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Backs to the polycarb in US

If you are a fan of the UK Robot Wars television series, you may be forgiven for thinking that this is the only combative robot competition worth knowing about. You'd be forgiven, but you'd also be very very wrong. There is now another major competition where some of the worlds best robots battle it out to the death. It's not, however, the US Robot Wars. It's called BattleBots.

BattleBots have kept the sport alive in the US where numerous legal challenges have left RW crippled and sidelined and kept most other competitions firmly on the drawing board. BattleBots subtle changes to the rules (including heavier heavyweights) have made the difference between sucess and failure. There have been two BB competitions this year - one in California and one in Los Angeles. And we have been represented by some of the UKs finest robots.

I watched the first of this years BattleBots competitions via a webcast on ZDTV.  Although this meant staying up half the night and watching the event through a slightly dodgey link, the REALcast pictures were worth waiting for.

BattleBots takes place in an arena called the BattleBox (they are very big on branding and distancing themselves from Robot Wars in the US). The BattleBox is a large, polycarbonate walled arena, which looks just like a large glass cube. Inside the arena are two or more robots and a few bits of scenery such as floor mounted circular saws: none of the house robots or games that you see in Craig introducing each week here. The key to BB is fighting and the battles are fast an furious. As soon as the crowd have shouted the count-down (3-2-1 KICK RO-BUTT!) the war begins. All contact, no messing and lots of violence.

The UK robots to go over have been KillerHurtz and Razer (both entered twice) and more recently the legend of Mortis. In the first battle, KHz came second in the Gigabots (heavyweight) class and Razer took the Gigabot Melee prize (cold hard cash!). Both put on great shows and really proved that the Brits are every bit as good as the US contestants such as Carlo Bertocchini (BioHazard), Dan Dannick (Agrippa), Christian Carlberg (Nasty) and Peter Abrahamson (Ronin).

To find out how KHz, Razer and Mortis did in LA, we will have to wait. There is a pay-per-view on American tv in January but hopefully Sky or some similar satellite company will get the rights to show it over here. It is worth the spectacle but the battles are also backed by extras such as the amazing Mechadon walker produced by Industrial Light and Magic.

Will BB come to the UK? There are strong rumours that it will in 2000, but meantime, lets keep the flag flying for our boys overthere!!

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