Flamethrowers

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Random peeve: they're invariably the worst weapon in any game whenever you pick one. And you're gonna pick one as soon as you've pocketed that game's equivalent of small/medium/large firepower gun. That's when the less than versatile weaponry starts unlocking. Your snarks and hivehands and crossbows and mine launchers.

Why flamethrowers suck:

1) They have very little reach.
2) They have little to no stopping power.
3) Enemy's charging you AND he's on fire, good for you.
4) You're probably going to take as much damage.
5) It takes absurd levels of fuel to kill a single enemy.
6) And usually it's a very, very slow boil.

The only game I can think of where it's actually a pretty handy weapon is in Dead Space 2, because it's got good stopping power and a decent AoE. Practically a game breaker if you've got the fuel and put some nodes into it. It's quite satisfying.

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Can't think of any other game. CAN YOU?

(Not a controversial or terribly #relevant topic but hey where am I going to take my game discussion?)

Clearly you've never used the Warframe flamethrower lol. Also known as the AoE cone of death that bends through space and time to hit enemies behind walls and everything.

(though its not really accessible within a casual glance into the game, being locked up in the second tier of clan research. And the upgraded version is even more a sticky widget to get ahold of, since you have to get it from a clan that was around for an event over a year ago)

The flamethrower in Alien: Isolation is pretty damn good tho. It's one of only two weapons that can chase off the Alien, alongside the molotov, except it doesn't have the downside of hurting yourself with splash damage at close range like the latter.

Doesn't do you much good against a Working Joe tho, but those are far easier to lose if they've spotted you.

The ones that lob explosive fireballs at people are alright though.

Was going to mention Warframe. The Ignis/Atomos are both fantastic weapons, at least up to the point where enemies aren't crazy bullet-sponges. I will also mentioned Payday 2. The flamethrower and molotovs are both effective, at least on trash. They work when the status of being on fire also has a crowd control component, essentially reducing their damage output to zero, which they usually do on trash but not on lieutenant/boss level enemies.

I totally agree about fuel/ammo consumption almost always sucking. The challenge comes into the balancing of time-to-kill, ammo usage/fire rate, damage per tick, mag size and reload speed. It is a tough thing to get right, but if it were me doing it I'd put it into an LMG/Minigun category of long ass reload with a huge ass magazine/tank. It should also take about the same TTK and damage per magazine as those weapons.

The main issue they face is the same as all damage-over-type (DoT) weapons/builds have. DoTs are fine in long fights, like MMO/RPG boss fights/pvp which last long enough for the damage to outpace the more bursty weapons/abilities (including reload/cooldowns). But in many games they simply don't. ARPGs for example, they make no sense at all. Why use a DoT weapon/ability when abilities that instakill trash exist? Why use a flamethrower in a game where a shotgun, pistol headshot or high RoF SMG/AR can kill without the delay?

I do like my fire weapons/spells in many games, but the weak flamethrower types just aren't fun. Currently having a little fun with BL2 again, playing Hellborn Krieg which I'm really enjoying, despite knowing it's gonna fall off hard in the OP levels. But it works in BL2 because my flamethrower is actually a hellfire smg o.o

If i remember correctly Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines had a flamethrower and it was extremely powerful due to vampires being resistent to many things but not fire.

The flamethrowers in earlier GTA games were pretty damn good as I remember - pretty much instant kill on cops and the like, as well as being by far and away the quickest way of taking down tanks.

I agree that game flamethrowers usually suck, but you're really reaching for reasons here. I've never seen 2, 4, 5, or 6 to ever really be much of a problem.

Best one I've ever seen is in Verdun- fitting for the flamethrower's actual historical debut. Good reach, immense psychological effect and instantly utterly lethal. The way they balance it, is that to fire it you have to open a valve which comes with a little delay. Since nearly everything is one hit kills, that delay can be pivotal.

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The only game I can think of flamethrowers being useful is Valkyria Chronicles where you can unlock them as secondary weapons for your Shock Troopers. They are quite effective for taking out enemies behind sandbag cover. Plus they are pretty essential for taking out the final boss.

Worst use of flamethrowers, that would be the end of LA Noir where the Detective swaps his perfectly functional gun for a flamethrower with limited range. While all the enemies have guns and are quite happy to shoot away at you at range while plod along with this fucking flamethrower.

Someone has never played Dawn of War. Flamers are a great weapon. Excellent range, coverage, okay damage against light infantry, but way more importantly they cut through morale. Try to keep a bunch of soldiers motivated to stand and fight when 4 walls of fire are cutting through them.
Also they ignored cover, which was great!

The Last of Us' flamethrower is really good. So good in fact I tend to not pick it up because of how it turns every infected encounter from then on into pest control. It stunlocks all enemies, even bloaters. Against human enemies it isn't too effective what with them having guns, but against infected it's stupidly strong.

Warpfire throwers in Total War: Warhammer II.

If you can get them around to the back of the main enemy blob, you can rack up hundreds of kills.

Clearly you never tasted the flame-y fun in Rising Storm. No Banzai charge can repel fire of that magnitude!

Ender910:
Clearly you never tasted the flame-y fun in Rising Storm. No Banzai charge can repel fire of that magnitude!

I was going to mention this. It's quite a cheap weapon.

The range is gigantic and kills everything in its path. One touch from the tiniest puff, you lock up and die. You can't even shoot back. The flamethrower also creates a giant screen, so even though everyone can see your fireball of instant death, they won't be able to actually see you.

Chimpzy:
The flamethrower in Alien: Isolation is pretty damn good tho. It's one of only two weapons that can chase off the Alien, alongside the molotov, except it doesn't have the downside of hurting yourself with splash damage at close range like the latter.

Doesn't do you much good against a Working Joe tho, but those are far easier to lose if they've spotted you.

I liked the flamethrower in Alien: Isolation but it felt more like a tool than an actual weapon, something to keep the Alien at bay and a handy flashlight to boot (making flares practically useless once you get it).

Casual Shinji:
The Last of Us' flamethrower is really good. So good in fact I tend to not pick it up because of how it turns every infected encounter from then on into pest control. It stunlocks all enemies, even bloaters. Against human enemies it isn't too effective what with them having guns, but against infected it's stupidly strong.

The Last of Us had flamethrowers??? Did I miss mine or have I just completely forgotten about it?
All I remember are the bow, the gun and those sweet melee weapons.

Squilookle:
I agree that game flamethrowers usually suck, but you're really reaching for reasons here. I've never seen 2, 4, 5, or 6 to ever really be much of a problem.

I'll give you 4, 5 and 6 as somewhat rare problems. I sure have sustained more self-inflicted damage from flamethrowers than from most other weapons, third only to RPGs and grenades. But I maintain flamethrowers in videogames usually have shit stopping power. And I'll add a 7, which is pretty nitpicky and specific but it has definitely happened: it's difficult to know for how long you should continue to spew fire, and for how long will the flames damage the enemy before they go away without a steady income. More often than not I feel like I'm wasting fuel on enemies that will probably remain alight even if I stop spewing fire at them, but you never know so you go the extra mile.

I've found that the usefulness of a flamethrower is inversely proportional to how modern or well maintained your other weapons are. In settings where you're a soldier they tend to be pretty poor compared to your other weapons while in games where you're playing just some dude just using whatever they have they tend to be much better.

They were useful in Syndicate. One of the most effective tactics was to take one of your guys, have him run out and agro enemies and run for cover around a corner and then ambush anybody following him with your flamethrower guy. Plus flamethrower-ing in a crowd in Syndicate was one of the most funny spectacles in gaming with one on fire person running and screaming turned into whole masses of burning humanity and complete chaos. It would often lose you the level, but was still totally worth it for the mass Wilhelm-ish screaming.

Yeah I can't really disagree there, a lot of games with flamethrowers tend not to do them justice, and if they do, it's usually because they treat them as area-denial tools. I remember Halo 3's flamethrower being alright in that regard, but sadly fire didn't spread or even stick around long. Thing was cumbersome though.

Fuck the Flamethrower, its the Lava Gun from Ratchet Going Commando that's superior.

Samtemdo8:
Fuck the Flamethrower, its the Lava Gun from Ratchet Going Commando that's superior.

The upgraded version was so terrible compared to the base gun, I'm glad they changed that in Up Your Arsenal.

Specter Von Baren:

Samtemdo8:
Fuck the Flamethrower, its the Lava Gun from Ratchet Going Commando that's superior.

The upgraded version was so terrible compared to the base gun, I'm glad they changed that in Up Your Arsenal.

Into something even better in Up Your Arsenal that it freezes your enemies.

Speaking of shitty ones: Dead Space has one of the worst flamethrowers you can encounter in games. It's kinda justified, cause the gimmick of the series is that you're supposed to shoot aliens' limbs off instead shooting them in the head or "kill them with fire" as it's usual. However, i imagine burning all the tissue to crisp should be a good way to deal with self-replicating biogoo monsters. So, i'm still miffed about this meak kitchen torch we got, instead of a proper one.
On the other side of the scale is TF2. I liked playing as Pyro, cause setting enemies on fire was quite fun, and with Backburner it's usually one hit takedown.

I also gotta give credit to Far Cry 2: The flamethrower there, and how you could set the foliage on fire was pretty cool. Even if it didn't stop me from uninstalling the game.

MrCalavera:
Speaking of shitty ones: Dead Space has one of the worst flamethrowers you can encounter in games. It's kinda justified, cause the gimmick of the series is that you're supposed to shoot aliens' limbs off instead shooting them in the head or "kill them with fire" as it's usual. However, i imagine burning all the tissue to crisp should be a good way to deal with self-replicating biogoo monsters. So, i'm still miffed about this meak kitchen torch we got, instead of a proper one.
On the other side of the scale is TF2. I liked playing as Pyro, cause setting enemies on fire was quite fun, and with Backburner it's usually one hit takedown.

I also gotta give credit to Far Cry 2: The flamethrower there, and how you could set the foliage on fire was pretty cool. Even if it didn't stop me from uninstalling the game.

It's really only there for killing the little Necromorphs that crawl all over you, it kills those guys good.

MrCalavera:
Speaking of shitty ones: Dead Space has one of the worst flamethrowers you can encounter in games. It's kinda justified, cause the gimmick of the series is that you're supposed to shoot aliens' limbs off instead shooting them in the head or "kill them with fire" as it's usual. However, i imagine burning all the tissue to crisp should be a good way to deal with self-replicating biogoo monsters. So, i'm still miffed about this meak kitchen torch we got, instead of a proper one.

You mean in the first game right? That one sucked. But the flamethrower in DS2 kicks ass. Stops anything on its tracks (except Hunters) and kills anything in seconds if you climb halfway up its skill tree. It becomes a game breaker and it's also the main reason why I made this thread.

Johnny Novgorod:
Random peeve: they're invariably the worst weapon in any game whenever you pick one.

Um, really?

-Army Men: Sarge's Heroes (get this, you're practically invincible against infantry - also really great against insect enemies as well)

-Halo: Combat Evolved (while the flamethrower's limited in use, if you use it correctly in tight spaces, it's very effective, especially when it comes to lowering/bypassing shields)

-Paladins (see above, minus the shield bit)

-Resident Evil 2 (eh, sort of? It's great against plants, but that's about it, but it's so good it kind of overrides the negatives)

The one game I can think of that the flamethrower arbitrarily sucks at is Conker's Bad Fur Day, in that while it's good against enemies, it's very rare you'll be able to use it, and mostly they can get out of range and shoot you. But apart from that, I've never thought of flamethrowers as useless, just good in specialized situations (like sniper rifles).

Isn't it really about how the games balance their weapons than it being an inherent fault of the weapon conceptually?

The flamethrower is fairly hilarious in Deus Ex cause enemies lit on fire pretty much just stay lit and running around in circles till they die. Granted you typically wouldn't keep one on you due to just how much more useful the GEP gun is, but sometimes I'd use certain heavy weapons just on the level they were available. I'd dump them to get the GEP back when it outlived its usefulness.

Loved the flamethrower in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. They were pretty satisfying to use in Fallout 3/NV too.

I recall the Flamethrower being pretty devastating in Halo 1 Combat Evolved. You could also do a thing where you just sweeped the area with flames on approach to obscure your opponent's aim as you closed the distance. Had to avoid walking straight ahead since you could literally burn yourself to death that way.

Johnny Novgorod:

MrCalavera:
Speaking of shitty ones: Dead Space has one of the worst flamethrowers you can encounter in games. It's kinda justified, cause the gimmick of the series is that you're supposed to shoot aliens' limbs off instead shooting them in the head or "kill them with fire" as it's usual. However, i imagine burning all the tissue to crisp should be a good way to deal with self-replicating biogoo monsters. So, i'm still miffed about this meak kitchen torch we got, instead of a proper one.

You mean in the first game right? That one sucked. But the flamethrower in DS2 kicks ass. Stops anything on its tracks (except Hunters) and kills anything in seconds if you climb halfway up its skill tree. It becomes a game breaker and it's also the main reason why I made this thread.

See, the thing is, after first one i don't think i ever bothered with flamethrower in DS2. Atleast i'm sure i didn't put any upgrades into it. Though, if it's really that good, i probably gonna try it next time i replay the game... if i squeeze it into my backlog.

The single worse flamethrower has to be in the game LA Noire; the game forces you to ditch whatever more practical gun you were carrying and put on this clunky flamethrower pack. You are then forced to slowly wade around the sewers wearing it, whilst people shoot you to bits, and you can't fire back because the thing has a 6 foot range.

Flamethrowers in real life are shitty weapons. Really the only thing they are good for is clearing out fortifications, otherwise you are just a big target, as soon as you fire you lose all visibility and make yourself an even bigger target, plus depending on wind direction you might end up choking on smoke.

In games though, they are ok, depends on the game.

Worgen:
Really the only thing they are good for is clearing out fortifications, otherwise you are just a big target, as soon as you fire you lose all visibility and make yourself an even bigger target, plus depending on wind direction you might end up choking on smoke.

They weren't even that good at clearing fortifications, and were basically made obsolete even during WW2 by grenades and submachine guns. The one thing flamethrowers really had going for them is that they were extremely frightening. If you were in a bunker and someone started shooting a flamethrower at you, you'd generally be pretty motivated to leave or surrender because of the noise, heat and general risk of suffering horrible burns.

The WW2 Crocodile tank could project a lethal gout over 110 metres and was effective against armour and hardened positions like pillboxes. Suffocating and blinding (and immolating) soldiers within cover, as well as much of a forward arc right in front of it allowing it to effectively suppress enemy maneuvers directly infront of it.

Its effect on enemy morale was also brutal.

The big benefit of the flamethrower is they tended to be fantastic for impairing or destroying various equipment, and pretty much whatever else it engulfed. It also had the benefit of effectively burning all flammable materials within buildings that would be otherwise dangerous to clear one by one.

Used to frightening effect in the urban fighting in Warsaw between Polish resistance and German soldiers. Flamethrowers cook people even if not directly exposed.

They produce roughly 1050C heat of anything they impact and burn, but even people around corners cannot deal with the ambient temperatures it produces. Sloughing skin and setting fire to clothes, and doing thermal damages to lungs breathing in scalding gases. It also doesn't help that it splashes when it hit walls.

That being said, using one was a job more dangerous than being a forward observer... It's hard to fault their effectiveness, however.

evilthecat:

They weren't even that good at clearing fortifications, and were basically made obsolete even during WW2 by grenades and submachine guns. The one thing flamethrowers really had going for them is that they were extremely frightening. If you were in a bunker and someone started shooting a flamethrower at you, you'd generally be pretty motivated to leave or surrender because of the noise, heat and general risk of suffering horrible burns.

Flamethrowers had benefits over grenades in that they could be (wastefully) sustained. They're also instant. They can very quickly project a gout of burning napalm over anything within range, and what's more is they can keep doing so in bursts that can destroy visibility of people within hardened locations all while they were suffocating on noxious, scalding fumes.

Even steel doors lose most of their tensile strength under a burst of napalm. Cement denatures and becomes brittle.

The big benefit of flamethrowers is they are guaranteed to render inoperable things like machine guns if they get directly hit. They'll also ignite flammable materials. Not only that, you could often splash fuel off walls or rooves to splatter cowering shoulders behind cover, and then ignite the area, or used for a controlled burn of an area. Which may be preferable than using timed explosives.

They were a terrifying weapon, but that terror wasn't merely a baseless fear of them.

The hatred flamethrower teams generated often lead to them not being taken prisoner even once out of propellent or fuel. Especially if the targets of the flamethrower team had suffered some of the injuries they caused by indirect exposure.

The big reason why they stopped using man-portable ones is less to do with their utility, particularly in urban combat ... it has more to do that using one was nearly a death sentence for a soldier. 92% casualty rate at Iwo Jima, for instance. They're big, they're obvious, they're heavy, and you don't actually get that much out of them.

That being said, anything man-portable that can inflict near instantaneous temperatures of over 1000 degrees celsius up to 30 metres away is going to find some use on the battlefield. It just depends on how highly you value human life in concerns to the person that has to use it...

Addendum_Forthcoming:
The WW2 Crocodile tank could project a lethal gout over 110 metres and was effective against armour and hardened positions like pillboxes. Suffocating and blinding (and immolating) soldiers within cover, as well as much of a forward arc right in front of it allowing it to effectively suppress enemy maneuvers directly infront of it.

Well yes, on a tank or napalm dropped in via bombs is a more practical way to use it.

The infantry trying to lug that thing around (nevermind the singular character in most games) are just sitting ducks to be shot though.

Seth Carter:

Well yes, on a tank or napalm dropped in via bombs is a more practical way to use it.

The infantry trying to lug that thing around (nevermind the singular character in most games) are just sitting ducks to be shot though.

Well ... flamethrower teams were still effective. It just came with a ridiculously high casualty rate. There's still jobs in the military that are high danger (beyond the norm). Artillery observer comes to mind ... but even FOs during WW2 still had a safer job than a flamethrower combat engineer. And FOs are quite honestly theclosest thing that comes to my mind of literally 'sitting duck' ... Some of the most famous imagery of the job comes from jungle warzones where Australian and U.S. soldiers would climb trees to co-ordinate firepower on positions sometimes less than a kilometre away. And effectively you're up 30 metres in a tree, and basically the first soldier that is liable to be shot at by a combat patrol... and not only that, but your job detail makes you quite a popular targetto shoot at on top of that...

It's hard to imagine a job that was more dangerous, and yet flamethrower combat engineer was still higher. But they never had a shortage of flamethrower teams.

The argument of man-portable flamethrowers was more so an argument about just how highly do you value the lives of soldiers outfitted with them. But even still, there were still people taking on the job and they were still mass producing the propane-napalm rigs to basically bring instant, glass-warping heat at a moment's notice.

To put it plainly ... it was a death sentence for the soldiers, but commanders still kept using them and they generated what I would argue is a rightful baseline level of hatred and fear in the enemy because of what they could do.

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