Follow TV Tropes


Ten-Second Flashlight

Go To

In video games where the player is given a flashlight, it will come in one of two flavors: its batteries run either forever or for a pitifully short time. This is the latter case.

Perhaps the batteries are near-dead, perhaps it's an inefficient light recognized as such in-universe, or perhaps it's simply a cruel trick being played on the player's avatar. Whatever the reason, few (if any) games have realistic flashlights with cells that last at least a solid in-universe hour before needing a replacement.

More shockingly, most Ten Second Flashlights will actually recharge their batteries by themselves, and often in half the time it took to discharge them. If it doesn't recharge, you may have to rely on your Muzzle Flashlight until you get a new one. Due to its nature, expect to be left in the dark by it in a Blackout Basement. If Darkness Equals Death, may lead to a Timed Mission where the player races for a safe lit location or a more permanent light source.

Typically, this kind of light source tends to shine brighter than an Infinite Flashlight, to compensate for the short runtime. See also Tentative Light for when a fading light is plot-relevant and not a game mechanic.


    open/close all folders 

    Adventure Game 
  • In the classic computer game Maniac Mansion, there is a flashlight item that, when first acquired, is one of these. However, when you acquire fresh batteries, it becomes an Infinite Flashlight. Ironically, the ten second batteries can last you quite a while in the game as long as you're just exploring the darkness, but they burn out in a nanosecond if you try to use them in the single place in the game where you actually need a light.
  • Justified in Déjà Vu (1985) II, as the game states that since your character took poor care of the flashlight, the batteries are corroded and have little power. The game also pokes fun at the battery technology of the 1940s.
  • The Serpent's Grotto puzzle from the first The Legend of Kyrandia involves clever use of multiple disposable lights. Serpent's Grotto consists mostly of a series of caverns with Fireberry bushes growing at strategic points. The Fireberries themselves emit light, and warmth from Brandon's hand causes the berries to decay and lose their glow over the maximum of three screen transitions; when they're on the cold floor, the decay stops and the glow remains constant. So Brandon must explore the Grotto by dropping Fireberries on the floor to light up otherwise pitch-black rooms, then come back for more. Get caught in a room with no bush and no berries, and the results are predictably unpleasant.
  • In a variant, the chemical glowsticks from The Curse Of Blackmoor Manor will fail at least twice in a game, no matter how recently you acquired or activated them.

  • The Legend of Zelda
    • The lantern in The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon lasts for just a handful of seconds.
    • The lanterns in the other games last as long as you have Magic left, as they consume it to stay lit (the exception is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where it consumes oil since Link doesn't have a proper Mana Meter). It lasts at least a few screens before needing a refill.
  • Averted in Alone in the Dark (2008). The flashlight operates on batteries, which you find scattered throughout the game and eventually run out of power if not used conservatively. After you burn one of the evil roots, you get an ability that makes killing enemies easy as long as you keep your eyes closed, so the flashlight sees less use.
  • In Fester's Quest, you keep on having to collect light bulbs so you can see inside the darkened sewers. Fester's putting them in his mouth, which lights them, and it somehow makes them last much less than normal.
  • Tomb Raider II uses flares, which last for a good few minutes before burning out and are plentiful. In Tomb Raider III, they last only half as long.
  • Asterix & Obelix XXL has torches that only last a few seconds after being lit. They're not really for illumination, though, they're for setting things on fire.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The Half-Life series zig-zags the trope between titles.
    • The original and Blue Shift have a downplayed case. Gordon's and Barney's lights have a limited runtime and recharge when off (all signified by the opacity of the flashlight's icon), though it can stay on for a good three minutes and recharges in less than a full one. Same goes for Shepard's Night-Vision Goggles in Opposing Force.
    • In Half-Life 2 and Episode One, it's played straight, draining quite fast and recharging just slightly faster. A lampshade is hung on it in Episode One, and it was spoofed in the webcomic Concerned, specifically issue 20, along with the fact that in Half-Life 2, the flashlight for some reason uses the same power source as the "sprint" and "oxygen" functions. Supposedly, the flashlight is attached to Gordon's H.E.V. suit and feeds off of a universal power cell, but how a light bulb drains power at just over half the speed as sprinting and pumping oxygen while underwater do is anyone's guess. It's Played for Drama and horror in the "Lowlife" segment of Episode 1, where Gordon and Alyx have to go through a tunnel filled with monsters, and she will only shoot at the farther enemies if you're shining the light on them.
    • Episode Two goes back to the first game's concept by separating the flashlight from the auxiliary power supply and giving it its own, much longer-lasting energy gauge that lasts just under two minutes recharges in just under two seconds. A Hand Wave explains that the crash at the end of Episode One broke the old flashlight, and the new one was an improvised replacement.note  It's plausible to think that the new torch uses more advanced and efficient Combine technology than the original.
    • Black Mesa finally ditched this trope altogether and went for the complete opposite, probably as a concession to the fact that there are a lot more setpieces where you really need it compared to the original. The flipside is that the beam is fairly dim.
    • As Nightmare House is a duo of Half-Life mods, the examples above apply. The standalone prologue employs the "same power source" from 2 and Episode One, while Nightmare House 2 (including a newer version of the prologue) uses the Episode Two setting.
    • Afraid of Monsters, another mod for the original Half-Life, does this depending on the version. The original simply used the original Half-Life style of flashlight. The "Director's Cut" version, however, requires you to collect batteries to keep the flashlight burning, and the batteries you find barely add any amount of power.
    • Underhell has both a handheld flashlight and a shoulder-mounted one. The handheld light consumes a full battery in around a minute of continuous use and can only be used in combat along with a melee weapon or handgun, but is readily available in every location, while the mounted one is more power-efficient and allows for use of long guns like the shotgun or Sniper Rifle, but is only found by completing a sidequest and as such, easy to miss out on.
    • Cry of Fear only goes for this for a set of road flares you have to use for a section in the subway where your otherwise-infinite cell phone light has gone dead. For their limited burn time they provide a fair bit more illumination than the phone light, but in return they're nowhere near as portable: you have to drop your active one to climb up ladders, and once you've dropped one it gets too hot for you to pick back up. There's also a limited amount of them, so you have to be careful of how many you use.
  • The first System Shock game has a head-mounted lantern and infrared goggles that place a drain on your overall energy bar. The lantern, however, can have its intensity adjusted, allowing the power drain to also be adjusted.
  • F.E.A.R. and both Vivendi expansions use a very short-ranged and short-lived headlamp that recharges about twice as fast as it drains. It's in your best interest to leave it off if you don't absolutely need it, considering enemies will notice the beam. From F.E.A.R. 2 and on, you get the other variety, with the caveat that it flickers at the slightest hint of spookhouse shit.
  • Unreal features the flashlight as a reasonably common inventory item scattered throughout the levels. Its batteries last exactly 60 seconds of use and the light dims down to nothing in the last 5 seconds as the battery dies; when it flatlines, the whole flashlight is discarded and a new one must be foundnote . It's likely that they belonged to other survivors, and they would have been used, battered, simply left lying for a long time, or all of the above. There are also the more common flares, which burn for some 20 seconds when tossed. Both are the crux of Prisoner 849's illumination tools until she finds the searchlight, which, while not actually infinite in the game code, has enough juice in it to last until the end of the game, be it the core campaign or the expansion pack's campaign. Defying the usual standard, the ten-second flashlight is much "dimmer"note  than the "infinite" searchlight.
  • Halo:
    • In Halo: Combat Evolved, the humans possess technology enabling interstellar travel, creation of AIs from the brains of humans, and cryogenic storage and revival of people, yet cannot make flashlights capable of lasting much more than the usual ten seconds, or even providing enough light to do anything other than give away your location to other players (play co-op and notice how much light reaches your partner's eyes compared to your own; this is how flashlights work in reality, but for gameplay purposes it's useless).
    • Made worse in Halo 2 - Master Chief gets what should be an Infinite Flashlight, but it automatically turns off after about three or four seconds if he uses it while in an area with any level of light above "total pitch black". Worse is that the game doesn't apparently make much distinction against the light provided by your flashlight for this requirement, so it will still turn itself off in areas that are effectively pitch-black, when you can only see where you're going because of the flashlight. The only point in the game where it will actually stay on continuously is a twenty-foot stretch of underground tunnel in New Mombasa. His Covenant counterpart, the Arbiter, has no flashlight at all in favor of the Elites' usual cloaking field, which is doubly-annoying because A) the Arbiter is using a much older version of the Elite armor that has the exact same ten-second limit the Combat Evolved flashlight had, and B) his levels are the ones where you actually need a flashlight.
    • Halo 3 finally averts this; your flashlight can be left on forever, even when the environment is bright enough that you can barely notice that it's lit.
    • Subsequent games have dropped the flashlight altogether, though Halo 4's Promethean Vision works similar to this trope; despite allowing you to do things like see through walls, it still doesn't last very long. For their part, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach do give you infinite night vision; ODST gives the eponymous drop troopers VISR mode, which places a very light filter over darker areas and highlights enemies and weapons, and Reach (a prequel) gives you a proper night-vision mode.
  • Metro 2033 and its sequels play with this trope: your flashlight will always work regardless of your battery charge, but you're given a hand charger which can be used to make the light brighter for a few minutes. Considering most of the first and second games take place in pitch-black corridors and certain enemies can be Blinded by the Light, whipping out the charger every so often is helpful. The night vision goggles play it straight: they do only last for a few minutes before you have to charge them. Justified in the sense that any working night-vision equipment, and the rechargeable batteries for them, will be at least 20 years old and kept in worse conditions than recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Doom
    • Downplayed in the classic Doom games with the Light Amplification Visor, a pickup that turns your whole view into fullbright. It only lasts two minutes, but given the pacing of the games, that tends to be long enough to explore the dark sections of the maps the LAV appears innote . Curiously, it's the non-permanent powerup with the longest duration in Doom.
    • Doom³: BFG Edition replaces the original's wieldable Infinite Flashlight with a Half-Life style armor-mounted lamp. It lasts about thirty seconds but recharges in three.
  • The Crysis nanosuit has a night vision set which last sixty seconds or so. Crysis 2 combines night vision and infrared vision into "nanovision", which also helps see through dust and smoke. It draws from the same energy bar as Cloak and Armor Mode, lasting around 45 seconds from a full charge.
  • Prey: Tommy's Zippo lighter can stay on for only a short bit before its heat meter gets too full, then it lowers even faster. Justified in that Zippo lighters really do get too painfully hot to hold if they stay lit for more than 20 seconds or so.
  • Blood series:
    • In the original game, Beast Vision is a pair of goggles that fully illuminate enemies... and nothing else. They run out in less than a minute of continuous use.
    • Blood II: The Chosen includes an angle-head flashlight with a battery that lasts exactly one minute and forty seconds and a set of Night-Vision Goggles that drain twice as quick as the light and don't actually help Caleb navigate, they just make enemies and items bright green a la Duke Nukem 3D while dumping everything else in a duller and darker green filter. Since it's Always Night in the game, the torch tends to run out at the most inconvenient times, making the several choices of Muzzle Flashlight useful. Perhaps most insultingly is that the manual claims they're both supposed to be infinite.
  • Killing Floor does this, along with the caveat that only a small handful of weapons, mostly weaker things like your starting 9mm pistol, actually have a light attached. It's plenty bright and can act as a decent crosshair for hip fire, though. Killing Floor 2 initially did this the same way, with the addition of Night-Vision Goggles for some perks that had a wider area of view, but blurred your view beyond a set distance and lasted for even less time – only 25 seconds before requiring just as many to fully recharge. A later update made this less of an issue, by adding body-mounted flashlights that can be used regardless of weapon and doubling how long both it and the NVGs can be left on, while letting them fully recharge from empty at the same rate they always did.
  • Ashes 2063 has the solar lantern, collected either in the tutorial or on the second map. It drains very quickly when used, but can be recharged if you're in a sunlit area, i.e. in a sector with sky above during a daytime level (at night, your only option is to find another lantern). The short runtime is even more pronounced in Afterglownote , though there's a new battery pack you can get as a quest reward for finding the scavver Porcelain and bringing her back alive to Violet, which significantly increases the lantern's runtime at the cost of slightly slower recharging; additionally, certain locations have powerful enough UV light sources that can recharge the lantern's battery.
  • Deep Rock Galactic manages to have both this and Infinite Flashlight. Your headlamp is of the Infinite variety, always on but quite mediocre. Your flares are much better for lighting up an area, but are both a limited resource (maximum of four carried, with a slowly recharging supply) and very temporary. Despite being industrial glowsticks (that have a nominal lifespan of 12 hours in real life), they burn out in a bare 30 seconds in-game. Most cave floors are practically carpeted with spent flares by the time the players leave.

    Interactive Fiction 
  • Zork has an electric lantern with a battery generous enough to finish the game with if you know what you're doing. Its battery is finite and leaving it on when not needed will eventually run it down. This is an especially big problem since, unlike in other games, proceeding into darkened areas unaided is impossible, because more than three turns in the dark will get you eaten by a Grue. Fortunately, Zork is usually kind enough to give you some kind of alternative light source... though these tend to show up only very late in the game (Zork II) or be very easy to lose (Zork I and III).
  • Curses uses the 'dying batteries' version. Finding the replacement batteries is a significant puzzle.
  • It Is Pitch Black has this as its entire premise: you're trapped in an abandoned antique store with a grue and have to keep a light source running at all times until you're rescued. Fortunately, the store has several light-producing items like a box of matches, an oil lantern, and a tap light — but this being an antique store, none of these items work for very long and you need to figure out the ideal order to use these items to survive.

    Party Game 
  • Played straight with the "Luigi's Ghost Mansion" game in Nintendo Land — the flashlights have a limited charge, and you'll have to find another battery if it runs dry. Even the extra-large batteries run out in a minute if you leave them on continuously.

    Platform Game 
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has a required minigame involving minecarts, obstacles, diamonds, batteries... and a flashlight that starts dimming the moment you start. It isn't for Mario's direct benefit; it's so you can see Luigi's obstacles and diamonds. The bouncing batteries need only be collected to start being effective; no changing is required.
  • Crash Bandicoot games have a variation where there are usually one or two pitch black levels per game. The levels contain stationary insects that glow, lighting up their surroundings and will start following Crash if he goes near them. After a certain amount of time the insects will fly away, leaving the level pitch black again. Notably, in most levels they appear, the length of time they stick around is just long enough to hit the checkpoint except for 2's "Totally Fly", in which it can be common to have two of the fireflies around you for a few seconds.
  • A gimmick in Sonic 3 & Knuckles' Sandopolis Zone, Act 2 is that it's dark, and various switches can be pulled to make it light for approximately ten seconds. You don't need the light to see the level by, it only gets a bit murky, but ghosts start swooping in to attack you when the lights go off.
  • Gleamin' Bream is an enemy fish in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! - once Enguarde pokes it, it will give off enough light for you to see for some 20 odd seconds before it goes back out. It's usually enough time for the player to reach the next Gleamin' Bream.
  • Mega Man Zero 2 has a variant in two areas of a specific stage where there are invisible crystal platforms over a long row of non-stop spikes. A mirror-like object follows you through those areas, changing color at random intervals and releasing flame-like enemies in whichever color it currently is when you hit it. Whichever platforms share the color of those flame-like enemies remain visible until they move off-screen after a few seconds or you kill them yourself.
  • Jason's flashlight in Shadow Complex is relatively forgiving: it expires in about two or three minutes and then recharges to full in a couple of seconds.

    Puzzle Game 
  • The flashlight in LIT (2009) lasts for only a minute or so. Not exactly an issue for the most part, as its only purpose is to let you scope out the room to see what you need to do without venturing into the insta-killer darkness. If necessary, shaking the Wii-mote recharges it.

  • Averted in Angband: even wooden torches will last for a while, provided you buy them from the general store. A brass lantern will go further on flasks of oil and gives more light too. A few Fantastic Light Source artifacts provide light indefinitely, although they can be lost for good.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga 2, the Light Ball is an item that works as a lantern for a short while (one full Kagutsuchi or Solar Noise cycle, depending on the game). If you traipse around in the dark where you're supposed to use them, you're going to be ambushed at every single random encounter, putting you at a major disadvantage.
  • In Dragon Quest, the torches that you can by from the store only lights a tiny 3x3 square and burns out at ridiculously fast levels; later, you can learn a lighting spell with a larger range and lasts much longer.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Morrowind:
      • Combining with Tentative Light - torches, lanterns, and candles are available, but only burn for a finite, usually short amount of time. The same goes for spells (such as Light and Night Eye) which also have a finite duration.
      • Averted with Trueflame, which you get in the Tribunal expansion. Along with being one of the best weapons in the game, it emits a decent amount of light when drawn which never expires, making it double as a torch in dark areas.
    • In Oblivion, the player has access to torches and racial abilities that enable them to see in the dark. However, these last for only a few minutes at most, leading to strange questions as to how exactly these people are supposed to be turning their eyes on. There are a few pieces of equipment that have permanent night vision or ambient glow, which act as Infinite Flashlights. The torches do at least last around 15 minutes, which is reasonable when combined with the fact that they're weightless and readily available. The main drawback is not being able to use a shield or two-handed weapon.
    • Skyrim has the torches, which have a longer, but still finite, burn time. There's also the same night vision, as well as the Magelight and Candlelight spells, which summon a ball of light for 60 seconds; Candlelight's ball follows you, while Magelight's sticks to a surface.

  • Both Trauma Center: Second Opinion and New Blood feature operations in the dark (under different circumstances). As the operations progress, the sources of light continue to fail until the player is left using a camera flash to get a good view of the patient, and trying to continue from memory until the flash recharges.

    Survival Horror 
  • Alice (2022): The Player Character's video camera has a night vision function that drains battery life the longer it's used. This can be rectified by finding more batteries.
  • Flashlights in Dead by Daylight last for about 6-12 seconds, but their duration can be lengthened with add-ons. Justified by the flavor text and its actual role: flashlights are used to dazzle the killer - the maps are not dark enough to ruin visibility.
    "Most of the battery life was wastefully used by the previous owner."
  • Dread of Laughter: Catheryn's lighter uses up lighter fluid at an uncomfortable speed. Luckily there's plenty of refills around the house.
  • Fever Cabin: The Player Character's flashlight drains its batteries pretty quickly, necessitating frequent trips to the supply room to refill.
  • KOJOUJI: There's a picture of a battery on the bottom right corner of the screen, which shows how much power the flashlight has.
  • The Obscura Experiment: Priya's tablet has a night-vision function, allowing her to use it as a flashlight. This will drain the battery, which can be filled back up on the recharging stations around the ship.
  • Observo: Edgar finds a flashlight by the fuse box that has a push switch on it. When he pushes the button, the flashlight lights up for a brief moment before going back out. Pressing the button repeatedly lets it stay on.
  • The flashlights in the Penumbra series devour batteries, with each set lasting only a few minutes. The game explains this by saying that it's a really old, terrible flashlight. However, this applies to both your torch and another one that you find later on, so Phil must have really terrible luck. Fortunately, you have a glowstick that lasts infinitely and Phil's night vision is nothing short of stupendous. In fact, these two mechanics are so useful that you shouldn't need to use the flashlight more than ten separate times in both Overture and Black Plague together. Interestingly, Requiem replaces this with an Infinite Flashlight, supporting the theory that it's a Journey to the Center of the Mind.
  • Silent Hill 4 does away with the flashlights used in the first three games; however, in the second visit to the Forest World, Henry must use a Torch of the Holy Flame to illuminate a series of darkened wells and find the level's MacGuffins inside them. Normally, this torch will go out after traversing three screens or so, forcing Henry to make dangerous journeys back and forth to re-light it in certain sconces. However, if the player makes a detour back to the apartment and soaks the torch in oil, it will last so much longer that it burning out over time is not a concern.
  • In Alan Wake, a core gameplay mechanic is a strange mixture of Infinite Flashlight and short-lived battery. When you're using the flashlight purely to see with, the battery meter doesn't run down, and in fact recharges; when you bump up the brightness on the flashlight to strip away the darkness shrouding enemies so you can slay them, then the battery does drain, in around four seconds. Flares aren't much better, lasting roughly 15 seconds. The implied in-game explanation is that whatever cosmic forces are battling over and with Alan are doing it, and channeling cosmic power through a portable illumination appliance can't be good for its operational life.
  • Played wonderfully in Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason, where you find a soviet flashlight that runs long enough for you to forget how long it's been on, and always seems to cut out just about when the creepy noise happens. You can then turn it on again instantly.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach contains three examples with different modes of lighting. The standard flashlight is mostly used for navigation, has the brightest bulb, and needs to be recharged at power stations every few minutes. The Faz-Cam is meant to be used to stun enemies, but the low-light camera bulb has a larger range than the standard flashlight and doesn't need recharged unless you use the camera flash, but doesn't need a power station to recharge. The Fazer Blaster, another weapon meant to stun, also emits a light that lasts even when the weapon's power is depleted, but has a red light that's hard to see detail in and the smallest area lit up.
  • The Ju On: The Grudge Haunted House Simulator shovelware game on the Wii has essentially two types of gameplay: Lock and Key Puzzles, and this. You have to find spare batteries for your power-hungry flashlightnote  as you go throughout the areas to allow you to continue exploring. The drain rate of the batteries isn't as fast as some of the examples on this page, but it's made a concern by the Player Character's painfully slow walking speed. It creates a Timed Mission effect, too: if your last battery runs dry and the light goes out, it's Game Over.
  • Wick has the candles. They burn down over time and must constantly be replaced by others of different sizes that you find lying around.
  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2: Moira's flashlight can be used on a wide beam mode for lighting up dark areas, or a more focused one to dazzle enemies. It lasts indefinitely if used for general area illumination, but when focused, the power has limited duration before she has to stop focusing and let it recharge.
  • The Plastic Torch in The Forest lasts for close to ten minutes in real time, but produces a very small cone of not very bright light. You're better off wrapping cloth around a stick or any of your axes and lighting it up for a torch with a bright and wide radius of light that'll last for two minutes or so (longer if you craft it with booze, presumably soaking the cloth) as long as you don't strike at anything with it.
  • Amanda's tiny little headlamp in Alien: Isolation eats rapidly through batteries. Even so, you're likely to be swimming in batteries before long, as since hostileslist  can notice the light it provides, it's only gonna be used sparingly.
  • Your flashlight in Tattletail loses power pretty quickly; justified in that it's a Faraday "shake" light that doesn't hold much charge, and since it's 1998, it's running on an incandescent lamp instead of an LEDnote . You can shake it to recharge it, but this makes a lot of noise that can attract Mama Tattletail, and if you look right at her it goes dead instantly. The secret ending grants you a Golden Flashlight that is brighter and lasts longer.
  • In the short indie game The Last Light, Sophie's flashlight lasts for about 30 seconds, fizzling out in the last 5 or so. It can be manually recharged in less than 10, but that is still too long, as ten seconds is more than enough for the smoke thing lurking in the dark to catch up and kill her. Flares, though certainly not infinite, do last considerably longer, and are a better option when traveling through long stretches of lightless metro hallways, but are very limited in number (Sophie can carry only 5), clunkier to light up, and can be easily wasted. The flashlight is best left for quick peeks into darkened corners or passing through short dark sections.
  • Justified and downplayed in Near Death. The Pilot is stranded in an abandoned base way deep in the Antarctic, in the middle of winter, and the outside temperature reaches negative 80 degrees Celsius according to Sutro station's thermometers, and alkaline batteries become extremely inefficient and short-lived in sub-zero temperatures. The surprising thing is, as far as Ten-Second Flashlight goes, the Pilot's flashlight actually has reasonable runtime despite being used a lot due to the constant darkness from the weeks-long winter night and the lack of lighting in all buildings before the Pilot restores power to parts of the station.
  • The camera in the Outlast games has a night vision setting that drains the battery like crazy. Towards the end of a battery's life, NV starts to flicker and produce visual and audio noise, and after it's dead, it'll only light up things less than a meter away from the lens until you pop in a replacement. Thankfully those are everywhere in Outlast, and in Outlast II, there are many scattered flashlights (that you can't use) with batteries nearby.
  • The flashlight You find in Lone Survivor burns through batteries at a considerable rate, visibly dimming as it goes. Thankfully, you can go without it to navigate the less murky rooms or check the map, and for those times that you need to have light, replacement batteries are reasonably common.
  • The Flashlight in Darkwood burns through a 9v battery in two minutes real time. The Military Flashlight is an even more pronounced example, being about 50% brighter but consuming a 9v in 90 seconds.
  • The Long Dark features two examples:
    • If you pull a stick out of a campfire to use as a torch, it'll have a very short lifespan, far shorter than if you craft a torch with oil and a rag.
    • At certain points in the Wintermute campaign, you can find an old, beat up flashlight with dead batteriesnote . However, when the Aurora (an electric anomaly signified by the northern lights) is in effect, it works. Turning it on produces a stable and power-efficient beam, and using its "Alternate Fire" ramps up the brightness from 30-ish to at least 2000 lumens, burning through the power in seconds but scaring away the otherwise unflappable and aggressive glowing wolves. When it's off the battery slowly but surely recharges. It's a good way to save up on lantern fuel (to light up the environment) and flare shells (to spook wildlife away) if you're low on supplies; even better if you have more than one flashlight, as each has its own separate battery meter and you can swap them around when one runs dry.
  • The Zippo lighter in No More Room In Hell is guaranteed to go out in 60 seconds or if you start sprinting (but can be re-lit with no downtime), may take a few clicks to light up, the circle of light is very short-reaching, and unlike the Maglite, it can't be held alongside a weapon or wielded as a weapon itself. However, it has its upsides: it lights up a wider area than the Maglite's narrow beam, doesn't take up any volume in the inventory and every survivor has one by default. It's better used for scavenging an area for supplies, leaving the Maglite for combat-intensive sections. The "primary fire" control pushes it forward as if meant to light something on fire, but it's a feature that was never implemented.
  • Amnesia series
    • The lantern in Amnesia: The Dark Descent goes from full to dead in exactly 7 minutes and 15 seconds. You can find oil bottles that refill a quarter of the lantern's tank each, and a number of metal barrels with faucets contain oil (that respawns if you leave the level and return) can hold up to a full lantern's worth. A strangely named "large oil potion" that refills half the lantern was Dummied Out during development, but can be spawned in and is a frequent sight in custom stories.
    • Amnesia: Rebirth also makes use of an oil lantern for portable lighting, but the lantern's capacity is smaller and oil pickups are rarer than in The Dark Descent, forcing you to use consumable matches (the equivalent of the old tinderboxes) to light up early areas.
  • The lantern in the Lasting Light mod for Doom lasts around seven minutes, like in Amnesia above. It's the only light source in the mod, too. You should keep it lit whenever possible, since it keeps you mostly safe from the Screecher, but if it risks illuminating the Creeper, you're forced to douse it until it leaves.
  • The flashlights in the Boogeyman games drain batteries in seconds, so you need to be frugal on how long you leave them on. Of course, if you run out of power, you can peek under the bed for batteries in the first game (which is dangerous 'cause there's a chance the boogeyman is there), or put them in the charger in the second game.
  • Smile: The flashlight you have includes a battery meter, which shows how much battery power is left.
  • Shut Eye: The Player Character's flashlight eats up battery power like nobody's business, so you need to be pretty conservative with how long you leave it on. It starts draining power quicker and quicker the following nights.
  • Sign of Silence: the floodlight runs for about 45 seconds and starts flickering when the charge is almost out. When it's off, the battery recharges in less than ten seconds. The in-game description itself says the batteries are in a bad state, though they still work reasonably well.
  • The flashlight in Today Is My Birthday has a circular meter at its base that lets you know how much power remains.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has a flashlight attached to the USP, gained during the Tanker chapter, that will last as long as you're aiming it, but which Snake will only actually turn on in three rooms.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots features a flashlight attachment for weapons, which Snake will not actually leave on for two secondsnote  and is essentially useful only for temporarily blinding hostiles.

    Non-Video-Game Examples 
  • The eighth Nintendo Adventure Book, Flown the Koopa, asks at one point if the player found a flashlight so the Mario Brothers can safely explore a dark basement. Since you're reading about it on this trope's page, you probably don't need to be told about how it dies after a few steps and they get chewed on by a swarm of Mega Moles.
  • The Goonies: Data activates his "Bully Blinders" because nobody else brought a flashlight to the cave. While the intense light does indeed blind the rest of the gang for a few moments, it also burns out the batteries just as quickly.
  • The Resurrected, a 1991 film adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, recreates the scene where the hero has to navigate his way out of a Mad Scientist Laboratory of failed Body Horror experiments after dropping his lamp. He's got a flashlight whose battery is on its last legs, and a pocketbook of matches. Fortunately the final match is enough to get him back to where he saw another hurricane lamp sitting on a table earlier.
  • The Alton Towers theme park in the UK does Halloween themed events, including growing its own cornfield to cut a maze into. Before going into the cornfield each group of participants is given a pair of flashlights, for the front and back of the group, both of which have been given nearly empty batteries. Even knowing that they're only actors and not actually monsters, having your torch die on you while in a cornfield at night, when you can hear the screams of the groups further along, if it does not terrify the visitor, makes for an extremely immersive atmosphere. It's for that reason that participants are kindly asked not to use any lights of their own.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Bob makes a big deal out of carrying a flashlight (after having been caught in the dark in an earlier adventure), only for the batteries to die in the middle of a cave full of Bigfeet. This happens to him explicitly so the narrator can say, "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.".
  • In Cthulhu, the protagonist must use his camera flash to navigate through some dark tunnels, also swarming with horrible monsters.
  • Tends to happen in statements incolving the Dark in The Magnus Archives. In one case, a police squad on their way to raid a stronghold of the People's Church of the Divine Host are advised to load up on flashlights before going in, and they still have to hurry because each heavy duty torch only lasts a few minutes once they're inside.


Video Example(s):


Molly Cobb and Apollo 25

After the disastrous ignition of Apollo 24 which resulted in Molly Cobb getting thrown away from 25, Tracy has to try and rescue her commander.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TenSecondFlashlight

Media sources: