Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

190. If my mad scientist/wizard tells me he has almost perfected my Superweapon but it still needs more testing, I will wait for him to complete the tests. No one ever conquered the world using a beta version.

So The Hero and his Ragtag Band of Misfits are storming your Evil Tower of Ominousness, your Evil Plan has failed and all you have left is your untried, unfinished Superweapon. In a last ditch attempt to stop the hero, your order the deployment of this weapon. . .

"But Sir, it's not ready yet!" a random minion declares (this may be anybody from The Dragon, to the Bridge Bunnies). Foolishly, you ignore the warning, and deploy the weapon anyway, probably to disastrous results.

The weapon can be anything; missile, Super Soldier, or in Fantasy settings, some kind of unstable magic.

If the characters are heroes, this serves to point out how cutting edge the weapon is and may involve a Million-to-One Chance. If the one giving the order is a villain, then it shows how desperate he is to defeat the heroes, and if they are just clueless NPCs then this is the cue for the experiment to Go Horribly Wrong. Can also be used to show that Science Is Bad.

See also: Unpredictable Results, compare Flawed Prototype and contrast with Super Prototype, when the Alpha version is better than the finished product.

Examples of Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway include:

Anime & Manga

  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the dummy plug system wasn't ready but Gendo Ikari thought, "it's sufficient."
  • In Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the Demon Giant used by the Tolmekians in the final battle was not yet ready. Consequently, it fell apart after a couple of shots.
    • Movie only. In the comics it became an important character. I think it got named 'Innocence.'
  • Used by Char 'The Red Comet' Aznable in the Final Battle of Mobile Suit Gundam, taking out an advanced - and unfinished - prototype mecha to match the 'White Devil' Gundam. Fortunately the only thing missing from the mecha was the LEGS which, while otherwise useful for inertial maneuvering in Zero-G, were rendered unnecessary by the thrusters in its lower torso. Consequently, while it was structurally only 80% complete, it was at full combat ability.
    • The unanimated Perfect Zeong, on the other hand, would have had the legs (with the torso thrusters moved onto them). It would likely have been slower (due to the added mass) but more agile (better movement from the legs).
    • An example with rather more serious consequences was the Colony Laser, Zeon's answer to the Federation's Solar Flare System, which was fired early in an attempt to prevent a secret surrender offer. It was completely wrecked as a result, denying the Principality a potentially war-winning superweapon.
  • Several Templars had to be field tested this way in Mechwarrior Mercenaries.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, the activation of doll soldiers qualifies. The villains are losing, so some military guy decides to use them, and scientists warns him that the tests aren't done yet, he ignores the warning, activates them and both get killed.
  • Soul Taker (the anime): When the main villain activates Soul Anubis after its upgrades (another typical example) despite researcher's warnings, Soul Anubis ignores orders and starts to follow orders of the true Big Bad.
  • Team Rocket from Pokémon has on numerous occasions lampshaded the fact that many of their scheme-of-the-week contraptions haven't been properly tested.
  • In the movie version of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Precia was told by her superiors to have her experimental reactor ready for a full-power activation in a week. She tried to explain that she needed a month to complete the construction and testing, but they decided the stock price impact of getting done three weeks early was more important than making sure the thing would work. The reactor suffered a catastrophic meltdown upon activation.
  • Digimon Tamers: Yamaki orders the activation of the Juggernaut program in order to wipe out all the Digimon, despite being told that it's not ready yet. This results in creating a portal that allows the Devas to enter the real world.
  • A sizable portion of the problems that Sousuke has with the Arbalest in Full Metal Panic! can be traced to the fact that it's technically still in beta, and not likely to change due to the fact that its creator committed suicide two months before the start of the series.
  • In Yaiba during the Underworld Arc, Boss pit the young samurai against his best warriors, Gold and Silver, and his subordinates warns him that they're still uncomplete. Of course, he doesn't listen.


Professor Hikita: Almost ready, Dr. Lizardo. Almost.
Dr. Emilio Lizardo: [Prepares to start the experiment]
Hikita: No, not yet. No!
Dr. Lizardo: [Continues his preparations]
Hikita: No, not yet! Not yet! I'm not ready!
Dr. Lizardo: [Starts the experiment, leading to disaster]

Grig: Remember, Death Blossom delivers only one massive volley at close range...theoretically.
Alex: What do you mean "theoretically"?
Grig: After all, D.B. has never been tested. It might overload the systems, blow up the ship!
Alex: What are you worried about, Grig? Theoretically, we should already be dead!

Jim West: That flying machine idea of yours. Were you acting like you knew what you were talking about, or can you build it?
[After the machine is prepared]
Artemus Gordon: Although he was considered insane by his peers, Bernoulli's theory states that the air flowing over a bird's wing is at a lower pressure than the air flowing under the wing. That's called "lift", and that is what we're now going to...attempt. Of course, it's only a theory, it's never been tested...
West: Stop talking.
Gordon: Sorry.

Bruce Wayne: Were all the Batsuits destroyed, Alfred?
Alfred Pennyworth: All except the prototype with the sonar modifications you invented. But you haven't tested it yet.
Bruce: Tonight's a good night.

Kirk: Mr. Scott, ready or not, she launches in 12 hours.

  • Some good examples are the Spider-Man movies. Norman Osborne turns into the Green Goblin in the test of his stimulants after being told that it has never been tested on humans and isn't ready yet, and Doctor Octopus is made during the test of his fusion reactor while people are shouting to turn it off (and just generally shouting in fear).
  • Iron Man:

Jarvis: Sir, there are still terabytes of calculations required before an actual flight is...
Tony Stark: Jarvis... sometimes you gotta run before you can walk.

    • Unusual for a hero using this trope, Tony's first flight could be charitably called a miserable failure that he barely survives. It does, however uncover a previously unknown flaw in the armor's design that comes into play later.
  • The executioner's complaints to the warden about the unreliable electric chair in Seed.
  • In Justice League Doom, they are about to phase the entire planet to let a solar flare pass through. Though this was mainly due for being short on time.

Cyborg: Now I just need to do a test run.
Batman: This IS the test run. (Activates it)


  • In the surprisingly witty children's book Have You Seen Who's Just Moved in Next Door to Us? one page has an Igor do this to his Frankenstein.

Frankenstein: More power, Igor!
Igor: But master! Think of the electric bill!

Live Action TV

Scott: Captain, you can't mix matter and antimatter cold. We'd go up in the biggest explosion since...
Kirk: We can balance our engines into a controlled implosion.
Scott: That's only a theory. It's never been done.
Kirk: We've got to risk a full-power start. The engines were shut off. No time to regenerate them. [snip] We've got to risk implosion. It's our only chance.
Spock: It's never been done.
Kirk: Don't tell me that again, Science Officer! It's a theory. It's possible. We may go up into the biggest ball of fire since the last sun in these parts exploded, but we've got to take that one in 10,000 chance!

  • In the Power Rangers Zeo episode "Target Rangers", Billy and Alpha-5 are working on a new accessory for the Megazord called Zeo Battle Helmets. Later in the episode, the latest Monster of the Week tries to throw the Megazord into the sun with the Rangers inside it; one of the Battle Helmets is an anti-gravity device that they could use to escape the sun's pull and return to Earth, but none of the Helmets have been tested; still, that's the only option, so Alpha activates them. Fortunately, they work perfectly.

Video Games

  • Said to Elder Lyons about Liberty Prime near the end of Fallout 3.
  • In Shadow the Hedgehog, the commander calls for a Giant Mecha called the Diablon (which he himself will pilot). The subordinate responds in this way.
  • Dark Gaia, of course, who had yet to reach maturity within the planet's core. Ergo, it was still incomplete at the time of its awakening. Ergo, it was unable to sustain its own weight upon its release. Ergo, it scattered across the world.
  • Crash Bandicoot: When Dr. Neo Cortex and N. Brio are trying to brainwash the newly created titular hero.

Dr. Cortex: Quickly! Into the Vortex!
N. Brio: But Doctor Cortex, the Vortex is not ready! We have no idea what it could do!

  • Red Alert 3: In the bowels of the besieged Kremlin, Colonel Cherdenko has an exchange with Dr. Zelinsky about his Time Machine that follows this trope.
  • Done in the second Croc game, where Baron Dante tells his minions to send out a giant t-rex robot. Naturally, he doesn't listen.
  • In the Hikage Street level of Jet Set Radio Future, Hiyashi yells at a subordinate to send in "the experimental weapon!" He's met with this reaction, and it's implied that he has a pretty violent tantrum. The subordinate reluctantly obeys. Oddly enough for a Secret Weapon, this is considerably early in the game, and he returns in a later chapter with an improved version.
  • In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, Bill Hawks pushed his time machine into testing before it was ready because corporations were offering him lots of money. The resulting disaster killed Claire and dozens of other people, and resulted in Dmitri seeking a way to bring Claire back, while Clive, a young boy orphaned by the disaster, grew up to want revenge on both of them.
  • One of the Web Of Intrigue nodes in Prototype recalls General Randall insisting that the Super Soldiers be fielded immediately despite a scientist's reservations on the decision.
    • Hilariously, he blows the guy off by telling the scientist he's "not paid to think."
  • in the introduction cutscene to Donkey Kong 64's final level, K. Rool realizes that the Kongs are attacking, and that he needs to arm his Doomsday Device NOW. As the Blast-o-Matic powers up, a minion pleadingly tries to tell him it's not finished and could blow them all up, but K. Rool is too wound up to listen to reason.


  • Shows up in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. The leader of Raptor Force insists that a horrorsaurus be sent to the battlefield, over the scientists' protests that it's too young.

Web Original

  • Mentioned in the Evil Overlord List: If the scientist says the device is not ready, the overlord shall listen. "No one conquered the universe using the Beta version."

Western Animation

  • Jonny Quest TOS episode "The Robot Spy": The title opponent is escaping.

Race Bannon: What if they can't stop it, Doctor?
Benton Quest: Then we'll use my Parapower Ray Gun.
Race: But you don't even know if it works! You haven't tested it yet!
Benton: We don't have a choice. We have to test it now. We've got to stop the robot!

  • Used in Superjail when the Twins' creation Combaticaus starts dominating The Warden's Fight City arena. The Warden call on The Doctor to release Prototype 7 which the Doctor exclaims its not ready. Subverted however in that it turns out to be more then a match for Combatitcus and saves the Superjail staff when Fight City starts to crumble.
  • This Trope is Deconstructed with the Adventures of the Gummi Bears episode "Day of the Beevil Weevils". Tummi tries to build a device using the Great Book's instructions that attracts bees, hoping they'll pollinate the Gummi Berry crop faster. However, he takes a lot of shortcuts to make the bullroarer-like device (using the wrong type of wood, the wrong number of holes, the wrong size holes, and the wrong length of rope). Still, the sound it makes resembles bees, so he tries it anyway. It does not work, and instead of bees, summons a swarm of ravenous Beevil Weevils that destroy the entire crop. Finding a way to replace them leads to the second half of the story.

Ergo, this is the repercussion of your hasty actions.