Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight
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 wits, pluck, and 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 Versus Goliath
. Compare Cain and Abel
and Rock Beats Laser
Anime and Manga
- In the original Battle Angel Alita, the titular cyborg heroine Alita spends 10 years working as killer for a secret organization, who eventually decide to replace her with android replicas based on her combat data. When she finaly faces off against one of these AR (Alita Replicate) units, her former boss describes them as superior to her. In a subversion the replica does turn out to be superior and Alita only survives thanks to a friend's intervention. Ironical one of the copies decides that she wants to become an original on her by killing the other copies in order to show that she is better than them and the original. When she later faces off against Alita, she loses, playing the trope straight again.
- 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).
- In Shin Mazinger, Count Brocken hauls out Energer Z, the prototype of Mazinger Z, to fight Kouji and his robot. Energer Z proves to be the superior until Tsubaki reveals Zeus' hand and activates God Scrander.
- In Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo, Shou and Gai end up piloting Neo Getter Robo against an army of Getter Prototypes piloted by members of the Dinosaur Empire. It's a massive curbstomp battle until Gou is able to reawaken Shin Getter Robo and has it absorb the prototypes' Getter Energy.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, with the GP-02A "Physalis" Gundam (prototype) versus the GP-01 "Zephyranthes" Gundam (upgrade). The former is a new prototype version Gundam designed to deploy a nuclear warhead at close range, the later is a simple refinement of earlier Gundam designs. The Physalis is stolen in the first episode, and the Zephyranthes is deployed as part of the hunt to reclaim it.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00, twice over. In the final battle, the Setsuna pilots the 00-Raiser, the prototype for the Twin Drive System, against the Ribbons' Reborns Gundam, which was built from its data and improved upon. The two machines wreck each other, with the Reborns Gundam barely coming out on top. Thus, Ribbons switches over to the 0 Gundam, the prototype to all of the Gundams in the show, while Setsuna switches to a rebuilt Gundam Exia, which is a much stronger upgrade from the 0 Gundam, and destroys Ribbons and the 0 Gundam.
- 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.
- One of the final battles of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers had Fate facing against the Numbers Cyborgs Tre and Sette. Fate was the first successful Artificial Mage, while the Numbers Cyborgs are enhanced versions of that, with Tre in particular being the most powerful of the cyborgs in combat.
- An early episode of Pokémon has Ash's Pikachu face off against Lt. Surge's Raichu, its evolved form. In the first battle, the older and more powerful Pokemon wipes the floor with Pikachu. Ash expects that the only way to for Pikachu to defeat it is to evolve as well, but his Pikachu doesn't want to evolve. Eventually they discover a solution: Raichu is larger and stronger but as consequence is slower. So in a rematch Pikachu defeats it by dodging it over and over, until the Raichu gets impatient, attacks but uses its electricity supply too fast, and thus becomes an easy target for Pikachu to fell.
- 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 a drunken Tony in his Mark IV, but doesn't do too well initially because it's his first time using it and Tony's more experienced. However, he improves, while Tony is still drunk 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.
- There's a form of this with The Incredible Hulk versus the Abomination. The former is the meek scientist Bruce Banner with an inferior version of the Captain America formula. The latter is the veteran marine Emile Blonsky with a more advanced version of the formula and the Hulk's blood. Consequently the Abomination is larger and stronger.
- Solo involves the titular character being a prototype android built as a perfect fighting machine. When his programming develops flaws (i.e. conscience and compassion), he is ordered to be reprogrammed. Solo escapes into the Central American jungle and befriends the locals. After beating the vengeful Colonel Madden's soldiers sent after him, he faces off against Solo MkII, a more advanced android with Madden's face and a multi-barreled gun instead of one hand. Solo manages to beat the MkII having learned to bluff from a local boy and convinces the military that he died along with the MkII in the resulting explosion.
Live Action TV
- 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.
- On Knight Rider, KITT (upgrade) vs. KARR (prototype).
- The new series also includes a battle between the two, but this KARR is actually a Transforming Mecha, while KITT can only transform into different cars.
- 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. Gamma just barely manages to win again, but unlike the previous battle it results in his death.
- This also happens in Sonic Adventure 2 in the final story where the two Ultimate Life Forms fight. Shadow, the perfected one, vs the Biolizard, the failed prototype.
- 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.
- At the end of Hitman: Codename 47, the genetically engineered clone Agent 47 faces not one, but an entire army of the new-and-upgraded "48" clones. He manages to defeat them, of course... (though it helps that he finds a minigun lying around.)
- To be fair, he has to kill one of the 48s to get said minigun.
- In First Encounter Assault Recon, the Point Man, who is the first attempt by Armacham to create a psychic commander, manages to overcome Paxton Fettel, the second and successfull attempt, despite lacking psychic powers and thus being considered a failure.
- BioShock 2: Whenever the player characters Subject Delta or Subject Sigma battle with production model Big Daddies.
- Mega Man 3 has Mega Man face off against his "older brother" Proto Man (a.k.a. Break Man) a few times. Mega Man 7 repeats this as a Bonus Boss.
- In the Prototype series this trope turns up several times: Alex Mercer (upgrade) vs. Elizabeth Greene (prototype) and Alex Mercer (prototype) vs. Supreme Hunter (upgrade) in the original game, and Alex Mercer (prototype) vs. James Heller (upgrade) in Prototype 2.
- Almost happened in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 with HK-47 and the serial HK-50 models. However, time constraints forced the developers to cut the content, meaning your character won't fight any more HK-50s after reactivating HK-47.
- Can be invoked by the player in Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War. After beating the game once, the ADFX-01 superplane is unlocked, and able to field either a Tactical Laser System, Multi-Purpose Burst Missile, or an Electronic Warfare Pod. Then they can take that plane into battle against the final boss, which uses an ADFX-02 that has all the aforementioned weapon systems. However, if you're fielding the laser, he goes down in three hits when it took dozens of normal missiles to do the same.
- Xenogears has a few. The most obvious is Maria's Siebzehn (prototype) vs his father Nikolai's Achtzehn (upgrade). We also have Fei's Weltall vs Grahf's Alpha/True Weltall, but although Alpha Weltall is a Super Prototype using Lost Technology, Fei's Weltall is more an Ace Custom inspired from the former and can't really be considered an "upgrade".
- Splintercell Conviction has this. While storming his former HQ, Sam Fisher battles several newer Splintercell agents. Of course, being the first Splintercell ever created, he easily trashes all of the Upgrades despite being outnumbered.
- The fight between Klik and Evil Klik in Goblins 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.
- Dexter's Laboratory:
- In the Dynomutt Dog Wonder crossover "Dyno-Might," the original Dynomutt confronts the out-of-control Dynomutt X-90 Dexter created to replace him, but X-90 dismisses him, declaring that the "Dynomutt prototype" is no threat. Dynomutt quickly proves him wrong.
- The episode "Robo-Dexo 3000" has Dexter replace his Humongous Mecha Robo-Dexo 2000 with the new-and-improved Robo-Dexo 3000. However, when the RD 3000 dismisses Dexter's plan to deal with an alien energy thief and ejects him, Dexter takes back the RD 2000. It's ultimately an Defied Trope, however: by the time Dexter arrives on the scene, the energy thief has sucked the Robo-Dexo 3000 dry.