Spectre (Chinese: 暗影猎手, romanized as Ànyǐng lièshǒu and translated as Shadow Hunter) was a heavyweight robot which emerged victorious in Season 1 of King of Bots, also returning for Season 1.5 by competing in This is Fighting Robots, and then entered King of Bots II. It used a crushing jaw and innovative use of sophisticated technologies to create a highly technical robot. Spectre was entered by British roboteers, Team Robo Challenge (referred to on the show as Team Spectre), consisting of engineer brothers Grant and James Cooper, their father Nick, and Henry Imbert.
Spectre won its first two rounds in Season 1 against Red from the Flames and Whirlwind via knockout. Spectre subsequently won its third round against Wild Beast on a Judges' decision following a double knockout, before achieving a critical knockout win over Two BBQ to reach the semi-finals. There, it defeated Thunder and Lightning to face Chiyung Jinlun in the final, ultimately winning the tournament and becoming the inaugural King of Bots champion.
Spectre was the second selection of Zheng Shuang in Season 1.5, allowing it to advance to the main bracket, although it came under immediate difficulty after being severely damaged by White Tiger Guardian, but it still won the Judges' decision, and proceeded to win a tag team battle directly afterwards. However, Spectre suffered its first loss after it was repeatedly thrown around by the British flipper of Formula, damaging Spectre's self-righting mechanism, and it was also immobilized by Two BBQ in the Eight-robot Rumble.
As the defending King of Bots champion, Spectre also attended the 2019 Opening Battle, where it fought one battle against a new version of Two BBQ. Representing the red team, it lost the battle by knockout after sustaining heavy damage and becoming immobilized by Two BBQ's spinner.
Spectre made its debut in King of Bots II by collecting its second lifetime victory over White Tiger Guardian, joining Emma Dumont's team as its reward. It performed well on Emma Dumont's team (later Ye Hong Li's team), initially collecting a 2v2 victory over Rhino and ORBY Blade, and later defeated Po Feng to knock Tao Shen's team out of the competition. After collecting another win over Boxing Champion, Spectre advanced to the final tournament with the rest of its team. Although the team started at an initial deficit, Spectre earned back-to-back wins over Xiake, Shrederator Tiger Claw and Thunder to level the scores, before finally being knocked out by Vulcan. Spectre and the rest of Ye Hong Li's team would ultimately finish the competition in second place.
Spectre was a sleek four-wheel drive, wedge-shaped robot powered by a 14s Lithium Polymer battery, armed with a crushing beak weapon featuring sets of large interchangeable teeth and 14 tonnes of force. The beak used an innovative hydraulic system, which allowed the robot's jaws to close immediately and clamp down on other robots, before changing pressures upon making contact with them to function as a conventional crusher. The design of Spectre's crushing jaw made the robot look like a canine with the shape of its "head", black eyes and two saber teeth, which could be exchanged with a single black tooth to suit different opponents. In addition to this powerful armament, Spectre also had a rear-mounted lifter designed to help the robot self-right. It proved fast and highly maneuverable in combat, and was capable of controlling, ramming or crushing other robots. Spectre was reportedly so close to the 110kg weight limit, that by placing a few British pound coins into the robot, Spectre became overweight in an experiment.
For This is Fighting Robots, Spectre was redesigned from the ground up to feature new internals including a custom built cylinder for the self-righting mechanism, aircraft grade hydraulic hoses which reduced the robot's weight by 2.5kg, and a lighter valve block as well as some extensive use of carbon fibre structural pieces. 
For Season 2, Spectre's drive power was increased, along with the crusher's power, the robot was even given stronger armor, particularly at the front of the machine. The robot's crusher now has a more smooth look, with its self-righting mechanism also being changed. Internally, Spectre's gear ratios were altered, its wheel/tyre compounds were updated and the front has been redesigned to offer a more rounded protection from all weapon types due to the increased likelihood of Spectre taking part in rumbles containing several dangerous weapons.
King of Bots (Season 1)
In the first round, Spectre fought a team of Chinese students and their robot Red from the Flames.
Spectre was the far quicker machine of the two, zipping across the arena and immediately charging towards the sides of Red from the Flames where it clamped down using its jaws. Spectre carefully controlled Red from the Flames towards one of the arena grinders where small chunks of the back corner were shredded off and top armour plate dented upwards. Flailing its lifters, Red from the Flames eventually got away, after Spectre let go, but was caught seconds later from behind by the jaws of Spectre who buckled the back of Red from the Flames.
Red from the Flames got away once again only to grappled by Spectre from the opposite side panel of where it crushed before. Red from the Flames twitched its lifter as it was carried away by Spectre towards the flame jets where it is held to burn by Spectre. Red from the Flames evacuated and turned to the pursuing Spectre. Red from the Flames ignited its flamethrower and turned in circles as Spectre struggled to get another bite.
Spectre smashed the front of Red from the Flames and crushed it once more. Red from the Flames struggled to move as it was slammed into the sidewall spikes, and left behind. Upon leaving Red from the Flames behind, it became apparent that it had lost all mobility. Spectre came in for one more attack, but as it clamped down, Red from the Flames' flamethrower had erupted inside the robot blowing up in a fiery spectacle. Red from the Flames soon caught fire immediately after the explosion, and was shunted about by Spectre as a final attack before the referee declared Spectre the winner, and it qualified for the second round.
In the second round, Spectre faced the overhead spinner of Whirlwind; before the battle, Team Spectre emphasized their need to attack Whirlwind early before it could spin up its weapon.
- "Definitely, with the big spinning top… once it’s up to speed, it’s very difficult for us to pierce it, so we have to get in on [Whirlwind] very quickly."
- — James Cooper explains the main challenge Spectre faces against Whirlwind
As the battle started, Spectre immediately sped into Whirlwind, grabbing hold of one of its spinning hammers and pinning it against the wall spikes. It repeatedly pushed and dragged Whirlwind into the spikes, momentarily letting go of its opponent before ramming it under the hammer. Spectre’s teeth held fast on top of Whirlwind’s weapon again, allowing it to drag Whirlwind over the flame jets and ram it into one of the grinders. During this attack however, Spectre’s right-front tire delaminated and sheared off; this had no effect on the robot’s traction, however, as it repeatedly bit Whirlwind and slammed it into the grinders and walls.
The Shiny team activated a smokescreen in Team Robo Challenge’s control area, briefly obscuring their vision; Spectre lifted Whirlwind as its teeth sank through the latter’s top armor panel. Momentarily letting go, Spectre clamped Whirlwind and forcefully rammed it into the wall again; its next attack resulted in it gripping part of Whirlwind’s spinner and lifting the entire robot off the floor. Spectre carried Whirlwind towards and over one of the grinders, which forced Whirlwind upwards and caused it to get wedged behind the hazard. Instantly, Spectre was declared to have won via knockout once again – its final attack on Whirlwind earned particular praise from judge Ian Lewis after the battle.
- Ling Zhou: "Wow guys, congratulation[s]! You guys delivered a smash-down! How do you feel right now?"
- James Cooper: "It was incredible. I mean, we were a bit worried about that big spinner and we lost one of our front tires quite early on in the match. But Grant drove really well and we put loads of holes in [Whirlwind], and in the end, the gnargalator got them."
- — Team Spectre speak to Ling Zhou in the post-battle interview
The third round saw Spectre face drum spinner Wild Beast – prior to the battle, Team Robo Challenge opted to exchange the crusher’s twin teeth in favor of a single, centrally-mounted one.
- "We’re against a really nasty opponent next – probably the best Chinese robot in the competition. So, it’ll be an interesting one."
- — Grant Cooper prior to Spectre’s battle against Wild Beast
Immediately, it drove and bumped into Wild Beast, pursuing and dodging the Chinese machine while sustaining light damage from the latter’s drum. Spectre continued to do so until it got underneath Wild Beast from the side, sinking its tooth behind Wild Beast’s right-front wheel while ramming it into the wall spikes. It proceeded to drive Wild Beast into one of the grinders, knocking one of the latter’s armor blocks off, before dragging it back into the red square and letting go. Some time after, Spectre grabbed Wild Beast again, this time from the front; after avoiding one of the hammers, it proceeded to push Wild Beast back across the arena into the far wall. At the same time, it let go of Wild Beast’s front and attempted to grab it by the drum; successive collisions between its crusher and Wild Beast’s drum resulted in Spectre’s single tooth being sheared off.
Despite also losing its eyes and having its right-rear tire slip off, Spectre successfully stopped Wild Beast’s drum, and reversed away. It rammed into the front of Wild Beast again as the latter drove sluggishly; seconds later, Spectre reversed, drove round and clamped it again from the rear, while proceeding to push and hold it over flame jets. Once more, it rammed Wild Beast into the walls and grinders, causing considerable damage to Wild Beast’s chassis as a result. The two robots separated again, but Spectre again clamped Wild Beast from the side as it pushed its opponent over the circular saws; seconds later, it rammed Wild Beast into the wall again, albeit not without driving itself into the saws in pursuit. Again, the toothless Spectre clamped Wild Beast’s side and maneuvered it across the arena; after briefly hesitating near one of the hammers, it pushed Wild Beast into the saws and walls, and attempted to steer it over the flame jets once again. Spectre rammed Wild Beast into the grinders one more time before letting go; it then attempted to grab Wild Beast’s drum again, temporarily stopping the weapon and causing one of the drum’s discs to loosen.
However, as it pushed Wild Beast back, Spectre’s right-hand drive chain broke apart, compromising its maneuvrability as both robots shuffled and nudged each other opposite the nearby hammer. Spectre was pushed back under the hammer by Wild Beast, then into the spikes, sustaining light damage as it was turned round by the latter. With seconds of the battle remaining, Wild Beast completely lost mobility; as it had been partially lifted off the floor by the latter’s wedges, Spectre was unable to drive away either. Time ran out, with both robots surviving to a Judges’ decision. The decision ruled in favor of Spectre, to the jubilation of Team Spectre and applause from the Wild Beast team.
In the fourth round, Spectre faced a threatening vertical spinner, Two BBQ, which Team Spectre were extremely cautious of. Before the battle, the team decided to revert its crusher to its twin teeth setup, as a result of their experience with the single tooth, and replace all four of its wheels with blue ones.
- "Two BBQ has been seen throughout the whole competition to cause a lot of damage, and it has been seen all around the pits. Everybody’s talking about this, I think, one of the most dangerous machines in the competition."
- — Grant Cooper on Two BBQ
Immediately, Spectre charged at an evading Two BBQ, sliding and turning round to get underneath its opponent from the front. Its crusher made contact with Two BBQ’s spinner, sending sparks and both of its teeth flying across the arena as it was being pushed back. Spectre reversed and rammed into Two BBQ, the collision causing Two BBQ to flip over and kick itself back upright with its own spinner. Again, it drove into the front of Two BBQ, ramming it at high speed into the wall spikes, the two robots momentarily pushing each other in the corner as Spectre withstood another blow. Eventually, they separated in the center of the arena, with Spectre proceeding to get underneath Two BBQ from the rear and drive it towards the grinder. However, it drove into and was thrown back by the grinder itself, sustaining damage to its wedge, but retreated to grapple with Two BBQ once again, pinning it against the corner.
Sustaining more damage to its crusher, Spectre drove Two BBQ alongside the wall, before repeatedly driving it back and forth against the nearby spikes. It pushed, chased and collided with Two BBQ yet again, losing one of its decorative eyes in the process, before grabbing Two BBQ by the right-rear wheelguard and repeatedly driving it into one of the grinders. This was enough to damage Two BBQ’s wedge mounts and polycarbonate walls; more shrapnel flew as Spectre pushed and tried to clamp Two BBQ by the spinner again, again successfully pinning the Chinese machine against the corner. Once more, it grabbed Two BBQ from the side and maneuvered it into the grinder, sending more pieces of the latter’s walls flying on contact.
Pushing Two BBQ from behind, Spectre continued dodging and trying to grab Two BBQ from the front – sustaining more damage to its crusher in the process. Eventually, after trying to push Two BBQ around from the front, it reversed, before suddenly driving underneath Two BBQ from the rear and slamming it into the wall spikes. With most of Two BBQ’s polycarbonate walls shattered upon impact, Spectre dragged, spun and rammed it into the grinders once again, causing even more damage. After several more rams, it finally released its grip and left Two BBQ by the grinders; the attacks finally immobilizing the Chinese machine. Knocking Two BBQ aside, Spectre shuffled back and forth before raising its srimech; as Two BBQ was being counted out, Team Spectre celebrated their victory, with Spectre being declared victorious by knockout in the closing seconds.
- "We thought that they were the very top of the Chinese machines. Two Barbeque has been the best so far – it’s been another step up from that. It’s been really good to beat them, but at the same time, we’d like to say huge congratulations to them. They’ve done an amazing job, and we really look forward to fighting them in the future."
- — Grant Cooper praises Two BBQ and its team following Spectre’s fourth-round victory
The semi-finals saw Spectre face the Chinese multibot Thunder and Lightning, driven by a father-and-son team. Once again, Team Spectre equipped its crusher with the twin teeth – prior to the battle, they had observed Thunder and Lightning’s driving throughout the earlier stages of the competition, and elected to attack Lightning first.
- "We’re coming to crush you both!"
- — James Cooper’s message to Thunder and Lightning
Immediately, Spectre charged towards both parts of Thunder and Lightning, slamming into Lightning and chasing the blue machine across the arena. It then scooped up and pushed Thunder around, only to lose its teeth yet again while clamping and ramming it into the wall. Spectre kept its grip on Thunder as it pushed it across the arena and into the spinning weapon of Lightning, itself lingering next to the wall spikes. It let go of Thunder before driving head-on into Lightning’s spinner, the collision throwing both of its front wheels off the floor. Spectre landed upright, chasing Lightning across the arena a second time before once again grabbing and slamming Thunder into the wall spikes. The impact dislodged Thunder’s left wheel, leaving one half of the multibot partially immobile.
With Thunder incapacitated, Spectre concentrated its remaining attacks on Lightning, clamping and pushing it into the grinders several times. Eventually, it rammed Thunder into the grinders as well, the attack causing Thunder to be flipped upside-down and left completely immobile as the grinder momentarily threw Spectre off-balance. At the same time, Lightning was struggling to drive in a straight line, and was also deemed immobile. Spectre drove around the arena and raised its srimech numerous times as Thunder and Lightning were counted out. With this, Spectre was declared to have won by knockout once again, and progressed to the final round.
There, it faced Chiyung Jinlun, another Chinese drum spinner. In addition to acquiring a new set of wheels, Spectre once again adopted the single tooth, this time attached to the crusher with larger bolts to prevent it from being torn off as easily.
- "So we've both done an excellent job to get to the final, and you should be proud of yourself. Whatever happens in the final - good luck, and we hope to see you there!"
- — Grant Cooper's message to Chiyung Jinlun and the Xiake team
As before, Spectre immediately charged towards Chiyung Jinlun, dodging the latter’s drum before being reversed into the wall spikes. The two robots tussled, with Spectre quickly swerving away from Chiyung Jinlun to break free and attempt to crush one of its wheels. With its initial attack unsuccessful, it twice pursued Chiyung Jinlun across the arena before bumping and pushing it into the wall spikes. During the second push, Spectre sunk its tooth through Chiyung Jinlun’s top armor, preventing the Chinese machine from driving away as it repeatedly pushed it into the grinders and the spikes.
Momentarily letting go, Spectre proceeded to pierce Chiyung Jinlun’s top panel several times until it succeeded in puncturing one of its batteries and lifting it off the floor. Smoke poured out of Chiyung Jinlun as Spectre dropped and pushed it into the wall – seconds later, Chiyung Jinlun caught fire, with Spectre releasing its grip before continuing to pursue its burning opponent. Slowly, it maneuvered Chiyung Jinlun towards the wall spikes one more time, wedging Chiyung Jinlun on one of the spikes in the process and preventing it from reversing away. With its victory made certain, Spectre repeatedly raised its srimech while Chiyung Jinlun was counted out, and was declared the inaugural King of Bots champion. After the battle, Team Spectre congratulated a crestfallen Xiake team, with Grant Cooper particularly praising their performances in the final round and the whole competition.
This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)
Spectre's impressive design meant that Zheng Shuang was immediately drawn towards Spectre, and it became her second choice after Vulcan to join her team of five robots, which would later include Tánshè, Tungsten and Megabyte. As part of Zheng Shuang's team, Spectre's first battle was against the Chinese vertical spinner of White Tiger Guardian.
At the start of the battle, Spectre charged straight out of its square, and drove under White Tiger Guardian, but turned into the spinning blade, throwing sparks across the arena. Another attack from White Tiger Guardian threw more sparks, and loosened one of Spectre's drive belts, which fell to the arena floor. On a direct hit to Spectre's front, White Tiger Guardian threw Spectre onto its back, also buckling its front wedge, in an attack which was broadcast quite far into the edited broadcast, but in reality, took place near the beginning of the fight. Although White Tiger Guardian had damaged Spectre, it also lost the use of its spinning weapon, and Spectre was able to quickly self-right, ramming into the front of White Tiger Guardian in a collision which brought both robots from the floor.
With its wedge broken, Spectre rammed into White Tiger Guardian again but could no longer breach its ground clearance. White Tiger Guardian, with no weapon, drove away from Spectre and became trapped on the ram rods in the floor, also driving onto the arena saws, where sparks were thrown from White Tiger Guardian's surface, in spite of minimal pressure from Spectre. Although Spectre then tentatively rammed the front of White Tiger Guardian, the wedges of the Chinese robot were lower, briefly breaching Spectre.
Still with its spinner powered down, White Tiger Guardian drove into the spikes on the arena wall, where Spectre pinned it in place. However, because Spectre's wedge was so heavily damaged, it could not drive under White Tiger Guardian, leaving Spectre unable to use its weapon on the pinned robot. After missing with its crushes, Spectre backed away, but White Tiger Guardian only backed itself further into the corner, where Spectre again attempted to crush, but failed to do so. When released, White Tiger Guardian drove straight into the Grinder on the side of the arena, where Spectre prevented it from escaping. Spectre held its ground, chasing White Tiger Guardian around the arena, which was making no offensive efforts while its spinner was ceased. Spectre drove into the side of White Tiger Guardian, and flared its self-righting mechanism while pushing its opponent in circles.
Spectre also collided with the ram rods, while White Tiger Guardian was clipped by the floor flipper. However, in the final moments of the match, White Tiger Guardian made a critical mistake and drove into a Grinder, which flung the robot directly onto the wedge of Spectre. Taking its opportunity, Spectre bit down onto the flat top of White Tiger Guardian, and caused significant internal damage, as sparks flew from the insides of White Tiger Guardian after the crushing damage, while Spectre also rammed White Tiger Guardian back into the Grinder. Spectre continued to hold White Tiger Guardian in the center of the arena, as it poured out sparks, and drove it into the arena saws. White Tiger Guardian initially appeared to be immobilized by this attack, but after a period of inactivity, White Tiger Guardian made a final movement to show its competitiveness, as time expired on the match. The judges' decision was awarded in favour of Spectre, earning points for Zheng Shuang's team.
- "It's actually damaged the front wedge on the robot, and it had folded under the front. We thought it would be an easy fight, and it turned out to be the hardest one yet."
- — Grant Cooper of Team Spectre
At the start of the battle, Spectre crashed into Switch, sending it recoiling into the air. This also allowed Spectre to grab Switch by its rear wheel, and press it into the arena wall, hindering Switch's mobility. After continuing to hassle Switch, Spectre changed its focus to Lieutenant Bam, grabbing it from behind, and crushing down onto the top.
Lieutenant Bam swung its hammer around in retaliation, but Spectre swerved it around, and dropped it directly into the pit. Spectre then capitalized on the motionless Switch, crushing down on it while ramming it into the spikes on the arena wall, and then the Grinder. Spectre dragged Switch over to the pit, but just as it was about to drop Switch in for the official knockout, the pit raised back up, releasing Lieutenant Bam, continuing the fight despite Switch's immobility.
After striking the floor, Lieutenant Bam's turret became stuck in Spectre's open jaw, and while attempting to retract the weapon, Lieutenant Bam pulled itself over in the grip of Spectre. It quickly self-righted and fled, also managing to land a light blow onto Spectre's jaw using its turret, but the quicker Spectre machine chased it and gripped Lieutenant Bam. Finally, Spectre put Lieutenant Bam back into the descending pit for the second time, awarding the win to Spectre and ORBY Blade, and Spectre fired its self-righting mechanism in victory.
In the head-to-head round, Sa Beining issued the challenge for Formula to fight next, and both Spectre and Great White accepted the challenge. Andy Hibberd of Formula's team stated that he would much rather fight Spectre, and his wish was fulfilled, as both robots fought.
The two robots drew towards and smacked into one another initially, with Formula momentarily getting underneath Spectre, but not far enough to use its flipper. Several scenes just like this initial one followed, with Formula chasing and momentarily getting underneath its opponent using its superior wedge, but without making any meaningful attacks with its weapon.
This stalemate ended a few seconds later though, as Formula finally got underneath Spectre properly, and flung it into the air, with the force of the flip knocking Formula over as well. As both robots self-righted, they made another charge towards one another, neither getting underneath the other this time. After spending a few more seconds driving around its opponent, Spectre made a charge that sent it straight up Formula's wedge, the latter responding by throwing the King of Bots defending champion through the air, causing it to land upside down onto the floor saws.
With the floor saws clearly impeding Spectres ability to self-right, Formula took the opportunity to drive around and position itself so that when Spectre did finally succeed, it would do so onto Formula, allowing Formula to once again toss Spectre back over.
Landing upside down again, Formula put more pressure onto Spectre by pushing it towards the Grinders and flinging it into them, causing it to bounce off, successfully keeping Spectre inverted. Formula wasted no time by pushing Spectre around some more, and eventually got in a powerful flip that lifted Spectre over 1.2 meters into the air, although this flip caused Spectre to finally land on its wheels again though. As Spectre tried yet again to get a grip on Formula, the flipper answered by throwing Spectre onto its back yet another time.
Formula then proceeded to push Spectre into the corner in an attempt to send it out of the arena, but was unsuccessful after choosing the wrong angle, and the silver machine landed back on its wheels and started giving chase to Formula. Formula's elastics which allow its flipper to close had become damaged, as the robot seemed unable to close it properly. This permitted Spectre to finally get underneath Formula, but was unable to get its crusher into play as Formula managed to escape, finally getting its flipper to close properly as well after some time had elapsed.
Making a final charge, Spectre bounced off of Formula, momentarily exposing its back which allowed Formula to flip it one final time. Throughout the battle, where Spectre's self-righting mechanism became damaged through repeated flips and contact with the arena saws, Spectre ultimately proved unable to self-right, and Formula's team celebrated as Spectre was subsequently counted out, eliminating the King of Bots Season 1 champion from the competition.
- "We've won most of our fights throughout our career, and sometimes you have to lose, and this was one of those times, so as long as we keep work on it and improve a lot, that's all that matters, so we wish you the best of luck, and just keep making the right decisions!"
- — Grant Cooper to Zheng Shuang after being eliminated
Spectre also fought in the Eight-robot Rumble, as a representative of Zhang Yishan's blue team. There, it fought Anchor and Shield, Golden Hoops, Lieutenant Bam, Megabyte, Thunder and Lightning, Two BBQ, and Wrecker.
Initially, Spectre held back, avoiding the damaging spinner of Megabyte, which took immediate action towards winning the battle. While Spectre held back, it was targeted by Two BBQ, which drove straight onto the wedge of Spectre. James Cooper closed Spectre's jaw onto Two BBQ's spinner, which caused significant internal damage to Spectre, and moments later, Spectre lost mobility entirely, smoke rising from under the machine. Spectre was subsequently declared to have been knocked out and lost the battle, which was ultimately won by Thunder and Lightning on a Judges' decision.
2019 Opening Battle
Spectre was one of ten heavyweight robots to attend the 2019 Opening Battle, held to promote the upcoming second season. Representing the red team, it faced a substantially-altered Two BBQ in the last head-to-head battle of the event, which effectively served as a rematch of their previous encounters in Seasons 1 and 1.5.
At the start, Spectre approached Two BBQ, only to be clipped and pushed around by the latter. Reversing, it dodged, lunged and attempted to grab Two BBQ several times, proceeding to push and send Two BBQ sliding over the floor flipper. Spectre attempted to drive head-on into Two BBQ again, but caught a seam in the floor; this allowed Two BBQ to hit and throw Spectre into the upper wall. With its wedge and front-right wheel damaged, Spectre darted across the arena and straight into the front of Two BBQ again. The impact threw Spectre over, forcing it to self-right. The Season 1 champion sped across the arena and withstood a side-on blow from Two BBQ's spinner, before pushing Two BBQ a few more times as it unsuccessfully tried to grab its Chinese opponent. Seconds later, Spectre rammed into the front of Two BBQ, only for Two BBQ to push Spectre back while ripping its front wedge and part of its front-left wheel off.
The two competitors continued to bump, push and circle round each other close to the wall spikes; Spectre attempted another push on Two BBQ, but sustained more damage as Two BBQ steered, got underneath and pushed it into the spikes themselves. Spectre retreated to make another charge on Two BBQ, slamming once again into its opponent’s spinner. Having sustained more damage to its wedge as a result, Spectre was subsequently pushed again by Two BBQ, which cleaved through its left-hand side armor and caused a drive chain to fall out. Undeterred, Spectre turned round and drove head-on into Two BBQ once more; however, it drifted sideways into Two BBQ's bar, the impact throwing Spectre into a spin and caused further damage to its right-hand side. Spectre was immobilized following this attack, but raised its crusher and srimech several times as it was being counted out. It lost the battle to Two BBQ via knockout, resulting in the red team also losing the 2019 Opening Battle altogether. In spite of Spectre’s defeat, Team Robo Challenge were quick to congratulate Team Two BBQ on their victory, which both teams celebrated together.
King of Bots II (Season 2)
Before the main filming of Season 2 took place, many roboteers in attendance were required to fight in "warm-up battles" which the producers openly admitted would not be included in the main episodes. Many roboteers protested this idea, and so when Spectre fought Tánshè in its warm-up battle, neither robot used their weaponry for their entire bout, in accordance with a trend set by other robots, and the winner remains unknown.
Spectre's broadcast debut was in Episode 3, alongside eleven other international robots entering the competition at this stage. Of these robots, Spectre was the first to compete, and it was randomly drawn against White Tiger Guardian in a rematch from Season 1.5, for the opportunity to take its place on Emma Dumont's team.
- "It's a shame, it looks like you've done a really good job on your machine this time around, and I'm just sorry to say that, uh... we'll be taking your place...!"
- — Grant Cooper on regrettably aiming to defeat White Tiger Guardian
When the battle started, Spectre made a zipline for White Tiger Guardian, whilst White Tiger Guardian circled around the arena and Spectre, in an effort to reach top speeds on its vertical spinner. However, White Tiger Guardian exposed its side to Spectre in the process, and a ram from Spectre turned it so that White Tiger Guardian's back end was placed on Spectre's wedge. This situation helped Spectre exponentially, and it pushed White Tiger Guardian into the arena wall while biting down on the back end of the Chinese machine. The bite from this attack disabled the rear end of White Tiger Guardian's drive system, and Spectre also slammed White Tiger Guardian's vertical spinner into the wall to try and stop the blade, although the weapon kept spinning, throwing sparks off the wall.
Spectre attempted to release its claw, but instead pulled White Tiger Guardian into the air completely, and Spectre brought it to the wall in an attempt to separate, but the two machines remained locked together. In a more powerful attempt, Spectre drove across the entire length of the arena with White Tiger Guardian at ground level again, only to be stopped by White Tiger Guardian's front prongs digging into the arena floor, causing both robots to crash in place. Spectre suspended White Tiger Guardian off the floor again, with the Chinese robot disabling its spinner in resignation, before Spectre slammed it into the Grinder, to the dismay of Emma Dumont who felt great sympathy for White Tiger Guardian.
This attack was enough to finally free White Tiger Guardian from Spectre's grip, but it could only turn in place slowly while powering up its spinner again, allowing Spectre to once again scoop it up from behind and take it to the corner of the arena, and ram the bar spinner into the wall. Spectre pressed down lightly on the top of White Tiger Guardian, aiming not to get the robots stuck again, but a burst of flame emerged from the front of White Tiger Guardian, forcing it to stop spinning again, and Spectre let go of its opponent. White Tiger Guardian was now motionless and smoking, so Spectre drove around the arena in celebration, firing its self-righting mechanism, while White Tiger Guardian was counted out.
- "We've never actually lost a fight once we've got hold of someone, so our whole target as soon as we knew we were fighting White Tiger was to just go in there, bite them as soon as we possibly could and keep hold of them, try to use the arena to damage them."
- — Grant Cooper
As a result, Spectre won by knockout and joined Emma Dumont's team, much to the dismay of the celebrity who held White Tiger Guardian in high regard. As a member of Emma Dumont's team, its first battle was a 2v2 fight partnered with Cat King, against former Tag Team partner, ORBY Blade and fellow British robot, Rhino.
Things got off to a good start for Spectre as Cat King flipped ORBY Blade over onto its back with its spinner and ORBY Blade couldn't self right. Spectre then came under threat as Rhino caught it head-on, damaging its front wedge, and with another blow, Rhino flung Spectre into the air, although it landed right-side up. Near the arena saws, this also happened again, with Spectre taking to the air but again landing on its wheels. Spectre chased Rhino around the arena, and eventually Cat King cornered Rhino, allowing Spectre to get a bite on Rhino's bottom right motor, taking out the drive chain as well. Rhino was then overturned by Cat King and counted out, giving Spectre and Cat King a win for Emma Dumont's team.
Five episodes later, Spectre finally fought another first head-to-head, against Po Feng of Tao Shen's team. A win from Spectre would knock Tao Shen out of the competition entirely.
Spectre started in the ascendancy when Po Feng drove straight onto its wedge, allowing the crusher to immediately force its way into the spinner mounting of Po Feng, silencing the weapon while Spectre slammed Po Feng into the wall. This broke the added front wedges of Po Feng, although Po Feng fought back, slamming Spectre into the wall from within its opponent's bite. The tires of Po Feng started to release smoke from rubbing against the arena floor, and Spectre lightened its grip so that its next slam into the arena wall would cause both robots to fly off in different directions.
Spectre slammed the now-inverted Po Feng into the wall and turned it back over, but used this chance to bite down on Po Feng from behind and drive it into a Grinder with three separate slams, and then another corner of the arena. Here, Spectre attempted to tighten its grip, but missed the armor of Po Feng, instead biting only into empty space where the blade would spin. Spectre attempted to reposition its claw and cause critical damage, while pressing Po Feng's spinner against the arena wall, but did not make any further purchase, so it settled for overturning one of Po Feng's minibots, and slamming the main robot into the wall.
Po Feng circled around the arena, but Spectre showed more composure, and caught it from behind again, pressing it back into the arena walls and Grinders, again biting only into empty space. Spectre momentarily lifted Po Feng into the air while retracting its claw, but Po Feng fell back down before it was bashed into yet another Grinder, also landing on one of its minibots, pulling its wheel off. One of Po Feng's two weapon belts also came loose as a result of this bite. The two robots separated, but Spectre soon got under the front of Po Feng again, and pierced the additional armor added to the top of Po Feng, although it did not bite through the robot's main armor.
Spectre still held tight and slammed Po Feng back into the Grinder mount wheel-first, also causing another gust of smoke to emerge from the overworked wheels. Spectre raised Po Feng off the floor with its crusher, dropping it onto the Grinder to turn Po Feng over. Spectre then repeatedly jammed Po Feng into the Grinder, causing it to pop up and even somersault over, although Po Feng did manage to escape and finally landed a hit with its weapon, striking the side of Spectre's wedge and throwing sparks from it. Po Feng then attempted to retreat for the remainder of the match, only briefly being caught on Spectre's lip, and landing a second light blow on its opponent when Spectre chased it down in the closing seconds. Time expired on the three-minute battle, and the Judges voted firmly in favour of Spectre. This directly eliminated Tao Shen and his remaining robots from the competition.
- "Po Feng did a really good job on the fight. It's a very, very quick and agile machine, but we couldn't afford to give it any opportunity to attack us."
- — Grant Cooper
Spectre led its team into battle at the start of Episode 11, against Boxing Champion of Di Yang's team.
Boxing Champion entered the battle with very lengthy forks, but Spectre planned out its approach and breached straight under the forks by turning into them sideways. The robots separated and circled around each other, scheming out how to win the ground clearance game again, but upon Spectre's approach, Boxing Champion fired its punching disc and tore away Spectre's single tooth from its crusher. This left Spectre purely as a grabber, with limited damage output. Spectre was still able to ram Boxing Champion into the arena wall, where the hammer fell down, but struck Spectre instead. Unfazed, Spectre drove back under the side of Boxing Champion and clamped down, then rammed the American machine into the Grinder.
After this, Spectre maintained its grip and rammed Boxing Champion into opposing arena walls, for a high level of impact ramming damage. With Boxing Champion making its escape, Spectre caught it almost instantly, and swerved it over the housing for the arena saws. Boxing Champion's lengthy forks slotted right down the arena hazard, and pinned it in place, with its wheels positioned high off the arena floor. This completed the game plan that Spectre had conceptualised from the beginning of the match, with Boxing Champion's wedge modifications backfiring drastically. Spectre backed off and the referee counted Boxing Champion out, awarding the win to Ye Hong Li's team.
- "We knew that we had to outdrive them, we couldn't go head-to-head. One of the key things we noticed is that with the really long forks, we could try to use that to our advantage, we could try and get them jammed down there. I think it was a big mistake to use the long forks, because we did exactly that."
- — Grant Cooper
Ye Hong Li's team successfully qualified for the final tournament, consisting of an Attrition War against Huang Jian Xiang's team. Ye Hong Li's team opened with an initial deficit following back-to-back losses from Warrior and Cat King, with Megabyte also being knocked out after its second fight of the Attrition War. The responsibility of clawing back a victory for the team fell to Spectre, starting with a rematch of the Season 1 Grand Final against Xiake.
Both competitors began tentatively, but it quickly became apparent that Xiake was struggling to move properly from the blue corner. After some time, Xiake seemingly attempted to line its drum up for an attack on Spectre.
- "Bite him, bite him, bite him!"
- — Nick Cooper, just as Spectre grabs Xiake
In doing so, it drove directly up Spectre’s front wedge, allowing the UK machine to grip and push Xiake into the wall spikes and grinders. The grinder smashed Xiake’s right side panel to pieces and initially appeared to immobilize the Chinese machine; however, Xiake was eventually able to escape.
Moments later, Spectre drove behind and sunk its teeth through Xiake’s top panel, while simultaneously pushing it past the red corner. Smoke began pouring from Xiake as its battery was punctured – to the delight of James Cooper and his teammates – and Spectre lifted it into the air. Spectre maneuvered Xiake away from the hammer as its opponent burst into flames, before lowering and slamming it into another set of wall spikes. A smouldering Xiake was left immobile on one side before being duly counted out and extinguished, making Spectre the winner.
With Xiake defeated, Spectre needed to continue its streak against Shrederator Tiger Claw. Fortunately for Team Robo Challenge, the American machine was not under control, and faced withdrawal. After a six-minute waiting period where Spectre needed to remain dormant in the arena (consuming battery power in the process), Shrederator Tiger Claw was deemed unable to fight, and Spectre won by default, thus evening out the scores between Ye Hong Li and Huang Jian Xiang's teams.
With two back-to-back wins, a third victory against Huang Jian Xiang's team would finally put Ye Hong Li's team in the lead. To take this advantage in the Attrition War, Spectre needed to defeat Thunder.
- Grant Cooper: "We need to get through this one with no damage."
- Ye Hong Li: "Drive slowly, don’t damage the front end."
- Grant Cooper: "I’m ready whenever you lot are."
- — Grant Cooper and Ye Hong Li discuss their game plan against Thunder
Following a cautious start, Thunder initially lunged at the side of Spectre, but missed, bumping Spectre’s wedge and getting rammed into the corner in return. Spectre clamped down on the space behind Thunder’s lifting weapon, with both robots pushing each other into a grinder and the blue corner spikes respectively. After letting go, Spectre resumed its early attacks, repeatedly grabbing and shoving Thunder into the spikes and grinders. Following one such attack, Thunder responded by pinning Spectre against the spikes near the hammer, only for Spectre to lift Thunder by the front-left wheelarch.
Thunder dropped from Spectre’s teeth and reversed, only to be gripped and pushed into the spikes once more by the UK entry. A sudden surge of power allowed Thunder to push Spectre a fair distance across the arena before the two competitors separated. While Thunder initially dodged Spectre’s next attack, it drove up its opponent’s front wedge, allowing Spectre to once again ram it into the wall spikes and grinders, then under one of the hammers. Thunder took two blows from the hammer before getting pushed and released near the circular saws; however, it responded by ramming Spectre into the spikes until time ran out. The resulting Judges' decision firmly favored Spectre, and gave it yet another victory.
- Grant Cooper: "One more fight ‘til we take the trophy."
- Jason Marston: "Aye… fully deserved as well."
- — Grant Cooper and Jason Marston anticipate an early championship victory
Having taken the lead in the Attrition War, Spectre only required one more victory to secure the King of Bots title for itself once again, alongside the rest of Ye Hong Li's team. The last robot standing in its way was Vulcan.
The two British competitors came to blows almost immediately, with Spectre grabbing Vulcan from the side and driving it into the wall spikes. Vulcan maneuvered itself into the corner and dodged another lunge from Spectre, reversing, driving underneath and flipping the silver machine onto its back. Spectre self-righted, but Vulcan threw it again almost immediately, this time onto one of the grinders, but slid off before being launched a third time. While Vulcan was clipped by the same grinder, Spectre sped away, ramming Vulcan head-on before biting down on the space between its wedge and left wheels.
Spectre twice rammed Vulcan into the wall spikes before the competitors separated, only to grab the right-hand side of Vulcan’s wedge and spin it around several times in the blue corner. This attack culminated in Vulcan being slammed into the red corner and another set of wall spikes, the second slam causing Spectre to let go. Spectre rammed Vulcan again before both robots were lifted by a floor flipper. Following this distraction, Vulcan got underneath Spectre once more, flipping itself and the Season 1 champion over in the process. While Vulcan self-righted immediately, it became clear that Spectre was stranded on its side, its srimech unable to gain contact with the arena floor. Spectre attempted to drive on its right-hand wheels and move its crusher, but to no avail. Soon, it was counted out, relinquishing its King of Bots title.
- "I really enjoyed this final round. Super stressful, nerve racking and very fast paced when filming. It was great to set fire to Xiake in KOB 1 and 2 finals, and the fight with Vulcan was one of our trickiest for driving we’ve had. You can see the difference in driving speeds to try and out manoeuvre each other compared to any of our other fights - it was close but we need to look at the weight balance as that has significantly changed with the new wedge and we overlooked the consequences it would have on self righting!"
- — Grant Cooper reflects on Team Spectre’s Final Attrition War run
After this final defeat, Spectre's hopes of a championship victory were left in the hands of Drift, but after a remarkably close battle, the Judges decided that Vulcan had won the title fight over Drift, and Spectre was resigned to joint-second place with the rest of its team.
- Wins: 13
- Losses: 4
NOTE: Spectre's win by default over Shrederator Tiger Claw is not included in the tally.
|Series||Spectre Series Record|
|Season 1.5||Zheng Shuang's team, Top 20|
|Season 2||Ye Hong Li's team, joint runners-up|
NOTE: Spectre also competed in the King of Bots 2019 Opening Battle.
Outside King of Bots
Grant and James Cooper own a business, Robo Challenge, a Birmingham-based consultancy company who offer advice to other companies on robotics projects, and building robots for company projects, including televised appearances.
Robo Challenge were heavily involved with both the pre-production and operation of each rebooted series of Robot Wars. Prior to the reboot being filmed, it was the responsibility of Robo Challenge to design the tournament's format, set the build rules, and the health and safety rules. Changes made to the Robot Wars ruleset decided by Robo Challenge include the increase from 100kg to 110kg. They built all of the rebooted series' House Robots, as well as eight stock robots to be used by guest competitors in side events. Robo Challenge were also the authors of the Haynes Manual How to Build a Robot, an official Robot Wars product.
Grant Cooper collaborated with John Reid to enter ABC's second season of BattleBots with the hammer-wielding Beta, which was shown during Spectre's introduction. It defeated Lucky, Overhaul and the experienced Nightmare to reach the Top 8. There, it lost a close Judges' decision to the eventual champion Tombstone. Meanwhile, James Cooper joined future Robot Wars champions Team Carbide to compete with Cobalt, which defeated Overhaul before losing to the eventual runner-up Bombshell.
After a one-season hiatus, Team Robo Challenge announced their return for the 2019 season of BattleBots, now broadcast by Discovery, with a brand-new machine called Quantum. Much like Spectre, Quantum was a four-wheel driven crusher, but differentiated from Spectre by using 'Generative Design' in its construction. In its first battle, Quantum faced Blacksmith. Quantum comfortably pierced through the top armour of Blacksmith, causing internal damage and dominating the match, although Quantum could not release Blacksmith from its grip within the 20 second time limit, forcing the robots to be separated manually. With both robots smoking, Quantum and Blacksmith could not be separated safely, and the battle was ended prematurely and sent to a Judges' decision, which Quantum won unanimously. Quantum was less successful in its second fight, losing mobility against the experienced Lock-Jaw, and subsequently lost to Death Roll in its next battle. However, Quantum redeemed this with a dominant win over DUCK! to end its Fight Night record at 2-2, and managed to qualify for the Top 16 by winning a critical play-in match against Valkyrie. Competing as the thirteenth seed for the bracket, Quantum's Top 16 campaign came to an immediate end after being immobilized by Tombstone in a 35-second match, and Quantum was eliminated here.
A new version of Quantum was initially confirmed to be entering the 2020 season of BattleBots; however, Team Robo Challenge later pulled out of the season due to ongoing restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Robo Challenge have also built two featherweights directly replicating heavyweight designs made by successful British team, Team Razer, including Venom (a miniature Razer), and Predator (a miniature Warhead).
Robo Challenge have created robots for various television programmes, including The Gadget Show, Dick & Dom's Absolute Genius, Reverse Engineers, and Blue Peter. Their consultancy and engineering skills were also required for sales promotions connected to video games, including Skylanders Superchargers, Titanfall 2 and ReCore.
Following its first appearance on King of Bots, Spectre has also attended various events as a static display, including the 2018 UK International Championships. Most recently, it attended the first Robonerd meet in Wolverhampton in September 2018, again as a static display.
Spectre also featured in a segment on BBC Breakfast in August, named as the world champion, it was shown fighting robots in the featherweight division and later against Breakfast Bot, a featherweight robot in the style of Ninja. The fight took place in King of Bots UK arena. Spectre picked up the robot and swung it around until it flew out of the mouth and then Breakfast Bot was later pitted by Spectre. In August 2019, Spectre also appeared at Robonerd in Wolverhampton as a static display piece.
In August 2021, Spectre appeared in a segment for an Evangelion Watch Party on Amazon Prime Video UK's Twitch Channel, referred to as Angel, Spectre fought in a three minute battle against two featherweight robots, a red axebot and a blue flipper, driven by two guests. Following a tentative start, Spectre quickly attacked the flipper, disabling the drive on one side. After retreating to the corner of the arena, Spectre then focussed on the axebot, whose weapon had malfunctioned earlier, where it knocked a part off and swung the axebot around over a flame jet before pitting it. Spectre then attacked the flipper again, getting another bite on it and pitting the flipper with 36 seconds remaining in the fight.
- Through winning Season 1 outright, Spectre was the most successful robot from the United Kingdom and the most successful to be equipped with a crushing/grabbing weapon.
- At one point, the Two BBQ team referred to Spectre as "Challenger".
- Spectre - KOB Facebook Page
- Robo Challenge website
- Robo Challenge Facebook page
- Spectre on the official King of Bots website (Chinese, archived)