This is similar to The Batman Cold Open
, only it's used for teams, particularly the X-Men
. Usually depicted in a training room situation, this trope often sees a team practicing for actual combat, using various strategies barked out
by their Strait-Laced Leader
. The scene is designed to have each member show off their particular abilities—be they mutant powers, or cool gadgetry or weaponry—as well as reveal some aspect of each member's personality
through short quips and pithy comments.
A common variant is to begin in the middle of a battle
, fighting against some old foe. Everything's going smoothly until, suddenly, someone dies
. The simulated nature of the battle is revealed
Other variants include playing baseball
, wherein powers are out of bounds—until somebody uses them anyway
—and testing the mettle of a new member.
A Virtual Training Simulation
can be used for one of these, as can a Deadly Training Area
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Anime and Manga
- Great Mazinger: In the sequel to Mazinger Z, the Fortress Of Science was equipped with one of these. It appeared for first time in episode 3, and the scene showed Jun dodging rounds of machine gun mounted on the walls as Tetsuya her training and gave -or better said, barked out- advice.
- An episode of Tiger & Bunny opens with the pair against a gun-wielding gang. The titular duo then starts arguing, at which point Tiger stands up, ranting... and a dozen red dots converge on his face. Cue gunfire, and cheery opening.
- X-Men loves this trope, of course. In fact, it's how they were introduced back in 1963. The frequency of this trope in the various series also lead to the trope's old name, "Professor X likes watching teenagers sweat". Used in an issue of New Mutants in which Rahne re-fought the battle that got Doug Ramsey killed, and came up with over forty different ways in which she could have saved his life. Of course, Rahne wasn't allowing for the fact that the 'forty different ways' all required foreknowledge of what was coming...
- At least one of the Marv Wolfman-era Teen Titans comics opened with the Titans in the middle of combat training...
- A couple of issues of Avengers: The Initiative opened with this.
- In the X-Wing Series comics, the arc Battleground: Tatooine starts with Hobbie as Rogue Leader, other Rogues dying around him in an ambush. It's a simulator; Wedge and a few others are flying simulated TIEs, Hobbie and so on are flying as X-Wings.
- A Chris Claremont Fantastic Four issue started with Ronan the Acccusor taking out a set of the foursome's robots.
- One issue of the original UK The Transformers comic introduced a group called The Wreckers with them taking out 'facsimilie constructs' of prominent Decepticons in a training exercise.’
- While not actually the opening, in Kung Fu Panda we're introduced to the real Furious Five in a battle where they attempt to take out Shifu. They fail, badly.
- The Kobayashi Maru scene from the beginning of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- In Toy Story 2, we see Buzz Lightyear in a dystopian battlezone, finally reaching and fighting Zurg. After a brief fight, Buzz gets The upper half of his body blown to smithereens. Then some Game Over text pops up, showing that it was just a video game played by Rex, and the "real" Buzz is still fine. Repeated more obviously in Toy Story 3, as well as in Monsters, Inc.
- The intro to The Sum of All Fears.
- Appropriately enough, the beginning of X-Men: The Last Stand turns out to be a Danger Room scenario.
- Played for (dark) laughs in Space Truckers. While the opening scene where a Killer Robot attacks a Mega Corp.'s base was just a demonstration for the boss, this particular executive is so corrupt they used real weapons and real Mooks, all of whom are gruesomely slaughtered by the Killer Robot.
- The first scene in the X-Wing novel series is Corran Horn and three others doing their simulator tryouts for a place in the reformed Rogue Squadron. The scenario used is a nod to a particularly infamous level of the X-Wing game, and once again their opponents are their future squadmates. Except the last one, which singlehandedly mops the floor with them all; that's being flown by Tycho Celchu.
- In the Nora Roberts book Morrigan's Cross, the heroine and her companions try out their various combat abilities while their makeshift instructor critiques their talents out loud.
- The second Animorphs book, "The Visitor", begins with the group besides Tobias testing out their newly acquired flight morphs. Besides Marco and Cassie, who morph into ospreys, the group can all morph into different birds of prey.
Live Action TV
- Burn Notice: One episode opens with Mike on a motorbike being chased at speed by a pursuer. It turns out to be Fi although it may be more foreplay than a training exercise.
- The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Dark Frontier" used this trope pretty much exactly, with Tuvok, Janeway, Seven, and B'Elanna on the holodeck practicing a raid on a borg cube.
- The second-to-last episode of Season 4 of The Wire opens with an armed Michael Lee being chased through an abandoned warehouse by a similarly armed Chris Partlow and Snoop Pearson. Just when Michael gets the drop on Chris and shoots him in the chest, it's revealed that all three of them are actually carrying paintball guns, and that Chris and Snoop are training Michael for his new job as a soldier for the Stanfield Organization.
- The first episode of' The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne features a scene early on in which we are introduced to Rebecca Fogg fighting a samurai in a room full of ice blocks. It is revealed to be merely a training session when her cousin Phileas interrupts by shooting a bullet past her head.
Rebecca: "Since when did we start using real ammunition?"
Phileas: "As you know, my dear cousin, you don't encounter blanks on missions for the British Secret Service."
- Generation Kill opens to an intense combat situation in the middle of a desert. The driver of one of the vehicles gets injured and the others are supposed to leave it behind and "get out of the killzone". Everyone it very intense, then it is all revealed to be a training exercise. Interesting because the exercise itself doesn't give a lot of characterization, but the debriefing scene directly after sets up character relationships and plot threads for the whole series.
- The Power Rangers Ninja Storm episode "There's No I in Team" opens with a holographic training simulation, which the Rangers fail at.
- Quite a few games with a first stage Justified Tutorial fit this trope.
- The training courses at the beginning of Modern Warfare and its sequel.
- Star Trek: Elite Force begins with this trope. Pre-mission narration tell us that an away team is on a Borg ship on a rescue mission. Only when the player-character gets impatient, shoots a terminal and kills the team in a fiery explosion do we cut to the Voyager holodeck where we are told it was all a test.
- Inevitably, the Whateley Universe has finally done this. The opening of "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl" has this scene in one of the holographic simulators, but it's the Vindicators who get the coverage, and the villain in the simulation turns out to be... Ayla, playing the 'red team' as part of a training exercise for a class.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles do this often, with Splinter watching them sweat. Sometimes he's involved in the training too, and manages to kick all their shells. The 2012 series episode "Panic in the Sewers" starts with the Turtles taking on the Shredder and getting killed. It then turns out Splinter was having a nightmare.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold "Duel Of The Double Crossers!" has Batman training The Outsiders in such a simulation.
- The Teen Titans cartoon, in an interesting variation, introduces the bad guys Mammoth, Gizmo, and Jinx this way.
- The Batman Beyond episode "Terry's Friend Dates a Robot" opens with him training against robotic versions of classic Batman villains.
- Defenders of the Earth did this several times.
- The Legion of Super Heroes cartoon used this for the first season finale's cold open.
- An episode of Young Justice has one of these as the plot of the whole episode. The team (and therefore the viewer) doesn't know that it's fake due to the emotional distress of their psychic teammate.
- An episode of The Venture Bros. begins with the Monarch and his flunkies doing one of these, although a screw up cut the clip from the aired episode (although it's on the DVD and appeared on the online 'broadcast' version).
- Time Squad did this with a simulation where they were fighting an evil George Washington in their satellite.