/30 August 2000
|by: E.C. Ostermeyer
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the "BattleBots" recap, featuring the results, stats, and other bits of techno-weenie information that gladdens the heart of every "repressed-Terminator-tendencies" geek on the planet.
I'm your recapper, Brother Micron.
We come to you live on tape from the BattleBot Arena, a converted pier warehouse jutting into San Francisco harbor.
Here's a run-down of tonight's First Round Tournament matches:
We start with a Lightweight bout that features the whirling death blades of Ziggo, against the bludgeoning power of Missing Link.
Match #2 moves us into the Heavyweight division, pitting Nightmare's sixteen inches of whirling stainless steel destruction, against a giant can of extra-chunky whoopass named Mauler.
Staying with the Heavyweights, our final match pits OverKill's 22" cleaver blade against the warhammer-wielding hell spawn named Frenzy.
Your hosts are Bill Dwyer and Sean Salisbury. They are ably assisted down on the Arena floor by evil twins Jason and Randy Sklar, and the sumptuous former "Baywatch" eye-candy, Donna D'Errico.
Oh, and Bill Nye, the Science Guy is along to provide the necessary veneer of geeky-ness.
Dwyer: "The best and the brightest and the most evil technical minds have traveled here from around the world, with one goal in mind: pure unfettered destruction!"
Briefly, Dwyer goes over the rules.
The fights last three minutes, unless there's a knockout, or the referee stops the contest.
Judges award points for aggression, strategy, and damage inflicted.
Points are also awarded for causing your opponent damage via the hazards in the BattleBox Arena itself, to whit, spinning blades, spike ramrods, sledgehammers, and lifting ramps called hellraisers.
We go right to:
Match #1: Ziggo (Lightweight, 53 lbs [or LW53]) d. Missing Link, (LW57), Dual-wheel dismemberment/Referee stops contest, 1:18)
Missing Link, looking like a set of malevolent bar bells, is usually equipped with a chainsaw and dual spearguns. Tonight, however, it is unaccountably armed with a block of wood on the end of a stick.
The bout opens with Missing Link on the attack.
This kind of reminds me of the hapless Wile E. Coyote taking on Taz. Has about the same effect, too, as a bump to Ziggo's whirling blades only succeeds in shredding the block of wood.
The hubcap-like Ziggo sees an opening, and slashes in, chopping off one of Missing Link's drive wheels. Thus crippled, Missing Link can only spin ineffectually in a circle, and is helpless against the relentless onslaught of Ziggo.
Another strike by Ziggo destroys the R/C uplink. The next destroys the other wheel's axle, immobilizing the stricken 'Bot. A final, slashing attack shorts out Missing Link's drive motor with a shower of sparks.
Definite knockout, with the crowd hollering like they're at an ECW PPV!
The match stats:
Ziggo scored 5 Slams, 1 Jab, & 1 Hazard Damage (spikes).
Missing Link Scored 0 Slams, 4 Jabs, & 0 Hazard Damage.
Post-match, Jason Sklar has Missing Link's designer/operator Jason Bandis, who's grinning sheepishly while burdened with an armload of Missing Link's twisted parts. Ziggo's designer/operator Jonathan Ridden discusses the tactics he used. Both contestants shake hands
Next, we viewers at home get a big dose of high-sucrose content
Match #2: Mauler (HW209) d. Nightmare (HW209) (cumulative catastrophic damage/Referee stops contest, 0:46)
TechSpecs with Bill Nye features a rundown on Nightmare. A 209 lb stainless steel monster built by Jim Smentowski of Novato, CA, Nightmare sports a vertical sixteen-inch stainless steel death-wheel driven by a motor that's powerful enough to tow a car! Nightmare's
whirling primary weapon can reach speed in excess of 500 km/hour, making it rightly feared by all the competition.
We next see Mauler being wheeled out to the BattleBox Arena by two members of the South Bay RoboWarriors, aka the Tilford family.
A short biopic of the Tilfords shows us life on the home front in Portola Valley, CA.
It also gives us a good idea of just what kind of people build these hellish contraptions.
Mauler's goal, as stated by Supreme Commander and Chief Engineer Charles Tilford (aka "Daddy") is "Total Destruction and Domination World Wide!"
South Bay RoboWarrior "General" Morgan Tilford gives us wise words to live by:
"You have to make the other robot your bitch!"
To the match, and we start with a bang, as Mauler, with General Morgan at the controls, zooms right in and whacks off one of Nightmare's drive wheels before Smentowski can even get his monster across the ring. Mauler plays hockey using Nightmare's hacked-off wheel as the puck, then starts chopping bits and pieces off the crippled Nightmare's chassis.
We get a neat camera shot of General Morgan hollering "Oh, you want m-o-o-o-re?"
The referee finally stops the contest, but Mauler's still chewing up his opponent. General Morgan is finally warned off under threat of match forfeiture. Mauler then runs into the Arena wall to stop its whirling chopper blades.
Post-match, Randy Sklar is surrounded by Tilfords, who appear to be a little too, umm, "over-medicated." Example: General Morgan's comment that "He would have given Nightmare the edge, were it not for the 'psychic void.'"
Donna D-Errico consoles morose loser Jim Smentowski with kind words. No physical contact, unfortunately.
Match #3: Overkill (HW208) d. Frenzy (HW 210), (time expiration/ decision on points, 3:00)
Pre-match, we visit with Overkill's designer Christian Carlberg, at the Cool Robots Main Assembly Building. Overkill looks like a truncated hand truck, sporting one big mother of a carbide steel chopping blade. Footage shows Overkill slicing and dicing various helpless objects, including a six foot Subway "sammich", a Toshiba laptop, a watermelon, an old Radio Shack "Robie Jr.", and the "piece de resistance," a fish tank, complete with water, and a large, very dead mackerel.
Bill Nye has the specs. on Frenzy.
Designed by Patrick Campbell of Stevenson Ranch, CA for the Minus Zero team, "Frenzy is a 210 lbs. hatbox-sized warrior, constructed of CNC-machined 6061-grade aircraft aluminum, and powered by a 120v high-torque electric treadmill motor."
Says Nye: "It's hydraulic titanium hammer strikes at three times per second, pounding opponents."
The match opens with both Overkill and Frenzy stalking each other around the ring. Overkill makes the first lunge, but the carbide steel cleaver bounces harmlessly off Frenzy's sloping yellow carapace. Frenzy responds with a warhammer wallop that strikes the sloping glacis front of Overkill, bouncing off as well.
The two behemoths take the next thirty seconds or so whacking the Arena floor, and getting chewed up by the Arena Hazards, with Overkill getting the worst of the Killsaws.
Frenzy positions itself for another whack at Overkill, but gets whacked instead by a Sledgehammer Hazard, spoiling it's aim. Overkill speeds over to chop a hole in Frenzy, but Operator Carlberg misjudges the speed, and sends Overkill crashing into a bumper. Overkill tries to recover, but its wedge-shaped front is jammed between the bumper and the Arena wall. Frenzy tries for a couple of cheap shots on the helpless Overkill, but runs afoul of a Ramrod Spike Array Hazard, and lurches off in another direction. Overkill finally works free, and spins around. A lunge towards Frenzy looks to be paying off, with several chops making contact. One blow even throws Frenzy into a Ramrod Spike Array, doing damage to its undercarriage.
As the final seconds tick slowly away, both 'Bots grapple in mid-Arena; ramming, spinning, clobbering, trying for any advantage.
And that's where we leave it as the buzzer sounds, signaling the end of the match.
Overkill scored 0 Slams, 9 Jabs, and 3 Hazard Damage (Ramrod Spike Array, Killsaw, Sledgehammer)
Frenzy scored 0 Slams, 8 Jabs, and 2 Hazard Damage (Ramrod Spike Array, Killsaw.)
Additionally, Overkill had 29 Swings & Misses, while Frenzy had 31.
Your winner by a 2-point margin: Overkill.
Post match, Donna D'Errico interviews Frenzy's Patrick Campbell, who complained of being afflicted with "Reverse Left and Right Syndrome."
Randy Sklar, with Overkill's Christian Carlberg, observes that both Frenzy and Overkill were whacking the crap out of the floor a lot. Carlberg says that his driving was off, but he made up for it with pure aggression.
Winners this week: Ziggo (LW53), Mauler (HW209), and Overkill (HW208).
Bill Dwyer gets the last word:
"We've got loads more balls-out action right here next week on Battlebots. Here's your Hit of the Week."
"Hit of the Week" shows Ziggo ripping big chunks out of Missing Link's drive motor, with resultant pyrotechnics.
I had fun. I hope y'all did, too.
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