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Weapons Against the Darkness
You're Alan Wake. You woke up in a car accident, you wife missing, and now you have to escape a horde of shadowy figures looking to murder you.
Thankfully, you're not entire defenseless. You do have weapons against the darkness, including your flashlight and a wide variety of guns. In this guide we'll take a look at the different weapons which are available to Alan Wake.
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The flashlight is Alan Wake's most basic weapon. It is required in order to burn the darkness from your enemies, rendering them vulnerable to damage. You'll have a flashlight with you for most of the game, but you'll have the opportunity to pick up larger flashlights at later stages of the game. If you come across a flashlight upgrade there is no reason not to take it. The better flashlights create a brighter beam which burn the shadows away more quickly.
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The old-fashioned revolver is Alan Wake's most basic gun, and you'll have it throughout most of the game. Being a revolver it is a simple, six-shot weapon. Reloading the weapon can be made quicker by rapidly pressing X (this is true for all guns).
The revolver is extremely accurate and can be used effectively on just about any target your flashlight's beam can reach, so don't be afraid to engage in some long-range combat with it. The most common Taken which you'll find in the game can be killed by two to four shots, but nastier enemies, such as the chainsaw-wielding Taken you'll occasionally come across, can take twelve shots.
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The basic shotgun is a powerful weapon, but it can only load two shotgun shells at a time, after which you'll need to reload. This means that you'll need to pay very close attention to your shotgun's ammo while you are in combat. It is easy to panic if you suddenly find that you are surrounded only to realize your shotgun is not loaded.
The shotgun can kill most Taken in one or two shots. It does have a damage spread, and in certain situations, such as a tight hallway, you can take out multiple Taken with a single shotgun round. The damage spread makes the Shotgun much less effective at long ranges. Don't waste your shotgun ammo if an enemy is far away. The revolver is a better choice for those situations.
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The pump-action shotgun is just like the normal shotgun, but it can hold eight rounds instead of two. This makes it much more effective at taking out large groups of enemies, as you won't have to carefully manage your ammo. In all other respects the pump-action shotgun is the same as a normal shotgun.
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The rifle is the best long-range gun in Alan Wake. It is very accurate and remains accurate even if opponents are at the very edge of your flashlight's effective range. The rifle is also powerful, capable of taking out most Taken in one or two shots. It has a magazine of five rounds, and oddly Alan Wake doesn't appear to keep any extra magazines because he has to load each bullet back in one by one.
In general I prefer the shotgun, but the rifle has its uses. The shotgun simply isn't very good at medium to long range, while the hunting rifle provides similar punch at those ranges. There are some parts of the game where you have more room to maneuver, making long-range combat with the rifle a good option. After all, why come any closer to them than you have to?
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The flare is a basic temporary light source. It doesn't do any damage to Taken, but it does burn away their shadows in order to make them vulnerable. The flare will also force any Taken within the flare's radius into retreat.
The main use of the flare is to create a temporary safe-haven in which Alan can feel fairly confident that he won't be attack. For example, there are situations where you need to start a generator, but there are enemies nearby preventing you from doing so. Using a flare will keep the Taken off your back as you start the generator.
The flare usually isn't the best tool for burning the shadows from the Taken because they will move away from the flare, but in close quarters, like closed rooms, the flare is very effective because the Taken can't move out of its radius.
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Unlike the flare, the flare gun is actually a very powerful offensive weapon. When fired it shoots a flare which explodes on impact with a solid surface into a huge burst of light. While the flare can't harm the Taken after their shadows have been cooked off, the flare gun can. In fact, it does a huge amount of damage and will kill most Taken instantly.
Really, the flare gun is kind of like the rocket launcher of Alan Wake, except that you don't have to worry about hurting yourself. It can be used against groups of opponents to take them all down at once or can be used to kill big, nasty threats like possessed vehicles.
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The flash-bang is exactly what it sounds like. When used the flash-bang explodes into a brilliant burst of light, accompanied by a surprisingly small amount of noise. As with the flare gun, the brilliant burst of light isn't good for the Taken's health. Any Taken nearby will be killed instantly.
Unlike the flare gun, the flash-bang doesn't have much range to it. You'll mostly be using it in close quarters. While the flash-bang will create a burst of light and some noise, it isn't harmful to Alan. You can lay a flash-bang down at your feet and be perfectly find if it explodes. In fact, the flash-bang acts as the perfect "oh crap" weapon, allowing you to take out a group of Taken which has you surrounded.