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Sports

Rating the Robot Wars Combatants – Episode 1

​Following the opening episode of the new series of Robot Wars, we've ranked the competing robots on their sporting prowess and team personnel.
July 26, 2016, 6:37pm
All images via BBC

Following the opening episode of the new series of Robot Wars, we've rated the competing robots on their sporting prowess and team personnel. Due to a complete lack of engineering knowledge, we definitely haven't examined the technical side of the show (if you want tech you should read Motherboard).

CARBIDE

One serious fighting bastard of a robot, this. You could compare it with the kind of bloke who goes down the pub and stays stone-cold sober all evening so that he can effectively kick the shit out of drunks at closing time, or you could compare with a Russian football fan at Euro 2016. Either way, it means business.

After a smooth qualifying round Carbide suffered technical gremlins ahead of its opening round-robin match, which played a part in its defeat to Terrorhurtz. But, with those problems solved, it swept all before it thanks to a horizontal bar spinner that could legitimately take both your legs off and fling them too far for the dog to ever find them.

READ MORE: Robot Wars is Back – Here's Why You Should Be Really Excited

Despite this air of sheer violence, there's something very Scooby-Doo about their team – the very normally named and looking Dave Moulds, Sam Smith, and Sheryl Prior – albeit with considerably greater technical expertise and the notable absence of an oversized dog. Suffice to say, introducing a Great Dane to the Robot Wars pits would be a horrible idea, and entirely against the spirit of the show.

Well gang, looks like we've got ourselves another mystery.

Carbide deservedly emerged as winner of episode one, sending them through to the Grand Final (or "episode six" as it's also known). They must be considered strong contenders for the ultimate prize, too.

BEHEMOTH

A returnee from past series, Behemoth can trace its lineage all the way back to series two, making it the robot equivalent of the monarchy, but with much less royal inbreeding. No obvious changes have been made since its last appearance on TV, but that's not a bad thing. Behemoth remains an effective fighting robot thanks to its powerful flipper, which also allows it to self-right (once a technical innovation comparable to space travel and the Tamagotchi).

After showing strongly early on, Behemoth eventually came unstuck when Carbide's horizontal bar spinner mega-fucked its flipper (technical jargon) and left it limping around like a lame horse.

Despite this setback it progressed to the heat final, but technical problems saw it stuttering about the area before eventually reversing into the pit and out of contention. A solid effort from an old favourite, nevertheless.

TERRORHURTZ

The underlying madness of Robot Wars was summed up by this lot. Team captain John Reid hid his white-hot competitive streak behind a friendly smile and a beard, which was also white but not especially hot. He looked like a nice neighbour who you might see tinkering in his garage most weekends, but while you'd expect him to be doing up an old AC Cobra he'd actually be building a monster that could disembowel an adult human.

READ MORE: Could Robot Wars Become the Acceptable Face of Bloodsports?

Terrorhurtz was a strong ol' bastard, but its weapon – a double-headed axe – didn't quite cut the mustard. In fact, at times it couldn't cut a thing, which contributed to its round-robin defeat to Behemoth. That led to a massive dose of passive aggression from Reid, who chastised his largely silent teammate James Lynch for the fact they hadn't tested the weapon pre-war. For fuck's sake, Lynch.

"We'll talk about it in the car, James."

But Reid is, at heart, just a man who bloody loves robots. He was seen helping the Carbide crew fix their technical problem, with Dave Moulds then mentioning that he used to be on Reid's team. With this revelation, it rapidly became clear that, while Robot Wars has been off air for more than a decade, these people have still been battling in equally competitive but non-televised competitions. They probably go at it in pub car parks under cover of darkness, too.

Terrorhurtz eventually finished third in the round-robin table, level on points with Behemoth but behind by dint of their head-to-head record. Back to your garage and your tinkering and your dreams of inflicting pain, Reidy.

NUTS

Everyone on the Nuts team undeniably looked ridiculous, what with their hats and their waistcoats and their general demeanour that had you involuntarily shouting "neeeeerrrdddd" at the TV every time they spoke. But, while their robot had a similar vibe, it was actually half decent. Sure, they enjoyed some luck in the qualifying round when the much-fancied Razer drove into the pit, but Nuts did have a sort of idiot invulnerability. With its mad flailing chain and utterly superfluous sacrificial mini-bots, it was almost too stupid to understand the concept of harm – and thus immune to it.

READ MORE: We Spoke to the Godfather of Robot Wars, Professor Noel Sharkey

That was until Carbide smashed it to tiny pieces, resulting in the most comprehensive win of the night. Still, Nuts took both Behemoth and Terrorhurtz to a judges' decision, which is no small achievement. And, actually, isn't someone who writes or reads a Robot Wars review a gigantic nerd themselves? Nerds are the best.

Yeah mate it's ruined.

RAZER

Razer is genuine Robot Wars royalty, winner of the Fifth Wars and runner-up in the Sixth. As such, it was nice to see them back for the new series, and a huge let down when they drove into the pit – and out off contention – in the qualifying round. There was always something ominous about their determination to push Kill-E-Crank-E into that hole, something doomed and fated. They wanted the perfect kill – and it cost them dear.

Razer and Kill-E-Crank-E nestle into the pit

Razer could have fared well in the round-robin, but we will never know. Ultimately, it had the skills but couldn't perform on the big stage. It is the England football team of Robot Wars.

KILL-E-CRANK-E

Like the Krankies, who it was definitely not named after, Kill-E-Crank-E looked totally weird and wholly unlikely to succeed. Perhaps their strongest weapon was the presence of two children on their team, handing them a significant sympathy vote.

But in truth all Robot Wars competitors are overgrown children; six-foot-tall 11-year-olds equipped with immense technical expertise, but largely undeveloped in concepts such as compassion and not hurting the young. And so it was that Kill-E-Crank-E was mercilessly dispatched by Razer. They did manage to pull the former champions in with them, however, teaching the kids on their team a valuable lesson: if you're being dragged mercilessly to your death, be sure to pull someone else down with you.

Dara enjoys a chuckle at the futility of it all

BONK

Probably the most difficult robot to recall from Episode 1, insomuch as it looked like a less advanced version of the others and was quickly dispatched by its rivals. Bonk faced the unenviable challenge of both Carbide and Behemoth in the qualifying round, and a combination of these titans left it with little chance of progress. Behemoth flipped Bonk over, before Carbide stormed in and hammered out any remaining life with their spinner. It's tough out there.

Define "confidence" for me.

THE GENERAL

A nice pair of lads and their nice dad from West Wales, which is a nice place, but ultimately this was not a good robot. Maybe it would have been in the late nineties, but not now in 2016, when our celebrities are all dying and the political landscape looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. No, 2016 requires one mean muthafucka of a robot, one that will rip your limbs off with zero compassion and then force-feed them to you. It requires a robot like Carbide, whose bar spinner ripped one of The General's wheels clean off and left it to burn on the flame pit. This is 2016, The General is our hopes and dreams, and Carbide is the merciless assault of reality. Ouch.

The Welsh are here, and obviously they've brought a flag.