Videogame Flame Throwers Suck
Considering how, between Kill It with Fire
and Incendiary Exponent
, fire has a habit of being portrayed as undistilled Rule of Cool
, flamethrowers in Video Games
have an odd habit of being Awesome, but Impractical
at best. This tends to be down to a combination of Convection Schmonvection
, Critical Existence Failure
and a variant of Short Range Shotgun
; game flamethrowers
tend to have a very, VERY short range, a narrow area of effect and do slow damage over time with very little disabling effect (or the disabling effect requires enough sustained fire you may as well use an instant-damage weapon), in many cases the effect is very temporary as well and wears off soon after.
This is in part because they tend to be based on Hollywood-style gas flamethrowers rather than real ones; typically their fuel acts like pressurized gas rather than burning liquid, creating a long flame rather than an arcing stream. Game limitations mean the flamethrower's typical use (destroying buildings) is rarely possible in-engine, neither is it likely to mask the firer's position with smoke and flames (or even create smoke). On the plus side, games rarely allow the fuel tanks to be targeted by enemies (though enemies seem to carry tanks of nitroglycerine
rather than fuel on their backs if they
have a flamethrower), or simulate how staggeringly physically debilitating it is to operate such a device.
There are also additional issues, for instance, burning enemies frequently damage you when close
, yet the Flamethrower requires enemies to be close to use it (bonus points if other enemies are not damaged by the flames
). Also, games (especially Sci-Fi ones) frequently put you up against mechanical enemies and make fire useless against them, yet even the weakest pistol can do some damage; this is hugely unrealistic, since flamethrowers are dangerous to vehicles for the same reason molotovs are; the fire and smoke can easily cause the engine to overheat or choke, burn or melt most circuit boards, and cause immense discomfort for any crew. Finally flame propagation effects are very rare in games, so fire instantly dissipates in places that would be a fatal inferno in seconds in Real Life
, not to mention that fuel itself rarely acts like napalm, slicks of intensely burning glue that coat every surface fired at.
A flamethrower that doesn't
suck is usually a BFG
. If a mook
has one, it will probably suck, paint a giant target on his back
and make him that much more evil for having it. Even if you can pick it up and use it yourself
. If you can, it is almost a certainty that it won't work on the class of mooks who carry flamethrowers.
To an extent this is Truth in Television
. Flamethrowers were widely utilized in World War II
, but their short range compared to most firearms, heavy fuel tanks, and much higher potential danger to the operator proved impractical in modern combat, not to mention the horrific collateral damage is something of a public-relations nightmare.
Subtrope of Scrappy Weapon
- The flamethrower from Marathon, humorously named the TOZT (Toasty, later used in Halo 3 as 7057), is one of the best weapons for burning up crowds, and in fact can overheat and destroy most mechanical enemies, however its range is ridiculously low, and if you're up against a shotgunner in multiplayer you only stand a slight chance if you strike first. On the plus side, people who are burned make the most over the top and hilarious scream, and the aliens sound like chickens being kicked.
- The flamethrower in Killing Floor certainly isn't the worst on this list, but it has its share of downsides. It's custom-tailored for effortlessly chewing through the hordes of weak specimens in the early stages; masses of Clots, Gorefasts, Stalkers and Crawlers will be nothing but ash before they can even reach you. After the first few stages, though, the enemy waves start to have much more sturdy and intimidating freaks mingling amongst them who laugh off anything short of being force-fed a full tank of fuel - pray that one of your marksman-class teammates is nearby and has great aim, or get used to being eaten. Bear in mind that Infernal Retaliation is in full effect. Plus, unless you're a firebug-class, the flamethrower is expensive, very prone to damaging yourself, and you won't be able to afford it until you're most likely better off using something else - and, to add insult to injury, the "Husk" enemies, one of the more dangerous types due to being the only one with a ranged attack, are almost immune to the weapon. If you are a high level firebug, you can spawn with it in the first round, and those first three rounds is where the flamethrower is the most useful. Because there are higher-level weapons that excel at taking out hordes of enemies *or* priority targets, it's a definite case of Tier-Induced Scrappy.
- However, keeping a tougher enemy lit up for some time (about ten seconds) will cause their skin to burn off entirely and they'll panic, making them unable to use their special attacks.
- In the first Soldier of Fortune the flamethrower requires some sustained fire before enemies catch alight and are disabled, however, as there's almost no spread and ammo is rare using a direct damage weapon is far more efficient outside of the sadism value (the secondary is pretty powerful, but you may as well take a grenade launcher).
- In Team Fortress Classic the Pyro flamethrower (and their other fire weapons for that matter) does pathetic damage and is only useful for its view-obscuring effect, making them by far the worst class and a gimmick at best (although their flame-launcher can be okay at times).
- In the 2010 Alien vs. Predator game the marine's flamethrower is beyond useless: It makes the xenomorphs angry. Eventually they start crawling. Then they explode in an attack that will instantly kill you, but won't even annoy the other aliens around it. Oh, and when crawling they can grab your leg before exploding. So when you set one on fire, all you're doing is giving it a useful one-hit kill against you. Doesn't help that the flamethrower eats through its ammo in no time, and has all the range of the average loogie.
- The previous games of the series will still see you using the flamethrower very little, but it does have one justification for its existence: it's the only weapon that'll reduce the otherwise extremely dangerous facehuggers to an almost trivial threat.
- In Alien Trilogy, the Flamethrower is the weakest of the advanced weapons, being only better than the starting Pistol and consuming ammo extremely fast.
- At least averted in both Alien3 games on Nintendo and Super Nintendo. The flamethrower has pitiful range and doesn't knock enemies back, but it has plenty of ammo, absurd damage output, and a wide radius that hit anything in front of you. The Genesis version has an even shorter range, but does enough damage to kill even a lunging Alien so long as your timing is good.
- The light-gun game averts this: the flamethrower does much more damage than the default rifle, and can quickly clear rooms of Xenos.
- Phantasy Star Online has the Flame Visit and the Burning Visit. On paper, they're fairly strong Ranger weapons of one of the most useful class. However, they lack the trait that makes that class useful (hitting multiple enemies) but retain most of its weaknesses (slow as death firing animation) making them essentially worthless. The upgraded Burning Visit does have a few very, very specific uses, but they're both essentially worthless.
- In Wolfenstein 2009 the flamethrower can be quite deadly, however, it has barely any ammo at all, such that you are mostly forced to buy ammo if you use it, so you tend to be better off using an equally deadly weapon (most of them) that doesn't require you to waste money on ammo.
- Although if you pre-ordered it from BestBuy, you can get it at the beginning of the game, making this the only "heavy" weapon you have until you get the Particle Cannon.
- Return to Castle Wolfenstein featured a somewhat useful flamethrower; while it was hamstrung by rare ammo and being a typical videogame gas-thrower, its flame was unusually tight before impact and long range for an aerosol weapon, making it somewhat possible to flood through windows and around corners. You also first get it in a close-quarters level with a number of nasty melee enemies, making it very useful at that time.
- In Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, the soldier class may opt to start with a flamethrower and full ammo. It is okay at very short range, but even the basic SMG (that any class may use) is more than a match for it.
- The flamethrower in Enemy Territory is actually a pretty good weapon indoors or in closed spaces where the person you're trying to kill can't simply take a few steps back.
- Killzone 2's flamethrower is more of a Not Completely Useless weapon; it plays all the description straight (although the range is okay) and other weapons are mostly a better bet, but the flame from it lingers a little after landing; this is very helpful in a couple of situations where enemies can be easily lured into choke points where laying down a floor of fire creates a nasty trap. Unfortunately due to the game's one-weapon inventory system, arming yourself with anything situational tends to be a bad idea.
- At the end of the game, the Big Bad pulls an "cloak and run" once you get a few shots in, and if played wrong you will run out of ammo, but if you set them on fire then you can see where they will be and you can then use the melee before you are supposed to see them. However the weapon is still completely situational.
- In the early Armored Core games, the flamethrower was generally useless— the range was little better than that of a Laser Blade, and until Armored Core 2 (the fourth game in the series), the "heat" mechanic didn't exist, meaning that there was no damage over time for overheating an opponent. The later games improved this, but there are still better weapons.
- In UFO: Alien Invasion, the Flamethrower can be more effective than conventional ballistic firearms against the aliens, because their armor is less effective against fire damage. Of course, it also has much less range than most of the firearms.
- UFO: Aftermath features a flamethrower that does 3900 damage per hit (comparatively, a direct hit from an RPG does 550), but has an effective range of 5 metres and weighs more than a pregnant rhinoceros.
- In Turok 2: Seeds of Evil melee enemies didn't die fast enough to avoid being damaged and enemies with guns could shoot you before you closed the distance. It also caused horrendous lag.
- Definitely the case in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Vice City: the tendency for enemies to run directly at you when you light them on fire (leaving you completely helpless and vulnerable), the ridiculously short range meaning you could have killed the enemies with anything else in the game by that point, and that, since its technically classed as a BFG, you can't run and gun with it makes it all but useless.
- By collecting hidden packages in Vice City, you could unlock the Flamethrower at your safehouse. However, a glitch in the original PS2 version would cause it to only spawn with four units of ammo, leaving the pickup almost completely worthless.
- Halo 3: Powerful but extremely easy to burn yourself with it. Also poor range. It's also only available during levels with the Flood in them... but it's also one of the best weapons against the Flood, since a short burst can kill most of them. A good player can conserve their ammo for the whole level.
- After being cut from the Xbox release of the Halo: Combat Evolved, the Mac/PC port restored it as a multiplayer weapon. It suffers from limited range, but has absurdly high damage, highly contagious burning, and huge amounts of ammo.
- In Gears of War 2 the flamethrower usually can't kill the wretches before they get to you making it just as effective to melee them. The flamethrower is actually useful against armed enemies because you can accurately fire from cover without crosshairs (just watch where the flames go and adjust your aim accordingly). Unfortunately the level you get the flamethrower on has almost exclusively melee enemies.
- That being said, the flamethrower is still useful on that particular level: because it features almost exclusively melee enemies, they will get burned getting close to you, and considering it would otherwise take more than one punch to kill the wretches, you're doing better than you would be otherwise. Until you get overwhelmed by wretches...
- And in multiplayer, closing to flamethrower range brings you into shotgun range. Bad move.
- The flamethrower shines, however, in the Co-op Horde mode of Gears of War 3-the flamethrower is the best weapon for taking out the super armored Berserker Boss monsters, and is also fairly effective against the Lambent version as well.
- In Call of Duty: World at War the flamethrower has poor range but is an instant kill. The thing that sucks about it is the flames seem to move inexplicably slow towards their target allowing the enemy to shoot you a few dozen times before they burn to death.
- In the multiplayer, its effectiveness is similar to a shotgun, killing enemies quickly but not instantly with a slightly better range (once hit by the flamethrower, players are immune to damage from it for 0.2 seconds, allowing a short burst of flame that manages to hit an enemy player entirely to definitely die). The flames take time to reach their target, but it does allow you to back into cover while attacking an enemy. However, it is a perk that requires level 65, the highest level in the game, so most players will never use it for very long before prestiging, and your character model is one with a large tank on their back, leaving subtlety an issue.
- The add-on to the original game, United Offensive, featured a startlingly useless German flamethrower that barely showed up in the campaign, had next to no ammunition and hardly any drops, no ironsight, and was basically a waste of time to pick up.
- The flamethrower in Metroid Prime is by far the most useless beam combo (all of them but the Super Missile are situational at best, but the Flamethrower just plain sucks). It has a short range, is difficult to aim (as it only emits a narrow stream of flame), uses a huge amount of ammo, and you could just be using the charged Plasma Beam which is far more effective.
- However, the Plasma Beam is broken in its own right.
- And Prime's control scheme is partly to blame for its uselessness, since you couldn't aim and move at the same time. Trilogy fixes this, putting the flamethrower on equal terms with its beam combo brethren (situational but effective).
- The Flamethrower, though, is one of two weapons that is unaffected by the Beam Shields that the Elite and Omega Pirates use (the only other weapon that works are normal Missiles). Because of this, the Flamethrower is frighteningly effective at destroying the Omega Pirate's Phazon armor plates.
- The flamethrower in Dead Space is the one weapon considered to be completely useless (and that's in normal gameplay; that it realistically doesn't work in a vacuum makes it even more of a joke). The one practical use it has, that being burning Pregnants so their swarmers die in the flames, is something just as easily avoided with decent aim.
- Oddly, the flamethrower in Dead Space is actually one of the few chemical designs that could work in a vacuum, as described in supplemental material. It is intended as a tool for melting ice in the absence of an atmosphere, which might justify its relative weakness as a weapon. That the game does not allow it to function in vacuum is something of a gaffe.
- Dead Space 2 rectified the problem with the flamethrower not working in space, and gave it some much-needed offensive buffs, but it's still a poor alternative to other, much more powerful weapons.
- Partially averted in Starcraft, where the flamethrower-wielding Firebats are extremely useful, and the Terran's only melee unit: they do as much damage as a Zealot but are less expensive, do line damage, and can use stimpacks, which raises their attack rate to stupidly high. They stop being quite so useful against larger units, since they deal concussive damage—except against Protoss shields, which normalize damage types. Base-rushing with firebats can thus be somewhat effective.
- StarCraft II is similar with Hellions (and Firebats in the campaign), which completely destroy certain early units and are very fast but tend to not hold up to stronger stuff. The Hellbat, an upgrade to the Hellion, is more useful as it has a much wider area of effect.
- Actually used In-Universe- the reason Firebats are campaign only in II is that the fumes leak into the user's compartment, guaranteeing they go insane after a while, hence their being phased out and replaced with Marauders.
- Resident Evil has a long, long, long history of pissing off its fans with crappy flamethrowers:
- Resident Evil and it's Nintendo GameCube remake have a flamethrower only available to Chris, which he gets instead of the Bazooka/Grenade Launcher. It has only enough fuel for 7 seconds of firing, can never be reloaded, has pitiful range, low damage, and can only be used in the underground caves. And he gets it instead of the Bazooka/Grenade Launcher!
- Resident Evil 2 follows suit with the flamethrower that Leon finds. It's even worse than the one above, since it has even less ammo and is found so late in the game that it is completely outclassed by the other weapons you carry. Again, Leon gets this instead of the Spark Shot that Claire finds which is a Lethal Joke Item that sucks against most monsters but absolutely slaughters the G Virus mutations of William Birkin and the Tyrant T-103.
- Likewise, the flamethrower is Not Completely Useless for Leon. It's very ineffective against zombies and lickers, but it makes quick work of the Ivy creatures that will otherwise soak up a ton of valuable ammunition from Leon's other guns— even his Upgraded Magnum, which outclasses the Spark Shot against bosses, anyway.
- Resident Evil Outbreak has a flame thrower which can be made by David by combining the Insect Spray with the Lighter. Unfortunately you find said items in levels where they are of use, and by making the overall shoddy flamethrower, you lose the ability to kill insect-type enemies in one shot and reach hidden caches of items.0
- Resident Evil 5 gives you an actually pretty decent flamethrower which would be an Infinity+1 Sword. However, you can only use it during one part of the game, against a boss that no other weapon works on (Making it's damage output a moot point), and doesn't get infinite ammo even if you legitimately unlocked it.
- Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City's flamethrower would be okay, if you could purchase it, spawn with it, reload it, or customize it. It can only be found in levels, and has a pitifully low (and unreloadable) ammo stock.
- And for one final coffin in the nail, Resident Evil 6 shows off some awesome-looking flamethrowers that seem to have unlimited ammo and are insanely effective at destroying Chrysalid Cocoons. Too bad you never get to use one; they're only used by soldiers in the background of one stage.
- Played mostly straight in Resistance: Fall of Man: the flamethrower might be ridiculously deadly, but ammo is excessively thin on the ground, the range is short, and in multiplayer it barely scratches humans. Oh, and you have to have already beaten the game once before it appears.
- On the plus side it's secondary fire mode creates a cloud of flammable gas allowing you to make choke points and small rooms into burning death traps for large numbers of chimera if you have enough time and at the expense of nearly all the ammo
- The Gargantua in Half-Life possesses two biological flamethrowers in place of hands. The short range works to the player's benefit as you can just avoid it, which is preferable as fire still burns. Remember, though, that Gargantua can and will outrun you, bringing you into flamethrower range.
- In the third and final episode of the Half-Life Game Mod They Hunger, you get a flamethrower for the first time. Being a Zombie Apocalypse, it would appear to be useful, but there is a problem: it can't set anything on fire. Not even the enemies, who only take a small point of damage for every puff of the flames that hit them, each one with short range. It can be used to kill slowly walking zombies, but once you encounter the infected military, with their assault rifles and shotguns and helicopters, it's suicide to attempt to attack them with it. It also runs out of ammo quickly.
- FEAR 2's flamethrower fires silly slow-moving pods of fire rather than a stream. You get exactly one pickup for it, its ammo capacity is pathetic, it's inaccurate, hard to use, takes forever to burn even the weakest mooks to death (granted, it only takes one shot to accomplish this), and stronger enemies have an alarming tendency to ignore the flames or be totally immune to being set on fire.
- The Ratchet & Clank series goes all over the place with this.
- The first R&C has your standard Hollywood flamethrower (the Pyrocitor) that has a very short range. It is good at cleaning up large swarms of small enemies in the beginning, but becomes useless in later levels.
- R&C 2 introduces the Lava Gun, that ironically acts more like a real flamethrower (a gun that shoots burning liquid), has a decent range and does good damage. Unfortunately, the devs made the bizarre decision to make it transform to a drastically different meteor shooting machine gun after enough use. Luckily, they bring the gun back in R&C 3 without that transformation: it now transforms into a Liquid Nitrogen gun. Go figure.
- The upgraded Lava Gun is practically useless for fighting crowds but when given a Lock-On mod, it becomes extremely effective against single targets. Like the final boss, for example.
- In Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, the flamethrower is completely useless. It has a three-foot range, and is pitifully weak.
- It is however, beautifully averted in Tools of Destruction; though it has the physics of an ordinary video game flamethrower, the Pyro Blaster has high damage, a decent range (which you can upgrade) the ammo consumption is quite reasonable, and it evolves into a double-barreled helix flamethrower.
- In Fallout 3, this is your regular flamethrower (though it has the downside of potentially igniting anything flammable you get close to while it's equipped). It's quite common enough once you start hitting medium levels and Goddamned Bats Raiders carry them. This game however, has an exception, see below.
- In Fallout 2, the flamethrower was pretty much a heavy waste of time. Its range is ridiculously short, the ammo is ridiculously heavy, and end-game enemies tend to resist fire. Fun for toasting lower-level random encounters, but that's about it. However, it was much better in Fallout 1 because most of the late enemies don't have any special resistance to fire.
- Fallout: New Vegas made the flamethrower more powerful but less durable. While it can hold its own at short range against even higher level enemies, it's an eminently Breakable Weapon that will require you to lug around either replacements or Weapon Repair Kits if you plan to use it for an entire dungeon.
- The Battalion Wars Flame Vets, while scorching infantry into ashes in mere seconds, can only hope for Scratch Damage at best to any vehicles except an immobile Recon. They're not going to even touch air or sea units, of course.
- R-Type Final's "Principalities" and "Dominions" fighters utilize flamethrowers as both their primary weapons and Wave Motion Gun; they're not particularly good ships, being outclassed by others in every conceivable department. They generally reach across the screen, and function in space, but not underwater. Erm...
- Haze has an absolutely terrible flamethrower; the range is woeful, it's hideous to look at, the fire effect is comically 2D, ammo is fairly rare, and all told you might as well just pack a shotgun.
- The Heli Attack series ties a flamethrower's damage inversely to the distance from whatever it's targeting. If the enemy's at a reasonable distance, it does the worst damage of any weapon in the game. If you're really close, it can kill someone in less than a second, but by then they've probably shot you at least once, and it's a series where avoiding bullets is a really good idea.
- Flamethrowers in the Naval Ops series suffer from very short range and very low damage. While they can set enemy ships on fire more easily than other weapons, it's better to go for the outright kill.
- It can actually bestow negative effects on the ship, and things become very difficult if your ship catches on fire (damage over time and destruction of all ammo reserves).
- In the original Command & Conquer, Nod's flamethrower infantry are very good at killing infantry. Including their own, and themselves; the fire is exceptionally "friendly", the soldiers have no qualms about firing over their friends on the front ranks and when they die the gas tanks explodes in a fireball that damages nearby units. If said nearby units happen to be other flamethrower infantrymen in less than perfect health, killing just one of them can generate a cascade effect that has the potential of wiping out the entire platoon. And they're useless against vehicles. Flamethrower tanks are usually more effective.
- Flamethrowers return in Command & Conquer: Red Alert with fireballs, and are remarkably more effective at their jobs, if still heavy on the friendly-fire. However, the cheaper and faster Grenadiers (whose grenades are incendiary in this game) serve much the same purpose, and Flamethrowers inexplicably cannot be built until you've constructed a Tech Center and rendered the poor fellow completely obsolete.
- Even with the perk that makes flame-based weapons do more damage, the Crimsonland flamethrower (and its joke counterpart the blowtorch) is pretty awful.
- In Cyborg Justice, the Flamethrower hand is by the far the most useless robot part. It has a very long startup, has pathetic ranges, stun for a ridiculously short time and does next to no damage especially compared to the two other projectile weapons, both of which are one hit kill.
- While upgradable, Dead Nation's flamethrower only does a fraction of the damage one would expect. It does however, open the zombies up to further attacks.
- The Flamethrower in Jet Force Gemini is a classic example of this trope. It performs more like a very large blowtorch. It has a ridiculously short range, ammo for it is rare, it runs out of ammo incredibly quickly, and enemies who run around wildly while aflame can damage you. The only upside is that it actually deals quite a bit of damage.
- The ion blaze rifle in Gun Bros smokes enough to conceal incoming enemy fire, which means you get blasted more because you can't see it and therefore won't dodge it. It's also hard to aim and quite inaccurate.
- Zigzags in the TimeSplitters series, where catching on fire does serious DOT, can be caused by the smallest spark (including another burning player) and is very hard to extinguish (although this makes it less useful in story mode, where being set on fire is likely to be a death sentence). The flamethrower is tremendously deadly, but has a ridiculously tiny range. So tiny in fact, that it's a miracle if anyone you set on fire doesn't run into you, spreading the flame and almost certainly killing you too.
- In Arcade Mode in Future Perfect, and possibly the previous games as well, the flamethrower seems to render bots helpless, as they will run around screaming until they die. Player characters have full control while ablaze and can still attack. In the story mode, the Mansion of Madness level gives you a flamethrower from the start, but it only works when it is necessary—which is to say there are three times where the enemies are only weak against fire, and none of them are the zombies you are fighting the rest of the level. The flamethrower CAN kill the zombies, but it seems to take several minutes. There is a flamethrower in a later level, but it is completely worthless compared to the other weapons given to you.
- Diablo 2 has the Inferno spell which is a flamethrower, complete with short range at low spell levels, low area coverage at all spell levels, no persistent damage, slow-moving flames and it takes a long time to cast and roots you to the spot while you channel and stops when you get hit. Between its weak damage and the danger factor of planting yourself in front of the onrushing enemies that will proceed to stunlock you, this is the worst sorceress spell in the game. The expansion provided the new druid class with an Ice thrower which was useful for no other reason than the very long chill length, providing some much-needed crowd control until players figured out that there's a passive area effect chill spell in the druid's arsenal and most enemies you want to chill are immune to it anyway.
- There is a very cheap runeword that averted this by giving a massive bonus to all fire spells, and to the Inferno spell in particular; like most spells, it could become much more effective as you pumped its effective level up beyond 20, making it a cheap and effective tool that could be acquired by the end of Act 1 and remained useful until everything becomes immune to fire.
- The first Diablo also contained Inferno and it was even worse. At least you didn't have to channel it, but it was a very slow moving flame that crept along the ground, had a very short range, almost always missed if cast at an angle due to the game being grid-based and its only benefit was that it could hit multiple targets if they were right in your grill. You would probably get a book of this spell at about the point where the first Lightning Bolt staves started to show up, which had the same line damage effect, unlimited range, a much wider area of effect and did about five times as much damage.
- Unlike its Tabletop Games equivalent (which creates a large 'droplet' template of fire), the Dawn of War flamers look like a propane torch flame. It has the shortest range of all the ranged weapons and has one of the lowest DPS values in the game, especially against anything that is not light infantry. More insultingly, due to the way the AI handles shooting orders, your units will seldom get to use it because they will approach the target to bolter range (which is longer than flamer range) and then stop up and start shooting with their bolters, leaving your flamer models twiddling their thumbs until something (usually an about-to-charge-you melee unit) approaches to within flamer range. Flamers break morale very well when they do hit, though.
- The Hellhound flame tank in the first expansion uses a Real Life-like flame thrower, however. It is still quite short-ranged and not very effective against non-infantry, but at least it looks like a proper gasoline-based flame thrower and does appropriate damage for the stage of the game you unlock them at.
- Neatly averted in the sequel, however. The AI will actually make sure flamer-armed units approach close enough to use them properly, they pump out huge damage against infantry, and they have the very nifty property of ignoring the usual protective benefit from garrisoning a unit in a building.
- It is especially deadly in the hands of the Force Commander with maxed-up Ranged discipline. The top-tier Ranged ability is a chance to kill an enemy outright with every successfull hit. And a gush of flame is, essentially, a lot of automatically successfull hits.
- In Silent Hill 3, where a flamethrower can be found in a New Game+. It has infinite ammo and does good damage, but sadly has difficulty stunning enemies and only decent range. It's not a bad weapon, but an average New Game+ player will have the Infinite Submachine Gun as well, which is just so, so much better in every way.
- In Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Dash Rendar's blaster could somehow switch from a blaster to a flamethrower by using the pickups found almost everywhere. As expected, the range is weak, but since most of the on-foot missions involve close spaces and your long range enemies are usually Stormtroopers, it becomes quite effective in short puffs.
- Due to the way the damage calculations worked, a single puff of flame dealt the same damage as a continuous stream. meaning even the AT-ST and the Gladiator Droid could be easily defeated by just standing behind them, emitting a puff, and waiting for the enemy health indicator to fade before doing it again. Once the Gladiator Droid goes to its alternate forms, though...
- In Cave Story, none of the weapons are very realistic, least of all the Fireball gun. As the name implies, it shoots literal fireballs that bounce along the ground. It's something of a zig-zagged trope: in the early game it's your most damaging weapon for quite a while, but it quickly becomes obsolete once you reach the Labyrinth.
- Where, depending on your actions earlier in the game, it can be combined with one of your other weapons to be able to shoot through walls (the only gun in the game capable of doing so).
- In Mass Effect 2 the flamethrower Shepard gets is a case of "good idea, bad idea". It is certainly devastating at short ranges, especially against armored enemies (which are extremely common on Insanity difficulty), but it still suffers from devastatingly short range, and many enemies that try to get close to you have shotguns (which will make you flinch and stop burning them) or flamethrowers (which will make you flinch and stop burning them). The enemies almost never flinch from being set on fire by flamethrowers. It does fire a lot more than other heavy weapons though, and will provide better DPS than shotguns without requiring reloading, only ammo to fire with. While less impressive against bosses than other heavy weapons, it is a useful weapon to a player who wants to get in their opponents' face a lot, and it tears up the enemies who just run up to you to hit you, lacking a gun (also likely having armour). The flamethrower is especially useful on levels with husks, especially on the Insanity difficulty. Combine with an Adept's Singularity power to instantly kill the husks after you melt their armour.
- It's much more fun to face enemies using flamethrowers and use a sniper rifle to blow open the fuel tanks, causing a massive explosion.
- On the other hand, incendiary ammo and incinerate are incredibly useful: they burn through armor, stop regeneration, and can cause enemies to panic for several seconds.
- The flamethrower is also popular with Vanguards, whose combat style is based heavily around Biotic Charge. If you're going to be looking up your opponent's nose anyway...
- Time Shift zigzags a little on this with the Hellfire. It either operates as a normal video game thrower—short range, although it sets enemies on fire—or it shoots flaming bullets which also set enemies on fire. Its one of the better weapons, even including the exploding crossbow thing.
- Thumper's signature weapon in Twisted Metal 2 is a flamethrower, and the strongest special in the game. Even the final boss takes huge amounts of damage from it... if you want to get into melee range of a giant ice cream monster truck that takes off 2/3 of your health just by running you over. Better keep a lot of energy handy for freeze missiles.
- It got worse in Twisted Metal 3 and 4 where the developers decided to give the weapon to a very fast, but very fragile character, because this is exactly the kind of vehicle you want to carry a short ranged damage over time weapon, right? The flamer was dumped for Black, although there is a boss that uses a turret-mounted one at close range. Then for Head-On we're back to the Thumper incarnation.
- Rogue Trip, a Twisted Metal clone by the same developers, features its own failthrower. It is a pick-up weapon that deals little damage, forces you to keep the fire button down (so you cannot launch other weapons) while still having a maximum duration and its range is minimal, making it only useful against stunned enemies; the reduced power of stun missiles compared to Twisted Metal freeze missiles weakens it even more. One of the characters does have its own flamethrower special weapon, although the napalm isn't actually lit and you are supposed to soak an enemy in the stuff and then shoot him with any weapon. It is fairly effective and would be even better if the vehicle carrying the weapon wasn't a glacially slow tanker truck.
- Company of Heroes features pretty nice flamethrowers as the first heavy weapon available for the Wehrmacht and the Americans, as well as the Crocodile flame tanks. Although they are unrealistically ineffective against vehicles (probably due to balance reasons associated with Short-Range Long-Range Weapon), they are nicely effective against infantry in cover and garrisoned infantry. This especially came into play with many of the stronger infantry units having a unit type that caused them to take extra damage from flames, putting it in a similar place to Battalion Wars.
- In the second game, they are effective against light vehicles and utterly murder infantry - only heavy machine guns and artillery have comparable killing power. However, opentopped vehicles don't take nearly enough damage and die from loss of health rather than crew death or a fuel explosion. Heavy vehicles are still largely immune - while being unable to burn through the armor is realistic, not triggering critical effects is not.
- In the winter maps, flamethrowers are amazing, though. Useing the attack ground or flamethrower sweep buttons to attack a target on ice results in an instant kill on ANYTHING if it was where you clicked as it falls through the ice.
- The flamethrower in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines seems like it should suck. It is expensive and acts like an oversized blowtorch in range and type of flame (it even sounds like a propane flame). However, because it deals aggravated fire damage it is the premier anti-vampire weapon in the game. A pity it eats ammo like something that eats ammo very fast and can only be acquired right before the endgame, making it something of a Too Awesome to Use weapon.
- While the flamethrower (and blowtorch) in videogame version of The Thing might not have the range that of real life, it's still an absolutely required weapon to permanently put down alien enemies.
- The Fire Wave of Mega Man X is generally considered to be that game's worst weapon. Low damage, a range of approximately two character widths, and does not work at all underwater. Oh yeah, and it "fires" while you are charging it, meaning you'll lose a chunk of your weapons energy whenever you attempt a charged shotnote . Its saving grace is that it does damage for every frame it contacts the enemy, meaning a quick tap does many hits and a few taps will kill most things short of a miniboss for almost no weapon energy. Plus it can destroy some obstacles that can otherwise only be destroyed with a punch from the ride armors. Unfortunately, the Storm Tornado ALSO does damage on a per-frame basis, and is a much larger weapon that travels the full length of the screen, AND has a surprisingly large amount of ammo (plus the game is relatively generous with ammo drops). The Fire Wave does have a few situational uses; because it can continuously fire as long as it has ammo, it's a good way to take out enemies while falling, or climbing walls, where it is otherwise hard to aim properly.
- Have fun using Wave Burner in Mega Man & Bass.
- Averted in Mega Man 8 Bit Deathmatch. Flame Sword, for example, can one-shot at point blank. Take that beast to Deathmatch and ninja kill EVERYONE.
- Flame Blast tries to follow the idea of flamethrowers firing an arcing stream of fire, but all it really does is fire a single flaming blob that travels a short distance before falling to the ground, which bursts into a small (one Megaman-height) short-lived column of fire on the floor or wall. If it hits an enemy before it reaches a terrain object, it simply damages the target. Against bosses specifically weak to it, it can be handy, but it's an underwhelming weapon otherwise.
- Flame Shower (from the rare Wonderswan Rockman and Forte game) is an extremely short ranged flamethrower like Fire Wave, being about as wide as Mega Man himself. Contrary to what you may expect from the name, it also fires upward when released. It's also the weakest of the special weapons available in that game.
- Vigilante8 Second Offense has the Brimstone Burner weapon. Most weapons in the game are fairly balanced and all have their roles, except for this. It is turret mounted so you can toast enemies in any direction and deals decent damage, but lingering in close range makes you a target and there is the Bruiser Cannon turret which has a scattershot special attack that removes half of an enemy's health bar. The flamer's special attacks on the other hand consist of a pointless oil slick, a weak firewall created behind you and thankfully a ranged attack... a slow moving skipping fireball that only deals damage when it bounces off the ground, goes right through enemies, consumes half of your flamer ammo and doesn't even do a lot of damage.
- Wipeout Fusion has a flamethrower weapon. Not only does it feel out of place for a game about anti-gravity rocketships racing on various planets and mounting such weapons as instant kill laser beams, particle cannons and artificial black holes, it works as well as you would expect, which is to say not at all. Staying directly behind an enemy at 1000 kph is impractical, said opponent is likely to pack mines and send you careening into the wall with half of your shields gone, and its damage output is very low unless the opponent is a sitting duck due to a gravity magnet (in which case why don't you just overtake him?).
- Worse, it is an unlockable weapon and you cannot avoid unlocking it once you have completed a few races, after which you will start seeing it with annoying frequency, usually when you are in second place on the final stretch and all you wanted was a basic missile.
- Time Crisis: Crisis Zone has a flamethrower as an unlockable weapon in the PS2 port. However, it's a craptastic weapon with abysmal damage and pitiful ammo count. Oh, and the rate of fire isn't that great, and sometimes the flames bypass the enemies, leaving you vulnerable.
- The Blaster Master series has a notoriously bad flame thrower, though depending on who the player is using it may not be that noticeable as most handheld weapons are pretty weak and short range. It is pretty noticeable in the tank though, which otherwise has good rounds.
- Combat Mission also has potent but very hard to use flamethrowers. If you do manage to get them in range of an enemy tank, trench or garrisoned building, they'll make short work of them. Good luck getting to that point though; flamer teams are slow moving, they're usually only two man strong so suppressing or even destroying them outright is quasi effortless, and they can't safely fire from buildings or forests which makes ambush tactics hard to pull off. Now, flame throwing tanks on the other hand are lovely, if expensive.
- The flamethrower in The Punisher both averts and plays this straight. On the one hand, it's very useful for killing the nameless mooks that you have to fight, especially in stages with small corridors. Enemies take a while to die while burning but they run around screaming in pain and can set any other mooks on fire that they bump into. However, it's next to useless in boss battles. You can spray a boss with fire for 20 seconds straight and they just sort of run in place with their health meter only slowly dropping down. In real life, a person would be burned down to the bone if you did that.
- While not useless in BattleTanx gameplay, the flamethrower tanks still don't hold a candle to their real life counterparts in any area besides maybe ammo and effectiveness against the Rhino (a tank with a fixed gun and frontal armor that is nearly-impenetrable by anything else in the game).
- Non-videogame example: 'Mech-mounted flamers are generally considered to be among the worst weapons in BattleTech. They have pitiful range and do trivial amounts of damage to armored targets including battle armor infantry, and while they can be used to inflict some extra heat on another 'Mech instead of (i.e., not even in addition to) damaging it, that amount is still (a) pretty small and (b) actually lower than the heat buildup on the firing 'Mech for using the flamer in the first place. Their main saving grace under Total Warfare rules is that they're potentially literally murder on conventional infantry if they're ever in a position to hit it; in at least some earlier editions they didn't even have that.
- Even with the presence of flamers in MechWarrior 2, 3, 4, and their respective Expansion Packs, none of them ever approached a threat level any higher than that of 'gimmick' (particularly in 3, where Over Heating an enemy with a ludicrous number of flamers would result in them Going Critical, followed by a mushroom cloud). The lack of conventional infantry in all of the aforementioned games, as well as the often-slow speed at which fire traveled relative to autocannon fire or lasers, made flamers more of an easily ignored footnote than an actual weapon. Only 2 Mechs in all of the MechWarrior series ever mounted flamers by default: the Flashman of MechWarrior 2 Mercenaries and the Puma of MechWarrior 3, both of which had much better weapons available to them, mostly Beam Spam and the ability to blow off a Mech's head in one shot, respectively.
- Geist's flamethrower unsurprisingly, except it is not truly a flamethrower anyway, is only a prototype and does have a long range secondary fire. That long range secondary fire is not unique to it though and they insist on calling it a flamethrower, so it belongs here.
- In the freeware game C-Dogs, by Ronny Wester, the Flamer is a very powerful weapon in close quarters, its DPS only surpassed by explosives, molotov cocktails, and the Knife.
- In Alien Soldier. Flame Force is Difficult but Awesome; it has very short range and doesn't work against mechanical enemies or underwater, but it does such absurd amounts of damage to organic enemies (including at least a few That One Boss candidates) that it's considered pretty much mandatory for Speedruns and similar.
- Kingpin: Life of Crime had one of the best-looking flamethrowers in it's day (1999). It was fairly impractical to use, however, because while it set enemies on fire with one hit, the flames themselves (and the burning) dealt very little damage. It is mostly used for putting something on fire and then switching to something else for extra damage.
- AVP 1999 has a flamer not very useful against most enemies you face, because when they're on fire Aliens will deal additional proximity damage to you (and they are very quick to close the gap) but there's one reason to carry it: facehuggers. They're the Demonic Spiders of the game: almost invisible, tiny, fast, will kill you just by touching you and are incredibly hard to hit with direct-fire weapons. Enter the flamer: fire off a shot at the floor in front of you when you hear their annoying scritching sound and they'll catch fire instantly, zipping around in pain and becoming entirely unable to attack until their death - and therefore, entirely harmless.
- In the remake of Shadow Warrior, the flamethrower is a situationally useful weapon despite its short (even when upgraded) range: it can ignite and mark invisible enemies, the flames wrap around shields and armor to reach vulnerable spots, and if you seriously expend ammo it can hold a corridor against an enraged swarm better than a gun. The catch is that if you're close enough to use it, there's almost guaranteed to be something more useful you can be doing with your sword (your starting weapon), it does too little damage to make hit-and-run against the strongest enemies practical, and the nastiest fights tend to be at long range.
- Averted in the Shoot 'em Up Fire Shark. The flamethrower started out as a small stream of flame that did good damage, and them proceeded into this◊ at maximum level. 6 streams of fire, four of which sweep the sides and back of the player character. And it downs both the regular Mooks and Giant Mooks in seconds.
- In fact, the fully upgraded flamethrower is so broken, using it for too long will cause the game to flood the screen with other weapon powerups in an effort to force you to use something else!
- In Team Fortress 2. The Pyro has a much better flamethrower than its classic counterpart (its incredibly short range is also justified: it blasts propane and not gasoline). However, it is still a fairly poor weapon compared to other classes weapons. However, it provides a way to rebound projectiles, put out burning teammates, and push enemies off cliffs or into corners with its compressed air blast secondary fire. Plus, you can light arrows for your friendly neighborhood sniper if he's using a bow. The Backburner has a more expensive compression blast in exchange for instant Critical Hits when attacking enemies from behind. Or, by equipping the Degreaser, some of the direct and afterburn damage can be traded for super-fast weapon switching. The weapon switching is handy for using the Axtinguisher, which deals guaranteed Crits to any burning enemy. All three flamethrowers are the core weapon of the Pyro class.
- Played straight in 6v6 competitive play, where the Pyro is considered a Master of None. Quick reflexes and the rather unusual manner used to decide how much damage is donenote makes direct damage rather unreliable, while attentive Medics reliably make the afterburn moot (the latter has even started being true for non-competitive play with the number of ways to put out fire).
- On the other hand, in 9v9 Highlander competitive play, the Pyro is an incredibly powerful asset in defense; an Ubercharged Pyro on defense can stop an enemy Uber dead in its tracks, reflect/defuse explosives away from Engineer buildings, and not least to keep Spies away.
- And while not being really a flametrower, the Pyro can also use Flare Guns, they are very hard to hit and don't do much damage, but they have a large range, can set players on fire and some of them give bonus damage if the enemy is already on fire.
- The Pyro's flamethrowers comes a little closer to replicating the "flame propagation" effect, at least in regards to the players. One common strategy is sneaking in and lighting a crowd of players on fire dealing damage to multiple enemies at once. The flames linger on the player for a period of time and are used to pick out cloaked spies.
- Averted in Dead Space: Extraction: the flamethrower, indisputably the worst weapon in the first game, is one of the best in Extraction. It deals high damage no matter where it hits, making dismemberment a non-issue. It has slower ammo consumption, longer range and a larger ammo capacity than in the first game. Best of all, every single damage tick stops a Necromorph in its tracks, allowing you to either stunlock most of the enemies in the game to death or hold entire groups at bay.
- Dead Space 2 is a bit of a middle ground between the first game and Extraction.
- In the 2008 Turok reboot, the flamethrower has considerable ammo, is almost an insta-kill against some enemies and has the awesome addition of a grenade launcher that can kill all but the largest enemies with one hit. Yes please!
- Similarly, Tales of Hearts gives its characters a system where TP regenerates effectively forever, (it makes sense in practice), which means that the Flame Gun spell can effectively be spammed. Okay, it gets outclassed by other spells in its element eventually, but they're all of the Death from Above variety.
- Hearts focus on comboing means two things for the mid-range-reaching Flame Gun: First, it's a good way to put a few free hits on a large slice of the field, and second, it's really annoying if an enemy gets you in it while you're trying to close in, because each hit knocks you back slightly.
- Averted in Army Men. Plastic soldiers and fire don't mix, one tactic is to use a flamethrower to leave a forest burning so that any tan, blue and gray are left as bubbling puddles of plastic should they have been unfortunate enough to hide among the trees.
- Far Cry 2 features an extremely useful flamethrower, largely due to the developers wanting to show off the game's dynamic fire effects. A couple of short bursts can result in a raging fire that lays waste to a whole checkpoint. The FC2 weapon is actually more useful than it is in real life, since the real LPO-50 fires in fixed-length bursts and only has three shots. You even have to be aware of prevailing winds, because if you just start burning shit with the flamethrower, it can and will make the entire area burn up. Including you.
- Flames also kill the enemy ridiculously fast. As a bonus, when an enemy is on fire he stops shooting and tries (in vain) to put himself out before inevitably succumbing to it. They did balance it out by giving it quite a short range, though. You either have to get really close to someone or corner them with a brush fire to do any good with it.
- Pretty decently averted in Postal 2—although the "flamethrower" in the game is closer to a man-portable Livens Projector (albeit with projectiles which trail napalm before igniting), and most of the flammable liquid the player has access to is simply pourable. The damage effects flame has on your in-game opponents are...let's just say, very thoroughly planned out.
- The A Week in Paradise mod also adds the Blood-esque "aerosol can + lighter"-style flamethrower, which shoots somewhat slow-moving puffs of flame. Very nice for area denial.
- In Dawn of War 2, flamers for Imperial Guardsmen and Tactical Marines do less damage and have a shorter range than the baseline weapons they replace, but they hit in an area of effect and do a even more damage against units within cover or buildings, giving them a clear niche against opponents who you feel may be using larger squads. The burnas for the Slugga Boyz are the only weapon upgrade available to them, and are an obvious good choice with their area of effect attack, increased ranged damage over the pitiful pistols the Slugga Boyz normally use, and count as power weapons to do more damage against heavier infantry.
- In Deus Ex, one touch of its flame can turn most enemies into screaming balls of terror and pain, who continue to take damage while they burn. Of course, it doesn't have that much ammo, and it's heavy, and takes up 8 slots in the inventory, but it's a can of whoop-ass.
- In Fallout 3's DLC Broken Steel (and also in New Vegas), unlike the regular, short-ranged Flamer, the Heavy Incinerator is basically a napalm launcher, fulfilling the trope almost faithfully with the difference that the Heavy Incinerator fires globs of napalm instead of a continuous stream. Not only it is fully-automatic and lethal, it has a long range and can effectively be used as a bombardment implement. Across a river. Outside of V.A.T.S. range.
- Best thing? It's semi-regular due to Enclave Hellfire Troopers spawning from when Broken Steel is installed. However, you do have to kill one to get it, and they are one of the Demonic Spiders of the game. Also, due to their specialized Power Armor (which you can also loot, and it is very strong), they are resistant to fire, and hence, their own weapon. But Wait, There's More!! It is also affected by both Pyromaniac perk and the bugged Ghoul Ecology perk, which adds +5 unblockable damage to any enemy, every projectile fired. Watch your DAM skyrocket indeed.
- Also, it explodes underwater. You don't need to worry about them pesky Mirelurks with this anymore.
- Broken Steel also introduces the Slo-Burn Flamer, which has all the drawbacks of the regular Flamer, but the addition of continuous burning damage for a very long time. Light an enemy on fire, and then run until they die (or you have to relight them, which you won't have to do more than once unless they have fire resistance).
- New Vegas doesn't have as many flamers, nor the high-powered variants that Fallout 3 did, but it does however have the perfect place to use such a weapon-type: Vault 22. An entire vault full of dangerous (but very flammable) plants. A flamer is conveniently provided there, and it doesn't seem half so sucky any more.
- And you can get your hands on an Incinerator as early as the second city you come across, Primm.
- Vegas also adds the regular Incinerator, which is much like the Heavy Incinerator except smaller. Unlike the Heavy incinerator (which is lumped into the energy weapons category for the game) the regular incinerator has a much lower skill requirement, a lower strength requirement, and is lighter, with the logical compromise of doing less damage and having less range. It's perfect for more casual energy weapon users to haul around the Mojave to light up their enemies before weapon switching to finish them off with something that spits lead.
- The Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC for New Vegas also introduces the unique flamer, Cleansing Flame. The weapon is heavier than the base model and doesn't inflict a Critical Hit as often, but trades off those downsides for superior damage over time, a generously sized fuel reserve, greater durability, and perhaps most welcome of all, an extended range compared to the standard flamer. It also fires a very pretty stream of blue flames.
- The flamer becomes much more practical in Fallout New Vegas's hardcore mode, which adds weight to ammo among other realistic challenges. Flamer fuel is one of the lightest ammo types in the game, and surprisingly the flamer doesn't burn through it as fast you think it would.
- Gunstar Heroes also goes both ways. The normal Flame weapon is very short-ranged (but powerful). Double Flame has only about twice the range, but when you let the fire button go, the flames fly off across the screen. Flame + Chaser is a fireball that is controlled by the player. Flame plus Lightning gives you a fully-functional Laser Blade.
- In Serious Sam - The Second Encounter, the flamethrower is a very powerful weapon. Although it has a short range, the flames do as much initial damage as the minigun or laser, deal further damage over time to those on fire. Flames also go through enemies allowing it to ignite several at once. To top it all off, you get the flamethrower very early in every chapter and the ammo burns out fairly slowly; in addition, there's ammo more or less everywhere.
- Averted in Syphon Filter. In the first installment, one of the bosses, Anton Girdeaux, has a flame thrower, and any fire it creates stays throughout the level. Although his fuel tank is his only weak spot, it can easily withstand multiple shots (you will not be able to use grenades, as the shock it creates will detonate the bomb which Girdeaux is protecting). In the second installment, you use a flamethrower in one level, and it is pure carnage, although it is tied to a fuel truck, meaning you can't take it with you.
- In Men Of War, the flamethrower is one of the most powerful weapons. It sets any unit it touches on fire, with hilarious results, it can destroy any vehicle and its crew within seconds, can burn away nearly anything that can be used for concealment, and is a good weapon for clearing out buildings.
- Lunar Knights has the Dragoon, Ernest's trademark Solar Gun, fulfill this role. When fighting Stoker, it spreads out in front of him a ways and ignores Mercy Invincibility, but isn't that damaging and is by far the easiest attack to interrupt. Then again, what did you expect? Stoker's a vampire. On the other hand, when Aaron gets his hands on it, it proves more valuable; its range increases along with its rank, it's a damaging weapon in its own right, and it goes through enemies up to its limit, allowing you to damage more than one. If you pair it with lock-on and dash about (an advanced technique where you double-tap the cross pad to spurt a short distance), you can reliably barbecue every Vorn in the vicinity with minimal harm to yourself. Ursula would be proud.
- In a mass combat example, the RTS Rise of Nations also features a flamethrower infantry unit at Industrial Age and later. The unit is not particularly effective against enemy units, but in a nod to its actual battlefield role, it is extremely handy against enemy structures, forcing all garrisoned units inside to evacuate. Provided you can keep it alive long enough to get within its short attack range, the flamethrower can reduce an enemy building bristling with combatants to an abandoned shell instantly.
- In Alien Arena, the flamethrower has a standard cone of fire effect on the primary fire, and a more realistic long range arc of flame for the secondary.
- Blood's "flamethrower" (an aerosol can with a lighter) has an extremely short range, but also deals a ton of damage. It also fires rapidly, making it ideal for dealing with large groups of weaker enemies. The secondary fire is absolutely devastating when applied correctly. However, if you aren't careful, it can blow up in your face, setting you on fire.
- The mine chapter in Wax Works features a chemical sprayer. Later on, you can fill its tank with gasoline to create an impromptu flamethrower. It can kill any enemy in one hit, while the rest of your weapons have only a microscopic hit chance and deal crap damage. Just don't run out of fuel...
- There are situations in Worms where the blowtorch is the best weapon for the job, especially if you want to push a large group of enemy worms into a hole in one turn. It's primarily a tool for digging tunnels through the ground though. Yannow, if you're that sort of player.
- Worms: Armageddon features an actual flamethrower that squirts napalm over a short-medium range. It's highly effective in torturing worms cornered in tight spaces, less so in windy circumstances. In the open, worms tend to just skip and bounce over the burning fluid.
- Metal Gear Solid 3 gives us "The Fury," a man with a jetpack and a very powerful flamethrower. You fight him in a series of narrow corridors which are ideal for his flamethrower, his flamethrower tends to set fire to things in the environment, which makes it harder to hide, and most egregiously of all, his flamethrower can block your bullets.
- That's because it was modified to fire rocket fuel. The Russians you run into just before you meet The Fury also wield flamethrowers, though theirs are just normal. Still, they can do a lot of damage and tend to cause burns, which must be healed in the pause menu.
- Valkyria Chronicles has short-range flamethrowers that bypass cover. Guns outclass them if you can get a clear shot, but they're very effective if an enemy is hiding behind sandbags and you can get up close. Also hits multiple targets with a single sweep, while a gun typically only hits one target at a time. There's also a tank-mounted flamethrower, which is a very useful anti-personnel weapon.
- Valkyria Chronicles II has the flamethrowers still be short-ranged but they're very hard-hitting, ignores cover (and Armored Tech shields) and is the only weapon that can one-shot bunkers. This makes it a very good idea to invest in Commandos.
- Not to mention that Flamethrowers are the only reliable way of countering enemies in cover while leaving the cover itself intact. Meaning you can use it for yourself afterwards, which often helps IMMENSLEY.
- Contra: Shattered Soldier has a flamethrower among its weapons. Its normal shot lacks range and spread, but has the high rate of fire, since it's a constant stream of fire, making it possible for skilled players to chew up everything up to bosses in half the time it would take with other guns. Its charged shot is ball of fire, that not only has the highest damage per shot, but also pierces, making it possible to hit several targets in a row. The flamethrower is not just useful, but is good enough to be your main weapon, as a highly precise, controllable weapon, while leaving the Machine Gun and Spread Gun for situational use.
- The original Contra games (up to Contra 3) also feature a very useful Flamer. It shoots to a consistent range, about two-thirds of the screen, and fires continuously, following the movements as you aim up, down, left and right. Absolutely nothing beats it for swarming enemy situations, and when effectively used against bosses, absolutely devastates them (as long as they don't have Mercy Invincibility).
- In the first Contra, the flamethrower was a useless corkscrew attack. In Super C, it was a chargeable blast that exploded and spread on contact. In Contra 3, it was a constant-damage stream, and invaluable in many levels.
- Alien Swarm: Now that the Tesla Cannon is no longer the undisputed King of Weapons, the Flamethrower has mostly taken its place. Why? A single puff of fire ignites an enemy (only prolonged fire ignites teammates, thankfully... but when it does, it isn't pretty), making it highly ammo efficient. Each puff is weak, but the burn damage is high; a single flamer sweep can turn a horde of drones into a staggering, flaming mess: no squad members injured. Only an idiot goes into a nest of Parasites without one. Oh, and its alt fire extinguishes fire... how's that for handy?
- This is also something of a reaction to the flame thrower in the original Alien Swarm mod. The flamethrower there was quite useful as an ammo-efficient way of sweeping for enemies, slowed down whatever it set alight while the flame ran its course, and did a great deal of damage to anything it hit. However the danger of setting teammates on fire was high if used in a crowded area by a jumpy player, which lead to players who choose to use it being rather unpopular with their teammates.
- Command & Conquer goes into both sections of this page, due to Dragon Tanks of the Chinese Army in Command & Conquer: Generals. Utterly devastating in all against anything they can get in range of except aircraft and tanks (they can moderately damage them though), two or three will tear down even the strongest structures in the game in seconds. For area defense, they can spray fire into a rolling wall of flame. While their frailty increases as the games go on, so does their utility - once garrison clearance comes into play, flame tanks instantly incinerate all occupants of garrisonable buildings. Then probably destroy the building as well so it can never be used again (which is something the equivalent units on the other side cannot do).
- The NOD flamethrowers in C&C3 both resemble real world flamethrowers in action and are insanely awesome against most targets; the flame tank is considered the go-to vehicle for most NOD players, and its infantry equivalent also has its uses (being near immune to anti vehicle weapons helps). In addition to nearly instant killing infantry units, they also burn down structures in mere seconds. Flame tanks can even be cloaked with the right support power, hidden until they suddenly pop up in the middle of the enemy base, reducing it to ashes with unparalleled speed. Then there's the expansion, which added the Black Hand sub-faction, which specializes in flame weapons. They lack access to the stealth trick, but their flame weapons can instead be upgraded to do even more damage, to a point they become dangerous against even armored targets, and can take down a structure in the time it takes to blink. They also get Nod's standard top-tier walker with the otherwise impractical flamethrower upgrade right out of the box, in addition to the increased damage upgrade. Then there's the flamethrower upgrade for their even bigger walker...
- In the campaign for the FPS offshoot Command & Conquer: Renegade, the flamethrower is one of the single most useful weapons against enemy troops. It has a surprisingly long range, deals good damage to pretty much any infantry unit, inflicts damage over time, and best of all, it stunlocks everything in the game except flamethrower troopers; even a passing wash of flame will stop the toughest infantry in their tracks and make them flail about while on fire. The only thing it isn't really effective against is the aforementioned flamethrower soldiers. The flamethrower will be your go-to close-range weapon for the first half of the campaign until laser weapons become available, and even then it will remain very useful for the rest of the game. The game also includes a version which instead uses Tiberium gas, which is much the same except for even better damage, a slightly shorter range, stunlocking flame troopers (but not chemical troopers), and there being a chance that any enemy you kill with it will instantly mutate into a Visceroid which you will then have to use up ammo for a different weapon to kill.
- In Duke Nukem II the flame thrower proves to be more effective than the rocket launcher, which is advertised as the best weapon. Not only does it deal a fair amount of damage, but if pointed at the ground it jumps you up in the air, making it very useful.
- Survival Crisis Z has a great flamethrower. It instantly kills every non-boss enemy, has good range, burns through ammo slower than most other weapons, and has relatively inexpensive ammo compared to other high damage guns. Its only flaw is that you must purchase its ammunition, and cannot be found in briefcases, backpacks, or corpses like you can with other weapons. If you have a partner with a flamethrower, however, the ammo for it becomes even cheaper, and you can resupply it by looting.
- Rise of the Triad features both aspects of this trope. The user weapon Flamewall is easily one of the best in the game, sending out an expanding wall of moving fire that instantly kills any enemy in its path leaving behind a charred skeleton that crumbles into dust. On the other hand the flame throwers that adorn the levels are of the gas variety and take away health only while you are directly being seared by them.
- The weapon has one other niche which guarantees it's frequently found: one of the many weird bonuses you can get upon completing a level (and the Bonus Bonus, which requires getting that one) requires you to have used a projectile weapon to hit yourself (and have survived, of course). With the projectile, not the explosion. This is the only weapon which can be reliably used to do that.
- Interstate76 has car-mounted flamethrowers that are some of the most effective weapons in the game. They don't do damage to armor or the chassis, but tear through systems like there's no tomorrow. The enemy can't do much harm to you if their engine is dead, their weapons can't fire, and they have no tires.
- While Killzone 2 had rather effective flamethrowers that were considered useless because the two-weapon inventory system made arming yourself with anything situational a very bad idea, Killzone 3 had a three-weapon inventory system with the third slot made specifically for weapons like this which makes having a flamethrower a good idea whenever you can actually get it. You can ever only find the flamethrower in trench and jungle areas where you'll find them to be very effective, and you won't need to find chokepoints to try to funnel enemies into for maximum efficiency anymore.
- Flamethrowers in Star Wars Battlefront 2 have got the same range problems as most videogame flamethrowers, but everyone who can use one has a way to mitigate the short range (Bothans turn invisible, Boba and Jango have jet packs), and they actually do a horrific amount of damage (one complete burn from ambush is likely to kill whoever you're shooting at as a Bothan, the Fetts do a bit less damage but can hit multiple people and leave them burning).
- The Mechanic class in Maplestory averts this. The flamethrower has decent damage and covers up a wide range that can quickly roast large mobs of monsters at the same time. Sure, it is then overshadowed by more advanced and deadly skills available in further levels, but considering this is one of the first skills that the Mechanic gets, its a practical, reliable and awesome tool to use against your enemies.
- Red Faction's flamethrower, though with the typical short range and hazardous to wield, had the beneficial effect of instantly making all targets stop shooting at you because they're too busy running in circles and screaming in agony. An additional plus was the ability to chuck the tank (even if it's almost empty) to produce a huge explosion that sets everything on fire.
- Steel Panthers: World At War has a flamethrower that's relatively short range (1 hex/50 meters), but devastatingly effective against whatever's in that hex. It will set whatever terrain's in that hex on fire, which is useful for screening (smoke blocks line-of-sight) and area denial (it's hard to convince infantry to move through flaming forests, and even tanks will think twice).
- Steel Panthers: MBT, from the same series, had incredibly deadly flamethrower weapons, courtesy of a Good Bad Bug, that turned Russian troops packing RPO incendiary rockets into the deadliest infantry units in the game. The rockets had incredible accuracy on par with a sniper rifle and enough hitting power to wipe out a squad in a few hits—in addition to a bug that would sometimes give them enough armor penetration to knock out any vehicle in the game at 400 meters. Later versions of the game fixed it, so that RFT weapons, like in real life, were mainly used for closer-ranged bunker-busting.
- The Metal Slug series flamethrower is one of the better special weapons. The flame is quite large, has moderate rangenote , and is capable of toasting multiple enemies in a single shot, burning even through vehicles with tremendous ease. The rare Big Flamethrower shoots a massive fireball that will basically clear out everything unfortunate enough to be standing on the wrong half of the screen.
- Despite being one of the first ever First Person Shooters to include a flamethrower, Strife does better than many. Due to the limits of the game engine (based off that of Doom, another early game that had avoided a now-common trope), flamethrowers acted somewhat more like "napalm squirtguns" than the useless cloud of flame seen in modern games, and had better range than most examples. Still less potent than a real flamethrower, but overall far more effective than the flamethrowers seen in today's games.
- Doom game mods which include flamethrowers (at least those made before the advent of source ports) often also avoid the usual game-flamethrower problems by way of just making it a reskin of the already-awesome plasma gun.
- Brutal Doom doesn't have a proper flamethrower, but it does have the Mancubus' flame cannon arm, which you can rip off its corpse and use for yourself. Thing is, there aren't many reasons to do that - the projectiles are slow and travel in an arc, and ignited enemies turn into human torches and keep running around in a frenzy for a very long time - sometimes entire minutes - and damaging you if they touch you, which in Doom's many narrow corridors happens fairly often. And there aren't really that many Mancubi around anyway, and it's difficult to actually remove the cannons from said corpses, so ammo isn't easy to come by - which prevents the sort of general spraying on masses of weaker enemies that a weapon like this would be suited for.
- The X-Universe's Plasma Burst Generator is essentially a flamethrower IN SPACE!. It shreds fighters and can still put a hurting on capital ships. On enemy ships it can be a Boss In Mooks Clothing. This is mainly a result of the way Area of Effect weapons work: each blast has multiple hitboxes, and ships take additional damage based on how many of the weapon's hitboxes line up with their own.
- Terraria averts this. The flamethrower has a very good range, deals a lot of damage (though a single flame doesn't hurt that much, it fires a lot of them per unit of ammo), sets enemies ablaze for even more damage, and its ammo is ridiculously easy to find and hoard.
- 1.2.2 introduces an even more potent flamethrower in the form of the Elf Melter from the Christmas themed Frost Moon event.
- Age of Empires III expansion The Asian Dynasties gives the Imperial Chinese faction a flamethrower unit. While the range is far shorter than that of any other field artillery unit, its splash effect and damage bonuses against infantry means it sweeps away pikemen and skirmishers faster than anything else. They're also pretty effective against buildings.
- Empire Earth has flamethrower soldiers (during the WWII and Modern eras) with shorter range and slightly higher cost than normal infantry. Their strength is that they do the same damage to any type of target (infantry, tanks, buildings) making them a Jack of All Stats in the Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors the game's units are based on.
- Zombie Revenge had a devestating flame thrower which did ridiculous amounts of hard-hitting, enemy-flinching damage that spelt certain doom for any enemy, bosses included. It's found once or twice in total as a result.
- In Midnight Resistance, the supercharged flamethrower was perhaps the best weapon in the game. The Commodore 64 version nerfed it by reducing its range.
- Mass Effect 3 gave the multiplayer classes (mostly Vorcha, but also the Geth Soldier) the ability in Flamer, a flamethrower that's tied to a power instead of a heavy weapon (and therefore has cooldown instead of ammo). Although short-range, Flamer is absolutely devastating against armored opponents; when properly upgraded for damage over duration and range, it can kill a Brute in a few seconds, and destroys Ravagers and their spawn even quicker. Although it loses some of its usefulness against Cerberus and geth forces (owing to their preference for shields over armor), it can be activated and then left to run until its duration runs out. This will kill almost anything short of the boss-type monsters in short order.
- Enemy Geth Pyros are nasty as hell too. Because they have a constant stream of damage, they bypass Shield Gate. Combined with the fact that they have very high damage outputs, they'll put anything short of a raging krogan vanguard down in short order if they get too close.
- The Ghost Bear's Legacy expansion pack for MechWarrior 2 features the flamer as a lightweight weapon. It has significant drawbacks, among which high heat generation and very short range, but needs no ammo and packs a punch - a few shots will send an enemy Mech into thermal shutdown, and a few more will overheat the reactor and blow them up regardless of armor, bypassing the usual problem of punching holes in them. Heavy Mechs have more efficient ways to hurt the enemy, but light ones - which in the pre-GBL game had to choose between "scratch your enemy with small cannons" or "slightly annoy them with light lasers" - can use them to great effect.
- The flamethrower from Odium has a very short range, but does quite nice damage, and doesn't use up ammo (though it needs to recharge for a few turns after each use.)
- In Far Cry 3, the flamethrower is an extremely potent weapon. It has realistic range, does tremendous damage (being one of the most reliable weapons for taking out heavy armor troops), can spread quite well, and ignite and clear out entire buildings near-instantly. The only downside is that it still doesn't have the long range of most guns, and that the flames can quickly catch up with you, especially if you're advancing into the brush or encampments you're clearing.
- In Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, the flamethrower has two down sides: it has short range, and it uses the same fuel as your jet pack. But its also very powerful against regular enemies, and easily the best way to get rid of the most dangerous enemies, Bando Gora cultists. They normally gang up on Jango with melee attacks and can kill him in seconds. But with the flamethrower, just light em up, fly to a high spot, and watch them burn.
- Averted in Abuse, where the flamethrower is possibly the most powerful weapon in the game, capable of clearing half a screen of baddies with a single shot. The only downside is the incredibly sparse ammo; you aren't likely to find more than 10 shots through the normal course of the game.
- Averted heavily in Artic Combat, the local flamethrower fires out what seems to be a stream of orange stuff that bursts into fire on contact with something. It's range is enough for most close quarter battles, it can completely blind an opponent and does more damage than most guns.
- The flame thrower in Hostile Waters Antaeus Rising is an exceedingly useful weapon. The biggest drawback is naturally its range. It is a realistic 60 meters, but that is not all that impressive in a game which revolves around vehicular combat in wide open areas. On the plus side, it deals damage very quickly, and it can set just about any vehicle or structure on fire, which deals continuous damage until destruction. It is especially useful when you bolt it to a vehicle which is equipped with a cloaking unit.
- The expansion to the second Red Orchestra game, Rising Storm, gives the US Marine faction an M2 Flamethrower. While still a short ranged weapon, it has far more reach than most video game flamethrower, often able to instantly kill targets 20 meters away. The flames effect is quite wide as well, making it very forgiving to fire from the hip. The flame also deflects off surface, which makes the Flamethrower choice in clearing out bunkers, since it can kill enemies inside cover without being able to directly see them.
- In Warframe the Ignis averts this with decent range, massive area of effect and going through cover. Unfortunately, it has no innate armour piercing, making it a poor choice against high level heavy units.
- The Unreal Tournament 2004 mod Ballistic Weapons shows why it's generally a bad idea to invert this trope, especially in competitive games. The RX22A Flamethrower added in the mod functions more like a real-life flamer would, with a realistic distance on its stream of flame. The problem is that many maps, including almost all vanilla deathmatch maps, were not designed with this in mind, so you have a weapon that allows you to Kill It with Fire at impressive distances (including outside the effective range of many shotguns added in the mod), without much recourse available to opponents besides finding something longer-ranged (and being able to see through the bright, disorienting flame effect), or just fighting a battle of attrition and waiting for the enemy to run out of ammo or die a Death of a Thousand Cuts. In more open maps, however, using it is very risky, as if the fuel backpack takes a single hit from anything it will rocket the user up into the air and then explode, invariably killing them.
- In Assault Suits Valken, the secret Napalm Gun upgrade fires a flaming ball of death across the screen. Both the rate of fire and rate of travel might be low compared to the usual standbys of the Vulcan cannon or Laser cannon, but it basically annihilates most non-boss enemies in a single shot. Even a near miss can wipe out smaller units.
- In the arcade game Cal.50, the starting weapon for your P.O.W is the heavy machine gun you get from the blown up chopper. After that you upgrade to rapid-fire rockets and finally a flamethrower. That flamethrower as a final weapon is justified, it really is that powerful. It does tremendous damage and lets loose a long-ranged, rapid-fire stream of flaming clouds that'll torch most enemies in one shot.
- Total Carnage the flamethrower is easily the best weapon in the game. It does a lot of damage and is rapid-fire. But best of all it generates a huge cloud of flame that takes up a good chunk of the screen and unlike most video game flamethrowers, it has good range.
- The tabletop game Axis & Allies Miniatures has Flamethrower-equipped units that have very powerful close-ranged attacks (and infantry tends not to have much in the way of medium or long ranged attacks anyway), ignore cover, and can possibly deal a One-Hit Kill against infantry or vehicles.
- Half-Life 2 fan-attempts to add flamethrowers to the game vary widely, but the 'SMOD' mod has an attachment that turns the gravity gun into a flame-spewing monstrosity. In lieu of the expected clouds of flame, it instead fires burning, arcing streams of napalm that cling to walls, floors, objects, and enemies, whereupon it burns all of them with equal vigor. It's quite effective against anything that you need dead and several things that you don't. Best of all, the ammo is technically infinite—it has a limited capacity to draw from, but its fuel automatically recharges when not in use.
Non-Video Game Examples
- This is discussed in the web-novel Domina. There are three types of flamethrowers in the city: Flamers, which are standard "cone of burning gas" video game flamethrowers. Flamethrowers, which are more realistic, shooting a stream of burning liquid that has an unfortunate tendency to set an entire street on fire. And then there are the incinerators, which lob globules of burning napalm at a target, and cause far less collateral damage. Although not really a "flamethrower," there are also incendiary bullets for use in guns, including shotgun shells containing beads filled with pyrophoric dust.