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Quake Manual

The Thunderbolt, also known as "Lightning Gun" or simply "LG", is a energized weapon that fires a steady beam of electricity. It is similar to a beam fired by a Shambler, though thinner. It can do incredible damage if it stays on a target. The Weapon will instantly hit the target it's pointed at, making it easier to use than the Nailgun or Super Nailgun.

If the Thunderbolt is used in Water, Slime, or Lava, the gun will discharge all charges of the Ammo currently in use at once and cause all within sight, both in and even near the liquid, to explode (including the player). This can be an effective strategy if one has a Pentagram of Protection.

Due to a programming oversight, the Thunderbolt is the only gun in Quake that can shoot through walls. The weapon's collision detection will damage enemies both in the path of the visible bolt and also along two additional invisible tracers; these tracers were intended to fire side-by-side the visible bolt, but due to several flaws in the code these invisible beams can generate far away from the player's position or line-of-sight, often in separate rooms. This oversight is used by speedrunners to eliminate targets early, such as destroying an Unholy Altar through a wall.

The Thunderbolt makes its first appearance at The Wizard's Manse, near a Slime pool.


Single Player

  • The Thunderbolt is the most effective weapon in the game and the last one to be obtained. It's so powerful that it can destroy a Shambler in two seconds, making it just as useful as the Super Nailgun. Like the SNG, its two downsides are that its ammo is somewhat rare, so it's recommended to only use the Thunderbolt against dangerous enemies such as Shamblers, Vores and Fiends, and that it depletes ammo rather quickly. However, the Enforcer drops five Cells when they're killed, so you'll have a decent collection of Cells by the time you get a Thunderbolt.
  • With the Quad Damage, the LG becomes a diabolic weapon; it deals 120 HP of damage per cell or 1200 DPS, so it can kill a Shambler in 5 hits (0.5 second).
  • The Thunderbolt is not found in Episode 1: Dimension of the Doomed , which is also the only episode included in the Quake Shareware. Whether the shareware version or full game, it can be obtained through the cheat code to obtain all weapons.
  • When the cheat code to obtain all Weapons is activated, the ammunition capacity of the Thunderbolt is doubled, meaning you will have 200 cells. However, picking up a cell box when above the usual maximum of ammo will reset your amount of cells to 100.
  • Despite the power of this Weapon, it is absolutely worthless against Zombies (assuming that they're not under Water during a discharge or the player isn't under the effect of Quad Damage), because they can only be killed if Gibbed.


  • In MP, the LG can take down an unarmored target within two seconds. Even with Red Armor, a target won't last long.
  • With the LG, you need to learn how to keep following a target with it, or else you'll be frequently firing into the air while the enemy attacks you. This is pretty difficult due to how jumpy players can be, so you'll need some practice and predicting skills in order to get good with it. If you feel that you can't figure out how to use the LG, don't worry about it, because the Rocket Launcher can do a ton of damage as well.
  • The Thunderbolt can also be used to finish off an enemy that's been critically injured by a rocket and knocked back by it, but is too far away for a follow-up rocket to be effective.



  • Hits within seconds like a hitscan
  • Amazing DPS
  • Enemies WILL fall. Not even Shamblers will survive for more than a couple seconds!
  • Decent range
  • Extremely accurate
  • No other weapon (besides the Laser Cannon and Mjolnir from Scourge of Armagon) uses cells so saving ammo is easier than other weapons.
  • Ammo can be stockpiled early if the episode has Enforcers in the beginning as each one drops 5 cells when killed.
  • Can shoot through walls


  • Burns through Ammo in seconds
  • Ammo is rare
  • Difficult to hit fast Enemies
  • Discharged into water can result in death (unless the player has a Pentagram of Protection)
  • All Ammo is used up in a single discharge into Water

Death Messages

Death by Own Discharge

  • "Player" discharges into the water

Death by Enemy Discharge

  • "Player" accepts "Attacker"'s discharge

Death by Enemy Lightning

  • "Player" accepts "Attacker"'s shaft


  • The Thunderbolt is perhaps the oldest weapon to be thought up for Quake, as it's traceable back to the days of Invasion of the Vorticons, the first game of the Commander Keen series. An extremely early advertisement for "The Fight For Justice", the precursor to Quake, talks about the player-controlled character "Quake" starting with a Hammer of Thunderbolts. [1]


Thunderbolt commencing
Thunderbolt being used



Quake: Champions