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Muzzle Flashlight
Might makes light! And I feel mighty!

Sometimes, games feature incredibly dark areas for you to traverse. Sometimes, the developers haven't given you an adequate flashlight, or perhaps you had one, but the batteries died a long time ago. How do you find your way now? Start blindly firing your weapons, of course! Your muzzle flash, glowing magic, or energy weapons are all you need to light the way, and can do so fairly well. Never mind that it could give away your position, since your enemies can probably all see in the dark anyway.

Not to be confused with flashlights mounted to weapons.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Action Adventure  

  • Older versions of Iji required this in the deep sector. The newest version made it less dark and thus unnecessary and firing the shotgun doesn't do anything to the light level anymore.
  • inFAMOUS pulls this one too: When you first pop into sewers, you generally have to go across a complicated platforming section in extreme low-light conditions... It's a good thing the main character glows in the dark whenever he uses his powers! ...Though it gets significantly harder if you're evil, since the red color just makes things harder to see.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, you can use your Ether medallion to temporarily show you where hidden paths are - you're SUPPOSED to light torches, but Ether is sometimes easier or more convenient, since you can use it anywhere.
  • Pistols in Tomb Raider can be fired in rapid succession when few or no flares remain. This is especially useful because most games in the series give pistols infinite ammo.

     Action Game  

     First Person Shooter  

  • The lightsaber Dragon Tooth Sword in Deus Ex could be used as poor-man's flash light when your bio-energy was low.
  • In Doom, muzzle flash will (slightly) illuminate the entire visible area for a split second, letting the chaingun act almost like a short-length flashlight. This is invoked in the Doom Comic when Doomguy encounters a dark room.
  • In Marathon, this is pretty much the only way to see in dark rooms other than the extremely rare night-vision power-ups.
  • In Left 4 Dead, most weapons generate more light when fired than your actual flashlight. SMGs and assault rifles in particular are most useful for this, being full-auto.
  • In Quake II, the player starts with the Blaster. This gun is very weak, but it doesn't use ammo and its projectiles are slow-moving and glow brightly. This combination makes it useful for lighting up dark corridors, since there is no flashlight in this game. The sequel, Quake IV, does away with that and just gives you a flashlight.
  • Some Star Wars games. Energy weapons AND lightsabers. What darkness?
  • In Unreal, just about every projectile weapon has some sort of glow around its shots. The biorifle's sticky projectiles can act as short-term flares, rockets can illuminate a large area for a brief moment, and the Dispersion Pistol can emit light almost non-stop (as it recharges on its own).
  • This could be done in the Metroid Prime trilogy, although it's not awfully necessary, especially after getting certain visors. Charging your weapon also provides light.
  • Bit of a twist on it in Halo with the Plasma Pistol - the torch had a habit of running flat, so charging up the plasma pistol to get the muzzle glow could solve the problem (except in Halo 3, where this slowly consumed ammo to counter the previous game's "Noob Combo"). In Halo: Reach, the Energy Sword emits a blue light that can act as a flashlight as long as the sword has power.
  • Only three weapons in Killing Floor have an attached flashlight, and most of the default maps are rather dark, so this trope is common. Taken to the extreme with the Firebug's weapons, all of which can set specimens on fire to both continuously damage them and light them up for other teammates to see them better.
  • In Half-Life: Opposing Force, the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon provides a shitload of illumination, which is especially useful in the Voltigore tunnels.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon's second expansion, Perseus Mandate, houses an interesting variant of the trope in the LP4 Lightning Arc Weapon. You don't need to fire it to have light (not that you'll be firing it much even for a good reason); its muzzle glows a faint blue light when you have it equipped, and while it doesn't reach very far, it is enough to find your way around, and unlike the Sergeant's headlamp, it'll never go out. It's generally not very useful outside of the scary setpieces that temporarily rob you of your light.

     Hack And Slash  

  • The official guide for Diablo II suggests using fire arrows or spells to scout ahead in dark areas.

     Platform Game  

  • This is utilized in one of Eggman's stages in Sonic Adventure 2.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, you can use Fire Eggs to light up a dark maze over a Bottomless Pit instead of splitting up the characters so one keeps the light on, which you're supposed to do.
  • Spelunky has annoying dark stages where you have to carry a box of flares to see. Or if you have a shotgun or a pistol you can just keep firing it to light the place up.

     Real Time Strategy  

  • X-COM UFO Defense has incendiary rounds for some weapons that spray fire over a wide radius and provide much better illumination than the hand-thrown "electro-flares" that are intended for the job. Thanks to the hitscan mechanics, this ended up being their primary use.

     Role Playing Game  

  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion you could turn practically any weapon into this; magical weapons glowed, plus any spell or enchanted armour could include the "light" effect which made the target give off light.
  • Dark Messiah has a "see in the dark" spell, but for those who don't like seeing in blue all the time, most spells and a few magical swords can be used as lights too. Lightning bolt is especially good at this.

     Shoot Em Up  

  • In Jungle Strike's night level, pretty much the only lighting comes from weapon fire.
  • Star Fox 64 has an underwater level that had little light, and your bombs are replaced by an unlimited supply of glowing torpedoes.

     Stealth Based Game  

  • At one point, Metal Gear Solid 3 dumps the player in the middle of a pitch-black cave. Though more traditional light sources are available, New Game+ provides you with an infinite-ammo machine gun...

     Survival Horror  

  • The Toy Sword in Dead Rising emits a red-pink glow at night, which is supposedly extremely useful for SDTV players because the game was designed to play on an HDTV and it becomes very difficult to see anything at night on an SDTV.
  • Seeing all four endings in Afraid Of Monsters: Director's Cut unlocks a machine gun with infinite ammo. Consider how dark the game normally is, and one can imagine its primary use.

Non-video game examples:

     Anime and Manga  

  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the first time Yugi sees Panik's monsters is when his dragon fireballs them.

     Comedy  

  • The Dead Alewives comedy group has a famous sketch featuring Dungeons & Dragons players. One of them casts Magic Missile at the darkness ahead of him, which reveals an elf.

     Film  

  • Brief strobelight-esque illumination occurs when Clarice kills Buffalo Bill at the end of Silence of the Lambs.
  • One scene in Equilibrium is lit entirely by muzzle flashes. (Although the characters don't really need to see in order to fight.)
  • Variation in Saw. One photographer has to use his camera flash to try and see if there's an intruder in his house when the power gets cut. There is.

     Literature  

     Live-Action TV  

  • An episode of Doctor Who brought back the Weeping Angels, which can only move when no-one's watching, and turn into indestructible statues when they are. A squad of soldiers attempting to hold them off in a dark corridor were reduced to trying this as a last resort - that, or they were going for the good old Who tradition of Five Rounds Rapid.

     Tabletop Games  

  • A few flaming weapons in GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy have the effect of a torch when active.
    • And in Tactical Shooting firing guns in the dark can cause temporary blindness.

     Web Comics  

  • In Goblins, Dellyn Goblinslayer uses the Magic Fang spell in this way - he's trapped in a lightless sewer, and the spell makes the sword glow.

     Web Original 

  • In Freeman's Mind Gordon at one point muses on how lucky he is that he doesn't have a Ten-Second Flashlight, as otherwise he'd have to navigate via this trope which has its own problems.

     Western Animation  

  • In the first season finale of X-Men, Wolverine battles a squad of Sentinels in a dark cave, with nothing to see with except the flashes from the Sentinels' laser blasts.

     Real Life  

  • On the night of October 6, 1973, during the battle of Booster Ridge, the Israelis were at a disadvantage because their Centurion tanks were not equipped with night-vision cameras comparable to the ones on the Syrian T-55s, so Lt. Col. Avigdor Kahalani used a burst of tracer rounds from his machine gun, fired into the air, to illuminate what he thought, correctly, might be an approaching T-55. Once his suspicion was confirmed, he knocked out the tank with his main gun, and the resulting fire illuminated the battlefield.
  • Another point of Truth in Television: The muzzle flash of a good number of weapons is just plain ludicrous. A Mosin-Nagant's flash can set people on fire. The Mini-14 sans flash suppressor can produce a flash as long as the rifle itself.
    • Some ammunition makers try to avert this by offering rounds with powder that is specifically designed to minimize flash, typically aimed for home defense purposes.
    • Others turn this Up to Eleven. Dragon's Breath shotgun shells are designed to turn "muzzle flash" into "muzzle 12-foot-gouts-of-flame". As one might imagine this is worse than useless in any kind of firefight situation and will quickly ruin your shotgun, but looks awesome.
  • The above entry about most firearms is not particularly true for the Type 38 Arisaka rifle. Its relatively weak cartridge (dubbed weak by Americans, that is, though 6.5x50 mm Arisaka is strong enough to penetrate modern car doors) and long barrel meant that there was little wasted propellant powder, which meant very little to no muzzle flash. Japanese snipers with the Type 97, a lightened Type 38 with a scope, would use a special reduced-charge cartridge which meant that the snipers would be difficult to find due to the lack of muzzle flash, even if they had fired off several rounds at relatively close ranges in the jungle.


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