The pioneer of this type of weapon, and by far the most successful, was double World Champion and UK Series 5 champion Razer. The weapon is so closely identified with its pioneer that most vertical crushers are instantly compared with Razer; Jonathan Pearce made the comparison frequently during his commentaries.
Despite Razer's enormous success with its weapon, few others replicated the level of success, and none reached the semi-finals. Other robots to enjoy some success with vertical crushers include Extreme 2 University Challenge champion Tiberius 3 and Nickelodeon Robot Wars Tag Team Terror champion Ming 3.
A vertical crusher, as the name suggests, is designed to attack the top of a robot, usually with a spike or crushing claw. To maximise attacking potential, they are almost always hydraulically powered, often allowing the crushing arm to deliver several tonnes of pressure.
Advantages and DisadvantagesEdit
- Vertical crushers are very effective at trapping and piercing through opponents, and are even capable of lifting robots off the ground without the need for additional lifting weapons. Both Razer and Tiberius 3 demonstrated these qualities on several occasions.
- They can often immobilise a competing robot in a single attack, by piercing through armour and damaging vital components such as motors, wheels or batteries. Many of Razer's victories involved it biting down on such components, such as the wheels of Tornado and Milly-Ann Bug, and the CO2 canister of Chaos 2.
- They could offer a very effective weapons synergy when combined with a wedge or a lifting weapon. Razer enjoyed considerable success in using its wedge to get underneath opponents before grabbing them, while other robots such as Mantis and the Series 5-6 versions of Tetanus combined crushers with lifters, giving them the potential to lift and crush simultaneously as well as possibly dump competitors out of the arena.
- When a robot has gripped another robot, it can control opponents by pushing it around the arena with precise control.
- Although grabbing attacks are limited to a maximum of 30 seconds, this can be circumvented by releasing the weapon and swerving in place, a tactic often used by Razer. Robots with crushers are also forgiven when the release of an opponent proves to be impossible, such as Tiberius 3's extended grabs on Roobarb and M2.
- The weapons systems of hydraulic crushers take up a significant amount of the robot's weight, resulting in it having to feature minimal armour or have numerous holes drilled into the robot in order to keep it within the weight limit. The distinctive designs of most crushers, such as those of Razer, Tiberius 3 and Snake Bite, were a direct result of this limitation.
- As a result, many robots with hydraulic crushers had very little or no armour at all. With its electronics completely exposed, R.O.C.S. was especially vulnerable to attacks from fellow crusher Pinser, while Razer was protected by a very thin layer of armour prior to the weight limit increase, which was easily damaged by Pussycat in Series 4.
- Vertical crushers often have slow, inefficient, or non-existent self-righting mechanisms. Mechanisms usually include arms or 'wings' connected to the crusher (e.g. Razer, Ming 3), and can be easily damaged, as Razer's encounters with Big Nipper and 13 Black demonstrate.
- Additionally, these mechanisms could be rendered ineffective if a robot was flipped into a certain position. Razer's wings were not designed to right it when it was flipped onto its back, for example.
- These crushers are also difficult to incorporate into an invertible design without leaving a high ground clearance. The Series 5 version of Suicidal Tendencies is a notable exception.
- As crushers are normally powered by hydraulics, the weapon is necessarily slow, so requires a skilful driver or secondary weapon in order to trap the opponent in place long enough to pierce it. While being generally successful in trapping and piercing its opponents, Razer was notably unable to attack the fast-moving Onslaught in the fourth round of the Southern Annihilator.
- Crushers are often vulnerable to being damaged, especially from rotating or overhead weapons such as flywheels and axes. Ming 3's losses to Terrorhurtz and Supernova especially demonstrate this fragility, as does Soldier Ant's defeat in Battle of the Stars, where its crusher was ripped apart following an attack by Kadeena Machina.
- A crusher may not be able to reach tall opponents. Because of this, Razer was unable to pierce Attila the Drum at all during the Southern Annihilator, and initially had difficulty crushing through Aggrobot in Series 3.
- A competitor featuring smooth, slanted sides may be extremely resistant to vertical crushers. Razer was unable to pierce Backstabber, and struggled to damage Aggrobot and Cyrax during its battles against them.
List of Robots with Vertical CrushersEdit
Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background.
|Robot||Series Appearances with Vertical Crushers||Notes|
|Androne 4000||Series 10||Consists of a vertical piercing spike on a pivoted arm, driven by hydraulic and electric systems and capable of doubling as a self-righting mechanism. Crusher has a force of 8 tonnes using a 4,000psi ram.|
|Cobra||Series 9-10||Small gripping weapon in the design of a cobra's head.|
|Coyote||Series 9-10||Worked in conjunction with two lifters to grip and lift robots. The weaponry weighed roughly 50kg in total, half the weight of the full robot. Used in conjunction with a chainsaw.|
|Cronos||Series 4||The crusher was combined with a flipper in one mechanism.|
|Eruption||Series 8-10||Intended to hold robots on Eruption's flipper. Interchangeable with another top-mounted weapon.|
|Mantis||Series 7||Combined a large vertical gripping claw with a lifter, giving it the capability to lift and potentially dump robots out of the arena.|
|Metalis||Series 7||Coupled with a lifter and a self-righting mechanism that failed to work.|
|Ming 3||UK Series 5-6, Extreme 1, Nickelodeon||Equipped with a vertical crusher and two side arms that extended when the crusher lowered. Nickelodeon Tag Team Terror champion with Rick.|
|NAMAZU||Dutch Series 2||Walkerbot|
|PacifieR||Series 9 (withdrew)||Forced to withdraw due to an electrical fault and replaced by Apex.|
|Philipper 2||Dutch Series 2, Extreme 2||Replaced the rear lifter/flipper.|
|Pinser||Series 7||Prone to breaking down after piercing a robot.|
|Plunderbird||UK Series 4-5, Extreme 1, US Season 1||Described as a "slicer-dicer", in Series 4 (Plunderbird 4), and a "Plunderthocker" in Extreme 1 and Series 5 (Plunderbird 5).|
|Razer||UK Series 2-6, 8, Extreme 1-2, US Season 1-2||First competitor to feature a crushing 'beak', and the most successful. Double World Champion, Series 5 Champion and Series 6 runner-up. Two cable-powered self-righting 'wings' added in Series 3, each one on either side of the 'beak'.|
|Razzler||Extreme 1||The first non-heavyweight robot to have a crusher|
|Snake Bite||German Series, Extreme 2, UK Series 7||Competed in the European Championship and the Third World Championship, representing Switzerland.|
|Soldier Ant||Series 9||Competed exclusively in Battle of the Stars.|
|Suicidal Tendencies||Series 5, Extreme 1||Added a small hydraulic crusher which worked in tandem with a front lifting scoop.|
|Tetanus||Series 5-6||Twin (Series 5) or single (Series 6) crushers combined with lifting forks intended to lift and crush simultaneously. Removed from Tetanus 2 for Extreme 2.|
|The Executioner||Series 5, Extreme 1||Redesigned without the crusher for Series 7.|
|The Kraken||Series 7||Featured dual gripping weapons, a pneumatic crusher for grabbing and a hydraulic crusher for piercing opponents.|
|The Serpent||Extreme 2|
|Tiberius||Series 4-7, Extreme 2||Originally a grabbing spike in Series 4, replaced with a claw-like weapon for Series 5 onwards. Series 7 Heat Finalist and Extreme 2 University Challenge champion.|
|Track-tion||Series 10||Front crushing/gripping arm is capable of exerting a force of 600kg.|
|TX-108||Extreme 1||Not seen on television, its only battle went unaired and the robot failed to qualify for any series. One of two robots with a crusher where the claw was pulled down instead of being pushed down, the other being the Series 4 version of Tiberius. Intended to self-right on its own.|
|Wraith||Series 8 (pilot only)||Combined with harpoons, crushed against the surface of the arena.|