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When you're fighting a group of Mooks, sometimes, a rocket launcher or a machine gun may not be be able to cut it, as the enemies are far too spread out.

The Solution? The Spread Shot!

The spread shot can come in three different flavours:

Initial Burst: The attack is fired out in a spread of bullets forward, usually in a uniform spread. This makes it easier to hit enemies spread out too far. Furthermore, these attacks can usually be shotgunned into a larger Mook, possibly causing more than three times the damage. If you are doing this with a bow, you are doing a Multishot. There's at least one real life weapon that does this - the Claymore Mine which throws projectiles downrange spread over a 45 degree arc.

Spray Burst: Only one bullet is fired out at a time, but in rapid succession. Unlike an ordinary machine gun, the shots are spread out a lot more.

Exploding Shot: The player fires out an initial shot. When it hits an enemy or a wall (or given enough time), a burst of shots come out and the initial projectile disappears. Recursive Ammo can be this.

Usually, this sort of attack can lead to a Game-Breaker weapon, especially in games where most of the mooks die in one hit, such as the Spread shot in the original Contra. In other cases, getting point-blank to the enemy and firing will result in very fast kills (though this is usually suicidal for the inexperienced). The problem arises in games where each individual shot is weak, and therefore, a point-blank shot may actually be the best option (which is the classic example of a Short-Range Shotgun).

See also Shotguns Are Just Better. Compare Pinball Projectile (a single shot that hits multiple targets), Multi-Directional Barrage (an attack that shoots all around you) and Improvised Scattershot (for when the attack wasn't designed to do this).

Examples of the Initial Burst:

  • The famous Game-Breaker spread shot in the original Contra mowed down enemies effortlessly.
    • The flash game Super Mario Bros. Crossover includes Bill from Contra as a playable character. Fire Flowers give him the spreader, which is, if anything, even more of a game breaker in what is supposed to be a Mario game.
      • A trailer for the game's first update was going through the upgrades each of the heroes got. When it got to Bill, they just showed a montage of him destroying everything with the Spread Gun and concluded that Bill doesn't get an upgrade because he doesn't need it.
  • The Army Men spinoff, Green Rogue turns weapons into spread shots after collecting three power-ups. Including spread-bazookas capable of firing three rockets at the same time.
  • Assault Retribution, befitting its nature as a Contra clone, has this as one of its earlier power-ups. There's also a Spread Beam, which fires three laser bursts in one go each shot.
  • Bounty of One:
    • The "Three is the Magic Number" item allows you to fire a spread of three projectiles forward at the cost of lowered attack rate. It's also a Multishot in Serra's hands, since she uses a crossbow.
    • Illithid Deputies will fire a spread of three Painfully Slow Projectile energy orbs whenever they attack.
    • The Undertaker himself has a shotgun that fires a spread of two projectiles in a V-shape... which can be dodged by simply standing still. However, he mixes this attack up with one where skeletal horses race across 4/5ths of the screen, forcing you to move and likely into the path of the shots.
  • SALVATOR: SALVATOR gains a spread shot upon reaching a certain combo level.
  • The Spread weapon in Cuphead fires in a few directions, but has short range.
    • Spread shot attacks are fairly common for bosses in the game.
  • Shoot Em Ups are rife with these, for both the player and the enemies. Characters with spread shots tend to have slower movement speed for balancing purposes.
    • 1943: The Battle of the Midway introduces to the series the three-way Machine Gun, and the shorter ranged, five-way Shot Gun. In both cases, a set of two shots are fired forward, and only one in each of the other directions.
    • Recca has the 'V' weapon and the 'F' weapon. When fully powered up, 'V' fires 5 shots in a forward spread while 'F' fires a 3-way forward and a 2-way backwards.
    • Most Touhou games have a spread type or two. Sanae, Sakuya, and Reimu in the earlier games (10 downwards) are particularly associated with them.
    • The red weapon in the Raiden series, which maxes out at a 7-way spread in the first game.
    • The blue weapon in Fire Shark, which looked and acted very similarly to the red weapon in Raiden.
    • Bio Metal has one, which was actually surprisingly effective against many of the weaker Mooks (given that Spread Shots usually tend to be weak).
    • Steel Saviour had one of these as your secondary weapons.
    • Einhänder has the spreader gun.
    • Tyrian has countless- the Multi-cannon, the protron, the fireball, the sonic impulse, etc.
    • Traditionally the third (blue) ship in the Dodonpachi games has this as its rapid-fire weapon.
    • Ketsui has the Tiger Schwert, which, when not locked on, fires bullets out in a wide-range cone. In contrast, the Panzer Jager concentrates its shots straight ahead.
    • Bubble Tanks has 3-way spreads, 5-way spreads, and Sticky Bursts which shoot a circle of shots that immobilze enemies.
    • The red ship in Mars Matrix has this for its main weapon.
    • Many foes in Gatling Gears use this. Your Cannon weapon temporarily becomes a very damaging triple spread when you pick up a Cannon Booster.
    • Your regular shot in Heavy Weapon turns into one of these when you get Spread Shot powerups. More powerups = more bullets per spread.
    • The player's ship in Figure Of Eight shoots in a very wide 3-way spread, which narrows when the ship is slowed down.
    • In Elemental Master, the Fire element shoots in a wide 3-way spread.
    • In Gynoug, you can power your way up to an impressive 6-way spread.
  • Forgotten Worlds gives a short-ranged three-way shot to the second player as the default weapon, as opposed to the first player's longer-ranged single shot.
  • Last Rites have an energy weapon that fires three laser projectiles with each shot. It's firing rate is insanely fast, too, allowing you to spam waves and waves of attacks on zombies, demons and other enemies.
  • Legendary Wings: A three-way shot is the third-level weapon in the arcade game. This same weapon is used for Michelle Heart's striker attack in Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes.
  • Major Stryker gives the player increasingly spread shots as they collect power-ups, until they're firing in six directions at once (forward, diagonally, horizontally, and behind) — but getting hit will reset it to a single shot forward.
  • The Mega Man (Classic) series had quite a few of these:
    • Mega Man 2 had the Air Shooter, which travelled upwards in a spread.
    • Mega Man 8 has this not for Mega Man, but for Rush—A three-way shot, if you can catch his item during the jet areas of Tengu Man's stage and Wily stage 2.
    • Magma Bazooka from Mega Man 9 combined this with Charged Attack. A point-blank charged shot was one of the most painful things for MiniBosses and the most painful thing against Hornet Man.
    • Mega Man 10 had the Triple Blade. It sliced through regular Mooks like butter (especially when shotgunned), and it felled Strike Man easily. note 
    • Mega Man 11 has the Bounce Ball. It fires a spread of three Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball projectiles that can be aimed straight forwards, or at a diagonal angle. If used with the Power Gear, Mega Man will fire two spreads of three, one towards each side. As the balls stay on screen for a good bit of time, it can quickly become a Spam Attack.
    • The Thunder Beam from the first game is a variant, as the side projectiles shoot up and down vertically. The Tri-Thunder of X5 is a carbon copy of it, with the electric beams capable of turning into electric balls that creep on solid surfaces.
    • Rockman 4 Minus Infinity had Pharaoh Shotgun, a version of Pharaoh Shot which spreads in five different directions, but can't be aimed. It also has Drill Torpedo, which fires one drill ahead, one on the ceiling, and one on the floor.
    • Rockman 7 EP: The 3-Point Burst lets Mega Man fires three Danger Wraps at once. It also has the Silver Bullet, which lets Mega Man fire ice bullets in six directions. Ammo is a huge concern for this attack as it only has eight uses total.
  • Mega Man X and company get a few of these too, like the Chameleon Sting (in the remake, that is), Spinning Cutter (which also boomerangs backwards), Twin Slasher, Drift Diamond, and X's charged shot with the Homing Torpedo from Mega Man X, Sonic Slicer in X2, Goo Shaver in X5, and the Hermes Armor in Mega Man X8. Even Zero gets in on the action with Mega Man X4's Rakuhouha, Mega Man X5's C-Flasher, and in Mega Man X6, his Hyoroga shoots a spread of icicles downward. X himself can do a similar thing with his Shadow Armor, shooting spreads of shurikens while hanging from the ceiling.
    • The buster upgrade from Mega Man X3 allows the player to charge up both arms and fire the shots so that they overlap and make a spread shot with the right timing.
    • X4's Aiming Laser is a variant: you first have to "lock on" enemies (up to 3) with a special crosshair, then you fire a laser to each target. Another variant is the Double Cyclone, which shoots wind orbs to your front and back.
    • Mega Man Zero 3 had the EX Skills V-Shot, which split your normal shots into two, and Blizzard Arrow, which generated three ice needles from a charged shot.
    • Mega Man ZX Advent has Buckfire's flaming arrows, and Hedgeshock's sparks from her Charged Attack. Chronoforce can also shoot a spread of icicles, but his copied form cannot use the move.
  • Vile in Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X can acquire Cerberus Phantom, a spread of 3 lasers similar to Chameleon Sting. His Two-headed Slash cutter weapon shoots a spread of 2 large cutters.
  • Mega Man Legends has the Spread Buster, which fires a spray of grenades. High damage but terrible accuracy and limited ammo make it Awesome, but Impractical, though it does tremendous damage at point-blank range.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt has Technos, one of Gunvolt's guns that shoots 2 bullets diagonally up and down which then creep along the floor and ceiling. Viper's Limit Break also has him shooting spreads of fireballs downwards as he floats up. Gibril in the second game can also shoot a spread of metallic projectiles. Teseo can shoot a wide array of lasers, which Copen copies as his Wide Circuit weapon.
  • Alien Soldier had the Hunter Force. Unfortunately, it had a slow rate of fire, and it became pretty useless near the middle of the game where it started bouncing off everything. The Lancer, Sword, Flame and Homing Forces pretty much outclassed it.
  • The Borderlands series: In addition to loads and loads of shotguns:
    • Borderlands: Anarchies. Which are required to have the Double prefix in order to spawn. It's a sub-machine gun that sprays 4 bullets with each shot, while retaining the SMG's best-in-the-game rate of fire. The result is devastating in close quarters.
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: The pistol-type Legendary Weapon, 88 Fragnums, which fire five bullets in one pull of the trigger, using up 3 bullets.
  • Fallout 3 combines this with No Kill like Overkill with the Experimental MIRV. It fires eight miniature nuclear warheads with each shot. The ammunition's so rare that actually firing it goes way into Awesome, but Impractical territory, especially since pretty much all enemies can be taken out with one or two mini-nukes from the weapon's single-shot cousin.
  • The Wide Beam in some of the Metroid games. It launches a projectile above and below the one fired (each one retains the same upgrades that Samus has already collected), which has the useful side effect of allowing you to shoot along a platform while you hang from its edge. Also the Spazer Beam, to a lesser extent.
  • Descent features this with the aptly-named Spreadfire Cannon. In Descent 2, there's an even more powerful version known as the Helix Cannon. Unfortunately, it eats through your energy reserves like popcorn.
  • Plants vs. Zombies has Threepeaters. Like their name suggests, they fire out 3 shots to cover 3 rows. Starfruit also count in a way as they fire forward double diagonal stars (besides the one behind and two vertical).
  • Plants Vs Zombies 2:
    • The Snapdragon fires out short-distance flames down three lanes. Cold Snapdragon is similar, only ice-elemental.
    • The Rotobaga fires a diagonal spread in four directions. It doesn't shoot straight forward, leaving it vulnerable on its own, but groups of them can cover each other quite effectively.
    • When blown by Blover or Hurrikale, Dandelion will fire a huge number of seeds down three lanes.
    • Dusk Lobber will throw three exploding buds that cover three rows ala Threepeater, but only when it's powered by the Moonflower.
    • Apple Mortar will fire three apple cores in a spread to hit zombies on its lane and adjacent ones. Any zombies hit by the projectiles will also be stunned.
    • Electric Peashooter's Plant Food ability combines this with the Exploding Shot, by firing an electric ball at the three closest zombies, and then each of those explodes in a burst of smaller, slow-moving electrical projectiles.
  • Being modeled after Plants vs. Zombies, Mini Robot Wars has the D.Shotgunner, an expy of the Threepeater. The only difference is that its shots spread out diagonally, instead of attacking three individual rows. Upgrading the D.Shotgunner allows it to fire out five shots at one go.
  • Any given shotgun in a First-Person Shooter is likely to follow this trope, even though real shotguns generally have a much narrower spread. However, the rocket launcher in the original Unreal Tournament deserves special mention for its ability to fire a spread of six rockets, each of which is as powerful as a single rocket from any other shooter (albeit slightly slower).
  • Spread Frisbee in Purple throws a normal frisbee along with four fake ones flying alongside.
  • The Amazon in Diablo II has Multishot, which fires a spread of arrows. The Demon Hunter in Diablo III will have something similar.
    • Hunters in World of Warcraft have a similar Multishot ability; however, hits are generated like regular area of effect attacks, striking everyone in a given radius of the target rather than shooting a fixed number of projectiles.
  • Artillery in Empire: Total War and Napoleon: Total War can either fire their standard shots or a spread of musket balls similar to a buckshot at a considerably shorter range which devastate infantry or cavalry that are closing in. In Napoleon, the Barrage ability allows cannons to temporarily increase their rate of fire, making this even more effective. This does not work with mortars, though.
  • Subverted badly in Expert. You gain a new firearm that fires bullet in an arc starting from the third stage, which tends to spread too wide to the point that you're guaranteed to miss your intended targets, at least half of the times. While enemy terrorists lands consecutive shots chipping away your health. It's more of a Power Up Letdown if anything.
  • Bubble Tanks has the Starburst Cannon, which explodes into a circle of shots if the initial bullet travels a distance without hitting anything.
  • Lulu's main weapon in Shock Troopers: 2nd Squad is a short-ranged three-way shot.
  • The "Multiple" weapon in the Turrican series fires a Contra-style flared spread shot. In Super Turrican (and fan game Hurrican), the "Laser" weapon is a parallel spread shot.
  • Bionic Commando:
    • The NES game had two weapons that fired three shots at once, one at 45-degree angles, the other at right angles.note 
    • A moderate-ranged three-way gun is available in Bionic Commando: Elite Forces.
  • Ludwig adds a 4-way spread of fireballs to his repertoire when you re-fight him in his castle in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
  • The Spread Pulse gun in Expendable, though only after it is upgraded.
  • The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games has Hayate's Balmung and Lord Dearche's Doombringer moves, which launches swords in a 5-way spread.
  • Some of the allies' attacks in Magic Sword, especially the Ninja.
  • In Pocky & Rocky, blue orbs give you two, then three angled streams of projectiles.
    • Sayo/Pocky's first power orb in Pocky & Rocky 2 gives her magic cards this effect.
    • In Pocky & Rocky With Becky, this is Miki/Becky's unique ability.
  • In Star Soldier, enough powerups will eventually allow the player to fire in five directions at once (three forward and two backward). The music changes when this happens.
  • In Chelsea and the 7 Devils, Chelsea starts out shooting a single bullet, but her attack gains more bullets in different arrangements (some parallel, some flared) as she defeats Devils.
  • In Tempo, the title character can increase the number of shots he fires at once by collecting special gloves. Unlike most Initial Bursts, he fires one shot backwards — in fact, the backwards shot is the first to be added.
  • In Bubble Symphony, you can charge up the bubble shot to shoot three bubbles at once. Each character shoots them in a different arrangement.
  • In Twin Cobra, the blue weapon gives a 3-way forward spread, which can be upgraded to a 5-way spread. The Blue Smasher in Twin Cobra II is similar; it can fire missiles in a 7-way spread.
    • Player 1's Thunder Claw in II is a variant of this- at maximum power, it shoots six small missiles to the sides and one large one forward. If the large missile makes contact with an enemy, it becomes a "lock-on", and the six smaller missiles will converge into that enemy.
  • The Ratchet & Clank series has various shotguns, but the Magma Combuster from Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction is a more classic example, firing three shots at different angles with each pull of the trigger.
  • In Animal Crossing: Wild World, unlike its predecessor, in order to get flying presents, get something from Gulliver, or talk to Pete, you have to shoot the intended target with a slingshot. If you shot down enough presents, the next one you shot down would be a golden slingshot, which shoots three shots in a spread, making it more likely that you'll hit your target.
  • Dynamite Headdy has the Lotsa Heads power-up, which lets you shoot three heads at once, as well as the Air Head during the Unexpected Shmup Level.
  • One of the two regular weapons you could obtain in Out Zone.
  • All three of Jad's attacks and one of Ben's attacks in Abmneshi The Prophecy. Jad's unfocused attack is a very wide 7-way spread, his focused is a much tighter 5-way spread, and his hyper is an 11-way spread, combining the two by being very wide but much denser at the front. Ben's unfocused is a 2-way spread. (His focused is also an example, but a Spray Burst)
  • In Bloody Wolf, the player's shotgun fires in a 7-way spread. The first boss's "hot bullets of shotgun" have a 5-way spread.
  • Sol-Feace has an adjustable 3-way spread.
  • Ether Vapor's Winder attack is a spread shot that can have its angles adjusted.
  • Hellsinker has Kagura's Infernal Sabbath equipment, which sacrifices a subweapon in exchange for being able to adjust the spread of its main shot from anywhere between a linear shot and a near-180-degree angle.
  • Evolva: The Spike weapon's secondary attack allows you to throw several spikes at a time, much like a bow multishot.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • A number of Skylanders have this as their projectile attack, often obtained as an upgrade.
  • Jean Rambios of Super Time Force has a Charged Attack which fires a rapid-fire spread shot.
  • Tread Marks has all (non-guided) rocket launchers spraying out multiple missiles in a wide arc; pretty useless at range, but absolutely murder machines at close range, particularly in the tank racing gamemode
  • Dragon's Crown has the Cranequin, a semi-rare crossbow your character could pick-up that fires multiple poison-tipped bolts at once in a three-way spread.
  • In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the last gun upgrade for Carmelita gives her Shock Pistol one of these.
  • In Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony, Walter's primary weapon consists of five bullets that fan out forward. Robert Catesby from DLC Gunpowder, Treason & Plot, as a primary weapon, simultaneously shoots a pair of energy swords forward and two large bullets spreading left and right.
  • Shantae: Risky's Revenge has the Spit Fire, the second level fire magic that launches multiple Fire Balls in a three-way spread in front of Shantae.
  • In Blazeon, the BCF-008 Mars' normal attack fires three shots in a pretty wide spread.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom series has Doctor Doom's Photon Shot and its super variant Photon Array (aka "DA FINGA LAZORS" as fans put it).
  • The Breach One of the most useful upgrades gives your gun a triple-spread shot, which makes it easier to hit flying enemies that approach at odd angles (most of them), triples damage against melee-range enemies, makes Cultists much more tolerable company, and is borderline reuired to take out the Final Boss, as it's far enough away that the spread is sure to hit it no matter what part of the screen it's on.
  • Grim Dawn has the celestial power Falcon Swoop. It fires two divine falcons that pierce anything in its path and deal bleeding damage. Fully upgraded, the falcons goes from two to six and its damage greatly increases.
  • Dawn of War II: Retribution: The higher-end rokkit launchas in the ork campaign fire half a dozen rokkits at once. The accuracy is laughable, but the if you're expecting accuracy and playing orks you've missed a very fundamental concept.
  • In RWBY: Amity Arena, Professor Port uses this for his attack. Point Blank Range shots tend to destroy units in one hit while spreading them out kill weaker mook units.
  • In ''Gods, this surprisingly overlaps with Power Up Let Down. This is because enemies tend to be right in front of you and have a lot of hit points, and the spread shot "powerup" diverts half of your firepower into the ceiling and floor instead.
  • A common powerup in Centipede (1998) temporarily upgrades the Shooter's laser to fire a spread of three shots at a time.
  • Wallachia: Reign of Dracula: One of the arrow types Elcin can pick up allows her to shoot three spreading arrows at once.
  • Wildcat Gun Machine, a game boasting "over 40 weapon types", has at least three of these being spread-shots, including the first which fires spreads of three. Last upgrades allows you to shoot eight to twelve shots every time.
  • Zone 66: The default starting plane fires a spread of four blue projectiles.
  • Cube Colossus: The Multipath-type weapons, which is another way of describing this kind of weapon. One shot, that can take multiple paths. They all have the "SP" prefix, which also references this idea. SPread.
  • Dark Forces Saga:
    • The original version of the Imperial Repeater from Dark Forces and Jedi Knight has a Secondary Fire mode which consists of firing three shots at once in a triangular spread pattern. In-universe, the reason for it is to bypass a Jedi's defenses, since they're spread out enough that trying to deflect the shots would still let one through.
    • The Wookiee Bowcaster from Jedi Knight onwards can charge up its primary fire mode to fire out a spread of up to five shots at once.
  • Fairyside: Spell count upgrades increase the number of spells fired each cast and 2 shots being fired at once means they travel in parallel down the faced direction, but also makes them cost twice as much MP each cast.
  • Transistor: Upgrading Breach() with Spark() turns a single strong beam into a fan of 3 that deal half damage.

Examples of the Spray Burst

  • Mega Man X3 had Neon Tiger's Ray Splasher.
    • X also got two more weapons like this- Grizzly Slash's Crescent Shot in Mega Man X5, and his normal shots with the Shadow Armor in X6.
  • In Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, Vile can acquire 2 vulcans that behave this way: Buckshot Dance (which has a limited max range) and Triple 7 (covers more distance but has higher energy cost). Triple 7 is also used in his special Ride Armor. His Trident Line cannon and Metal Crescent cutter weapons are variants; they'll always shoot at the 3 available angles of Vile's shoulder weapons - forward, 45 degrees up and 80 degrees up, one by one; you determine which angle the first shot will cover, then the cannon automatically fires a second shot at a different angle immediately after.
  • While activating the Time Stopper, Flash Man from Mega Man 2 fires out buster shots this way.
    • Later, in Mega Man 4, Bright Man also does this, firing a spread of shots at a somewhat slower speed and wider spread than Flash Man, but much more often, even without using his Flash Stopper special weapon first.
    • While not a traditional Mega Man game per se, in Street Fighter X Mega Man, Dhalsim can spit a ego-shriveling-ly large wave of Yoga Fire with this kind of spread pattern, as each individual flame sprite is considered its own projectile in that game.
  • Mega Man Legends has the Machine Buster, which starts out tight but becomes more of this as you upgrade its Special attribute. This actually makes it Awesome, but Impractical since it makes many shots go wide. Without spread it's a borderline Disc-One Nuke.
  • Mega Man ZX Advent has Rospark's thorns (usable only while on poles) and Model P's kunai throw.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: Gunvolt's late game Orochi gun can shoot a drone that then shoots extra projectiles in a spray burst, combining it with the "exploding shot" type.
  • Contra: Hard Corps had Fang's rapid-fire shot, which had quite a bit of spread.
  • Rambo would fire his machine gun in a spreading pattern if he stood still and fired in Rambo III for the Genesis.
  • Diablo II's Amazon also has the Strafe skill, which fires a rapid stream of arrows.
  • The double Force shot in Gunstar Heroes
  • Warning Forever has your character's only weapon, which fires rapid bullets randomly (but restricted to an angle). The angle of fire can be widened/narrowed by moving.
  • The plasma, fusion, and anti-matter projectors in Sword of the Stars fire a large burst of energy blasts in a cone pattern. Most effective on ships up-close. There is also a rapid-firing version of the standard mass driver that fires in bursts, as well as a similar version for dumbfire missiles.
  • The Mighty Grapes in Spiritual Warfare fire in alternating shots straight ahead and at opposing 45-degree angles. Pretty useful for converting enemies you'd rather not be standing in front of.
  • Dynamite Headdy also has the Bird Head during the Unexpected Shmup Level.
  • In Abmneshi: The Prophecy, as can be seen from the preview videos so far, Ben's focused attack is one of these.
  • Oriko's airborne down+X attack on Magical Crusaders Matagi Magica develops into a rapid succession of fast-paced shots that spell out doom towards any enemies that happen to be below the area of effect. Effectiveness may vary, but it tends to work best on witches with large hitboxes and enemies directly below Oriko. Then there's her up+X special attack, which takes 100MP to cast, is sustained for as long Oriko has MP to spare and is best described by the phrase "OBLITERATE EVERYTHING!!!". Naturally, she's the only Magical Girl with such an amazing firepower, but it's balanced out by the fact that she relies on most of her shots actually hitting her intended target, leaving her nigh useless on the trickier boss fights, such as Izabel's.
  • The machine gun in Bionic Commando (NES) fires five short-range bullets in a wide arc in rapid succession.
  • In Gatling Gears, your basic Gatling gun temporarily becomes this when you pick up a Gatling Booster, along with increased damage. A number of Mooks and bosses also fire in this pattern.
  • In World of Warcraft, the hunter talent "Barrage" fires extremely rapid low-damage shots. These alternate between hitting the player's target and a random other target in a 30-degree cone, creating the effect of a stream of projectiles sweeping back and forth.
  • Wolf Fang have the spread shooter being the first of several power-ups available for the players, and when fully upgraded they can fill the screen with their bullets. Which is great, for enemies in this game have a tendency to Zerg Rush all over the place.
  • In Adventures of Dino Riki, Riki's weapon becomes a Flame Shot when fully upgraded, firing five fireballs in a cone formation ahead of him. Unlike his other weapons, Riki can shoot this one rapidly simply by holding down the attack button.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Akuma can fire his Messatsu Gohado in 2 ways: as a spray burst of fireballs or a continuous laser. The former can do more damage than the latter if done in closer range, but its laser form's damage is more consistent.
  • In XCOM 2, the Grenadier's Saturation Fire ability causes them to spray their Chainsaw-Grip BFG in a cone, shredding everything in its path. The Skirmisher in the Expansion Pack War Of The Chosen has access to a similar ability for their compact bullpup rifle, albeit with a single use per operation.

Examples of the Exploding Shot:

  • Super C for the NES had the flame weapon, greatly improved over the original game's. It shot a large fireball that exploded into 4 (or 8, if you charged it up) smaller fireballs on contact with the ground or an enemy.
    • This was, in turn, based on Super Contra's Bomb Gun, which shot an explosive that burst into two fireballs that traveled horizontally a short distance when it hit something. It could be upgraded so that the projectiles exploded into four fireballs instead.
  • The BFG from Doom works in a slightly different variant - after the main projectile hits, it fires traces from the player's location in a 90-degree arc facing the direction the initial shot was made in.
  • Mega Man 4 had the Dust Crusher.
    • Mega Man 5 had the Crystal Eye.
    • Mega Man 7 had the Freeze Cracker.
    • Mega Man & Bass had the Spread Drill.
    • Mega Man 8 had the VERY broken Arrow Shot upgrade for Mega Man's charged buster.
    • Mega Man V for the Gameboy had the Salt Water, which exploded into three projectiles upon hitting the floor/wall.
  • Mega Man X had the Shotgun Ice which exploded on contact, the Chameleon Sting which started off as one projectile but split into three after half a second, and Electric Spark which splits into 2 electric balls upon hitting walls. Mega Man X2 had the Silk Shot, a projectile similar to the Dust Crusher. X3 had the Acid Burst, which functions similarly to the Salt Water mentioned above, as does Ground Fire in X5. Charged Ray Splasher also works like this, as did charged Spin Wheel in the game before it, and charged Lightning Web in X4. Charged Ground Hunter is a variant: you shoot a large glowing drone that shoots smaller drones upward/downward as it goes each time you press Up or Down. X8 has Shining Ray, which is shot upwards and explodes like fireworks.
  • Mega Man Zero 2 had the Triple Shot and Spark Shot EX Skills, both of which split your charged shots into multiple shots upon hitting an enemy. The Blast Shot in the fourth game does a similar thing.
  • Mega Man ZX Advent has Thetis (Model L)'s charge shot, which shoots a chunk of ice; the ice is then cut by his spear, causing shrapnels of ice to spread outward.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: One of Carrera's attacks has him forming a large chunk of scrap metal on his hand, then launches it forward, which explodes into small chunks of metal upon hitting the wall.
  • The Spreader family of chips in the Mega Man Battle Network series work like this, though the direction of the spread varies by chip.
  • In the Hunt had the green power-up, which allowed your submarine to fire out a torpedo that exploded into a spread of shrapnel. Similar to Contra, it was a Game-Breaker as it killed many enemies quickly.
  • Borderlands had the Orion sniper rifle. Shots that hit surfaces instead of enemies would split into 3 or 4 shots.
  • U.N. Squadron includes the Bullpup, which does an initial and exploding spread. Each shot fires a bunch of missiles in a spread, then the missiles split into more shots so it covers an even wider range.
  • Space Megaforce (aka Super Aleste) has the Scatter Shot, which fires large shells that explode into small shot bursts upon contact with an enemy or structure.
  • Gunstar Heroes has the Force + Fire combo. The fireballs explode when it hits something solid or in mid-air when you stop holding the fire button.
  • Sword of the Stars has the Burst Shot, which fires a large round that explodes near the target into a hail of small rounds. Useful against tightly-grouped destroyers. Also, if one happens to hit the hull, this can be a One-Hit Kill, as all small rounds are somehow directed at the same ship. Likely a bug.
  • The Descent series loves this, with the classic Smart Missile in the first game (which was retained for the next 3), the Earthshaker Missile and the Smart Mine in the second game, and the Napalm Rocket and Cyclone Missile in the third game.
  • Metroid Fusion has the Diffusion Missiles, which do this when charged. Metroid: Other M had a Diffusion Beam which worked much the same way.
  • Cluster Frisbee in Purple cracks into 16 smaller shots if thrown at a large distance.
  • The "Bounce" weapon in the Turrican series splits into two shots that bounce back upon hitting a wall.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns: The boss Thugly has a move where it spits out a fireball which explodes into three, then one of those three explodes into another three, and finally one of those splits into three yet again.
  • Angry Birds has the blue bird, which splits into three when the screen is tapped.
  • Sanae B in Undefined Fantastic Object has exploding frogs. Marisa's Magic Napalm shot on Ten Desires behaves similarly. The spread is minimal, but lingers long enough to make repeated damage and/or harm any other enemies that waltz towards their area of effect.
  • Bug! had the Abominable Snowbug boss, who threw a huge snowball that split into five when it hit the floor.
  • Heavy Weapon has two instances. The green jets drop cluster bombs that explode into a burst of four shots, while Kommie Kong/Gorillazilla has "Bursting Rockets" that explode into six.
  • Any Recursive Ammo weapon in Escape Velocity uses this behavior.
  • The Fragmentation Bomb Launcher and Cluster Flak Array from the X-Universe series. Unfortunately they're really only effective if you hit the guy before the shot fragments because the developers forgot to add AoE damage to the fragments, rendering them annoyingly useless. Unless you take the CFA and combine it with the Ion Disruptor, which can use the fragments to jump between targets. The resulting ionized flak is effective but friendly-fire-heavy.
  • Turok 2's Shredder does this when it hits a wall, scattering in the opposite direction. Slugs turn into ricochets instead.
  • One of the weapons in One Dog Story is a gun that fires three bullets in an Initial Burst style, then said three bullets shoot forward.
  • The Princess Remedy series of Princess Remedy In World Of Hurt and Princess Remedy In A Heap Of Trouble has the shot-count-increase upgrades, which turn her single shots into double or more shots, and do this with the multiple bullets.
  • Muri: The MKV bullets, are a fan of five bullets in front of Adwoa.
  • The Chenjesu Broodhome's primary attack in Star Control is a large projectile ("Photon Crystal Shard"), that explodes into eight smaller ones if you release the fire button.
  • SturmFront: The Mutant War grants you an upgrade that turns your default weapon to spreads of seven, a very handy tool in cleaning the streets of mutant abominations. Combining this power-up with the Grenade Launcher and you'll clean up each area of enemies within seconds.
  • The Rhino in Killing Floor 2 fires fragmentation bullets which burst into three slightly weaker projectiles upon hitting a wall or enemy, piercing through enemies to hit further ones behind them and bouncing off walls to allow ricochet shots.
  • Fox N Forests: The green arrows, which are gained after beating the giant frog boss, are fired three-at-once in an upward spread shot.


Video Example(s):



Ludwig splits into three copies with the fakes firing two magic blasts at once and the real one firing three.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpreadShot

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