Media Essays: The Career of Hypno-Disc
Updated: May 14
Back in February, I recapped the career of Behemoth from Robot Wars. To my surprise, it proved to be a popular post so I thought I'd do another one like this. This time, I'm recapping the history of one of the most famous robots from the classic era of Robot Wars. It's spin to win here on Media Essays for I'm talking about the one. The only...HYPNO-DISC!!!
Created by the Rose Family with inspiration being drawn from a LEGO model one of their children built, Hypno-Disc has garnered a fearsome reputation amongst the robot-building community for its sinister death whirr, its destructive power thanks to its giant, trademark flywheel, unique design that inspired many spinners going forward and sleek, shiny silver appearance. Hypno-Disc is a Robot Wars legend and a true icon in the eyes of the fandom. It was even a merchandising superstar too with many toys made in its image and it even got its own DVD as part of the Ultimate Warrior Collection! So what was Hypno-Disc's career on the show like? What were their biggest wins and biggest losses? Its highs and its lows? Let's find out as I dive into the career of the disc-tructive legend that is Hypno-Disc...
A Disc-Tructive First Season
To say Hypno-Disc made a terrifying first impression is an understatement. This machine had people quaking in their boots just from watching its debut battle! Hypno-Disc first appeared in Heat H of Series 3 in where it started off in a first round match against Robogeddon. The fight...actually didn't start off that well for Hypno-Disc as it was pushed around a bit and then reversed into a wall. This stuff was cut out of the broadcast version so we didn't see any of that. For what we did see, well...it was quite a sad sight for Robogeddon to put it mildly. Hypno-Disc skinned them alive! LITERALLY! XD
They effortlessly tore the green machine apart and moved on to Round 2 where they thought against Stealth. Stealth...fared no better. It was ripped to pieces as well. Even the fact it had a flipper posed no real threat to Hypno-Disc and it got stuck open so Hypno-Disc was able to move up to it and destroy the pneumatic cylinders that powered the flipper. Derek Rose even stated that was his favourite part in the battle.
After two easy rounds, Hypno-Disc were given a real match with Berserk as it was a tougher machine and couldn't be as easily damaged. Berserk held together well and Hypno-Disc had to work much harder in order to win. There was one point in the match where Berserk was flipped over by the arena spike and they struggled to self-right so Hypno-Disc pushed them back over to continue the fight. Sporting lads the Rose Family, aren't they? ^^ It was a close match in the end and it went to the judges to decide on a winner. They gave the win to Hypno-Disc on damage so despite this being their first ever series, Hypno-Disc made it to the semi-finals! Not bad for a first try, eh?
The semi-finals started off easily enough with them dispatching of Evil Weevil with ease but 101 gave them a tricky time in the second round. They clearly weren't running on full power and 101 is a relatively solid machine overall that's also got some good pushing power to it so Hypno-Disc weren't able to utterly destroy them like their other opponents and 101 proved to be a tough opponent to deal with because of its tracked appearance. It was yet again another close decision. So close in fact that the judges had to walk onto the arena and inspect the machines for damage. Imagine being a kid and watching this battle back when it aired? That must've been amazing to watch to see the judges walk into the arena to inspect the robots like that! As close as it was, they gave the win to Hypno-Disc in the end with that slight bit more damage in their favour.
So on their first ever series of Robot Wars, Hypno-Disc was in the Grand Final! I bet the Rose Family were impressed they pulled that off on their first try! If I was in their position, I'd be wondering if I was dreaming. Their first Grand Final Eliminator was against Steg-O-Saw-Us and despite Steg-O-Saw-Us being a relatively solid machine, Hypno-Disc was able to damage the back of their tracks and thus the prehistoric machine was left struggling to move and was eliminated. This put Hypno-Disc in the Grand Final against Chaos 2, the hotshot new machine from George Francis and his team that had dispatched opponents left and right with its amazing flipper. Hypno-Disc gave it their all but ultimately, Chaos 2 flipped them over and eliminated them, leaving Hypno-Disc as the runners up. This was definitely a fantastic start to their career. I mean finishing second on your first try? That's pretty nuts!
So Close...Not Close Enough
Hypno-Disc came back for Series 4 with a vengeance and were looking the likeliest of all machines in the series to win it. They made several changes and upgrades to the robot, including adding a self-righting mechanism (or srimech for short) to the machine so they can get back on their wheels if they get flipped over again. One problem the Series 3 robot had was that they couldn't drive and use the disc at the same time, which led to their later problems and their defeat at Chaos 2's flipper. This time, they can do both and it improved their performance DRASTICALLY!
Hypno-Disc was seeded Number 2 (for obvious reasons) for the series and they appeared in the final heat of Series 4, but their first appearance was in Heat B where they competed in the Pinball Warrior Tournament and finished joint seventh with Firestorm II overall with a score of 135 points. Their first round melee was a slaughter fest for Hypno-Disc in where they effortlessly chewed up The Predator and Raizer-Blade. Their second round match saw them up against V-Max, a substitute machine that had to fill in for Onslaught and they tore them apart too. The Heat Final saw them go up against Raizer-Blade and, big shocker, they won that easily too. Hypno-Disc was to Series 4 what Carbide was to Series 9 at this point: effortlessly tearing apart its opponents left and right with barely anyone who could stop it.
Come the semi-finals, we got arguably Hypno-Disc's most memorable and famous battle ever in where it was against Splinter. To put it simply...Splinter was left in splinters. XD
Yeah. It was brutal and Splinter ended up creating the phrase "going home in a bin bag" that has since become a popular phrase in the Robot Wars community. This battle is also such an iconic fight in Hypno-Disc's career that on their Ultimate Warriors Collection DVD, there is a "Cut Your Own Battle" DVD feature in which you get to see this battle completely unedited and how it was filmed, which is really awesome if you ask me. You can see it for yourself here.
So after that massacre, Hypno-Disc went up against Wild Thing and despite Wild Thing refusing to die and getting to push Hypno-Disc around a bit, it was still no contest for the hypnotic machine. They damaged Wild Thing enough to win the Judge's Decision and found themselves in the Grand Final for the second time in a row. They were truly looking unstoppable at this point and was looking the likeliest of all machines in the series to beat the Champion Chaos 2. They were going to spin to win and become the Grand Champions of Robot Wars Series 4...
Oh right, that happened. Damn it Pussycat! X(
This was a shock victory to be sure because on paper, Hypno-Disc should utterly obliterate Pussycat but Pussycat won anyway. That was because they zoomed towards Hypno-Disc and clipped one of its wheels so it couldn't go forwards. It could only go around in circles. Hypno-Disc then ended up in the CPZ where Shunt axed its flywheel and stopped it dead in its tracks. It was quite a brutal hit and it wiped the machine out to the point a third-place playoff battle with Stinger couldn't take place and Stinger was awarded the third-place win by default. Now if Hypno-Disc had just driven straight into Pussycat instead of trying to dodge, it wouldn't been a different story and we could've gotten the Chaos 2 and Hypno-Disc rematch we'd have loved to have seen. Still, finishing fourth overall isn't bad and Hypno-Disc had a damn good run overall. It truly showed off its potential and had probably the best performance ever as it had no reliability issues and the disc was truly able to tear machines to bits. Pity they couldn't carry that over in the next few seasons...
An Extreme-ly Underwhelming Performance
This series was NOT kind to Hypno-Disc. I'd probably call it Hypno-Disc's worst series but Extreme II was even worse for it, which I'll cover later.
They made some changes to the machine again and improved the power of the disc while also losing the spikes on the back of the machine, which is a pity as it always looked better with those spikes in my eyes. This machine performed in Series 5 and Extreme and while Series 5 was a good show for this incarnation, Extreme...wasn't.
Funny enough, it started off on a high note in a Mayhem battle where it fought Wheely Big Cheese and Ming III for the chance to quality for an Annihilator later in the series. They absolutely destroyed them both. Wheely Big Cheese was dented, bent and buckled and Ming III had its wheels ripped clean off (which is its own fault for not protecting them) so Hypno-Disc qualified quite handily for the Annihilator. This sadly proved to be its ONLY real major victory in all of Extreme as they would go on to lose all other matches they competed in.
The Annihilator itself proved not to be worth qualifying for in the end as they spent much of that battle just getting picked on by the other machines and limping their way through two rounds because Thermidor II and X-Terminator just happened to die before it could and come the third round, it was knocked out very quickly and pitted, being the third machine to be eliminated in the tournament.
As mentioned in the Behemoth post, they fought Behemoth in the All-Stars and lost and they would fight one last time in a UK vs. Germany battle with Nasty Warrior...where they lost despite utterly wrecking the machine. The audience was NOT happy with that result to put it mildly! The main reason for their lack of success in Extreme was because they had an electrical bug that just kept plaguing the machine's performances but they thankfully fixed it for Series 5.
Interestingly, they did also have a Wild Card Warriors battle against TX-108...which they also lost thanks to that damn bug making them unable to move once "Activate" was called. This made Hypno-Disc the only veteran to lose to a newcomer in all of the Wild Card Warrior battles that took place. But the battle never made it to air, and I'm glad it didn't because the last thing Hypno-Disc needed is more humiliation piled on top of them like that and a battle like that was just not fit for purpose so it was for the best we never saw it.
Extreme also planned a "People's Challenge" event in where fans could vote for a match they wanted to see happen. Big shocker, Razer vs. Hypno-Disc was the big win but sadly, the teams decline to take part because they didn't want their machines to be badly damaged for the sake of entertainment so it never took place. Killjoys. X( Isn't the point of Robot Wars that it's about destroying each other for the sake of entertainment in the first place so good to know Razer and Hypno-Disc's teams forgot the damn point of the show that THEY BOTH COMPETE IN! But hey, let's not get too upset over what could've been. Let's leave Hypno-Disc's disappointing Extreme run behind and move to...
Hypno-Disc's Biggest Season And Biggest Upset
Hypno-Disc came back looking stronger than ever for Series 5 and they really showed that they were taking no prisoners this time round. They were in it to win it!
They were seeded third for this series...despite finishing fourth overall so that made no sense. They were up against Black Widow, a walker bot, in the first round and despite getting some webbing caught on the disc, they broke the widow's legs and left them immobilized, winning the round easily. They then found themselves up against the 22nd seeds Atomic II, which was an unusual draw as they usually try to make it so the two seeded machines would potentially fight in the Heat Final so why it happened in Round 2 is anyone's guess. Anyway, Hypno-Disc got flipped over by Atomic II, which forced it to use its srimech for the first time since they installed it in Series 5 (though it also got a brief chance to use it against Behemoth in Extreme so you might count that as the first time too) and after self-righting themselves, they proceeded to rip Atomic to pieces. They even broke the flipper off! They made it to the Heat Final where they won against Bulldog Breed III by ripping the safety link out so the machine just stopped altogether. Funny enough, these battles with Hypno-Disc cause Atomic and Bulldog Breed to drop out of an Annihilator they'd qualified for in Extreme. Funny how they both dropped out because of Hypno-Disc, isn't it? XD
Nevertheless, Hypno-Disc made it to the semi-finals for the third time in a row and were up against Firestorm 3. This had potential to be a pretty cool showdown...but Hypno-Disc literally killed it in one hit and that was it. This is like the equivalent of a Pokémon battle where you have two awesome Pokémon ready to duke it out together and then someone just cheeses it with a one-hit KO move like Sheer Cold, Fissure or Guillotine. Ah well, Hypno-Disc ended up in the second round of the semi-finals where it battled Dominator 2. They hit them several times and immobilized them on one side so they could only move in circles. Then Hypno-Disc proceeded to hang back and not finish them off for the rest of the battle, letting the fight go to the judges. The audience did NOT like that and it's even considered among the most boring fights in Robot Wars history. The Hypno-Disc team explained that their reason for this was they didn't want to do anything that might compromise their Grand Final placing so they held back to avoid potential damage.
So Hypno-Disc is in the Grand Final for the third series in a row and they're up against Bigger Brother. They dominate this fight, utterly destroying Bigger Brother and breaking their armour while also breaking their flipper too. It was looking hopeless for the Watts family to the point even Ellie was looking rather distressed. Hypno-Disc were on top and were well on their way to making it to the Grand Final match-up where they'd be up against Razer or Firestorm in a match of EPIC PROPORTIONS...
Oh right, that happened. Damn it Bigger Brother! X(
The fight with Bigger Brother is widely considered the best battle in Robot Wars history for what a shock victory it was and the surprise turnout in spite of everything. I personally just hate this battle because once again, Hypno-Disc got cheated out of a win it deserved and we were robbed of a Hypno-Disc and Razer battle which would've been INFINITELY more interesting than the fight we got with Razer and Bigger Brother but what use is there in complaining at this point? What happened happened and that's the way it is.
So after that...aggravating loss(!), Hypno-Disc had to compete with Firestorm 3 for third place. Unlike the first fight they had, this one didn't end with a one-hit KO and was more fast-paced and action packed. It ended with Firestorm pushing Hypno-Disc into the pit...while also falling in itself. XD The impact of the collision into the pit broke something in Hypno-Disc and they couldn't be repaired for a potential rematch so Firestorm was given the win by default. For the second time in a row, Hypno-Disc finished fourth after a spectacular run on the series that was ended by losing to a machine it should've beaten. Still, it was a good series for Hypno-Disc and ultimately a good note to end on. But this would be the last time it would ever achieve such greatness...
No Grand Final For The Sixth Wars...
Hypno-Disc was back for Series 6 and they once again made some changes to the machine. They upgraded their inner mechanics, the power of the disc and also put the spikes back on the rear of the machine. They also changed the shape of the teeth on the disc to try and make it more damaging. Once again, they were seeded fourth for their 4th place win last time.
Hypno-Disc was in a melee with Barber-Ous 2, 4X4 and Granny's Revenge 2. Surprisingly Barber-Ous 2 did all the work in this melee while Hypno-Disc was struggling to keep up. Barber-Ous 2 pretty much wiped out the other two opponents and then Hypno-Disc just knocked them out as if to say "Oy, no stealing my thunder mate! I'M the star of the show here!" You gotta feel sorry for Barber-Ous at the end but it is kinda funny that Hypno-Disc ruined its big moment in this battle by just killing it after it killed the other two robots. XD
Still, Hypno-Disc and Barber-Ous 2 qualified and Hypno-Disc went on to rematch Bulldog Breed in Round 2. They didn't rip the link out this time, but they still won rather easily and left the dog whimpering in its kennel again. They fought Barber-Ous 2 again and didn't even really beat them. Barber-Ous just hit Hypno-Disc once and knocked itself out. Yeah, that machine is so incompetent and poorly constructed that it couldn't even lose properly! It knocked ITSELF out! XD So Hypno-Disc was in the semi-finals again but it was clear it was starting to look a little outclassed and outdated at this point for it wasn't having as spectacular and easy a run as it did before and this win over Barber-Ous 2 would sadly be its final victory it ever achieved.
It went up against Tornado in the semi-finals and...well let's be realistic here. Was Hypno-Disc EVER going to beat Tornado? Actually let me rephrase that: Was Hypno-Disc EVER going to beat Tornado outside of Series 4? That machine was always going to be the kind of bot it couldn't beat. To Hypno-Disc's credit, it actually held up well against Tornado and was still able to keep going no matter how much Tornado just kept coming at them and slamming them about. Still, Tornado won and Hypno-Disc was in the loser's melee where they were against Bigger Brother and Spawn Again. They got slammed into a wall and just broke down entirely, making this the first series where they didn't reach the Grand Final. Series 6 was overall a disappointing run for Hypno-Disc cut short because it was up against the wrong kind of robot for it to handle. It didn't even get a dignified defeat, it just hit the wall and broke! It wasn't a terrible run, but it wasn't a great one for them either. And then we get their worst run yet with...
An Extreme-ly Disappointing End
I said their run in Extreme was bad but at least they won SOME fights there. In Extreme II, they didn't win any fights at all. They competed in only two competitions, The All-Stars and the Challenge Belt. They went out in the first round both times. The All-Stars saw them go out to Dominator 2 and Spawn Again after a spectacular display of hard hits and being flipped around and come the Challenge Belt, they were in a melee with Dantomkia, Sir Chromalot and SMIDSY. They barely lasted more than a few seconds when Dantomkia got them up against the wall and just flipped them out of the arena. Talk about a lousy end to their career, just unceremoniously getting chucked out the arena like that...
They were due to appear in Series 7 but family commitments got in the way for them so they had to drop out. The series got cancelled after that and come the reboot, they tried to come back for that but ultimately, things didn't work out for them so Hypno-Disc never got the chance to appear again in Robot Wars. The reboot's cancellation also diminished any chances of Hypno-Disc ever showing up again so this truly was the last we'd ever see of them...
Much like Behemoth, Hypno-Disc is the prime example of something that is so good, yet can never seem to score any major wins. And in spite of all that, it still has a fearsome reputation that makes many watch in awe and also fear as even the idea of battling this machine has roboteers quaking in their boots.
Hypno-Disc is a robot where its reputation comes from the way it battles, not the amount of competitions it wins. It never won anything major, but it still scored a lot of victories over the course of its career and built up a reputation few others have matched. It terrorized roboteers everywhere and left its opponents in pieces while capturing the audiences attention and providing spectacular destructive beat downs nearly every time it was onscreen. It was a machine that was beloved for a reason and more than deserves the love it gets from the community. It may never have scored a major win, but it certainly won us all over back in the show's heyday and is a large part of why we love Robot Wars. Hypno-Disc is the robot that spins-to-win, and in the end it did win our love for the spectacularly destructive machine that has forever remained a staple on the franchise's history...
And that's it for this essay on the career of Hypno-Disc. I hope you enjoyed it and I welcome you all to share your thoughts down below. In fact, feel free to tell me which Robot Wars contestant you'd love to see me cover next time. I'm open for any suggestion on the next big-name robot you'd like me to cover! Join me next week as I cover 10 more facts about Disney. See you then everyone!