Created By: Tuckerscreator on March 22, 2013 Last Edited By: marcoasalazarm on March 29, 2013
Troped

Upgrade Vs Prototype Fight

Two machines fight. One of them is a prototype, the other is its sleek new successor.

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Trope
Few things are cooler than two robots fighting each other. But not all robots are created equal, and new models appear every day. Thus, to increase the tension, one of the robots will be more powerful than the other. The weaker one is usually the good guy, and makes it through the fight only through sheer force of will. Who will win? Easy, Underdogs Never Lose.

Note that this doesn't have apply solely to robots, just something created that has a successor.

Related to Super Prototype, David vs. Goliath. Compare Cain and Abel and Rock Beats Laser.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Fairy Tail: Despite Natsu and Gajeel being first generation dragon slayers, they show themselves capable of curb-stomping third generation ones (dragon slayers who are not only taught by dragons, but have lacrima implanted in them).

Comic Books
  • The Starcraft: Frontline comics features a dogfight between a Viking, the Dominion's new experimental transforming gunship, and the Wyrm, the Viking's vastly inferior prototype.
  • In the Iron Man comics, Tony Stark has had to face off occasionally against advanced versions of his armor using older models. Some examples include when he battled his own armor gone Yandere in the Sentient Armor arc, and later facing off against Norman Osborn, who was using his Dark Avengers "Iron Patriot" suit, with a suit (literally) made in a cave, with a box of scraps.

Film
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a classic example. With the good guys, you have the T-800: powerful, sturdy, and good with weapons. But for the bad guys there is the T-1000: just as strong, just as smart, and able to morph its body into almost anything. The two face each other directly at the end of the film, and only barely does the T-800 win.
    • Later good T-800s similarly have had to face off against the T-1000000 (in T2-3D: Battle Across Time) and the T-X (in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). The former is a gigantic spider-bot made of liquid metal and the latter is a much more powerful, tough and better equipped (and fully armed) endoskeleton with a liquid metal cover for better infiltration.
  • Iron Man has a sort-of example: The Iron Monger suit is based off research from the original Mark I armor, and is certainly larger and more powerful than Tony's. The latter's Mark III is also an upgrade, but is weaker because it's using the Mark I's old arc reactor.
    • Iron Man 2: Rhodey puts on the Mark II and faces off against Tony in his Mark III, but doesn't do too well initially because it's his first time using it and Tony's more experienced. However, he improves and they end up battling each other into a stalemate.
  • Played with in I, Robot: U.S. Robotics releases a new NS-5 robot model. Of course, the robots inevitably rebel against their masters. The old model robots try to protect the humans, to no avail. Then Sonny, one of the NS-5s, is revealed to have a special prototype brain, which prevents VIKI from controlling him. Sonny helps detective Del Spooner to defeat the other NS-5s.
  • Robocop 2. The OCP corporation decides to replace Robocop with Robocop 2, another robot with a human brain controlling it. At the climax of the movie, Robocop battles Robocop 2 to the death.

Folklore
  • Paul Bunyan the giant lumberjack once faced off against a giant chainsaw. He lost and left into the wilderness.
  • The legend of John Henry and his hammer. He technically won against the steam powered drill, but died in his exertion to do so.

Toys

Video Games
  • Sonic Adventure: Gamma the robot is made to fight his "brother" Beta, who is the more advanced of the two. To Dr. Eggman's surprise, Gamma wins, so he is charged with carrying out the doctor's missions. Later, Beta is rebuilt and battles Gamma again.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Solid Snake and Liquid Snake are both born from an experiment to create clones of Big Boss, one clone superior and the other inferior. Later, the two face off inside Metal Gears, Snake in the original REX mecha, and Liquid in the RAY mecha designed to hunt down REX.
  • A non-mechanical example happen in Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten with the biological weapons Desco and Des-X. Although the latter is supposed to be more advanced of the two, they actually have near identical stats and skills. The former actually gains her ultimate skill while the latter don't.
  • Halo 3's Terminals reveal that the Forerunners built an AI called Mendicant Bias to defeat the Flood, but he went rogue. To counter him, another AI was built called Offensive Bias, as his successor. Offensive wins but only because he was stalling for the Forerunners to fire the Halos that thus destroyed every organic being in the galaxy, robbing Mendicant's fleet of its crew.

Webcomics
  • The fight between Klik and Evil Klik in Goblins Life Through Their Eyes is this trope to a t; with an older model facing off against a stronger, more violent, evil model. The underdog doesn't win in this one, though.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • March 22, 2013
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: Makuta Teridax in Mata Nui's original body vs Mata Nui in the Prototype Robot.
  • March 22, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    • A non-mechanical example happen in Disgaea 4 A Promise Unforgotten with the biological weapons Desco and Des-X. Although the latter is supposed to be more advanced of the two, they actually have near identical Stats and skills. The former actually gains her ultimate skill while the latter don't.
  • March 22, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Not sure the area this would go in, it's in a graphic novel based on a video game, so yeah.

    • Starcraft, the Frontline series features a dogfight between a Viking, the Dominion's new experimental transforming gunship, and the Wyrm, the Viking's vastly inferior prototype.

    There's another example in the same game, the rivalry of Nova vs Tosh, Nova being a Ghost (psychic super-soldier) and Tosh being a Spectre, next-generation Ghosts with superior abilities but inferior mental stability. The player gets to choose who to side with and receives either Ghosts or Spectres for their forces as a result. But it's not robots so it isn't really valid, just bringing it up in case the trope definition changes.
  • March 22, 2013
    randomsurfer
    There are a few other tropes which this may overlap with (if not actually be):
  • March 22, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    ^Hm, not sure about those. I'll take a look through them, but they don't seem like they're involved in the examples yet.
  • March 23, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Film
    • Played with in I Robot: U.S. Robotics releases a new NS-5 robot model. Of course, the robots inevitably rebel against their masters. The old model robots try to protect the humans, to no avail. Then Sonny, one of the NS-5s, is revealed to have a special prototype brain, which prevents VIKI from controlling him. Sonny helps detective Del Spooner to defeat the other NS-5s.
  • March 23, 2013
    Andyzero
    Happens twice in American Folklore. Paul Bunyan the giant lumberjack lost to the chainsaw and left into the wilderness.

    John Henry technically won against the steam powered hammer, but died in his exertion to do so.
  • March 25, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Robocop 2. The OCP corporation decides to replace Robocop with Robocop 2, another robot with a human brain controlling it. At the climax of the movie Robocop battles Robocop 2 to the death.
  • March 26, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Bump. More examples? Hats?
  • March 26, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Expanding on the Terminator example: the T-800 vs. the T-One Million (from the 'T2-3D: Battle Across Time' ride-a gigantic spider-bot made of liquid metal) and the T-800 vs the T-X (Terminator 3-a much more powerful, tough and better equipped (and fully armed) endoskeleton with a liquid metal cover for better infiltration capability).
  • March 27, 2013
    blueflame724
    Fairy Tail: Non-robot example; Despite Natsu and Gajeel being first generation dragon slayers, they show themselves capable of curb-stomping third generation ones(dragon slayers who are not only taught by dragons, but have lacrima implanted in them).
  • March 27, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Also on the Iron Man comics, Tony has had to face off occasionally against advanced versions of his armor using older models (earliest example I can think of was an arc in the late 90's with the 'upgrade' armor going on an AI Is A Crapshoot-meets-Yandere rampage, and one of the newest is him having to face off against Norman Osborn (who was using his Dark Avengers "Iron Patriot" suit) with a suit (literally) made in a cave, with a box of scraps).

    Also, expanding on the film Iron Man examples, on the second movie Rhodey fights Tony using an earlier version of the suit. Hard to tell if the earlier model had been upgraded in any way, but it was still pretty equal.
  • March 27, 2013
    ATC

    Webcomics:

    • The fight between Klik and Evil Klik in Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes is this trope to a t; with an older model facing off against a stronger, more violent, evil model. The underdog doesn't win in this one, though.

    Does this count as an example?
  • March 28, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Indeed it does. I'll leave this open a little longer in case of more examples.
  • March 28, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Would Venom and Carnage count? The Carnage symbiote is less weak to attacks that affect Venom, plus it (and its user) are a veritable Swiss Army Knife of violence next to Eddie Brock's simple brawling style-but since Carnage is a Complete Monster next to Brock's Anti Hero (and pretty often there's other heroes like Spider Man there to help 'soften up' Carnage), Venom comes out on top.

    As well, Hulk and Rulk (and Ultimates Hulk vs. Ultimate Abomination): Both are supposed to be 'improved' versions of The Hulk (among other things becuase they retain their full personality while Hulk is his typical "Hulk Smash!" self). Unfortunately, all of those improvements cannot really factor in that Hulk is just gonna get madder and more dogged to win such a situation... and eventually he's gonna get mad enough to be able to smash them flat, superior intelligence, battle tactics and powers be damned.

    Ultimate Hulk as he rips Ultimate Abomination's head off: "You think too much!"
  • March 29, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Anime Example: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. The Tallgeese is an in-universe Super Prototype from which all other Mobile Suit designs originated, but was deemed too dangerous for the pilot and became nothing more than a museum exhibit and collector's curiosity.

    When the Gundams start raising hell of all kinds, the bad guys decide to Break Out The Museum Piece. The Tallgeese proves itself quite capable on the battlefield repeatedly afterwards with a good pilot inside it.
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