HL2: Deathmatch - Basic Weapon Tips


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Mar 18, 2003
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While movement is the most important skill to master in order to win at
DM, the next most important thing is to be able to use your weapons effectively.
Following is a breakdown of each weapon, with some valuable tips and tricks
of each.[br]
Crowbar / Stunstick[br]
On most servers, you will get a crowbar whether if you use any of the Resistance
player models. This weapon is more effective than you might think, and requires
all the intelligence and finesse of a wad of gum. [br]
Here’s how you use it:[br]
1. Wield weapon[br]
2. Find bad guy[br]
3. Hold down attack button[br]
4. Charge![br]
5. Secondary fire: Hey look! I’m standing here doing nothing with my crowbar.[br]
I will be the first to say that I use this weapon the least, so I’m no expert
at it. I absolutely respect an enemy when he is charging at me with one,
but I am unaware of any “tricks.” [br]
There are two versions of the crowbar. In a Deathmatch game, the crowbar
goes to all rebels, and combine players get something else that looks nifty
and has spiffy little sparks but performs exactly the same. It’s called
the Stunstick, and does more damage, but at a slower rate of fire.[br]
Defending against a crowbar/stunstick[br]
As I said earlier, back away (sprint backward if possible), and shoot. If
you’re not close enough to them, they will be swinging at empty air while
collecting your bullets with their body.[br]
Grenades are another weapon that you automatically get when you spawn. They
are a very effective weapon that many people forget to use. When you’re
in a tight spot, lobbing one of these might just get you out. Additionally,
if someone else is in a sweet spot, roll one of these in with them and watch
how fast they evac. [br]
Grenades should be listened to. Once thrown, they are armed. When armed,
they emit little chirping sounds. As the chirping sounds get closer together,
it will soon explode. You don’t want to listen to this up-close. [br]
Primary fire will throw your grenade. The throw distance depends on the
angle you throw it. You can throw a grenade much farther than would be humanly
possible in reality, so don’t underestimate how far you can chuck one of
these puppies! The intent of this weapon is to make *no one* invincible—even
someone who is way high up shooting through a tiny window. If you can get
a grenade in that window, they will crap their pants. On many occasions
while playing “Bella’s Room” I’ve had people lob them into the light fixture
while I was in there sniping. Where could I go? Nowhere. Was it a good shot?
Yes, and that’s exactly what I was thinking just before I was blown to bits.
Secondary fire will roll a grenade. This is useful to get a grenade into
a tight spot. [br]
Both methods require practice to get good at them. Don’t give up too early.[br]
There is a very powerful and effective trick with the grenade. I have not
figured out how to do it very well yet, but here is how it works. You need
to throw a grenade to yourself, switch to your grav-gun, and “catch” it.
Then you have some time to shoot the grenade at someone or something. In
a one-on-one match I had, I got my ass handed to me on a platter by someone
who performed this trick repeatedly with great effect. Picking up grenades
resets their timer, so it gives you a little bit of time to fire them.[br]
Defending against grenades[br]
If someone tosses a grenade near you, distance will help. If you can’t get
distance, simply turning a corner or getting behind any object that is not
effected by physics will help you. Or, you can shoot it with a magnum (good
luck) or grav gun’s primary fire to get it far away from you. Or you can
pick it up and toss it with a grav gun. Better act extremely fast, though.[br]
Grav Gun[br]
The Grav gun is practically the hallmark of HL2. It’s fun, it’s new, it’s
all the rage. I will assume you’ve mastered the basics of the grav gun.
You can pick things up with it. You can move objects to you from far away.
You can drop things gently with it (rarely necessary), or you can drop things
quite violently with it (much more fun.) You can fire objects at people
with the grav gun and it's quite lethal. Lighter objects tend to injure
and not kill. Nothing says “I love you” like killing them with a flying
There are a many things to master with grav guns. They are much more than
a weapon. [br]
Trick 1: Shield[br]
If you pick up a large object with it and run toward your enemy, the object
you hold will shield you from bullets and other projectiles. So, for example,
if there is a sniper at the end of a long hallway, you need to pick up something
that will shield most of your body, and charge down the hallway at them.
Hopefully their shots will be absorbed by the object you hold, and you can
then give them an intimate introduction to the object they’ve been shooting
by cramming it lethally down their throats. [br]
Trick 2: Turning barrels[br]
Those painted explosive barrels make the game a lot more fun. A very lethal
tool is to pick them up with the grav gun and fire them at your enemy. However,
if you pick them up normally, the barrel itself will almost entirely obscure
your view. Here’s what you do: back way up from the barrel. Aim the grav
gun at the very top of the barrel (instead of at the centre). The barrel
will tip over, then come to you. If you do it right, you’ll have plenty
of visibility. If your vision is still obscured, just drop the barrel on
the ground, gently. It should fall on its side. Pick it up again. Be careful
when running around with those puppies, however. It’s awfully tempting to
shoot them and blow up the poor guy who is carrying it. [br]
And while I’m on the subject of barrels … always shoot a barrel when your
enemy comes near one. Don’t argue with me. Just do it. [br]
Trick 3: Come to Papa[br]
On some maps (roaches, for example) there are nice weapons placed in very
un-nice spots. (i.e., the RPG in the sink.) Use your grav gun to grab stuff
that’s in tight spots rather than jump in and risk your life. [br]
Trick4: Why pick it up?[br]
Imagine you’re in a hairy skirmish with another person in a close-quarters
battle, and you’ve run out of ammo. There is a bathtub between you. Now,
you could pick it up and fire the tub at them, but when you pick it up they
know exactly what you’re going to do with it. Instead, just wait until they
are directly behind the bathtub and primary-fire it right at them. This
does almost as much damage, and is more likely to connect because they don’t
expect it. [br]
Trick 5: Catch a flying toilet[br]
Really good grav-gun users can kick ass by catching the items that are being
hurled at them. It takes practice, and I have only done it once that I can
remember, but some guys do it all the time. If someone hurls a toilet (or
whatever) at you, you can catch it with your grav gun (much like you did
in the single player game when playing “catch” with Dog.)[br]
Note: you can also catch orbs fired from Combine Rifles. Also, in some maps
there are little force field generators that have little orbs moving up
and down a glowing ray of light. Grab one of these with your grav gun and
it works just like the secondary fire from a Combine Rifle. [br]
Trick 6: Firing harder than other people[br]
Funnily enough this works – fire the Grav Gun, then hit the key you have
bound to last used weapon the instant you fire; it fires much harder and
faster. [br]
Defending against a Grav Gun[br]
1. Charge them! [br]
Get right up next to them and you’re inside the grav gun’s minimum range!
They will fire something off and it will not hit you. In the meantime you
can be shooting them in the face. But be nice about it, please.[br]
2. Ricochet![br]
As will be explored later, the crossbow bolt has a ricochet. This can be
used to damage unsuspecting grav gun users, by firing near their feet, which
should ricochet up, behind their physics prop, and hit them usually in the
groin or lower legs area.[br]
AKA “The Match,” the pistol is your basic distance weapon. It has 18
bullets in its clip, and can fire as fast as you can pull the trigger. Secondary
fire does nothing.[br]
Don’t underestimate this weapon. It is extremely accurate at long distances.
You may ask yourself, how can a short-barrel weapon be more accurate than
a long barrel (say the standard SMG) weapon? I don’t know. But this isn’t
real life — it’s a game! You can use the Match to fire at enemies very far
away. If they are moving, though, your chances to hit are somewhat slim.[br]
Aim for the head. I’ll say it again: aim for the head. It does MUCH more
damage. (This is true of all projectile weapons, and is even true for the
Defending against the Pistol:[br]
Use a bigger gun, and bob your head a lot. Either get very close to the
shooter (and move a lot), or very far away. Middle distances (8-25 feet)
will make you a fairly easy target.[br]
This weapon is the bane of my existence. I absolutely suck at it and I have
no idea why. I have shot people many times point blank with it and apparently
missed. Lag? I don’t know. I have given up trying to be good at it. [br]
But the Magnum is one seriously kick-ass weapon. It has one huge strong
suit in that it does massive amounts of damage, instantly. Body shots do
75 damage, headshots do far more. Sadly, hit-detection is client-side, so
it may look like you have hit them, when you haven’t.[br]
There is no secondary fire. It’s be fun to gun-butt people with it, but
alas, no.[br]
The main trick with the magnum is what not to do. Namely: don’t stand there
wielding it while it’s reloading. It takes a long, long time, and you will
likely die before it reloads. In fact, your kids will graduate from college
before it reloads. Well, one of them will. The other one will end up getting
knocked up and live in a trailer park the rest of her life because her dad
wasn’t around to give her guidance because he got killed because he was
waiting for his magnum to reload.[br]
One other trick: If you’re camped somewhere safe and you see someone who
is not moving in the distance, zoom in with your suit, draw a bead with
the magnum, and zoom out. Pray. Fire.[br]
SMG (Sub-Machine Gun)[br]
Everyone spawns with the SMG. It’s an extremely versatile weapon. Its primary
fire a very fast machine gun, but it takes almost an entire clip to kill
someone unless every bullet goes into their head. [br]
The thing to remember about your SMG is this: when you’re in a confined
area and your magnum or crossbow bolts seem to be missing due to lag, switch
to your SMG, because your enemy is probably having the same problem. Do
the dance, and fire. [br]
Another thing to remember is that if you have a badly wounded enemy; don’t
waste your time trying to nail them with another round from a high-damage
weapon. Grab the SMG and finish them off. [br]
This is also a good tactic when you happen upon two other combatants who
are dueling. Stand off to the side and use your SMG (unless you have an
RPG to surprise them both with). Remember that the person who gets the point
for the kill is the person who brings their health to zero. The person before
you might have taken them from 100 to 1, but if you do that last tiny bit
of damage, you get the point. In the midst of a chaotic firefight, the fastest-firing
weapon is the most likely one to take a person to that zero HP.[br]
Tricks with Primary fire:[br]
See my section on strafing. It’s not really a trick, just a good discipline.
Don’t stand still, and don’t run in a straight line. Move side to side,
and jump. Consider your nickname to be “twinkle toes.”[br]
And now my favorite topic with the SMG: Secondary Fire. The SMG’s secondary
fire is a beautiful thing. It launches a grenade in an arc. The grenade
explodes upon impact and does some very hefty damage. As long as you launch
the grenade about 15 feet away, you won’t take any damage. At 12 feet you
take a tiny bit. At 5 feet you take a lot. When you have even 1 grenade
and a single full clip of ammo, you are practically guaranteed a kill in
a close-quarters battle. That is, unless, you enemy is similarly armed.
The tactic is simple. Lob a grenade as close as you can to your enemy. Bear
in mind that you don’t need to *hit* them. You only need the grenade to
land close to them. The splash damage is significant, and will often blow
them several feet (or more, in low grav), which disorients your enemy. If
your grenade landed fairly close to them, your enemy is either dead or close
to it. Don’t waste another grenade. Just switch to primary fire and finish
the job. In less than 3 seconds, you’re moving on to your next victim.
Tricks with secondary fire:[br]
There aren’t any tricks with the grenade launcher per se. The grenade launcher
is very accurate, and can throw a grenade quite a long distance. You’d be
surprised how far it will go at the right angle. Hitting someone from a
great distance is always a bit of a pleasant surprise. Well, pleasant for
you anyway. [br]
Another thing you can do is leap off a roof or cliff (make sure it’s not
a suicide height), turn, and launch a grenade at an enemy that is fairly
close to you. Before the grenade hits, you’re already safely beneath the
Combine Rifle[br]
Another very nice weapon; this is basically not a rifle at all. It’s the
bigger, beefier version of the SMG, with a twist. [br]
In a 1-on-1 battle with another player, all things being equal, you will
kill him with the Combine rifle much faster than he will kill you with his
PDW. Your rate of fire is significantly slower, and clip size smaller, but
each bullet does significantly more damage. All the rules and tactics that
apply to the PDW will apply to the combine rifle. However, I’ve noticed
that in a pinch, your combine rifle is a much better choice at long-range
killing than your PDW. Is this where the word “rifle” applies? Greater accuracy?
I’m not sure. But hey, this guide is free and you get what you pay for.[br]
Defending against primary fire:[br]
You had better do more damage in a shorter period of time or you are toast.
If you have only the primary fire from a PDW, you will not survive unless
you have heavy armor or are a far superior player. (Read: you strafe and
aim better than your opponent.)[br]
Secondary Fire:[br]
Secondary fire with the Combine Rifle is very unusual and quite fun. No
matter how much life and armor your opponent has, one touch from this orb
and he will be a mere shadow of his former self. Not only that, but the
orb will continue bouncing around for quite a long time—killing everyone
it touches—before finally pooping out. [br]
The best way to use this is to shoot it into a smallish room that has multiple
people in it. In a Team Deathmatch situation, this can be quite useful,
as the orb will bounce around inside the room and usually kill everyone.
I’ve seen guys get 5 kills with a single orb. I’ve killed guys with the
orb, only to have them spawn in the same room and be killed again by the
same orb. Man, that’s gotta hurt. [br]
Tricks with the Orb:[br]
If you’ve been playing for long you will notice something unusual. When
the orb hits one person, it seems much more likely to hit another person.
I’m not sure how this has been coded, and it doesn’t always work. But keep
this in mind. Even in a very large area, if you are up-close to one enemy
and you have an orb, you might consider using it, because the orb will often
make a bee-line for some other guy who is quite far away. Bouncing it off
a wall close to you and catching it lets you fire the orb much faster than
the rifle itself will. Also, a lot of people have learned to catch the orb
well, since it isn’t hard, so try aim behind them, so it’ll kill them on
the return, and as they think you’ve missed – they won’t expect it![br]
Defending against an Orb:[br]
Catch it with your grav gun and give it back to them. [br]
Otherwise, crouch in a corner. (Seriously, this works sometimes. The chances
of the orb finding the right angle to hit you are significantly decreased
if you crouch in a corner). Another thing to do is to shoot at the orb...
yes, you heard right... that slows it down, making it much easier to catch![br]
I dislike the shotgun because I’m not good with it, and not good at defending
against it. However, in the hands of someone who is good with a shotgun,
it is lethal. I’m sure it’s the favourite weapon of some players (for example,
ComradeBadger loves it!) [br]
Primary fire shoots one shell. Secondary fire shoots two shells. Many players
are unaware that secondary fire will shoot two shells instead of one. The
sound and feel is the same. The shotgun can hold a total of six shells.
Remember that. Reloading is slow, and if you are holding down either primary
or secondary fire, you will reload enough shells to fire (1 or 2, depending
on which button you are holding down.). When you run out of ammo, if you
are still holding down your fire button, you might hear the faint “click
click” above the roar of your enemy’s weapon that is pumping you full of
lead while you play with an empty shotgun. Be careful to avoid that.[br]
A double-barrel shot point blank will frequently kill your enemy with one
shot. The thing about the shotgun is that it is drastically affected by
range. From far away you will actually do a tiny bit of damage, but up close
it does huge damage. [br]
I will sometimes use the shotgun instead of the SMG if those are my choices,
because the shotgun will do more damage if you are fairly accurate. I’m
not a very good shot with it however. So I will fire 3 quick secondary shots
(6 shells) then trade with the SMG rather than wait for the reload. [br]
Not so much a trick, but more of a tactic: use a splash damage weapon, such
as the SMG’s secondary fire, the RPG, or a grenade. As your opponent flies
through the air, shotgun him! It’ll usually finish him off, and will usually
only take 1 shell![br]
Defending against the shotgun:[br]
One word: Keep your distance. OK, that was three words. Sorry. But if you
sprint away (backwards) while shooting, your shotgun-loving enemy will be
vexed by how little damage he is doing. [br]
Another slightly more dangerous tactic is just the opposite. Get closer.
But if you do that, make sure you are dancing in circles around him. This
will make it difficult for him to get a bead on you, but if he does—you
are history. [br]
The crossbow is my favourite weapon, and I think it’s effective use requires
the greatest talent. (Naturally, right?) It’s truly an art form to gauge
the distance, speed, and trajectory of your enemy and fire a crossbow bolt
to the exact point where he and your crossbow are fatally introduced.
The crossbow is not a sniper rifle. The bolts take time to travel through
the air, so you always have to “lead” your enemy. Leading your enemy can
only be mastered with practice. You learn that speed, proximity, and trajectory
all affect where you should fire your crossbow bolt. Even still, sometimes
I miss like an idiot over and over again. [br]
Note: the crossbow is a much more effective weapon in low gravity. Why?
Because people love to make long, flying, graceful leaps through the air.
The only problem is, when you’re flying through the air, you cannot strafe.
Suddenly your trajectory and speed are 100% predictable. Mr. Flyer, meet
Mr. Crossbow bolt. One point for me. [br]
The Crossbow bolt does 100 damage as far as I can tell. I know this because
if I have picked up a single suit charger for 15 armour, and I get hit by
a crossbow bolt, I suddenly have 15 health and no armour. [br]
Secondary fire toggles the zoom function. However, the better you get with
this weapon, the less you will use the zoom. When you zoom, it severely
hampers your ability to keep moving by decreasing your periphery. By lacking
your periphery you are also less likely to see someone approaching. That’s
bad. For these reasons I rarely use the zoom function. [br]
Guess what? If the crossbow wasn’t cool enough, there’s more. The crossbow
bolts ricochet! This means that if the angle of impact on a solid wall is
reasonably less than 90 degrees, the angle of refraction will be equally
greater than 90 degrees. The angle of refraction is equal to the angle of
impact. In other words—they bounce off solid walls. I learned this only
recently, when I thought I was safely hiding from a guy—then ZING. I was
dead. He had reflected the bolt off of the wall behind me. Quite a nice
move. [br]
Defending against a crossbow:[br]
Namely, don’t jump. While you’re in the air, your movements are predictable.
Also, vary your speed. If someone is leading you, they are more likely to
miss. [br]
The RPG is plainly the most effective killing weapon in the game. If you
use it frequently and effectively, you can count on whiners to criticize
your skills. I won’t however. After all, the point of the game is to win,
and the RPG is a great way to do it. By using the RPG you are using your
Having a height advantage is extremely advisable with the RPG. Firing down
on your enemy is where you want to be. The splash damage from the RPG will
often kill them even if you miss them by 6 feet. [br]
There are a few weaknesses to an RPG. The primary one is the close-quarters
battle. See some of that in the “how to defend section,” but if you’re up
close and personal with the RPG, you might want to fire behind them. This
way you ensure that they take more damage than you, but you might still
take some. If you’re not going to live, you can always fire at your feet
to suicide and take out your enemy as well. (This does, after all, prevent
them from getting one point closer to you).[br]
This is something that very few people think of. In a situation where you
have an extremely long shot with the RPG, you can simply fire, then use
your suit’s zoom function to zero in on your target. The RPG round will
follow your cursor, even though you’re zoomed. [br]
Furthermore, to avoid having to see through the smoke trails, you can fire
up in the air, then point down at your target. You won’t have the up-close
smoke to obscure your view if you do this.[br]
Defending against an RPG:[br]
Charge them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been right up next to
an RPG user and they won’t fire because they know they will kill themselves
in the meantime. Many times they will switch weapons, or not fire at all
trying to run away and get some distance. [br]
A second but less effective way to defend, is when you see the RPG about
to land at your feet, jump up. Your inertia will actually buffer some of
the splash damage, but be prepared to get launched a good distance. [br]
Also, strafe and vary your speed. But, by now, that goes without saying,
right? [br]
The SLAM is the laser-tripped mine that you occasionally find in maps. You
can set these by holding it up next to a wall and right-clicking. Then,
back away or you’ll be sorry. To set it down low, crouch first. If someone
comes zooming along, they will trip the mine, and blow themselves into many
small pieces. [br]
Place them where people won’t see them until it’s too late. There aren’t
many good places to do this, and if you’re playing with good players you’ll
only be able to get away with it once. Planting them underneath health kits
and weapons is quite funny, and may work a couple of times. [br]
Defending against SLAMs:[br]
Defending against SLAMs is easy. First off: keep an eye out for the tell-tale
red line of laser light. When you see one, either shoot the SLAM from a
medium distance, or if you can’t roll a grenade near to it and it will explode.
Story over. You can pick up your enemy’s SLAMs with the grav gun, and throw
them about which is useful for clearing areas.[br]
Well, that concludes our Half-Life 2: Deathmatch guide for now. Check back
soon as the guide will be updated with further tactics on weapons and other
aspects of the game.