Original Air Date: 1st March 2003
Writer: Michael Reaves
Director: Gary Hartle
Another week, another updated origin story for an established character, and this time it’s Roboto’s turn to get the 200X treatment as we see him reimagined here as a sophisticated chess computer designed to challenge Man-e-Faces’ Robot form. However, when the Palace is beset by Tri-Klops’ latest creation – a Skeleton Warrior army where each monster splits into two more when damaged – he makes the decision to conscript himself into the Royal Guard, enhancing his battle capabilities and using his elite strategic mind to ultimately save the day.
This series has built its long-time fan admiration by providing deep, inventive backstories for some of its “lesser” characters (and also the Snake Men stuff, but more on that later), so deciding to revise Roboto – a character who has had a variety of different origins over the years – seems like a good move. Adding what is essentially Tri-Klops striking out on his own into the mix and you have the recipe for another stellar episode. However, due to a number of small niggles and wasted opportunities, this one never really kicks it into high gear.
Firstly, despite his invention taking center stage, Tri-Klops himself barely does anything of consequence, hiding in the shadows and eventually being bested fairly easily. Also, in a frustrating move just two episodes removed from his stellar debut, Sy-Klone comes across as a borderline comedy character here, popping up to dispense fortune cookie-style wisdom before disappearing in a puff of wind. Infuriatingly, he also makes the Skeleton Warrior situation about a hundred times worse by relentlessly smashing them apart in their hundreds, fully aware that each time he does they immediately multiply. Although, to be fair, He-Man does exactly the same thing, so common sense is definitely in short supply here.
Overall, this is a solid enough episode with a mildly frustrating central premise where the good guys show absolutely no awareness of the consequences of their own actions. I’m definitely a fan of the changes made to Roboto and his impressive performance here to use both his intelligence and impressive arsenal of weapons to save the day, but his revised origin story doesn’t quite ‘pop’ like the recent top quality revisions to Sy-Klone and Two-Bad. Still well worth a watch, though.
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