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thefinalcutter83: According to "Iranian missile may be able to hit U.S. by 2015."

SpaceInvader455: That's one slow fuckin missile.

Offensive projectiles are fast. Bullets are too fast to be seen with the naked eye. Missiles and rockets streak towards their targets at several times the speed of sound. Even arrows, sling stones, and thrown knives travel at considerable speeds, especially since that's how they damage the target. Conservation of momentum and conversion into kinetic energy and all that. Even if you failed physics, it's fairly easy to see the faster things travel, the harder they hit if brought to a sudden stop through contact with an intervening body, like yours.

But that's reality. This is videogames. And it's awfully hard to dodge things that travel faster than you can react. So they don't. Bullets? Arrows? RPGs? Sidestep, duck, jump over 'em all!

And heck, if that's too much work, just shoot them out of the air! Knives are big and slow, aren't they? You and your awesome gun can just deflect them with bullets! Oh, heck, why not blow up those rockets and grenades with your weapon before they even reach you?

This is especially common in Light Gun games, where all you have is a gun. Bullets will hit you, but missiles and grenades can be shot out of the air before they reach you. Knives, axes, and barrels can easily be deflected as they lazily swim through the air towards you at speeds that would make them trivially easy to dodge, and likely not all that harmful if they hit. Okay, maybe a giant crate could be easy to hit if one was sailing towards you, but you'd likely need a fairly large caliber weapon to deflect it.

It's fairly common for bosses in Light Gun games to use painfully slow projectile attacks, as they're meant to take many more rounds to kill than the typical mook, and thus you can't stop their attack with one bullet.

Related to Very-High-Velocity Rounds. Compare Magic Missile and contrast Hit Scan. Commonly used in Bullet Hell games, in which the challenge is to dodge an absurd number of painfully slow projectiles.

Examples of Painfully-Slow Projectile include:

Video Game Examples

Action Adventure

  • Okami does this, but there's generally a reason for this - you have to deflect the projectiles with your Power Slash. That, and they aren't bullets, they're generally rocks or fruit being thrown at you. In any case, later projectiles are sped up considerably, with the idea that you need to use Mist to slow time down in order to be able to slash them- if you try to slash them without Mist, they either don't show up on the brush screen or they aren't affected by Mist.
  • In ZZT, bullets travel at cycle one (i.e. once per frame), which is a fancy way of saying "twice as fast as the player can move". They're destructible, too: when hit by another bullet, they annihilate each other. Stars are slow, but homing, indestructible, and change colors a lot. The same is true in MegaZeux.

Action Game

  • The old Nintendo Ninja Gaiden games not only featured slow bullets, but slow rockets that could be detonated with your sword before they hit you.
  • The Xbox360 game Earth Defense Force 2017' has a line of missile launchers called, fittingly, the Air Tortoise. Once fired, you can run ahead of the missile and soften up the target with a machine gun while you wait for it to kill the thing five or ten seconds later. The only advantage to it is that later versions are really powerful and relentless in tracking a target.

Fighting Game

  • The Emperor's giant flare balls and bouncing mines in Dissidia Final Fantasy. The slowest projectiles in the game, but if you accidentally dodge into one, then you become the fastest projectile in the game.
    • Kefka's projectiles are generally faster, but still slow enough and erratic enough that you will be using them to control the target's movement while you set up a better shot.
  • Politank-Z, a Walking Tank in Waku Waku 7, has a Limit Break that involves a giant cannonball that lets off geysers of flame. Those bursts of fire are so slow that they're easily dodged.
  • Reptile's energy ball in Mortal Kombat. Its slow movement makes it easy to misjudge, and if opponents do get out the way, clever players can knock them right back into it.
  • The reasons why Sentinel's Sentinel Force assist is one of the best in Marvel vs. Capcom is because it's slow and covers a good half of the screen at any one time.

First Person Shooter

  • In the Marathon series, the only enemy weapons which fire too quickly to be dodged are the assault rifles the troopers use and the rockets that the juggernauts fire. Everything else thrown at you you can dodge, and are essentially required to in order to survive.
  • Doom. The "light" weapons (on both sides) are hitscan, but rockets from the rocket launcher are fast, and bolts from the plasma gun are very fast, while imps' and cacodemons' fireballs move very slowly, and the hell knight's and baron of hell's fireballs are still slower than a rocket. The only monsters with projectile attacks at least as fast as a rocket are in Doom 2.
  • In Heretic virtually everything being fired at you by any monster can be dodged. The golem's skull projectiles will home in on you, but it's easy enough to get them to impact walls or even other monsters.
  • Mass Effect series
    • Although bullets in Mass Effect hit instantly, all the heavier weapons move slowly enough to easily sidestep on foot or jump over in the Mako.
    • Not so much in Mass Effect 2: heavier weapons are still slower than normal weapons, but they can now home in on you.
      • The ones you use, however, often miss the memo on that homing thing. Of particular note is the M-920 Cain, which in theory fires a slug at 5 km/s, but actually moves quite slowly.
    • In Mass Effect 3, like Mass Effect 2, the missiles home in on you. However, you can now dodge roll right before they hit you (and so can enemies), and it's even possible to shoot rockets out of the air. This is easiest done with adrenaline rush, the time-slowing mod for the sniper rifle, or by pouring bullets in the general direction of the rocket with the mounted machine gun.
  • The plasma cannon overcharge shot in Space Marine is pretty slow, mostly because it kills everything within a thirty-foot radius of its point of impact.
  • Halo has the Needler. Its projectiles are homing... but this is of little use since they are so freaking slow you can outrun them by walking backwards. In Halo 2 and 3 their speed was increased enough to make the Needler usable, but they're still quite sluggish compared to other weapons. It also has the Fuel Rod Gun that fires a large neon-green projectile that can be easily dodged at medium to long ranges.
Any and all plasma projectiles are pretty much this. High visibility and relatively slow makes them very easy to dodge at certain ranges.
  • Guns in Borderlands have a hidden "velocity" stat, which determines how fast the projectiles move. Normally it's fast enough to not matter, but with sniper rifles and missile launchers, it becomes important.
  • Most non-hitscan projectiles in Unreal are surprisingly slow, but the biggest offenders have to be the boulders. When a Titan throws a rock, it does not "fly" through the air as much as slowly float its way toward the player. Of course, this is a good thing, as a hit from one of those boulders is usually a one-hit kill.
  • In Team Fortress 2, bullets travel instantaneously, even from across the map. Rockets, grenades, and arrows, however, will have a marked flight time, occasionally measurable in seconds. This is primarily a balancing issue, as the first two mentioned weapons have considerable splash damage (and the slow speed gives more fleet footed class time to evade). Pyros have the option to play tennis with enemies and reflect the aforementioned projectiles back at the people who fired them.
Going by the scale used for objects, Huntsman arrows travel at about 117–146 feet per second (35.7-44.5 m/s) depending on how long they've been drawn, which isn't too unreasonable for a bow of such an antiquated design and material. That's part of the reason a Pyro managing to deflect one into something is such a big deal.
  • The pistol and nailgun in Quake 4. The shotgun, machinegun, and a few others are hitscan, although still dodgeable.

Hack And Slash

  • In Diablo projectiles only really become dangerous when there are loads of them, or they home. The Amazons in Diablo 2 also have a spell that slows down any missile. The partial exception to this is the red lightning Diablo itself fires, which is very difficult to avoid completely. Unfortunately, the Amazon's arrows also qualify which is why she gets fancy multi-shot and machine gunning skills to compensate.

Light Gun Game

  • Virtua Cop series
    • Virtua Cop, in all its incarnations, feature grenades, rockets, and knives that can be shot out of the air. The first boss of the second game even throws a van at you, which is deflected with six bullets.
    • Virtua Cop 3 features a Bullet Time ability where your Very-High-Velocity Rounds can be used to shoot enemy bullets out of the air. Repeat: Shoot enemy bullets out of the air!
  • Zombie Raid, aside from the usual fireballs, mixes in wooden stakes, (Which travel far too slowly to be of any real threat) mummy wrappings, and thrown beakers.
  • Police 911 has bullets so slow you can easily follow their trajectories.
  • The old shooting-gallery-style games Cheyenne and Crossbow had this; you'd use your gun to defend the protagonist from bad guys, either by shooting them first or (when you fail) shooting their projectiles.
  • House of the Dead zombies don't just claw at you, they throw axes, barrels, and crates as well. Sure looks weird when they travel only slightly faster than the zombies beside them running at you. Some bosses also shoot fireballs that can be dispersed by... shooting them.
  • Lethal Enforcers has the bosses use rocket launchers or blades. The second has cannons, barrels, and arrows, being in a wild west setting.

Mecha Game

  • Steel Battalion: Line of Contact feels like this with pretty much every weapon, especially smoothbore cannons, due to how easily they can be dodged with the slidestep pedal. The High Velocity Missile Launcher (HVM-la) is faster than usual, but can still be dodged easily at longer ranges, and while the railgun can't be dodged after firing due to ludicrous projectile speed, the lead-up time required to fire it allows skilled pilots to slidestep just before it fires so it misses wide. Homing missiles like the AS-mis and PZ-mis can be thwarted with chaff and a slidestep as well.

Platform Game

  • Contra has enemies attack with bullets and missiles that travel at a shockingly slow pace across the screen. Their deadliness usually comes in waves, from the fact you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder, and from the fact that it's 2D so you can't just casually sidestep the shots. This is particularly WTF-inducing in Contra 3, where on lower difficulties, an enemy behind you fires a bullet at you traveling slightly faster than the character. Since the animation of your character makes it look like he's merely jogging, dodging the bullet would simply be a matter of him picking up the pace and literally outrunning the bullet.[1]
  • Lampshaded in Metal Slug. There's an enemy that's basically a big cannon on wheels; it has a large barrel, and when it readies to fire it looks like it'll blast half the screen away. It then does a huge boom, and—plops down a sloooowly rolling projectile that acts as a moving landmine.
  • Mega Man series
    • Mega Man's projectiles, and heck, almost any projectiles in the game are usually slow.
    • Mega Man X 2 has the charged-up Magnet Mine, which fires out... a slow-moving black-hole like projectile. That does continuous damage as long as it is in contact with an enemy. In this case, being slow is a good thing, since it will be making contact with an enemy for a longer time.
    • Becomes lethal in X5/X6 when Zero uses his slow One-Hit Kill Sword Beam and dashes past it to lunge at you, and you can't jump because his beam covers nearly the entire screen (minus a gap below, which is blocked by Zero himself when he advances).
  • Super Mario Bros.: Every projectile not shot by a player. Every. Single. One. This gets to a truly ridiculous extent when the projectiles are LASERS.
    • A noteworthy mention is the Bullet Bills, as well as other cannon balls. Not only can you outrun them easily (Assuming you have space to run) but you can even jump on them.
  • In Pickory, it is possible to shoot downwards while in mid air and then fall onto your own bullet. Naturally, this kills you.
  • In I Wanna Be the Guy, one of the boss fights involves a giant Bullet Bill (as a Shout-Out to Super Mario Bros) which moves slowly enough for you to either destroy it by shooting it numerous times, or duck under it by double jumping.

Real Time Strategy

  • Star Wars: Empire at War and its expansion. Although usually the targets are too slow to get out of the way, the concussion missiles and proton torpedoes are really, really slow.
  • Arrows and siege ammo in the first two Age of Empires games could be dodged by any moving unit, at almost any distance, because no unit in either game is able to lead their shots without research. In the first game one could easily see two groups of archers doing a little "dodge-dance" in between shooting each other.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Retribution has the Light Of Calderis, a plasma cannon whose drawback is statted as "projectile moves slower". This turns out to be quite an understatement, but the blast is too devastating for you to care.
  • In Starcraft2, the Raven's Seeker Missile is so slow that it can be outrun by most ground units. Speaking of which, why are ground units often faster than SPACECRAFT?
    • The Seeker Missile is explained as having been developed more as a guided mine for deep space territory denial.

Role Playing Game

  • Fallout 3 and New Vegas feature these. In FO3, every bullet is a rather slow tracer (which actually seems to function as Hit Scan with the bullet itself only having a graphical effect). Missiles travel much slower then they ought to as well, though usually not enough to dodge unless they're fired over a very long range, with the same applying to New Vegas. The various Plasma weapons in FO3 (and only some of them in Vegas) also suffer from very slow moving projectiles as their primary disadvantage, as it makes them difficult to use over long ranges and against moving targets outside of VATS. The New Vegas plasma rifle even has a weapon mod which makes its projectiles go faster.
  • Morrowind: all marksman weapons and ammo take enough time to travel to their target you can follow it. This also works the other way around: when an enemy fires an arrow or throwing weapon at you, at medium and long range you have plenty of time to step out of the way; smarter enemies will also dodge your arrows.
    • Oblivion inherits this problem. Arrows move so slowly without mods (bordering on Bullet Time) that a bowman firing from even medium distance poses no threat unless the player's engaged in combat with someone or something else.
    • Skyrim has retained the slow arrows and now they cut both ways as enemies are slightly Crosshair Aware (unless you're hidden) and will strafe to avoid your shots. Fortunately enemies are still completely unable to adjust for movement.

Shoot Em Up

  • In Tiger Heli, tanks fire slow moving shells that resemble quarters, which you can often dodge quickly, provided nothing is in your escape path. Your bullets, however, move as quickly as you can push the button.
  • As mentioned above, this is a staple for most Bullet Hell games. A metric tonne of ordinance is put into the air at low speeds, restricting your movement to create flying mazes made of bullets. And while you're carefully navigating the curtain of oncoming fire, they'll throw a handful faster and aimed at your head. Yannow, to keep you on your toes.

Simulation Game

  • The shots fired by some anticapital guns in the X-Universe series are so slow they can be outrun by a scoutship.

Stealth Based Game

  • Hitman 2, especially with suppressed weapons.

Survival Horror

  • In Resident Evil 5, the SMG and other guns are hitscan, while the huge Gatling gun you can unlock is not. Actually, it's the same Gatling gun the powerful vulcan ganado uses. This also makes the thing nearly useless considering the gun's horrible recoil. Most of the time your bullets fly right past the enemies. The hitscan SMG with infinite ammo makes for a much better weapon.


  • Gratuitous Space Battles has two main types of weapons. Beams that hit instantly, and everything else. This leads to missiles that are so painfully slow that several volleys of fast firing close range beam weapons can be fired between the time the missiles are launched and they hit. Furthermore, missile velocity is a known statistic with actual effects.
  • Annoth the Firebreather Dragon in I of the Dragon has access to the Hound spell which works like this... fortunately though, it does cast good damage and it is also a Homing Projectile.

Non-Video Game Examples

Anime and Manga

  • Don Kanonji from Bleach has a spirit attack that launches a small and sluggish ball of light. Woe betide those that judge it by appearance, though; if it does hit, it packs quite a punch.
  • Gash Bell features a demon who can summon massive and extremely powerful spheres of purple energy, which veeeeerrrrryyyy ssslllllooowwwwwlllllyyyy inched their way toward their target. He got around his obvious weakness by teaming up with another demon whose glue-based magic was good for immobilizing a target but not for dealing damage.
    • His second spell is also this, albeit more useful. It moves slightly faster, but it homes in on the target and won't stop chasing it until it hits something.
  • In a Filler Arc of One Piece the Big Bad had the power to heat himself up and create balls of "heat", however, they were extremely slow, even when the villain tried to mimick Luffy's Gatling attack; the balls were as slow but they were many of them.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog The Movie contains a Lampshade Hanging: during the climactic battle, Eggman fires such a rocket, and it's shaped like a tortoise to boot. The other, much faster rocket is shaped like a hare, and Eggman writes off the tortoise as a design failure. After the battle is over, Eggman gloats that he could make a better Metal Sonic, only for the tortoise, slow as ever, to come steal the data disc necessary to remake Metal Sonic and explode.


  • In the film Runaway, the villain Gene Simmons has a pistol that shoots homing bullets. From the bullets point of view they travel only slightly faster than their running targets.
  • The Last Airbender has the very infamous "Pebble Dance", which involves seven Earthbenders throwing a rock roughly the size of a human head, which travels at most two miles per hour. To contrast, in the original cartoon, a single Earthbender could launch a boulder forty times larger at least fifty miles per hour.


  • Harry Potter: Avada Kedavra, the "Unstoppable Death Curse" is described as a projectile that can be stopped by solid objects; gravestones and statues, for example. Granted, one probably couldn't do Bullet Time or something if out in the open, but this is less than the inevitable doom it was cracked out to be.
  • Septimus Heap: Despite Etheldredda being very close to Jenna, Alice Nettles manages to jump into the way of the bullet shoot by Etheldredda just in time.

Live-Action TV


  • The Complete History of America (abridged) makes use of the Rule of Funny by having an enormous prop bullet carried on a stick.

Web Original

  • Spoofed in a Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series episode. The opponents, based on the Mooninites below, have to actually tell Yugi and Kaiba "Just give it a minute". Kaiba is so bored by this that he screws the rules and tells Obelisk (the attack's target) to attack them both to win.
  • Done with a fist in Red vs. Blue: Revelations. The Meta is slowed down by his malfunctioning time-altering upgrade. He still charges for Doc, who jokes about the Meta's attempt to very slowly kick his ass. Simmons notes that while the Meta's was appearing to move slowly relative to them, he was still technically moving as fast as he was before, therefore his punch would have the same amount of force. Doc laughs... right up until the point the Meta taps him, which sends Doc flying into a wall.

Western Animation

  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
    • Played for Laughs with the Mooninites' laser cannons, whose pixelated bullets move sluggishly, but packed enough punch to vaporize Carl (it didn't kill him; it just teleported him to the Moon).
    • In a later episode, they use a variant called the Quad Glacier, which moves four times the speed of a glacier. This is not to be confused with the Quad Laser, which is a less powerful attack that is used in their first appearance.
    • This and their "Jumping is useless" line actually made a bit more sense for the Mooninites original origin (cut for time) of being the spirit of hundreds of old video games buried underground: most of those games were entirely 2D, so a projectile too big to jump over would inevitably kill you no matter how slow it traveled.
  • Invader Zim has "Walk for Your Lives" which is not technically a projectile; it's an explosion. It's caused when a time stasis prison malfunctions and explodes, so that the explosion is under the time stasis and slowly expands. Resulting eventually in everyone panicking to escape but quickly realizing that they can leisurely walk away from it.
  • When Raymond the Bear is made the baseball team's pitcher in The Cleveland Show.

"It's as if the ball itself is stoned."


Real Life

  • To a degree: Certain Roman-era barbarian tribes worked up a technique where their soldiers, armed with a javelin, a side-weapon such as a sword, and practically no armor, would throw the javelin and run forward while it was in flight so that both of them would reach the enemy at close to the same time. Not so much "painfully slow projectile" as "painfully fast soldier", though.
  • Until the advent of gunpowder, a man on foot had a decent chance of dodging artillery projectiles by the virtue of the fact that the projectiles were not particularly fast and rather large. As long as he wasn't hindered by a tight packed formation.
  • Paintball. For safety reasons, markers are capped at a muzzle velocity of three hundred feet per second. Slow enough that it's possible (Albeit difficult and does require good reflexes or long distance) to hear someone firing at you, see the paintball coming, and dive for cover.
  • Battleship shells are only painfully slow with respect to their range, which leads to an interesting scenario: a battleship firing at extreme range cannot hit a destroyer except through pure luck, as the destroyer moves several times its own length in the time it takes the shells to arrive, giving it plenty of options for dodging.[2]
  • Early guided missiles, particularly of anti-armor type, flew relatively slowly so that they could be seen and controlled manually and could take upwards of 15–20 seconds to reach a target. These could easily be countered by the enemy looking for dust and/or smoke kicked up by a missile and shooting at the launch position to break the operator's concentration.
  • Naval torpedoes are quite slow and a shallow-running torpedo can easily be seen. Partially averted by rocket-powered supercavitating torpedoes, by creating a drag-reducing air bubble they can travel 2-4 times faster than traditional units.
  1. To really drive in the WTF factor, note that this means that if your character could sprint, you could jump out of the bullet's path, let it pass under you, and then, as is lazily floats away from you, run after it and kill yourself by hitting it from behind.
  2. However, if the destroyer were to move close enough to engage the battleship with its main guns, this problem would no longer apply.