Robot Wars Series 10 – Grand Final Preview

So once again we find ourselves at the end of another war. I know folks, I hear your disappointment and I feel your pain. Alas though let us look back on the exceptionally high standard that this series has created for Robot Wars, if they carry on this trend the future looks bright. And whats more, we’re not quite done yet, so welcome one and all to my preview for the 10th wars Grand Final.

So as we know, Behemoth, Carbide, Rapid, Nuts and Magnetar will definitely be at this stage of the competition, but as is the way modern day Robot Wars works, we need a wildcard robot to determine who will be the 6th competing machine. Now in the last 2 series this has been decided by a simple judges decision and both times I think they got it right. But after series 9 I saw a few comments online about having the heat runners up fight in a melee to decide who gets that final spot, great idea I thought. But then the BBC put that idea on steroids and introduced a heat play off so we now end up with 10 robots in the arena together, no time limit, last man standing. To say I am excited for this is more than an understatement. In fact if Im being honest, I think Im more excited for the 10 way than the actual final.

I was going to do a separate piece for predictions for the 10 way but to be fair I have no idea what to expect, how to predict it and more importantly who will win. So I’ll give a little bit of background below before kicking into my predictions for the final itself. I’ll only be predicting the finishing places of the 5 robots we know are definitely in this final. One because its hard enough to say who will be the wildcard anyway and 2, whoever does get through that 10 way wont get through to the final 4 for me. As ever a huge thank you to everyone who read my Heat 5 preview and of course every other preview I’ve done this series, It really means a lot. And also as ever the 5 heat winners have all got a bigger font size as a reward for winning their heats. You’re very welcome all of you.

 

The 10 way Melee

So I’ll start like this then for the 10 way melee; who will win and become the sixth machine in the grand final? To be honest I think the winner of this fight should receive something, its one thing to come out of 5 rounds of an annihilator never mind win one fight in a group of 10. Maybe winning this fight will actually be harder than winning the title! Just to clarify the competing machines are Sabretooth, Apollo, Eruption, Big Nipper, Terrorhurtz, Track-tion, Iron Awe 6, Concussion, Expulsion & Thor. What a line up of teams that is and each one of them has something to show in this fight. Some of my favourite ever robots are in this battle such as Apollo, Thor, Terrorhurtz, Eruption and Sabretooth, I really appreciate what Big Nipper and Iron Awe have done for robotic combat in the last 15 years or so, the improvements to Concussion mark them down as a serious contender here and then theres Expulsion & Track-tion flying the flags for the school teams and what an experience this will be for them. Every single one of them is well in contention for this and the experience will be next to none.

So a winner? I can throw in some favourites? Lets see, Apollo, Eruption or Thor. Thats how I see this going. But who’s truly going to win?

I haven’t got a clue. Seriously, non whatsoever, it could be any of them. Who can predict how this fight will even go? I’d say at least one will end up out of the arena, one will be in 2 or more parts, and at least 3 will end up in the pit with one of them having driven down there themselves. And maybe a giant chicken will jump in the arena with John Cena and start kicking the crap out of everyone with 3 plastic swords and a unicorn hide. Who knows? I do know one thing though…… Its going to be sensational.

 

Behemoth

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I think its only right that I start this off with Behemoth, that robot has been around almost as long as I have. We’re quite similar as well; I haven’t had much luck, not won many fights and thrown a few wobblys myself in the warzone (the robot people, not the team…). Nevertheless Behemoth succeeded this time in making it out of the heat and in doing so gave us, I think, the best fight in Robot Wars since Chaos 2/Wild Thing in series 5. That fight against Apollo had everything for me and at such a fast tempo but we were still able to keep up with what was happening. Great stuff.

Behemoth has always been a good machine, well built and designed and has evolved over the years to become what it is today and the fact it is still able to make a final needs to be applauded. But what of its chances in this final? Well it will still cause problems and be one for the old school fans and certainly put up a good show. I can’t really see Behemoth winning, but they should be top 4. A reunion with either Carbide or Nuts is on the cards and those fights might no go the way they did last time either. Its such a tough final to predict and to be fair for all of the spoilers BBC have shown in their little highlight sequences at the start and end of every show, there is nothing for the final which I am very pleased about, but currently I have no idea what the starting 3 way fights are. Either way Behemoth can flip, push, and create problems for any robot on their day but whatever the outcome, its great to see them performing at this level.

Heat Prediction – 2nd

Final Prediction – 4th

 

Nuts 2

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Lets not beat around the bush here; Nuts are the underdogs going into this final but once again are very worthy of their place. The machine is a weapon in itself put beautifully into motion in order the smash into opponents and render them immobile. The disembowelment of Androne was a wonderful sight, it was like Nuts slit its throat and all the gory innards were exposed. Lovely. They smashed out Concussion’s wheel in the first fight and caused problems for them, and yes whilst Concussion sort of caused their own downfall in that heat final, they couldn’t get hold of Nuts or get anywhere near the body for that matter, a bit like how Gabriel works. Nuts has always been a good robot and another one of those to have evolved. I just wish it would have worked properly in series 9, how that could have been different.

And so they find themselves in a grand final and whilst we’ve sort of grown to know Nuts as a ‘joke’ robot, I hear a lot of admiration from other roboteers about how technically brilliant the robot is. The meltybrain technology inside is not only fantastically named but is the brain child of Rory from the team. I really like that and makes Nuts achievements more impressive for me. Imagine creating a new piece of tech and having it work to this level. Yes it took a bit of trial and error to get to this point but its still testament to the team. Chances in the final? They’ll be there or there about and it will be interesting how its gets on with a flipper. I love this robot but it might get found out more in this final. Either way how good is it to see them at this point? And I predicted them to win the heat too so I’ve done my bit.

Heat Prediction – 1st

Final Prediction – 5th

 

Rapid

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So by this point we’ve established who my top 3 are, and Rapid is one of them. Though it may be the same sort of machine as in series 9, the performance was miles ahead in this series. Looks lower and more manoeuvrable to me and is aesthetically pleasing. The first round melee was dominated by Rapid as was its 2nd round fight, where they threw Track-tion out of the arena for the second time to set a new Robot Wars record for the shortest ever fight. The fight against Terrorhurtz was one of my favourites of the series, but good use of arena hazards helped them there. Thats what i meant about the manoeuvrability, Rapid was very well controlled throughout and were well aware of everything around them. The use of the house robots, floor flipper and spikes was very impressive; thats what they’re for in the arena. Easily one of the most impressive machines of the series.

People criticise Rapid for its price and I, admittedly, was one of those people. That was until I heard an interview with Josh in the Inside The Bot podcast (long-time listener, first time mentioner) . The £25K price tag slapped on Rapid is not just construction for the machine, it is the entire cost of production, building and hours worked for everyone involved. Apparently most machines cost a lot more than stated because of these factors. Perhaps Rapid’s is a bit higher then most and thats why it was made a big deal out of on TV. It was great to hear that from the horses mouth, not just about Rapid, but every other machine too. People criticised Josh too and whilst part of me can see why, I don’t feel the same. He seems a good lad and a very competitive soul which is what most roboteers are anyway, he fits right in. The hard work may well pay off here and I initially had Rapid down as top 2 but then the last heat happened, and maybe Magnetar could throw a spanner in those works. I’m predicting Rapid for 3rd in this championship, but likewise I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win. A standout improver from series 9.

Heat Prediction – 1st

Final Prediction – 3rd

 

Magnetar

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Oh Magnetar. How dare you sit there all innocent looking as beautiful as you do? You’re a monster. An absolute monster of a machine. And I couldn’t be more happier. Magnetar and Thor are probably my 2 favourite robots in this series and even that didn’t stop me physically cheering and punching the air when this machine won its heat final. I’ve always wanted it to do well ever since the first time I laid eyes on the series 8 Pulsar and even though it got to the final that series, the full potential hadn’t been properly unlocked. Pulsar mark 2 saw to that a little bit more but was unreliable and the evolution into this machine is something quite special. Push To Exit, immobilised with pretty much one hit, same with Expulsion and even thought Thor took a bit more taking down, the hits from the 8000 rpm drum were astonishing. Honestly I don’t think we’ve seen much like this since the arrival of Carbide, and I still marvel at what that can produce.

I could literally talk about Magnetar all day but to avoid awkward questions, I’ll just talk about its chances in the final. Many talk about someone coming along and beating Carbide. Magnetar could be it. Low enough to get under the current champs and strong enough to resist a hit or two. The one worry for me is the wheels and when I was thinking where to place every machine in this final, I kept think about Pulsar’s very first fight in series 8 where Ironside destroyed a wheel with its bar. That could well repeat should the two machines meet here, which is very likely. Like Rapid, Magnetar could win this series and I wouldn’t be surprised. I’d be happier if it was Magnetar but theres this little niggle gnawing away saying to me that the current power of Carbide is till too much for the current power of Magnetar.

Heat Prediction – 1st

Final Prediction – 2nd

 

Carbide

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So I’m tipping Carbide to win again. They were always going to one of the favourites going into the competition and I haven’t seen anything yet to disprove that. I’ll attempt to explain my thinking in just a sec but before that lets reminisce in what the current champions have done so far this series. Now that fight with Gabriel was epic. I was there for that fight and it was made to look as good on TV as it was in the audience. But it hurt Carbide and a lot of work was needed after. No that you’d have noticed. Aftershock and Eruption, two robots that Carbide beat in its title year were dispatched with ease. Given the standard of robot in Carbide’s heat (and I’m talking Gabriel, Big Nipper and Crackers N Smash as well) I’m actually amazed they didn’t struggle through that more. The fight with Aftershock was pretty much the same as series 9, albeit without the wall modification and the Eruption fight lasted even less time than the final of said series. Its a phenomenal achievement and whilst robots have moved on from series 9 to 10, it seems they still can’t live with the power that Carbide is dishing out.

Now here’s the weird part. I’m putting Carbide to win this series but I don’t think they’ll do it. Yep I know that sounds strange, but me and my brain seem sure that Carbide won’t make it the double. But I can’t say who will stop them. Will they be tested? Yes, like never before. Will they be beaten? Again yes probably, but I don’t see anybody stepping up to that plate in this final just yet. Its a really strange one and forgive if I’m coming across as your average drunken football fan but what Carbide has done in the last 3 series means they have to be favourites, no? I’m 60% sure Carbide will win, but 40% is still a bit number. But who can actually step up to the task?

 

So there we go, there are my thoughts on this final. And I must say having just written all of that, I’m not impressed by the quality of this blog. I have no idea what I’ve just said! I don’t think I’ve got all of my thinking out there and made a whole lot of sense with it. I apologise for that, but I hope it was entertaining. I think what I’ve proven is that this final is incredibly difficult to call and thats not even including the winner of the 10 way. Chaos!

I’m taking pride from this series regardless though, as I have correctly predicted 4 out of 5 heat winners this time. For me thats amazing because I’ve averaged about 2 in each of the last 2 series, which is quite frankly shocking. Either or, thank you very, very much for sticking with me in this bumper blog of mine. Feel free to check out my Twitter and YouTube page (links below), where you’ll find battles from this series from my view in the audience on the latter. I think I’ve got 5 on there now and they’re all first round melee’s; I didn’t see any results after those! Theres also links to my other preview pieces this series plus a special one on my experience at filming. Be sure to clear your schedule or set up your series links for 8pm on BBC 2 on Sunday night. It’s going to be an absolute belter.

Twitter – @jaymess24

YouTube – Jaymess24

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 4 Preview

Robot Wars – My Filming Experience & The Series So Far

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 5 Preview

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Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 5 Preview

Hello! We’re back! Did you enjoy the Tennis??? Nope, I didn’t watch it either but its ok, normal service shall be resumed this week as we get back to Series 10 of Robot Wars and in a way, I noticed one positive about it being replaced last week. It was the amount of outrage I saw on Twitter throughout the week and sarcastic comments being posted (yes, I did that as well), which shows a massive wave of support for this great show of ours. People like that is on and its great to see its making an impact how it used to. So yea, cheers guys for all your abuse directed to the BBC!

But like I said, normal service is resumed this week and we now have one more heat before the final which will include that epic 10 way fight. Some old favourites this week and not a single sign of a newcomer to the competition so expect high levels of combat and upgraded designs ready to dazzle in the warzone. Once the episode has aired I will again be posting videos of the first round melees on YouTube that I saw live and yes, I said melees pleural. I have videos of both first round fights from this heat so theres an extra bonus for you all for being so good whilst the net hitters took over our screens. Right, lets crack on.

Note – As I went to the filming I obviously know the outcomes of some fights, though these were only the first round melees. I will still be analysing the machines in the whole series as if seeing them for the first time, there will be NO spoilers here in these blogs.

 

Coyote

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We start with a machine that I didn’t think we’d see again so soon after its demolition at the hands of Carbide last time. I’m glad Coyote is back though. A lovely looking robot based on an animal, which is something we don’t see much of these days and despite this being the same sort of design as last time, I think this version of Coyote looks much better and sturdier than before. Biggest difference this time is the armour, of which there is not much of. Copper pipework surrounds the wheels which is an interesting choice. I’d guess it is lighter than standard armour so there more room to play about with the weight limit for the drive and the weapon. It does make Coyote stand out a bit more though and prevents the wheels being fully exposed which, as we’ve seen many times before, is not a clever idea.

The chainsaw remains on the back to act as the tail of the beast and whilst it wasn’t too effective last time, I still think its a decent choice of weapon should they be able to get it in the right position. A chainsaw should be able to slice quite nicely into HDPE armour that is used on many robot these days, but again manoeuvring it into position is possibly the hardest part. The main action is at the front though with those huge Coyote jaws ready to snap up any victim that it can catch. It has the same sort of power as last time and just looks a bit more complete for this war, more effective, better chance to grab and crush other robots, mmmm lovely. Oh and keep and eye out for Roadrunner, the minibot who has come along to help its big brother out, a nice addition. A good looking machine again from Coyote, I hope it does well.

Prediction – Coyote should well be in the head to heads but I think they’ll have to go through redemption to get there. Maybe its still lacking that killing instinct needed and whilst it could be very effective, could struggle to find that knockout blow. Seems to be a robot that will need the judges more to win fights.

 

Hobgoblin

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Another machine Im happy to see back and one I’d hoped we’d see much better from last time. Alas it was not to be and Hobgoblin has been given another chance, though it was initially a reserve robot for the series. I still like the look of the weapon, still defined as an ‘egg beater’ weapon weighing around 20 kg. Its a weapon I’ve seen on a few featherweights but so far, Hobgoblin is the only heavyweight  robot we’ve seen equipped with one. A bit like Coyote, Hobgoblin looks pretty much the same as last time though there are a few differences. Gone is the front wedge in a bold move, which allows the weapon to make direct contact with an opponent instead of having them ride up the robot. Downside to that is a higher ground clearance, so flippers could find their way under more easily. A couple of castor wheels have appeared on top too, presumably to make the robot invertable, as the self righting didn’t go as planned in series 9.

It’s little changes like those that shows those people (most importantly the Robot Wars production team) that robots that didn’t get the rub of the green last time, deserve another chance. Hobgoblin is unique in the fact that it has a weapon that no one else in the competition has and though we haven’t really seen what it can do yet, its still worth finding out its potential. The purple and green colour scheme makes it stand out too and adds great aesthetics. Its a tidy robot and one that I can’t wait to see fight again.

Prediction – Theres always a ‘but’ with me….. I fear Hobgoblin might be pushed to one side again this time. It’s a great design and I really like it but (there it is again) I just cant see it winning too much. Its nearly the same as last time and maybe needs refining a little more before it becomes a contender. But if we at least get to see what the weapon is capable of I’ll be happy.

 

Expulsion

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I honestly don’t know what to make of the new Expulsion. The version in the last series got taken apart by MR Speed Squared but it did have a really interesting concept with the weapon, where it could spin clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on what sort of damage the team wanted to be caused. Its been improved on and now the 4 point blade has been reduced to 2 and placed on an entirely new machine. The initial look of Expulsion has constantly been reminding me of Bodyhammer (ha, remember them?) in its shape and design. But (getting paranoid everytime I say this now) is it out of place in the modern day wars? The wheels stick out the back so it can run the right way up (which is a good start) and if it falls onto its back, but that awkward kind of shape; it makes the robot look a little top heavy. What if it falls onto its sides or flat onto the blade? Just looks like theres more cons than pros in this design.

Of course this is just from first glance. Many times people (usually me) have looked at a robot, said it had no chance only for it to blitz everyone. Whats that, Carbide only has a bar spinner? They didn’t used to be very good…. Yea ok mate. Pulsar can get up to 9000 rpm? Impossible, nothing can go that fast… Well it happened. These machines are tried and tested so for all my nit-picking, I don’t think teams would put a robot into the arena that has so many issues. Unless its Overdozer. Still got no idea what those guys were on when they built that.

Prediction – Technically this version of Expulsion is better in every way than the last. Faster, more powerful, better armoured, this group of students have put together a much improved machine. Again as with so many robots in this series, I like the design but part of me is still doubting the ability. Is it a world beater? Not yet. Is it a heat winner? Still not quite. A battle winner, quite possibly. But it will have to be one hell of a performance for me; I still think there are better machines in this heat.

 

Push To Exit

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I love a front hinged flipper. Firestorm was my favourite from back in the day so I was naturally excited to see Push To Exit appear in series 9 under the guidance of Team S-Tek. And so I was also naturally gutted that they had a power failure in round 1 and went out. So once again in this heat a robot that fell early before gets another chance to shine and once again its the same sort of robot. PTE was very fast and aggressive last time but was one of the many robots to die very quickly in series 9, so like Hobgoblin Im glad the production team have given them another go. Low wedge shape with a flipper that throws enemies forward as opposed to throwing them in the air, strong armour and a very experienced team. The formula is there for this to be successful.

I’m not too sure the robot looked like it did in that picture when it first showed up. There a whole host of scratches and dents and even a welded part on the front corner. Was it taken after some fights? Looks like it stood up to a lot if so. There is entanglements used on PTE for this series as well; a set of ropes are attached to the side stringing from the front of the robot to the back so they’re well up to date with the rules. Could cause a few upsets this time you know. Should everything work you’d like to think they can get under most opponents. I always get that feeling that forward hinged flippers are lower to the ground than other robots in order to drive that wedge under to activate the full force of the flipper. If thats the case, as Firestorm proved many times over, not much can get in PTE’s way.

Prediction – Should definitely at least be in contention for the 10 way. Might have to make it through redemption again but I’d thoroughly expect to see them in the head to heads. Its too good not to be, all the combinations of speed, power and experience are there and I think a lot of people, me included will be disappointing if PTE leaves this series with another 2 losses to its name. Its too good for that.

 

Thor

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The latest version of Thor, again, isn’t too different from the last one, but whats different here as opposed to Hobgoblin or Coyote is that Thor doesn’t need to be. Its a very well built machine and has become one of my favourites since the revival. Very quick and beautifully controlled by Jason and now features a lower front wedge that sort of acts as a scoop as well. The front wedges are still interchangeable to combat different kinds of robot but the one equipped here looks like it can handle anything; being low enough to get under flippers and being strong enough to counter spinners. And once again its a great looking thing.

That axe has become one of the best in the wars since series 8 and though it might not be as powerful as say, Terrorhurtz, the way it is driven is second to none. I honestly think Jason is the best driver in the competition and even if he isn’t, he’s built a robot in such a way that it allows easy movement and control across the floor. Thor is so poised across the arena and sticks to it like glue. Rarely have we seen a slide or a twitch in Thor’s movement and that deserves credit, especially at the speeds it can reach. Since series 8 Thor’s name has always stood out on the battleboard and has turned into one of those robots you expect to do well, rather than causing the odd surprise. This series will be no different; Thor will be at the sharp end again.

Prediction – For me, Thor is almost a guarantee to be in the heat final whilst avoiding redemption. Straight into the final? I dont think so in this case, as I’ve picked my heat winner already. On that basis they’ll be in the 10 way and very few people would bet against Thor there. I think it’d be one of the best machines in it.

 

Magnetar

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Wow. Wow, wow, wow. What a stunning thing this is. I’ve always been a huge fan of Ellis Ware and co, and Pulsar but this is another level. I even went as far as predicting Pulsar to win series 8 and now it has evolved into this bronze-clad monster. Now, as good as Pulsar has been in the past, the obvious issue was reliability. Team Ranglebots are always pushing the boundaries of technology, trying to pack so much into a relatively small space. Pulsar has been destructive yes, but equally as much to itself as its opponents. Magnetar has taken the core elements and ‘the good bits’ from Pulsar, developed them and now we might actually see everything that Pulsar promised in terms of destructive power and slick movement without all the smokescreens it used to produce. This is genuinely one of the best looking machines I’ve ever seen.

So we’ve established the main changes are internally but don’t take anything away from that new drum; it still has a ridiculously high spin speed of around 8500 rpm and weighs just over 20 kg. That will cause a mess of opponents when it hits. Heavily armoured in hardox, Magnetar’s speed has actually been reduced from what we saw from Pulsar in the last war but that should allow for better control. In what is effectively Pulsar 3, it looks, and sounds like this is the one. This is the robot thats going to put the team into the big time. Obviously I’m being incredibly biased as this is possibly my favourite ‘new’ machine since the reboot but likewise I also think that if all goes to plan, this could be a world beater.

Prediction – I think its pretty obvious what I’m going to say here. Yep, Magnetar are just about to get a very prestigious title; they are the only machine since I started doing these previews in series 8, that I’m predicting to win their heat in all 3 of those series so far. Inevitably that means it will probably catch fire and go out in round 1 but even that would be impressive. No seriously, I can see Magnetar in the final and moreover, I could see the machine being top 2 in the whole contest….

 

So there we go, thats heat 5. As ever thanks for sticking with me and feel free to let me know what you link in the comments or on my Twitter page, which I’ll leave a link to at the bottom. I’m also leaving a link to my (not very impressive) YouTube account to which I have fights uploaded from my view in the audience featuring the like of Carbide, Concussion and Terrorhurtz. Once the episode has gone out check back there a couple of days after, because I have 2 fights to upload for this heat which will be the first round melees. I thank you once again and remind you that Robot Wars activates at 8 on Sunday night. With no bloody Tennis on either. Great stuff.

Twitter – @jaymess24

YouTube – Jaymess24

 

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 4 Preview

Robot Wars – My Filming Experience & The Series So Far

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robot Wars – My Filming Experience & The Series So Far

Can you hear that? No, that? Listen more closely…. Yes folks that is the sound of me being a real smug geezer in saying that Nuts would win the last heat and it actually coming true. What a performance that was and I tell you what, I reckon Nuts can cause a few more upsets before this series is over.

So welcome along to what would be my preview for heat 5 of Robot Wars 10, only that this week its not on. No, once again, just like in the last series, the BBC have decided to take our beloved robot smashing show off the air to play some really crap sport (granted Tennis is better than Golf). I mean why BBC, why? Its not like you have 3 other channels to put it on….. BBC 4 there you go, nobody watches that. Tennis fits perfectly into that channel, well Golf does anyway. I suppose in one way it elongates the series a bit… But no, I need my fix and Im sure all of you do too. So that why Im trying to keep spirit of this series alive by publishing this article of the series so far, plus a few odds and ends from my trip to the filming in May.

 

So far this series we have had some fantastic battles and I mean really good battles. I love it when something puts on such a spectacle as, for example, series 9 and you think, ‘Nothing can possibly top that’, only for another show/series to do exactly that. The new format is working a treat. Kind of reminds me of the series 5 & 6 semi-finals with the losers melee in, giving machines another chance at glory. The flow of the show is so much better too and thats something that I didn’t even notice was ‘wrong’ in the last 2 series. For all my moaning about it being taken off for a week for sports I dont like, the Beeb really have done a good job since bringing Robot Wars back in 2016. Dara & Angela have slotted into their roles perfectly now and are a worthy fit for this modern day wars.

And again when you think things cant get better they’ll be a 10 way robot melee in a few weeks time. Cannot wait for that and already it has some frightening robots in. Apollo, Sabretooth, Eruption, Big Nipper, Track-tion, Terrorhurtz, Concussion and Iron Awe are to be joined by 2 more machines from heat 5 to form one hell of battle. But what of the finalists already there? Well for me Carbide are still the favourites. They’ve beaten Behemoth & Nuts before and whilst Rapid look like the machine most likely to cause the champs some problems, I still think the ridiculous power of that spinning bar will win out. Of course this is dependent on who makes it through from the final heat, but as I’ve already mentioned, we have wait an extra week to find that out (thanks BBC again).

 

Enough about me waffling on though, below I have put some of my own pictures from the filming of Robot Wars in Glasgow in May. Now, at the ripe old age of 27 this was my first ever trip to Scotland and its a great place, so much so that me and my bonnie lass went back for a trip in September and have plans to go again next March. Of course the main focus in May was for Robot Wars and when you hear that the show is filming in a warehouse in Glasgow, it literally is in a warehouse in Glasgow. Honestly, you could have stored planes in there if you wanted. Theres a plot of around 30 ish warehouses and Robot Wars was filmed in the one at the very back. Not much of a problem for me, I was driving anyway.

You dont get to see the arena straight away, instead you exchange your tickets for wristbands and are kept in a marquee type thing with all the usual requirements such as food, drink and merch stalls. Block by block you are then escorted into the warehouse to take your seat and thats when you first see the arena itself.

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This was my first look. As we were the second session of the whole filming I had to wonder why they were working on the arena in the first place. I now know the crew were repairing the damage caused by Aftershock in its first round melee. Its was really cool to get an answer to that when the second heat aired and I was full of surprise and joy when I saw what had finally caused the crew all that repair time (in the nicest way possible). When the arena was repaired (something that happened a few times whilst I was there), the first fight I saw was the Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper fight and what a way that was to break your live Robot Wars virginity. As you may know I recorded that fight and the link to that and other fights I’ve uploaded are on my YouTube channel below.

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Given the fact that you are there to watch a show, but more importantly to film a television series, the mood and the atmosphere around the place was very relaxed. There was no real strict rules apart from the usual, ‘Dont wander off into places your not supposed to be’ rule. It was a very nice place to be in and the fact that you get called to go back into the pits is an amazing experience. Granted you dont get full access but you get a sense of the size of the place and the operation involved. The size of the robots was no surprise to me; I’ve seen them many times before but its still an environment I just cant get bored of. I didn’t make it onto TV during our surround shots with Vulture. That honour went to my better half, as I was sandwiched between 2 rather tall gentlemen and me and my 5 ft 3 self unable to see much, though Dara did seem to have quite a small head from where I was standing…..

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I did end up in a couple of shots but it wasnt about that. Overall I saw 7 fights and each of them were brilliant in their own way. This is a scene that I have been following for 20 years now and I was so excited when I was there to a ridiculous level for someone my age. It was just an amazing experience and one I definitely want to happen again. Im glad I can finally put some of these pictures up and show you what I saw. Below is one of my favourites. In the Terrorhurtz/Apex/Vulture fight there was a humorous moment where Terrorhurtz knocked Shunt on the way into the arena, leading the House Robot to retaliate and a little game of chase developed before the fight.

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So there we go, that was my way of keeping this Robot Wars train going whilst some people hit a bright yellow ball back and forth to each other over a bet (yep, cheers BBC). I leave you with the news though that when heat 5 finally does air on the box I will be uploading a bonus 2 fights from my audience view instead of my regular one that I have been. You can see the ones I’ve put up on my YouTube channel. Well worth watching. Until then watch this space for my Heat 5 preview to come this time next week. Feel free to leave me some comments about your opinions on the series so far, or even about your experience if you went to see the filming. Keep busy over the weeks break; we’ll get through it together.

Twitter – @jaymess24

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 4 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 4 Preview

Robot Wars has been around in the UK for nearly 20 years now and it still fascinates me. Even now in the most recent series I’ve seen things that still amaze. I didn’t think anything would ever top the wall incident between Carbide & Aftershock in last series final, but Apex then came along and said ‘Anything you guys can do to the wall, I can do better’. Wow, talk about self implosion. What a sight that was.

But that was heat 3, here we go with heat 4 and as we tip over the half way point of the series, the action doesn’t seem to be letting up. Once again we have a very tight set of competitors here which makes the predictions very difficult to call, even though I’m doing better this series so far than I did in the series 8 & 9 predictions at this stage, just to blow my own trumpet. As always a huge thank you to everyone who viewed, liked, commented and all those other wonderful things on the last heat preview, so lets do another one.

Note – As I went to the filming I obviously know the outcomes of some fights, though these were only the first round melees. I will still be analysing the machines in the whole series as if seeing them for the first time, there will be NO spoilers here in these blogs.

 

Tauron

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Tauron looked like a machine that meant business last time and I had them down for great things. Apparently those great thing meant lasting about 5 seconds in the arena but I liked the way it looked. I really like this one. A flatter, sleeker design this time that looks like it should have a bit more pace. But the biggest change seems to be round the front; a much shorter but stubbier blade that weight 18 kg going at just over 3500 rpm, heavier and faster than the last blade. It can also spin both ways incase it gets flipped. Handy. Tauron also seems to have sprouted a face for that meaner look and to add a bit more personality to the robot. It is a good looking beast and a definite evolution of the older machine, though can it get off its side if stranded there?

So to the arena, what can Tauron do there? Well I think pretty well, if the blade is going of course. Theres always going to be that question mark hanging over it because of the brief cameo last time but that will only be until it gets going. A rematch with Concussion would be fine spectacle as this version of Tauron looks like it can dish out a bit of damage. Vertical spinners haven’t really set the arena alight yet this series and it would be really good for Tauron to cause some of that havoc and put a marker down for the future and indeed for this series.

Prediction – Every robot in this heat has been difficult to place in a finishing position for me, but I reckon Tauron will be in the second round. Might have to fight its way through redemption though; theres some fine machines it will be fighting. I just want to see it work after the disappointment of series 9, then we can assess the true potential. Great looking thing though.

 

The Kegs

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Before we start that is Kegs, pleural. There’s 2 machine that look pretty much identical, I just couldn’t find any other decent picture. So we’re talking about another clusterbot here and The Kegs also take home my ‘Original and brilliantly simple design’ award for this heat. I mean how much more simple can you get? We’ve seen robots made cheaply out of wood and ones based on chattering teeth, but to cut a beer keg in half and use that for the shell of your robot is probably the most simple yet. Another inspiration this one, however I do wonder if the contents of the keg here were being consumed when this idea was though of…

So, one keg, two robots. Both armed with spinning bars which dont look the most stable if Im honest. Exposed wheels out of the top but they’ll just be so the machines can be invertable and I cant imagine a steel keg is a great choice for amour. But I love it, I really do. I laughed for a while when I saw these and they actually come from quite an experienced team. Granted Terror Turtle has not really been the most successful of robots but a new project is always good. Like I say, an inspiration for everyone looking to build a robot; you really can make one out of anything, it just helps that the item in question has a lot of beer in it.

Prediction – The Kegs will have the same issues that all clusterbots have in terms of size and weight but can they make it work? Its a great project this and once again adds more entertainment to the warzone which is what we want. I do think The Kegs will be the weakest machine in this heat though and will be looking at 2 losses straight away but its yet another fantastic entry to this series.

 

Androne 4000

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This one could be the dark horse of the heat for me. Androne 4000 arrives with this huge crushing arm attached and a name like something out of Star Wars. The 4000 in the name comes from the fact that the ram that powers the crusher runs at 4000 psi. To put that in context, Razer ran at 3000 psi leading this team to believe that they have the most powerful crusher ever in Robot Wars. Some statement, but is it effective? It certainly looks the part with its intimidating black & yellow paint job and strong looking steel armour. Reminds me of the older Tetanus machines. It can also self right with that claw with the help of some electric power whereas when its squashing other machines, the very same arm runs off hydraulics. Its very impressive sounding and looks like it can cause problems for a few more experiences competitors in this heat.

They did actually try and get into series 9 with this beast but they weren’t selected (damn you selection system) but its still a worthy addition here. Im intrigued to see how good the crushing arm is. Yes its certainly powerful but what its capability? Razer was famed for being incredibly accurate to devastating effect and not giving the opponent any time to rest. Was that through experience or design? Either way Androne doesn’t look as manoeuvrable but can get up to the same sort of speed. One to watch.

Prediction – If we’re keeping an eye on what new machines can do, Androne is one to monitor. The design looks big and beefy and with a bit of luck could be in contention for the 10 way. That said inexperience could show like it already has many times in this series already and Androne could be heading for an early bath.

 

Iron Awe 6

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How good is it to see an old team come back from the original series into the reboot? And not a moment too soon either as Iron Awe makes a well overdue appearance in the new series after its last in series 7. I though Iron Awe would have been one of the very first picks for the reboot because of what they have done on the live stage; they have won so much with older machines and new alike, and are still a regular at events. They are well worth their spot then and have a a real chance to show what they have been doing in the last 12 or so years.

Iron Awe is another great looking beast as well. Beautifully refined and simple, this version used to be painted red instead of the teams trademark yellow, but a switch back to the original colour with a silver flipping arm and some black wedges around the side really make this stand out. And those red bits are interesting. The team has taken an interest in the entanglement rule and those ‘cannons’ are full of bungee cords that they hope will wrap around spinners. They also make the body a little bit wider and should prevent drum spinners doing too much damage. It shows they’ve though about it more, the differences from when they were last in the arena are huge, especially the power of spinners. Given that they were one of Typhoon 2’s victims in series 7, it could be seen as learning from past experiences.

 

Prediction – As a massive Robot Wars nut I am thrilled to see a veteran team return from the original series and their experiences could be crucial to success. I’ve really been struggling to pick a winner from this heat but I could easily see Iron Awe either winning the heat or at least in the heat final. The 10 way beckons and must be a minimal requirement from a legend of the live stage.

 

Nuts 2

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The nutty boys return for a 3rd crack at the title. Always a crowd pleaser even though they’ve never really took off in terms of damage caused and battle wins. They were definitely one of the heros in series 8, surviving a battle that included Razer and Terrorhurtz and taking the latter and Behemoth to full 3 minute fights. It was more of a cameo appearance in the last war, a problem with the drive led to an early exit at the hands of Matilda but Im glad they’ve been given another shot. I’ve seen videos of this version of Nuts in testing and the speeds the machine can get up to when spinning are quite frightening. Thats generally the main point of attack, spin up and slash everything in sight with those 2 chain flails attached to the side, but like I said we didn’t get to see that last time.

If Nuts performs as it should it will be very difficult to get hold of. Along with spinning on the spot and causing chaos the robot can also drive in any direction whilst spinning to manoeuvre into position to launch an attack. For all the daftness and fun the team have given us, this version could cause some serious damage. No seriously, I believe they can! The chain could also double up as an entanglement of sorts so spinners will be weary and flippers might struggle because of the design too, it will just keep coming back at you, rather like a modern day Pussycat. The minibots are back as well and whilst they haven’t been much use of any sort, are great fun and don the mandatory googly eyes needed for ultimate craziness. The robot is called Nuts for a reason, but don’t let that fool you.

Prediction – You know what, Im going out on a limb here. I reckon Nuts can win the heat. No I haven’t been drinking (much), just looking at its competitors, if they can stay in the arena they’ll stand a good chance. Damage wise Im still not sure what it can do to all these Hardox laden machines but they will cause problems, annoy and niggle at opponents. Nuts has also proven itself to be quite reliable when we’ve seen it and can take a good smashing around. Honestly I think will be a contender. You heard it here first….

 

Concussion

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The final contender for this heat is the only machine from last series’ grand final that we haven’t seen yet and its Concussion. The little orange underdog returns and though it looks very much like the same machine as last time, there are a number of changes. Reworked internals should help Concussion drive much better and hopefully stop it catching fire as it appeared to do in series 9. The hardox armour has been beefed up as well as the whole front end and with a brand new and heavier drum, the team are in business. It really looks like a well rounded robot now and to top it off there is now a set of lights that shine through the top armour. Excellent.

I was both surprised and curious with what Concussion achieved last time out. They did brilliantly well to reach the final but I couldn’t help but think they were quite lucky along the way. The damage caused by the drum wasn’t what I expected, I hoped it would tear things up and render them useless but the only major damage we saw was when they lopped off Heavy Metals wheel, impressive as it was. It seemed to me like there was so much more to come from Concussion and I hope we see its full potential this time. I like the modifications and feel more confident for them this time than I did last. Will be well in contention for this heat without question but I also get a feeling they will be tested more this time.

Prediction – Any robot that makes a series final is worthy of its spot and Concussion is no different. I love the way the team started, massive fans of the show who had a go and made a success of it. They’ll be in contention for this heat without a doubt. Its been so hard for me to decide that really any of my top 3 (Iron Awe, Nuts, Concussion) could win this heat. Ahh, where do I go with this one? Ok here goes; I think Concussion will come up short, a heat final and a place in the 10 way. There I’ve done it.

 

There we go then, 6 more amazing looking machines are ready for battle. Thanks so much for sticking with me as ever and apologies that my predictions are really quite terrible for this heat. I just genuinely have no idea who’s going to finish where. Apart from The Kegs. They’ll come last. Maybe.

As ever I’ll leave links to my other series 10 pieces below and my Twitter link, and also links to YouTube where I’m putting up live POV fights of the battles I saw at filming (after they’ve been aired of course). See below for the Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper fight and the newly uploaded Terrorhurtz/Vulture/Apex fight. Let me know your predictions below and be prepared for carnage. BBC2, Sunday @ 8pm. Don’t miss it.

 

Twitter – @jaymess24

Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper POV Fight

Terrorhurtz/Vulture/Apex POV Fight

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

You know, when you look through the years of robotic combat in the UK, the most obvious thing you see is evolution. Evolution in technology, power, the machines and safety. But the core element is still there and despite us being in the 10th domestic UK championship, this is shaping up to be one of the best series yet. And top marks as ever to everyone’s favourite commentator Jonathan Pearce, he was well on form in heat 2 of this series. For future series the BBC need to throw everything they can at him to make sure he stays. He is Robot Wars.

So moving on from the carnage of heat 2 into heat 3. Not so many big names in this heat, in fact none of the competitors here have gone past round 2 in the rebooted series, so we’ll definitely have a another new name in the final. As ever a huge thank you to everyone who read my heat 2 preview and for the re-tweet by Robot Wars Mania, as we delve into another piece here. I appreciated I’m using a lot of pictures of Killalot in my title images, I’m really struggling to find ones I haven’t used yet! Never mind, lets get cracking.

Note – As I went to the filming I obviously know the outcomes of some fights, though these were only the first round melees. I will still be analysing the machines in the whole series as if seeing them for the first time, there will be NO spoilers here in these blogs.

 

Apex

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Apex returns for this war sporting quite a different profile than in the last series. Although the robot itself is pretty much the same, the overall appearance looks completely different due to that new bar. Its a strange looking thing and one wonders how it will even work to good effect. I suppose the different angles and sides mean that it can make different kinds of contact such as punching holes in an opponent if it hits with one side or slashing them if it lands with the other. Apex also has a nice dark blue paint job too, something that will make it stand out in the arena, I like it.

Though the potential was there last time it only took one hit from Pulsar to stop it dead in the first round. It all depends on that bar, which by the way is interchangeable with the one we saw last time around. Its still a weighty piece of kit and though it takes time to spin up, it will do some big damage when it hits and this gives Apex a very good chance in this heat. Apex can also self right and this has been thoroughly defended by the team when it was questioned after the last war. This could be the crucial factor that keeps them in contention as anything that is hit from a spinning bar with that weight is going to be given some trouble.

Prediction – Very much in contention for the 10 way, in fact I’d say they’re favourites to get there. But will it be through the heat final or the play off? I’ll have to go with the play off. A couple of machines can cause headaches for Apex in this heat and also, is it reliable enough?

 

Bucky

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Yet another brilliantly designed, different machine enters the warzone for the first time this series. Enter Bucky the Robot, a machine designed on a set of wind-up chattering teeth! Its a great looking thing and one I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a while. I’ve been following the team with their build on Twitter and its great when you can see a robot start from scratch and make it here. The design is pretty much what you’d expect, a great big clamping jaw that comes down and attempts to bite other competitors. The little wind up key on the side is a nice feature too and Bucky is well in with a shout of being the best deigned robot of the series.

But what of its potential? Well its not really a tried and tested weapon so its hard to say. The concept is good, grab hold of an opponent and do what you wish with them, but are they going to struggle with that, is that wedge too steep? Lessons will be learned from this war as they always are with new machines but I like seeing something different and Bucky is certainly one I’ve been waiting to see for a while. Will entertain and will certainly give it a good go.

Prediction – You know, I genuinely think Bucky can make a real go of this and be in contention for a spot in the 10 way. Might not make it but I reckon theres at least one win in them in this very open heat. And keep an eye out for the mascot too. Not something you see all the time with teams, but it’s a great touch for extra entertainment.

 

Vulture

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Even though there are only 30 robots in this series I surprise myself with the amount of times I’m saying things like, great design or, something new. So in a way, the organisers have got it right, because here comes another one. Vulture is a neat looking machine and like Bucky, has a weapon that is not a regular in Robot Wars. The spinning bar on the back goes at around 6000 rpm and it sits on the end of that arm which also comes a full 180 degrees over to strike an opponent. To be honest its a concept I’ve thought about many times and surprised its not been seen more. Reminds me of early versions of Dead Metal and it will be interesting to see how it performs.

One also assumes it can self right with that arm which as we know is an essential in this era of robotic combat. But what of the damage potential? The disc/bar is relatively lightweight but its strike rate is high, even more so on the moving arm. Strong Hardox armour on the front as well which looks very robust and should be low enough to get under others. A strong first attempt this and again, like Bucky, Im very interested to see how Vulture gets on.

Prediction – Vulture is another great idea and is another example that there are some really good ideas for fighting robots out there and its great we get to see them shown off. But what about its potential? Well Im not too sure, something is niggling away at me saying something is missing. Maybe I’m concerned that the weapon wont be effective enough and I think Vulture will struggle. But as I say, this is a very open heat and can easily cause an upset. Either way this machine is a very good starting block on which the team can build on for the future.

 

Track-tion

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Traction, tracks, movement, traction, track…tion. Ahh I see what they did! Very clever. At first I found myself chanting, ‘Are you Suicidal Tendencies in disguise?’ like some Ginsters eating football fan but I can confirm this is a brand new machine. We don’t see many, if any tracked robots these days with most teams opting for the speed and simpleness of wheels. There are benefits with tracks though, high levels of grip are good for pushing and can be tougher than most wheels, however they are very slow and many tracked machines don’t tend to have a high top speed. They are also exposed on nearly all sides which a nice target for an axe or some chattering teeth.

The weapon looks mean as well. A big crusher on the front which, again, has the potential to cause some serious damage. The crusher actually looked to me like the one you used on your own robot design for Arenas of Destruction on the PS2 & PC from way back when (shout out to those who played that). We also have our first school based team for this war and the mentor in this case is none other than Will Thomas from Aftershock, who put together a club for some of his students to build this machine. Great stuff.

Prediction – I still like the idea of school based teams and I wish that sort of opportunity was available when I was in school, though up until now none of them has gone too far in Robot Wars. I’m not sure much will change here with Track-tion competition wise, but the experience for this team in building and competing will be second to none. They’ll enjoy it every step of the way, but I am expecting an early exit in this instance. As ever though, I’m always willing to be proved wrong.

 

Terrorhurtz

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The most well known robot in this heat by a mile, and the one with the most pedigree returns for an eight series in succession for Team Hurtz. Terrorhurtz is one of my favourite ever robots, a revolutionary design with its flat, bladed axe that strikes with around a ton of force. Though it is well engineered and has one of the most respected roboteers around with John Reid, Terrorhurtz has rarely blossomed in UK championships, especially since the reboot and has still only once been beyond the heats. That was the amazing run in series 6 where only Razer could stop them but despite the reputation and being the only machine to beat Carbide without the judges getting involved, Terrorhurtz has gone out in the last 2 wars at the head to head stage. A shame for such a good machine.

Can it they turn that around this time though? The armour on the front is very, very strong and the only major visible damage I’ve ever seen inflicted on it was against Aftershock last time. And this time its even stronger so should withstand even more. The axe is ridiculously powerful too. Its about time Terrorhurtz had some more success and now is the chance for them to make it so.

Prediction – Hugely experienced in this heat of relative newcomers and is well poised for a heat win. But once again I have to stick the knife in. For the last 2 series I have predicted that Terrorhurtz will win its heat. This time I’m not going to predict that for two reasons. One, Im sick of being wrong. Two, I also genuinely don’t think it will. Might be reliability, might just be a bit of bad luck. It just hasn’t happened for Terrorhurtz yet. Either way they should definitely be in the 10 way.

 

Rapid

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So, Rapid. What can I say about Rapid? Well I remember what I said about it in the last war. Yes for those who follow me you may recall back to the time when I gave Rapid the worst robot ‘award’ in the last series. Why? Because if something is too complicated to fix, how can it be any good? That was my logic. That and maybe the fact that it cost more to build than my annual salary, and for it to be irreparable after 2 fights means it was going for £12,500 a fight. Yea, not great.

Still, I don’t want to incur any team wraths or curses they may rein down on me, and I’m glad to see it back all shiny and gold. Its a nice looking machine, and I especially like the polycarb on the back that shows all the (highly expensive) workings inside, a bit like Chaos 2. Rapid still seems to be pushing for a new age of robot development, which is good. That’s what technology is for right? It lives up to its name too, top speeds of over 20 mph and very nimble. Rapid this time sports a wider front wedge to make it easier to get under other machines. That wider front wedge is gold. Probably real gold to fit in with the cost of the rest of the robot….. No, thats it. Im going to stop now. Rapid is expensive, end of. Maybe I’m just tight…

Prediction – See here’s the thing. On paper Rapid is well designed, well engineered and should go far. But the fact it had to pull out in series 9 because of that puts it at a disadvantage in some people eyes. Its not like the team have dumbed it down, its still, as  they put it, over engineered, if not more so this time. That all said, I’m actually tipping Rapid to win this heat. They should have done better last time, by a mile. They were all over Aftershock at the start of that second round fight and lessons will have been learned. Im not trying to score any brownie points or anything for the criticism last time, I just really think Rapid will come out the strongest this time around.

 

So there we go, 6 more fighting machines are all set to enter the arena in one of the most unpredictable heats ever. As ever I can’t wait for it, it should be brilliant. Once again thanks for sticking with me and feel free to leave any comments on your heat favourites and not so favourites. Below I’ll leave a link my Twitter page below, feel free to check that out and also links to other heat previews in this series. I’m also leaving a bonus link to YouTube where I’ve uploaded the Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper fight from the last heat from my view in the audience; that’s well worth checking out. In the meantime everybody stay safe, don’t do anything I would, and let battle commence on Sunday at 8.

Twitter – @jaymess24

Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper, POV audience fight

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

For as long as I’ve been watching Robot Wars, which is pretty much since its inception in 1998, it still never fails to excite me and amaze me. What a first heat we were treated to last Sunday night. Less fights yes, but excellent quality all round. Possibly my favourite fight of all time is Chaos 2/Wild Thing from Series 5 and having seen some amazing fights in that time, not much has come close to it. The Apollo/Behemoth fight was well up there with that, showing that this form of competition can never really die or get boring. Great stuff.

So we move into heat 2 and wow, what a draw. I also think its a quite a bad draw too. If the robots are drawn randomly into heats then fair enough, but if its set up I think this is a poor choice. If you’ve seen the draw already you’ll know what Im on about, if not you better read on! A huge thanks to everyone who took the time to read my preview piece for Heat 1, now lets keep this ball rolling. Heres my thoughts on Heat 2.

Note – As I went to the filming I obviously know the outcomes of some fights, though these were only the first round melees. I will still be analysing the machines in the whole series as if seeing them for the first time, there will be NO spoilers here in these blogs.

 

Eruption

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The second seed (if you’re doing seedings yourself) returns with a vengeance and looking to set the record straight. Those who know Eruption from outside of Robot Wars are already aware of how good and successful this machine is. Everytime you hear or see that Eruption is fighting in a live event, chances are they’re going to win. Beautifully designed and powered to get under other robots and launch them out of the arena with a precisely timed flip, its very low and now even better armoured. Eruption couldn’t stop turfing machines out last series, matching Atomic’s record from UK 7 for the most consecutive out of arena flips.

They finished second to Carbide and the shame for them is that they are in this very same heat. Yep the top 2 have been drawn together, again. Booo. That said they probably are able to give the champions a run for their money and Eruption are definitely looking to cement their place as the best flipping robot in the UK. I would say that Carbide knocked them out relatively easily in the last war but they did with pretty much everyone, such was the power. Either way, Eruption is a machine to be feared and will be a contender in one form or another. Just depends how good the new armour plating is and if it can stand up to a beating.

Prediction – Always going to be a contender. Like I say they lost to Carbide last time and they were the only machine that Eruption wasn’t able to beat. In this draw I don’t know. Any other time you’d have Eruption nailed on as heat winners but if we’re going on form from what we’ve seen before, a heat final is definitely on the cards. I’d thoroughly expect to at least see them in the 10 way.

 

Aftershock

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See what I mean? I’ve already mentioned Carbide and if we’re counting the exclusion of Ironside 3 in this series, you’ve got the top 3 in the same heat. And the other 3 robots aren’t half bad either. Ouch, and more boo’s. Nevertheless, Aftershock, a fine machine deriving from the experienced Team Shock have now reached both Grand Finals of the rebooted Robot Wars so far.

Its relatively the same looking machine, big blue spinney thing attached to a silver frame but with much tougher looking armour. I hear there are even more interchangeable discs and bars to be used too to combat certain opponents. Despite the carnage they caused last war they went out with a bit of a whimper, breaking down in 2 of its 3 head to heads in the grand final. Yes one of these was against Carbide and yes they other one was after a rebuild but I hope its can stand up to more. For me the reputation suffered a little in that final. I feel that on their day they could have beaten Ironside 3 and Eruption to take the spot in the final. Question is, will the upgrades allowed them to do that?

Prediction – Either everybody in this heat is desperately unlucky or the draw has been desperately rigged for this outcome. To have so many good robots in the same heat is almost criminal, therefore it is even more vital that every competitor in this heat wins their group battle, to avoid unnecessary extra fights. I’m not sure Aftershock can do that just because of its company. But like Eruption it still has the ability to do well and an appearance in the 10 way is definitely on.

 

Crackers N Smash

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The brick built clusterbot returns with extra armour improvements and, hopefully, better weapons this time too. As nice as it was seeing Crackers N Smash last war, it wasn’t greatly effective to the point it went in weaponless against Carbide. On the plus side it stood up to said machine twice, with all the electrics intact. Given how hard Carbide hit in series 9, that was hugely impressive.

So what can the little bots do this time then? Well the overall weight has been reduced by some 16 kg, trimming the fat so to speak, and the armour looks to be upgraded which is bad news for spinners, given that the best of the best of them couldn’t stop this last time. Weapons wise, they’re about the same. A spinner on Smash that can go to, reportedly, 11000 rpm. In terms of speed thats almost 4 times as fast as Aftershock, but whether it can do the damage remains to be seen. Crackers is back with its flipper that can also integrate some kind of claw too, maybe to snag spinners or grab hold of opponents. Another evolution of a machine and I like the fact that clusterbots are taking off a bit more. They used to be few and far between and now we’ve had 2 in the first 2 heats. Makes things more interesting.

Prediction – Errrm, no idea, sorry! Crackers N Smash will be able to cause pests of themselves but I’m sure we’ll see them in the redemption round. The quality of the heat looks to be a little too high for them at this stage. As always I’m up for being proved wrong, but this might be a step too far for these little machines.

 

Big Nipper

ep2-big-nipper

One of my favourite machines from the live stage this and its great to see them back. Big Nipper returns from Series 8 after being an unused reserve for the last war with basically the same sort of machine. Where we’ve seen certain evolutions in this series already Big Nipper doesn’t seem to have had that much work done. The orange has gone back to a darker shade of grey and the disc is now a shining yellow. I think I actually prefer this look to the orange actually. The disc is a single tooth disc, just like Aftershock and is interchangeable with the infamous claws and the middle section still moves up and down. It’s a design I’ve always been fond of. With the claws attached they can pick up a 100 kg robot easily and drive them wherever they want and do whatever they want with. They’ve had some amazing hits on the live stage and its a shame we haven’t really seen them in the wars.

But what of the disc? It looks like the main weapon of choice these days and we didn’t really see the potential of it in the 8th wars. As I mentioned, single tooth running at about 4000 rpm but can it damage, and can it damage enough to give it a chance. Again its a wildly unlucky draw and as good as Big Nipper can be, disc or claws, I fear they may be swallowed up in this heat.

Prediction – A lowly finishing place for Big Nipper Im afraid, which I dont like to say because its such a brilliant machine. I just dont think it can cause enough damage to pretty much any competitor in this heat and all seem to have something that can counter anything this robot can do. A shame, but I hope we do get to see that weapon going well.

 

Gabriel

ep2-gabriel

Now comes the robot that I own a piece of and possible the biggest robot to ever appear in the wars. Gabriel reached the heat final in series 8, narrowly missing out to Pulsar. Its great Gabriel is, with a set of interchangeable weapons that do much more damage than they look like they can. Numerous amounts of time at live event they have smashed armour plated and even squashed other machines. Designed to be so darn big that even the best flipper will struggle and you’ve got a tough bot to beat. Made completely out of high density polyethylene it can also stand up to a beating and it that is’t enough to convince you, Gabriel actually won the 2016 FRA UK championship at the live shows. That’s some achievement.

But what of it in the warzone? Well the only thing that seemed bother Gabriel last time we saw it were spinners. Both Ironside 3 and Pulsar took chunks out of those huge wheels but even then, they were still mobile. Throw them in with Aftershock and Carbide and there could be a surprise. It just depends on how many hits they can land and if they can do enough damage to their opponents as they do to Gabriel. Lets not forget the flippers as well. Even though it is ridiculously hard to flip Gabriel around, many have tried and succeeded in getting this mammoth out of the arena. It’s not invincible.

Prediction –  This is the robot in this heat that has made me rethink everything. I just have no idea how it will perform. I thoroughly expect to see them in the head to heads one way or another but what about after that? It is a Carbide killer? These and many, many more questions will be answered but man are they going to be tough to beat. They will be a few thorns in peoples sides this heat and could even go the full distance. Count this one out at your peril.

 

Carbide

ep2-carbide

What do we need to say about Carbide? Current UK champions, number 1 seed, nailed on favourites. They won the title in probably the most dominant way since Chaos 2 all those years ago, nothing came close to it. And so as other machines improve and new pretenders come along, has Carbide still got what it takes? You know the drill, 2 wheel drive, fully invertable, massively destructive 2500 rpm spinning bar, and more power that you can shake a stick at, whatever that means. But has it moved on, and perhaps more importantly, does it need to? A few upgrades can never hurt I suppose, and in this current world of modern technology its always best to progress and never stand still. Carbide has had minor upgrades for this war but maybe nothing like the quantum leap from series 8 to series 9, but the fact they were so far ahead of everybody last time shows that they are still the machine to beat.

They’ve had 20 fights since the rebooted Robot Wars hit our screens and have won 17 of them. That’s not bad when you consider they went unbeaten in series 9. It’s a machine to marvel at and very much defines ‘new’ Robot Wars, very much becoming the pin-up machine such as Hypnodisc and Razer were back in the day. Invincible? Nobody is, but boy this comes close.

Prediction – Carbide will be given a run in this heat, no question. Just look at the high level of competition they have to compete with. I’m still going to say that Carbide will be heat winners, but they will be tested far more than at pretty much any point in the whole of last series. And just for the record, I have Carbide down to make it 2 series in a row as well.

 

So there we go, we’ve met all 6 of our competitors and to be honest as much as I’ve given a bit of a prediction for each of them, any of the 6 could win this heat if they are on song. Thats how close this heat is. I also think its a bit of a waste. Yes we’re going to get some insanely good fights but we’ve got the top 3 from the last wars including 3 others that are definitely not to be taken lightly and can cause an upset. I wasn’t sure how I felt about having so many good robots together but now I’ve wrote this, I’ve decided I don’t really like the idea. But hey, its not going to stop me watching it.

And as ever a thank you to everyone who read the first heat preview, it is very much appreciated. Feel free to leave me your predictions below and as ever I’ll leave a link to the last preview piece and my Twitter page, should you feel the need to keep up to date with my life. But more importantly tune into BBC2 at 8 on Sunday night. It’s sure to serve up a treat.

 

Twitter – @jaymess24

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Here we go again folks. Its time to get those series links set up as we prepare for that metal smashing extravaganza that returns to our screens this coming Sunday: Robot Wars, the 10th war. It feels like it been a long time coming with the last series ending in April and with this series being filmed in May, but the wait will soon be over. New machines, a new format and new arena hazards await those who dare enter inside. So as we prepare for what is to come, I’ve decided to relight the fire on my still not very famous heat previews.

This series previews may be somewhat shorter given the fact that there are only 6 robots in each heat this time around. Those who know me will know that I went to Glasgow for two days of filming in May and it was a fantastic experience. That said when they put 3 robots into the arena, I thought we were about to witness a whiteboard fight! Every robot effectively gets 2 chances to progress this time. The winners of each 3 way fight automatically go through. The remaining 4 then fight each other until we have 2 more, who then go into head to heads with the winner from the first battle. The 2 winner from that form the heat final. Got it? Good, because I didn’t until recently… Lets check out the teams forming the first heat of this brand new war.

 

Note – As I went to the filming I obviously know the outcomes of some fights, though these were only the first round melees. I will still be analysing the machines in the whole series as if seeing them for the first time, there will be NO spoilers here in these blogs.

Extra Note – Lucky for you lot though I saw zero fights from this first heat, so I have no idea what to expect either!

Third and final note – Because the Beeb are doing some serious messing about, only a few official shots of competitors are available and I’ve only seen those be released by teams on Twitter. Therefore I’ve just had to do my best with what Google can offer me for a few of them. Hopefully the BBC will have their act together by next week.

 

Behemoth

Behemoth

Ah Behemoth. One of the most experienced machines of all time and still competing. Feels like its been around since the dawn of time. Its stood the test of it as well, remaining with the same sort of design that took it to the semi finals of Robot Wars 2. Though its performances haven’t always been amazing in the UK championships, Behemoth still remains a force on the live stage. They even finished 3rd in this years FRA UK championship. Some feat for near 20 year old robot.

But whether its just been bad luck or machine error, Behemoth has never quite lived up to what its capable of in Robot Wars. Even as recent as the last series, they had great chance to get through, and really gave Eruption a run for their money. A poor decision on an untested weapon choice ultimately let them down against Cherub and its things like that, that make you think, can this machine still be a contender? I still think they’re very worthy of a spot in the competition and looking at their draw, the team must be licking their lips at the prospect of making a real impression in this series. I don’t even think we saw all the weapon mods last time either. The iconic lifting scoop is still the primary weapon, and we know about the anti spinner bucket and the grabber. I though there was another one or two hidden away somewhere, may even be new for this series. I must have read that somewhere, Im not clever enough think that far outside the box. Also the axe looks like its making a return this time around and though it was never really effective before, I hope to see them make more use of it this time.

Prediction – There a chance here for Behemoth. If all the right calls are made they should win their group fight, from then on its anybodys guess. I’d predict a heat final this time for Behemoth which would still keep them in contention for the wildcard spot in the 10 way melee (Oh yea, theres a 10 way melee this series!). There just one machine in this heat that will still have a bit too much for them. More on that later….

 

Apocalypse

Apocalypse_S10

The strength of an Elephant, who wrote this?? So is it me or does anyone else see Splinter here? Very similar to the series 5 version of said machine, Apocalypse enters the wars for the very first time, though it is an experienced machine built by an experienced team. Once again we have to look back through the history of the live events to a robot that is one of my favourites through the years, Turbulence. This robot is a wedged box with a huge flipper on the front and has been over the years, very successful. The team upgraded it to Apocalypse which didn’t perform as planned. In fact Turbulence is still competing and the version of Apocalypse Im currently talking about isn’t. Speaks volumes. The team went away and built a new version of Apocalypse which is what you see here. A low machine with a big axe and side grabbing arms to hold opponents in place. I like the look of it, and yes we’ve somewhat seen it before with Splinter, but they never really maximised the potential of this combination. That version of Splinter is about 16 years old too and as we’ve seen since the reboot, technology has moved on. I’m expecting bigger things from this one.

Prediction – 3 machines have caught my eye in this heat so they are nailed on for ‘Round 2’ for me. That means theres a space vacant and Apocalypse could take it. It will be competing with a spinner for that last slot so the hardox and titanium armour will be tested, but I think it can stand up to it. Apocalypse will be aiming for that 3rd place spot as one of the qualifiers for the 10 way fight for me.

 

Donald Thump

Donald_Thump_complete

This is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. So brilliant in fact that Im truly amazed the BBC allowed it. And the strange thing is, Donald Thump actually looks like quite a good robot for something so jokey. In the old days of Granny’s Revenge and Chromalot, the robots and teams were thoroughly entertaining though never really successful. This machine could buck that trend. A solid looking bot and fine looking weapon in the form of a 16 kg 5000 rpm spinning bar that the team say has the ability to right the machine too. Looks like it can cause a fair bit of damage and given its aesthetics I don’t think we’ll forget about this one for a while. I love the way that the comedy effect is there but could well be very effective.

But wait until you see the team. Talking and dressing like the 45th president of the USA and attempting to ‘Make Robot Wars great again’ whilst they do it. How relevant is all of this? In a world where you have to dodge lasers in order to make the slightest little joke about anything, to use the theme of a relatively sensitive subject like this and do it well is, well brave for one, but also very clever. A real breathe of fresh air for the competition. I hope these guys do very well. One downside I’ve heard though; the infamous yellow quiff wont be on the machine in the arena. Ah well, can’t have everything I suppose.

Prediction –  Well it will certainly be an experience with these guys around! I’m looking forward to it and Donald Thump could well have something to say about the outcome of this heat. It will be a toss up between these and Apocalypse as to who gets into the last 4 of the heat, but I’d like to think this will win at least one fight. Bigly, of course.

 

The Swarm

The_Swarm

Now this is something new. Clusterbots have come and gone like Gemini or Crackers N Smash but never in UK Robot Wars have we seen one with more than 2 parts. Enter The Swarm, built and driven by our old friends The Big Brother team, consisting of not 2, not even 3 but 4 parts each adding up to that magic 110 kg mark. And each have their own name too, meet Duck, Blenda, Pinzer & Skye each equipped with a different weapon including a flipper, a bar spinner, a crusher and an overhead blade. For me, this is one of the most exciting entries ever in Robot Wars, how powerful are they? Can they live with machines 4 times heavier than them? Or is 4 just too many parts? To be fair each only can only weight a maximum of 27 kg evenly so are also a lot smaller as well as lighter than their competitors, but it still doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for these little critters. Its very original and a great concept and for each to have their own role to play with the weaponry just makes it that little more exciting. Which one will lead the attack? Will they rescue each other if they get into trouble? The combinations of each machine fighting are plentiful, but as ever with a clusterbot if a certain part is out, the machine as one is out. I’d guess you’d need to immobilise 2 of The Swarm to beat them, which might just be a little too simple for such a great design.

Prediction –  I genuinely love this machine. Add the idea that each one has its own name and design, its own personality. I really is one of my favourite entries ever. However…. The size and weight of each robot is surely bound to count against it. Though the power of 4 will annoy, at most, a big heavyweight like Behemoth I cant see them doing too much damage and each machine might not make a big enough impression. Maybe 4 parts is too many? I just see The Swarm taking an early bath this series, but my god I hope we see them back again. A million out of 10 for creativity.

 

Sabretooth

Sabretooth

One of the heroes of the last war returns in the form of Sabretooth and this time, Team Legion have brought along a tidy looking machine. Same sort of concept, invertable yellow thing with a monster drum on the front but just looks more refined. Much stronger looking armour that is basically just the one structure, as opposed to little bits that were screwed on in Series 9. These guys were one of my favourites last time. What an effort it was to rebuilt what little they had left after the Terrorhurtz and Aftershock fights and this version looks a lot more like a proper evolution of a design that had potential. The gap in between wars really seems to have given the team lots of time to iron out all the faults with the Series 9 version, learning from past efforts and if it goes right, has the potential to have I think, possibly the best drum spinner in the contest.

That all said I am talking about a robot that hadn’t won a fight before the last war, even though there were some very good designs previous to it. A bit like Behemoth they never had the luck, something always seemed to go wrong whether it was weapons breaking, self righters letting them down, little things that one can learn from and take as an experience. It paid off because that win over Terrorhurtz was brilliant and thats the sort of performance we want to see from Sabretooth. I think there is major potential here for more wins and possibly a few upsets.

Prediction – As far as Im concerned Sabretooth is a real competitor these days and they have a great chance to build on what they started last time. Should dispatch a couple of machines in this heat relatively easily and they’ll be well in the mix for the top 3. Top 2 might be a bit too much but I really wouldn’t put it past them. Like I said, could cause a surprise.

 

Apollo

Apollo

The former champs return with a highly upgraded and beautiful looking Apollo. I mean it really does look good, finished with a lovely white and a sleek shape to house that flipper. We all know what Apollo can do but mainly spinners (namely Carbide) got the better of it last time and never really recovered. This time, much better armour and somewhat crucially, interchangeable flipping arms. Imagine if they’d have had that luxury last time. Also Apollo is a lot quicker now, capable of reaching 20 mph with a huge increase in power which is some 10 times better than in the last war.

For such a simple looking design Apollo has always been effective and once again are staking their claim for the best flipping robot in the UK. I’ve seen this version at live events and rather like Sabretooth, it just looks like a pure evolution of an already very good machine. Nothing too fancy and not messing with the core components, just building on what was already in place and improving it bit by bit. But with that also comes risk. We’ve seen the likes of Pulsar upgrade in the past and it just not work how it should. Very good machines have fallen early before because the upgrades didn’t work or just weren’t good enough. Surely that wont happen here?

Prediction – Easy heat favourites for me. In fact I can’t really see too much troubling Apollo here (famous last words). It looks like the real deal again, low enough to get under most competitors and strong enough to withstand any blow from a spinner or axe. I never like a one sided contest in anything so in the nicest possible way, I hope there is a bit of trouble (sorry guys), but either way I think we’ll be seeing Apollo in the final again.

 

So there we go, our 6 machines for this week are all here and raring to go. This looks like a really solid start for the series, with a mix of design, weaponry and experience amongst those competing. The only downside for me is that the start of the series begins at exactly the same time as the Formula 1 American GP, my 2 favourite things ever since I was a child. I have no idea which to watch first and which to record! I’ll probably decide on the day….

Thank you very much sticking with me and I will be back throughout the series to review each heat and of course, the Grand Final. See below for links to my WordPress page, where you’ll find every review I’ve done for the last 2 series, as well as a few other bits an pieces in there too, and a link to my Twitter. Feel free to give us a follow on there. I’ll also leave a link to my last Robot Wars piece where I gave out my not very famous end of series awards. Don’t forget to tell your mates and the carnage begins this Sunday 22nd October at 8pm. Prepare to activate.

WordPress  – Jaymess24 

Twitter – @jaymess24

Robot Wars Series 9 – Awards & Best Bits

Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy Review

If you were brought up in the 90s like myself, you’ve probably been waiting for this for a long time. With the like of Mario and Sonic still at large in the middle of that decade, Sony too were looking for an iconic platformer and whilst characters came and went, Crash Bandicoot was the one that stuck out in many peoples minds to the point that he became the mascot for the PS1. Known for his wacky personality and playing the unlikely hero, this marsupial became a massive hit when he was first revealed and has spawned numerous sequels and spin offs over the last 20 years. And now he is back in glorious HD and 4K gameplay with probably the most memorable, first 3 games. Excellent.

This was my first screenshot. Crash looks like he's tired already
This was my first screenshot. Crash looks like he’s tired already

So lets dive in, how does this masterpiece look? Well brilliant really is the only answer. Great use of the vibrant colours and scenery that we remember from the original games but still keeping that retro game feel. This for me is the first true remaster I’ve played; taking an game thats 20 years old and bringing it up to modern standards, not just grabbing a 5 year old PS3 game and saying its been ‘Optimised for PS4’ (I’m looking at you Modern Warfare…). Every level from Crash 1 through to 3 has had a proper tuning up. Sharper graphics to the levels we’ve got used to in this age of gaming and sparing no expense on anything; the colours and the shades on everything are pitch perfect to exactly the way I remembered them. Whether you’ve played these before, it is a good looking game.

This comparison shows you all you need to know
This comparison shows you all you need to know

And then theres the characters. Again 10/10 for effort here, they all look amazing. Tuned up to look good whilst keeping their personality that made them such a likeable bunch in the first place. Of course Crash is back along with his sister Coco, who is also now playable in almost every level in another great twist added for this game. She now has the same abilities as her brother too so you neither gain or lose an advantage playing as her. The baddies are back too. There’s Cortex of course along with his henchmen, including Ripper Roo, N. Brio, Tiny Tiger and, my personal favourite N. Gin. Never knew why I liked N. Gin so much.

The old gang are back
The old gang are back

Vicarious Visions (VV, because I can’t be bothered to type their name everytime) seem to have kept this nice and simple by keeping the characters as close to the original designs as possible, which for me is by far the most effective way of doing it. Crash for example, the orange fluff ball he is. Blue shorts, brown shoes, crazy Crash dance(This was great to see again). Job done. None of this crazy tattoo malarkey on his back or making Tiny look like your pet cat. (Thanks for ruining that Sierra by the way. Top job…..) It’s exactly what you’d expect but more importantly, its what you want. When this game was announced I was worried VV would stick to the Crash of the Titans era of character design but alas no, I thankfully was wrong, and we have our great set of characters just as we left them on the PS1.

So the gameplay, and this has been a big talking point. The gameplay mechanics changed quite a bit in the old days of Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot right from the first game up until, at least, Warped. The first Crash Bandicoot is a very basic game. When I say basic I don’t mean easy, oh no. I mean it is pretty bog standard, very good but very simple. You jump and you spin to attack to clear levels, thats all. Fast forward to Crash 3 and you can slide, double jump, sprint, even have a bazooka amongst many other abilities. It was a perfect show of game development. So as the first Crash was so basic something had to change. VV decided to take the jumping mechanic from Crash 3 and use it throughout all 3 of their remastered games. This sounds great no? Well yes and no. For first time gamers this levels the playing field, you have to run up to take a jump and can go further with more well timed jumps just as you would do in any modern day platformer. For hardcore fans like myself it has been a bit harder than that. The mechanic in Crash 1 allowed you to jump the same distance from wherever you are be it a standing start or a running start, there was little to no variation. These days to get a longer jump you have to have that run up and extra timing which makes, at least the first game, quite difficult to get the hang of. Heard of people talking about a level called The High Road? This is a perfect example of this new mechanic placed into an old game. There’s parts in that level that, back in 1996, you could hold and have a safety jump before going across. In the N Sane Trilogy if you take the safety jump to steady yourself, you wont have the momentum to get across due to the Crash 3 mechanic being used. I hope I haven’t lost you there? This being said I always felt that Crash 1 was the hardest Crash game anyway, given that I never went back for gems or anything because the 6 year old me would complain that its ‘too hard’. And by golly I was right.

After losing 30 odd lives, I resorted to cheating a bit on The High Road...
After losing 30 odd lives, I resorted to cheating a bit on The High Road…

Don’t let this distract you from the other ways of playing. It’s still the same lovable platformer that we knew, despite a change in the hit makers making it that little bit harder to jump on what you’re aiming for. Jump your way across levels collecting gems, crystals and relics whilst spinning and sliding your way past the numerous evil scientists, robots and….. frogs, that want to hinder your progress. It’s still your typical old school platform game and with such comes the major challenge; 100% completion. Speed running your way through the story completing 25 or so levels and beating Cortex is satisfying but its only half the picture. If you want achieve greatness in these games, you’re going to have to aim for 100% by collecting every other item the games have to offer, and believe me it is immensely satisfying. I wasn’t a great gamer when I was a kid, I’ll be honest, and I never really took the liberty to go for all these extras. I only completed one of these 3 Crash games to 100% and that was Warped and even then I was in my late teens. But the added element of such a classic game series that I’ve played a million times being brought back to life and the fact it includes trophies (Man I love getting a trophy) means I’m more willing to go for it. And that’s my target, at least 100% in each game. Wish me luck!

In gaming, Crash Bandicoot has always been my man (I’m fully aware he is a Bandicoot and not a man). I can’t remember the last time I loaded up a new game and felt so happy to play it. The look, the feel, everything, I felt like I was 6 years old again, a08nd yet it keeps that core part of the originals that we remember so well. There’s nothing that seems out of place for me, the characters even sound the same despite the fact most of them have different voice actors these days. The camera angles are dot on, near perfect to what they were. Don’t get me wrong there are parts in this trilogy that are insanely difficult, but there always was. I’ve seen a lot of people mention that this remaster is harder than the original. I disagree. I think there has been no change in difficulty from Crash 1, 2 or 3 just that the jumping has become more difficult to master in the early games. I haven’t found any complaints from people saying that Crash 3 is harder than the original, just the first 2, probably attributing to the different jumping methods in the 3 games. It’s still a challenge and that thrill of playing through a level and losing 43 lives in order to get a clear gem that looks exactly the same as the other 39 you’ve collected is still a great feeling. Yes I am talking from experience.

This is probably my favourite trophy screenshot ever
This is probably my favourite trophy screenshot ever

I paid £32 for my copy of the N Sane Trilogy and it is worth every single penny. It’s a game that I’d have willingly paid more for as well if the human instinct of saving money didn’t kick in. But it is that good. For new players, maybe it’s something different to the GTA’s or FIFA’s that you’ve been so religiously loyal to these past few years and it’s a great addition to your game collection, showing that the classics never die. For fans of the series it’s a whole new level of amazing and a must have. I’ll give huge credit to VV for remaking these games and to Naughty Dog for letting them, it’s everything the old school gamer ever wanted and has been beautifully done. Hats off to you.

What do you think? Is this everything you hoped for? Do you wish something was different? Or did you not like it? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter, I’ll leave the links below. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts and hopefully I’ll be back soon. Just one last thing, When are they remastering Crash Team Racing and Crash Bash then?

Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy – 9.8/10

PSN – Jaymess24 Twitter – @jaymess24

D.Va is glitched in Overwatch Uprising…

D.Va on the Uprising event is glitched. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this? They must have surely, I can’t be the only one in the world. I’ve seen reports online but nothing mentioned on this site so I’m putting this post out to explain whats happening and to ask, have you experienced this too? (Apologies for poor picture quality)

 

So joining another game I scrolled through to try D.Va. I thought she might be quite good at it, decent weapon spread, high health, and an ultimate that can clear paths with ease. So I selected and off we went, down the dark tunnel that leads us to an Omnic infested site that we have to clear. At the start, this was the scoreboard I was greeted with:

Screenshot_20170426-155144

Pretty standard. So as we know by now the first 2 Omnic soldiers are sat right in the tunnel minding their own business. They have to go.

Screenshot_20170426-155322

A quick blast from the cannons and they are down. Now as far as I’m aware there are only 2 in that tunnel. There was 2 when I used Tracer, there was 2 when I used Mcree and I’m sure there are still 2 there when I use D.Va. However after those 2 kills the scoreboard now looks like this:

Screenshot_20170426-155334

So according to the game now, I have a killstreak of 2 and 4 Omnic kills…… What?! It seems D.Va’s kills count as 2? I’ve not yet experienced this with any other character, partly because I haven’t tried but mainly to see how high I can get the number at the end. We continue on, taking out the next 2 Omnics around the corner:

Screenshot_20170426-155414

And then the 3 by the first terminal:

Screenshot_20170426-155432

Credit to the Ana healing me there. So as far as I make it, that is 7 Omnic eliminations for myself. Lets see what the scoreboard says shall we?

Screenshot_20170426-155443

14! I have a killstreak of 7 but 14 eliminations! Wow. it looks to me like D.Va’s kills are worth double. What a weird and wonderful bug to have in the game…

I haven’t seen anything that says that other characters have been affected by this bug, how you found any? Has this bug affected your games? I forgot to screenshot it but I ended up with 402 eliminations at the end of this game, what’s your highest number with D.Va? Try it out for yourself! The event ends within the next week and I wonder if it will be patched? I played this on PS4, have you noticed anything on other platforms?

 

Thanks for reading this short and sweet post guys, hope you enjoyed it. I’d now guess that I wont be able to choose our favourite tank now for the fact that everyone will want to try it out. The full video I took can be found on my Twitter page linked below. Let me know your experiences in the comments!

 

Twitter – @jaymess24

Robot Wars Series 9 – Awards & Best Bits

And so another war has ended, but it ended on a high. A brilliant series was won by the most worthy machine, the unbeaten Carbide, and it will take something special for someone to take their crown in the next war which starts filming in about a months time. And I will be there! Can’t express to you how happy I am to have got tickets this time around. Really can’t wait.

Onto the issues at hand though and now the series has ended, I’m going to look back at the best bits (and the worst bits) by handing out my massively not famous Robot Wars awards. I got a big reaction from this in series 8 and after plenty of high quality fights and huge drama theres a lot more to be given out. I’ve whittled it down to the categories you see below, some new, some I used last time too. See if you agree with me. Good luck everyone!

 

Best Design

Straight in at the deep end then with the award for the best design. This is who I think was unique regardless of success of how they look and there has been some brilliantly designed machines this series. A clusterbot hasn’t been seen for a long time and Crackers N Smash was great to see. And they were built like an absolute tank. The hits they took from Carbide were huge but they stood up to it. I’m a big fan of Heavy Metal too and Id love to see them myself on the live stage in the future. I’ll put Jellyfish in here too, looked good and was something different. Nice and low and had a huge clamp and its a real shame they wont be returning, but a great effort it was. But my award for best design was something that was completely different and unique, something we wont forget about and sure Ms Nightshade didn’t last very long but it was interesting and the idea had potential. I hope we see more of these new designs in the future and they deserve recognition in my book.

Winner – Ms Nightshade

Ms_Nightshade

 

Best Fight

Once again a category with many, many options so this one could be the most debated. What I’ve noticed is that most of these fights involve Eruption. The fight against Behemoth was fast and furious, both fights against Carbide were aggressive and the one against Aftershock was classic Robot Wars. 2 machines slogging it out trying to land that killer blow. Great stuff. I also really enjoyed the Sabretooth/Terrorhurtz fight too even though most of the action happened in the first 30 seconds. It was interesting. I cant go past this category with mentioning Concussion and Thor either. The heat final was a tight and tense affair but the second round fight, wow. More twists and turns than at Silverstone. But the winner here does involve that machine Eruption and it was that first round battle with Behemoth, Eruption and Hobgoblin. Flying robots everywhere, speed and aggression were on show and it never let up. A proper Robot Wars melee.

Winner – Eruption/Hobgoblin/Behemoth/Cobra

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Biggest Hit

There’s no denying, there were some seriously big hits in this war most bought the arena crew some overtime pay. They are the sort of hits that demonstrate how ridiculously powerful these machines have come, and hits that we have never seen before in Robot Wars. Starting at the beginning well anything Aftershock did was huge, but the first real big hit for me was PP3D on Cherub. That had me squawking like a child and bouncing off my seat of just how out of this world it was. And it took out the arena wall too. Incredible. From there they just got bigger. Pulsar send Supernova into space when disc hit drum and Carbide smashed Smash almost the length of the arena to destroy the wall again. In fact pretty much anything Carbide did was massive. Aftershock got involved too, 2 huge whacks on Terrorhurtz were one thing but the last blow on Apollo in the final could have caused an earthquake. Lets not forget that these machines that are sent flying, spinning or are launched into the air are 100 kg plus. What power we are seeing. For me though the winner of this award is the very first one I remember. PP3D throwing Cherub into the wall. She was indeed up to speed then boys.

Winner – PP3D

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Best Student Built Machine

One thing that was a big positive for me during this series was the amount of machines built by school or university projects. You may have gathered that I am and always have been a huge fan of robotic combat, but I’ve never had the chance, the knowledge or the money to built a robot of my own. So to see at least 3 machines come through as after school clubs or as engineering assignments is fantastic for me, a great opportunity was presented to these guys to learn more about building robots and getting the chance to fight them. Expulsion and Frostbite stand out here but Trolley Rage and even Rusty were university projects. Trolley Rage was my favourite here. Sure it didn’t last long but the idea was to build something so simple that it would inspire other builders to have a go themselves. Great stuff. I like all of the student built machines but I’ll give this award to Frostbite. Ok it got smashed in its 2 fights and had to retire, but it was the only one I can remember that got through its first round melee. That and the fact that it was an optional after school project and not part of a course, it was their choice to take this up. Brilliant idea and top marks to the teacher for letting them have a go. Top bloke.

Winner – Frostbite

Frostbite

 

Best Robot Competing From Nottingham

I apologise, I am massively biased towards my home town. They only live about 20 minutes away from me!

Winner – Ironside 3

Ironside 3 S9

 

Worst Robot

Uh oh, time to unleash nasty me. Yes, well there has to be one doesn’t there; which was the worst robot in the series? Who gets to join Overdozer in taking home this most prestigious award? There were a lot of robots that had a very short innings in this series but I wouldn’t say that makes them bad. This is more to do with who was just pretty darn bad, as in design, performance and strength. A couple of contenders for me here, Rusty pretty much came apart at the seams when flipped. Granted 110 kg landing from about 3 meters needs to stand up to much, but it should have been the likes of Carbide doing that kind of damage not Apollo. Overdozer’s sequel Wyrm is a contender but the team were just so good this time it would be unfair to give them this award for series 9. No my award for the worst robot goes to a machine that actually looked rather good. Rapid was probably the star in its first round melee but a few knocks from Aftershock meant it lost it’s first head to head. Then, not being able to fix the machine due to the complex, high cost design was pretty killer for me. A shame for a good looking machine but sometimes simplicity might be best. Sorry guys, bring it back and make sure you can get to all the bits, if you know what I mean.

‘Winner’ – Rapid

rapid

 

The ‘Thanks For Coming/Its The Taking Part That Counts’ Award

Well it used to be the taking part that counted when you were a child. Now its all about winning! Some machines had a good old go at this series but many fell rather early on. Therefore I’m going to give recognition to those that arrived with the hope of robot glory, but just collapsed within 10 seconds. Special mentions to High 5 and TMHWK here and a big up to Crushtacean who I loved seeing back in the arena. Rusty again promised so much as they were the upgraded Ceros robot and Nuts were also good value despite the issues they faced. But for me Crank E were the equivalent in this competition of a drive through Mcdonalds. They arrived, got into the arena and swiftly left it. They came with a much better looking robot, but the weapon didn’t work and yes, they were battered by Aftershock but I’m not sure the robot even moved either. So Crank E proving that it really is the taking part that counts…. Cheers for coming guys, try and stick with us for longer next time.

Thanks For Coming; Crank E

crank-e

 

Best Team

Back on track with the positives and here is the award for the best team; the team that were the most gracious, good value and the best entertainers. There were a lot of very good and spirited teams in this war, oozing personality and showing that there is a human aspect to this game. The kids of Cherub were great, never looked down when they were beaten, never got too cocky when they won. They enjoyed themselves and that’s what its all about. Big shout out to the Jellyfish and Nuts guys again, always great value. But the heroics of Sabretooth and everyone involved was great and it was nice to see such unity, have you got another drum yet guys? Great stuff. I liked the Concussion guys too, a brand new robot and a first time team and they took everything that was thrown at them and were good value. Of course I’m sending massive credit to all teams because the show would be nothing without you but this award goes to my favourite guys in the show since the reboot. Despite the fact they are/were professional entertainers, the Apollo boy band gave me laughs and quality dance moves that I am itching to try out. Top draw entertainment.

Winners – Marc & Dave, Team Apollo

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Most Impressive Robot

Big, big category this. Which of our 40 teams was the most impressive? I’ll get this out of the way first, I’m going to gloss over Carbide for this one. Yes it was hugely impressive and destructive but we sort of knew what to expect, we knew that it was going to be ridiculously powerful. I am by no means forgetting them completely but I thought others were more impressive. Aftershock again was fantastic. Destructive and well designed I thought too; there was very little of that gyroscopic rocking that we saw with other spinners. For me thought this award goes to machine that, arguably, followers of the live scene will say that we knew what to expect from them too. Eruption went out relatively early in series 8 and that was a shame. Series 9 was another chance to shine and they did just that. Top that with the second quickest victory ever and 4 robots thrown out of the arena in a row and you’ve got a star machine. This robot is strong everywhere and watching it was very, very impressive.

Winner – Eruption

Eruption S9

 

Worst Arena Issue

Sorry I have to have a little rant here. The arena needs a few changes. The walls were smashed a couple of times as was the floor but I’m willing to look over that given the huge leap in power that the robots have now got. That will be fixed, lessons will be learned but other things need changing. I’m still not sold on the floor flipper activating mid fight. I don’t know if it makes it exciting or ruins fights. Either way the mechanism needs sorting. Too many times it went off to late or too early as seen when Cherub got planted there. Then theres the control booths. For a team to not be able to see their robot when they’re driving it is bad, it gives an unfair advantage to the other team if you can’t get out, but again I’d like to think that will be fixed. No, the most irritant and annoying part of the current Robot Wars arena is the pit. Most of the time it didn’t sit flat and robot would constantly get stuck and it would ruin fights. Come on guys, for the love of God please, please get that sorted before series 10.

Worst Feature – That Bledy Pit

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Biggest Wow Moment

I don’t think anyone can write a piece like this and get through it without mentioning that moment in the Carbide/Aftershock fight. What a moment that was and it was so beautifully edited that we saw everything that we needed to see and to show that it was a big deal. I have watched it over and over and it is no less fascinating after watching nearly 20 years of Robot Wars. I’ll quickly mention the moment when Mr Speed Squared took flight which was spectacular when you remember that was 110 kg flying and rolling 2 meters in the air. But nothing will top the side panel of Aftershock inbedded in the polycarbonate wall, it went all the way through. After watching the evolution of robotic combat for as long as I can remember, it was a staggering moment in UK Robot competition and one that will never be forgotten.

Winner – This…

CarbideAftershock

 

Most Improved

I’m going to end this piece with credit to the machine, and the team that upgraded that machine, that was the most improved from series 8 to 9. There’s only one winner for me here. Big shout outs again to the like of Sabretooth and Supernova who went through pretty much a rebuild and were improved this time around. Aftershock obviously was a huge step up from Shockwave and a much better machine. Foxic, even little Foxic looked better in its 30 odd seconds of fighting that its 4 battles last time out and credit from me goes to Chimera 2 as well, I thought they put on a good show. But Carbide, what can you say? Possibly the most dominant display by any champion ever. Not even troubled really throughout the series and that is a serious achievement given the standard of competition these days. They were good last time but the improvements made to be that dominant is incredible. The new UK champions have the last say here.

Winner – Carbide

CarbideS9

So I wrap this blog and indeed this series up by saying thank you once again to everybody. This includes all those that have read my pieces over this amazing series, I love reading your feedback and seeing my Twitter go off with its likes and retweets is a great feeling, I appreciate it. A thank you to all of the crew who made the series possible. You all did a great job and I hope to see you next month! And of course a massive thank you to all of the roboteers who competed and applied for this series. We are chuffed to have you all on board and we hope you continue to wow us with your designs and fights in the future. Whatever issues you have had in this series or whatever dramas you have faced, please come back again. Robot Wars needs our returning teams as much as the new ones. I love the roboteering community and long may it continue this way. Bring on series 10 (watch out for me in the audience) and lets hope its as good as this one.

Until then folks.

 

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