbide is worried about Apollo? They should be fine but they're not sure with Apollo in their heat. Apollo have a simple plan, but maybe they can just go for the house robots?? Shockwave maybe have a disadvantage in not having the most powerful weapon, but they have this worked out! They think they do anyway...

Again, Shunt is in, but now we have Sir Killalot. A challenge for Apollo? Will we have lift-off for the knight of the realm? And Carbide go for Shockwave! But Shockwave are able to get underneath Carbide and the power of Carbide's weapon TAKES OUT PART OF THE WALL!!! Typhoon 2-esque that is........ 2,500 rpm is less than Pussycat's circular saw but the momentum on that bar is so powerful, it's taken the wall clean out... meanwhile, the the camera just caught the moment Carbides hit Shockwave's side and hit the tyre and its protective cover, doing a ridiculous amount of damage, so much so that it would be almost impossible to repair in a day, never mind 2 hours!! Carbide, setting the "bar" (sorry) high there. Apollo did almost nothing  in the few seconds that fight happened. Turns out Professor-god Noel Sharkey likes his carnage the Typhoon 2 style.

Head to Head 1: Carbide v Thor. Some interesting modifications to try to counteract that incredible bar weapon, even adding his special axe. 

.... I'm sorry, I can't write and watch this match at the same time. This is incredible. Carbide just ripped Thor to shreds. Literally... That was MADNESS!!!! Every time Carbide hit Thor, whole bits came off Thor, even the defences added onto Thor came off fairly quickly. Can Thor be repaired in time??? That is so destructive, Thor may not be able to compete any more in this episode!

Head to Head 2: Apollo v TR2. Flipper v Flipper. I've vented my anger about flippers but these two have been the best flippers in this series and both of the teams are really enjoyable and have added a lot to the series. Who will fly? TR2 starts better,and  seems to have the better ground clearance, but once Apollo gets his mark, they almost send TR2 out of the arena! Instead, Dead Metal has some fun. But now, TR2 turns the tables and Apollo is forced to TRY TO FLIP DEAD METAL... but fail. Just!  This is very back and forth here. Neither has a clear advantage here, but they are both running out of power... but wait, TR2 is flipped on its backside and TR2 is struggling to self right!! It must have been counted out there. TR2 came so close here to finishing the fight... That was a great spectacle to watch! Great camaraderie between the teams, that could be one of the fights of the series.

Head to Head 3: Carbide v Apollo.

Jeeezz!! A massive hit on Carbide by Apollo. I think Apollo have a chance here.... but wait, they're not moving... oh no... they've taken too much damage in that ONE hit from Carbide! Carbide were flipped over but that was some hit, even only on half power. A cheap shot at the end from Carbide, but it looks like Apollo could still get to the final.

Head to Head 4: TR2 v Thor. Wow, Thor has been completely rebuilt! That's a fantastic job in under 2 hours. 

TR2 seems to have the measure of Thor here, forcing them around the arena. But that axe is a good schrimech. What a push and flip from TR2 to throw Thor at Dead Metal!! Nicely done. I really can't see Thor coming back from this. And now Matilda's tusk flip Thor! A rare piece of poor driving from Thor. You can actually hear the axe hitting TR2 at times. Thor seem to be getting back into this but they are hit by Matilda's flywheel!! That's a HUGE hit! Are they immobilised? No, Thor manages to restart itself. But it is taking flip after flip from TR2, the floor flipper and finally Matilda's tusks take Thor clean out the arena! Finally, nearly 20 years after her debut, those tusks show their potential. Well done TR2, a commendation from Professor Sethu! Surely the youngster from TR2 will do engineering at Uni? That is one fine robot he has there.

Head to Head 5: TR2 v Carbide. Surely Carbide don't need to do very much here? Can TR2 do any better. Some good insight from the dad of the team, maybe some good tactical advice. Oooof! TR2 take more hits than Apollo and are still moving, but Carbide and ripping that flipper apart! After Sir Killalot has a nip on TR2 they hit the pit release and Carbide have now lost power and the bar HAS STOPPED MOVING!! I am getting goosebumps, TR2 still have enough of a flipper to flip Carbide! The arena flipper gets Carbide. Shunt gets Carbide! The crowd is behind TR2 here! TR2 is struggling with its turning circle but Carbide is next to useless and without their bar their driving and control has been appalling! TR2 push Carbide into Shunt...and he has Carbide on its backside...but not long enough to not go to the judges. They almost certainly have at least 2 points, do TR2? That may well be the best match of the final, but how on earth did TR2 survive that incredible punishment? Angela sums it up nicely by starting with "Unbelieveable"! And she reveals that the 2 points go to TR2! If Apollo mess up, TR2 will have a rematch with Carbide. A good observation from Dr. Lucy Rogers showing how Carbide tried to use the floor flipper to overturn. Even Carbide took internal damage! Great underdog victory for TR2. At this point even I'm going for TR2!

Head to Head 6: Thor play for pride, Apollo for so much more. Hah, Zombie Thor... nice to see Dara getting support for Thor. A nice tribute from Apollo to Thor. Interesting that Dara and Angela are watching from the cockpit with TR2.

No mention of the house robots! However, the fight is very quick, with Thor being very quickly flipped around by Apollo, the back end came off and finally the floor flipper sends it onto its back. There isn't any power left in it and Apollo win with 3 points. After that slightly anti climatic match we now have....

Final: Carbide v Apollo. Arguably the most destructive robots (at least one of them has been the most entertaining). Carbide have the advantage, but how much damage has TR2 done to Carbide? I agree with Dara. This is reminiscent of my classic fight, Chaos 2 v . Hypno disc.

Ahh!! Carbide and Apollo hit front on. Anotehr HUGE hit, but this time, crucially, Apollo survive and something flies off the arena floor!! Carbide have the advantage, managing to knock plates off Apollo, but they're superficial, but not for very long!! Apollo manage to stop Carbide by getting behind it into the CPZ!  Carbide are in real trouble now!!! When they're flipped, the bar isn't working.... and Apollo has the advantage here, almost flipping Carbide out several times!! They eventually activate the pit, and Apollo start to run out of steam. Carbide manage to flip themselves over, but not before Shunt gets some hits in there. At the end Carbide are slowly eaten by Apollo's flipper while Shunt hit the armour with his axe. That's a close one... I think  Apollo have this but that damage may count against them. A special mention to the crowd, when they're their moment, you can almost feel their passion and enthusiasm for the fights! I've said before many of them are probably old enough to remember the old series, but now they aren't using stock footage of the crowds, it definitely adds something in the final.

The judges have to make the decision as it goes all the way... and it goes to.......

Apollo!! Much like Chaos 2, they overcome the incredible destructive power of their opponent by going flipping mental, being more aggressive and ultimately being the better robot (once it could withstand those hits). Congratulations. I would have preferred a Cassius v Panic Attack style finish with the underdog winning by beating the flipper bot, but one could argue Apollo was technically the underdog ther for losing in the head to head. I guess I'm just bitter about flippers, although Apollo is a deserving champion. Especially one that can take on anyone, even the house robots!!

So next year, we have to see even more powerful (and more reliable) weapons to take on those flippers! A flipper as champion will give them the glory but Carbide did well until those last 2 fights to show that destructive weaponry is definitely a viable alternative. Here's to next series!!