Despite being distracted by the Olympics again, I caught most of the heat, which was good as this was undoubtedly the best heat yet in this new series.
The first melee saw flipping wedge Apollo, pincer-wielding Kan Opener, 45 kilogram box Sweeney Todd, and PP3D, a two-wheeled robot with a disc positioned low to the ground below the body. This disc seemed to be doing damage to the underside of Apollo, but then PP3D was flipped, and its disc – now higher and at an angle – seemed to make it unstable, repeatedly striking the arena floor. It didn’t matter in the end, however: Kan Opener became immobile, and Sweeney Todd – which, like too many robots in the opening melees, had done absolutely nothing – also died.
Storm 2, the Series 7 runner up, returned in the second melee, alongside Eruption, Sabretooth and Terror Turtle. It was Eruption who did the eliminating in this tussle: Sabretooth was flipped and had unwisely not installed a self-righting mechanism (a must for this day and age), while the ineffectual Terror Turtle was thrown out of the arena. Unlike in the previous heats, it was definitely the four most impressive robots who were through to the next round.
Apollo and PP3D met each other again in the first head-to-head; but this time, without any other robots to distract it, Apollo did a better job of keeping its front to PP3D’s disc, allowing it to minimise damage and get in some flips. One throw caused a wheel to fall of PP3D, and another basically imploded it. Following that, Storm 2 put its low wedge to good use against Eruption, but the other robot proved slippery and repeatedly escaped from Storm 2’s shoves: still, despite sustaining a few flips late on, Storm 2 was dominant for the majority of the fight and won the decision.
Storm 2 then had to face another flipper in the form of Apollo, who proved more capable of getting round to Storm 2’s vulnerable sides and sending it flying. More notably, however, Apollo finally brought back the much-loved tradition of attacking the House Robots, as it flipped first Dead Metal, then Matilda! And in-between, it flipped Storm 2 enough times to win the judges’ decision. The following fight between Eruption and PP3D consisted of a few hard blows which sent both robots spinning away from each other; the last of these sent pieces flying off Eruption and caused me to cry out “OH!” Unfortunately, this caused both robots to become immobilised on one side: all they could do was spin in circles, not quite dead but unable to touch each other, and so the rest of the fight played out like Ricon vs Abbatoir (start at 49:22 of this video for the ultimate low in robot combat). PP3D – the very definition of a glass cannon – won the judges decision on damage.
Surprisingly, Eruption managed to flip and immobilise Apollo in its final fight – not that it really mattered: Apollo already had enough points to go through, and Eruption didn’t have enough. The battle between Storm 2 and PP3D would determine who joined Apollo in the heat final. Storm 2 repeatedly rammed PP3D with its sturdy wedge, causing PP3D to hop into the air each time, while Storm 2 became progressively more dented with each collision. Eventually, PP3D was struggling to move properly again, unfortunately right on top of the pit – all Storm 2 had to do was tap the release, and down went PP3D.
The heat final between Apollo and Storm 2 played out much the same as their previous fight: Storm 2 managed to get in a few tentative pushes, but Apollo got round to its side and threw it through the air once more – also taking time to flip Shunt onto his back! Finally, Apollo sent Storm 2 out of the arena, ensuring its own return for the grand final – and who doesn’t want to see more of a House Robot killer?