In last week’s Robot Wars heat, the head-to-head battles were either over with quickly, or went the distance because neither robot was quite offensive enough to finish the other off. This heat, however, proved even more entertaining – with one notable exception, but we’ll get to that.
The first melee saw a previous semi-finalist, the giant set of claws known as Tough As Nails, in with Disconstructor, Shockwave and Thor. Disconstructor had little time to show the capabilities of its disc before Shockwave sent it down the pit. In the ensuing tussle between Tough As Nails, Thor and Shockwave, it was unclear just who had the advantage – until the robots broke apart long enough to reveal that Tough As Nails was no longer mobile, which was a shame.
The second melee introduced another spinner, Mr Speed Squared. This robot made an ominous, shark-like approach on the two-wheeled Chimaera, before the inevitable impact took off one of Chimaera’s wheels. Mr Speed Squared also succeeded in immobilising Draven, while the fourth robot, Foxic, went through by virtue of just staying out of everybody’s way for the whole fight due to traction problems.
In the first fight of the round robin, however, Mr Speed Squared wasn’t nearly as impressive – with its spinning weapon barely operative, its nice flat top was an open invitation to the vicious axe of Thor. At one point, we witnessed another difference between the old series and the new: instead of being used to play with the corpses of immobile robots, the arena flipper now activates when anybody drives over it, which it proved by flinging Thor into the air! Being able to selfright, Thor still won the battle. Next came Shockwave vs Foxic, two similarly-designed four-wheeled robots with scoops – althrough Foxic’s front was lower, Shockwave was more mobile, with Foxic only managing to shove Dead Metal across the arena before Shockwave deposited it in the pit.
Preparing to face each other, the builders of both Thor and Shockwave took an inventive approach, Thor putting on strips to reduce ground clearance and Shockwave being fitted with a bucket scoop. The ensuing fight was the best of the series so far: both robots were fast and frantic in their attacks, but Thor delivered far more punishment, smashing Shockwave’s scoop to pieces and winning the judges’ decision. In contrast, the “fight” between Foxic and Mr Speed Squared was an insult, with both robots limping around the arena, usually in the opposite direction of their opponent, and hardly touching each other at all. Mr Speed Squared was declared the winner of quite possibly the worst fight in the entire history of Robot Wars.
Foxic and Mr Speed Squared needed to be reminded what Robot Wars is really about, and the much more impressive Thor and Shockwave were happy to oblige. Foxic finally managed to display some proper mobility against Thor, but that was not enough to stop Thor immobilising it, leading to the delightful image of Foxic roasting on the flame pit while being showered in sparks from Dead Metal’s saw. Mr Speed Squared still couldn’t get its weapon working against Shockwave, who pitted it.
Thor and Shockwave took their well-deserved places in the heat final – but this fight ended much quicker than their previous one. After a few hard rams, Thor appeared to lose drive, and Shockwave sent it into the pit, to unexpectedly join Carbide in the grand final!