I used to love watching ROBOT WARS as a young teenager. So as you can imagine when it was announced that the old sensation would make a comeback in 2016, I was the first to celebrate and get prepared for some mechanic crunching fun.
If you are too young to remember ROBOT WARS or just simply missed it, here’s a little reminder. The show is basically robot combat, as teams take on each other in deifying who the best contestant is.
So I lined up my remote at 8PM, as the new series began. Instantly I was greeted with a recognizable face. Dara O Briain introduced the set and explained the rules. Dara and Angela Scanlon are really funny and didn’t do too much wrong, though I still can’t help miss Craig Charles. His battle cries were immense and made the combats seem much fiercer and frenzied.
The arena itself is slightly annoying. The Floor Flipper seems very poor and managed to miss numerous robots throughout battles. The Floor Spikes seemed a bit pointless too. It was a bit of a shame that the pit didn’t spawn any smoke like the old one. I really hope going forward, that the production team make some more hazards within the arena, as it seems very difficult to activate one of them currently.
Probably the most famous part of previous series, were the House Robots. Dead Metal, Matilda, Shunt and Sir Killalot have all returned. They look superb, the weapons have clearly been upgraded and they weigh a lot more than before. The House Robots are definitely ready for 2016. The Patrol Zone area could be extended, because we really only saw our darlings have any impact in two of the nine battles.
I have to mention Jonathan Pearce. I think he is very important for the show's return, as his commentary is second to none. In the judging panel Noel Sharkey returned, with Sethu Vijayakumar and Lucy Rogers being new. There was no real dubious decisions, so I'll leave my judgement on them for future episodes.
The three returning contestants included Behemoth, Razor and Terrorhurtz. I am a massive fan of Razor but was disappointed by its outing. Apparently Behemoth can lift a Peugeot 205 off the ground and tow a Land Rover, and it looked pretty awesome during the first episode. It also appears both presenters can’t say the team name right, annoyingly so despite the announcer and commentator getting it correct. Terrorhurtz was poor, as the weapon was mostly jammed throughout every battle.
So that left five new contestants to appear. There were some who looked humorous. Nuts had little Clusterbots to get underneath opponents, that didn’t really work (although one flies across the arena at one stage, which made me laugh). The General had two front-mounted vertical spinning discs, but also two large tires and that always causes problems!!
Meanwhile Kill-E-Cranke-E looked very odd but their weapon, a spinning disc going at 450 rpm is serious. Carbide looks ferocious, with its 25kg blade making the damage more than sixty times of a sniper bullet. Bonk is like a newer yet less terrifying version of Terrorhurtz.
I think the current qualifying format is very good.
- The eight robots are split into two four-way melees, with two winners in each.
- Remaining four robots go into a league and battle each other in six head-to-head’s
- Last two go head-to-head, with the winner going to the grand final
ROBOT WARS was fun. Dara and Angela are humorous and provide enough information (although both need to learn how to say Behemoth!!!). The contestants were (for the most part) very impressive and some of the damage caused was shocking. I was expecting for the robots to be a bit boring on the first comeback series, but I was thankfully proved very wrong! I do like how the majority of the concept remains the same, but the arena could have some fresh ideas or more hazards.
If you like action on a Sunday night, then ROBOT WARS definitely guarantees that. There are things to be improved on - but you have to remember it has been absent for thirteen years and was never going to get it perfect straight away.
- Aired on BBC2, July 24 2016 at 20:00. Available on BBC iPlayer