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The subject of this article appears in the Metro 2033 video game. The subject of this article appears in the Metro Last Light video game. The subject of this article appears in the Faction Pack DLC for Metro Last Light. The subject of this article appears in the Tower Pack DLC for Metro Last Light. The subject of this article appears in the Developer Pack DLC for Metro Last Light.


The railgun shoots bearing balls at incredible speeds, but takes time to charge its capacitor. Deals lower damage if fired before charging fully.

— Last Light in-game description


The Hellbreath (Russian: Рельса, literally "Rail"), or Volt Driver in Metro 2033, is a metro-made, portable electromagnetic accelerator that uses the Lorentz effect to fire metal projectiles at extremely high velocities. The Hellbreath is considered the electrical counterpart to the Tihar.

Miller is the only character that uses the Hellbreath, starting in the chapter D6, and is made available to Artyom in the Ranger Pack DLC. It is also available for Metro 2033 free on Steam. The Hellbreath was a cut weapon in Metro: Last Light itself, but it returned in the DLC. In the Redux version, the Hellbreath is included as an obtainable but rare weapon.

Overview[]

The Hellbreath fires metallic ball bearings using electromagnetism; the gun's magnetic rails are powered by the charge from a built-in battery, and magnetic coil. Unlike the Tihar, which is pneumatic, the Hellbreath has to be charged using a built-in charger. The charger is separate from the one that is used to power Artyom's flashlight and night vision goggles. As with Tihar and Helsing, this weapon needs to be charged when found.

The Tihar and Hellbreath have rather similar performance statistics, and are quite similar in utility. The key differences are that the Hellbreath does more damage when fully-charged, fires slower, and has better sustainability (lesser-charged rounds from the Hellbreath still do fairly good damage, as opposed to the Tihar, which tends to do poor damage unless pumped up). The Tihar, however, has considerably better accuracy (especially over a distance), is silent (the Hellbreath has an extremely loud and distinctive report), and access to a zoom scope (which makes it a very effective sniping tool). In contrast, the Hellbreath lacks any sighting in general except for a laser sight. In general, the Hellbreath is better at closer range, whereas the Tihar is better from afar, though both weapons can work just fine at close range (if the Tihar is pumped and uses its fast fire rate) or long range (if Artyom has the time to aim the Hellbreath) in trained hands. Unlike the Tihar, the Hellbreath is not a suppressed weapon, avoid using it in stealth situations if wanting to remain undetected.

Volt Driver M2033 hud2.png

In addition to its high firepower, the Hellbreath can make melee attacks by shocking enemies with the electrified rails at the front of the weapon's barrel. While this consumes energy (and becomes notably less effective the lower the Hellbreath's battery is), it makes for an effective deterrent up-close and is quite good at forcing close-combat enemies back, such as nosalises. At full charge, the Hellbreath allows up to five melee attacks before it requires to be charged. It can fire a total of 17 ball bearings from full charge (including super charge) before a recharge is necessary.

The Hellbreath is one of four guns (others being the Tihar, Revolver, and Helsing) recommended for a Ranger Hardcore play through.

The laser sight makes up for the loss of the cross-hair, and the Hellbreath uses the same inexpensive ammo the Tihar uses. All in all, both offer considerable advantages and can be worthy guns in every respect.

The Hellbreath gains a few more advantages over the Tihar in Metro 2033 Redux. Like the Shambler, it loses the special melee attack in exchange for the ability to aim down sights. The Hellbreath is the only weapon in 2033 Redux capable of using a 4x sight, putting its sniping capabilities above those of the Tihar with its superior damage and zoom. However, the Tihar remains the superior weapon for stealth.

Functionality[]

The Hellbreath has two distinctive, boxy prongs on the front of the gun - each of these contains a full set of magnetic strips, tentatively called rails.

A negative electrical current is run down one rail, which goes through the projectile, and back down the other rail. This current sets up a net magnetic field oriented "up", relative to the rails. The projectile's current is "sideways" relative to the rails, and this current interacts with the net magnetic field to produce a "forward" force.

Variants and Customization[]

Metro Last Light[]

The Hellbreath has three attachment slots: Optics, Base and Misc. Six different attachments are available for the Hellbreath: three Optics, two Base upgrades and one Misc (a laser sight).

Available attachments
Slot Icon Name Effect Description
LL Optics Upgrade Slot.png
Optics
LL Reflex Sight Upgrade.png Reflex sight Range +25%
Accuracy +25%
This pre-war sight makes aiming the gun at close and medium range easier, without sacrificing much of the field of view.
LL x4 Sight Upgrade.png 4x sight Range +100%
Accuracy +50%
This sniper sight allows for easy target acquisition and weapon aiming at extremely long range, but limits the field of view considerably.
LL NV Sight Upgrade.png IR sight Range +50%Accuracy +25% A piece of pre-war military tech, this Night Vision sight allows for precisely hitting targets in the dark.
LL Base Upgrade Slot.png
Base
LL Extended Battery Upgrade.png Extended battery Battery capacity +50% Increases the railgun's energy reserves greatly, allowing for the weapon to be fired for much longer without the need to recharge.
LL Capacitor Upgrade.png Heavy duty capacitor Charge time
-25%
Makes the weapon accumulate charge faster, allowing for more rapid succession of full-power shots.
LL Extra Upgrade Slot.png
Misc
LL Laser Upgrade.png Laser sight Accuracy +25% A pre-war laser sight facilitates aiming the weapon at close range, making precise snapshots easy to achieve.

Acquisition[]

Metro 2033[]

Volt driver sideview M2033.png

  • Lost Tunnels – Found in the area with the bandits first encountered by Artyom and Bourbon near the campfire at the centre of the room. (Removed in Redux)
  • Armory – Found on the bed with the heavy automatic shotgun, shortly after Andrew rescues Artyom. (Removed in Redux and instead this is up for purchase in the same station)
  • Sparta Base – Found on a the pile of boxes to the left of the weapon rack. (Both in the original and Redux)

Metro: Last Light[]

  • In the Faction Pack DLC, a Hellbreath with 4x scope can be obtained at the start of the Heavy Squad mission, sitting in a box next to the ammunition supply. Diesel will tell the player character to get it before the snipers show up.
  • In the Tower Pack DLC, it can be obtained for use after completing the third test.
  • In the Developer Pack DLC, it is unlocked and can be used in the Shooting Gallery and AI Arena.

Metro Exodus[]

In Metro Exodus, the Hellbreath is not a unique weapon, but a heavily modified Tihar. It is only available during the Dead City level. After Kirill informs Artyom and Miller about the SatCom centre, Miller will let Artyom take his volt driver.

Tactics[]

Hellbreath can effectively be used in any situation except ones that require stealth or where there are many weak enemies, such as amoebas. It is also suggested in Ranger Easy and Ranger Hardcore difficulties as the damage increase makes body shots an instant kill on everything except librarians. Its laser sight and easily visible magazine capacity negates the HUD removal disadvantage of hardcore mode. Its firepower does decrease after each shot, so recharge the battery after each fight or if in a stealth situation and have time, charge after killing an enemy. In hot situations, retreat to charge the weapon if it loses power to kill opponents in singular shots. Like the Tihar, the Hellbreath will make sound while fully charged but it will be sparks instead of air leaking out

In Metro: Last Light's DLC, it proves useful in killing heavily armoured troops found in many of the levels, and it is the player character's only mean to counter snipers.

Related Achievements/Trophies[]

Metro 2033[]

Shocking.jpg Shocking 20 Game points.png
Get 50 kills with Volt Driver.

Stunning.jpg Stunning 20 Game points.png
Get 25 kills with alternative fire of Volt Driver.

Weaponsmith.jpg Weaponsmith (Metro 2033) 40 Game points.png
Kill at least 1 enemy with each weapon available in the game.

Metro Last Light[]

LL Achievement Homo Homini Lupus Est Icon.png Homo Homini Lupus Est Bronze Trophy Icon.png / 15 Game points.png
Kill 100 enemies with heavy weapons.

Metro 2033 Redux[]

2033R Achievement Shocking Icon.png Shocking Bronze Trophy Icon.png / 15 Game points.png
Get 30 kills with Hellbreath.

Trivia[]

  • You can see a working railgun - one that has not been miniaturized here.
    • A railgun the size and effectiveness of the Hellbreath is decades beyond both current and in-game time periods. Since the metro does not have the type of supplies required to make a proper railgun to start with, with a railgun matching the power of an anti-materiel rifle requiring a power density of about 40 watts/cm3. Modern handheld railguns are the size of anti-materiel rifles, but only offer performance on par to an air gun, with most of that mass being the batteries. It can be assumed, however, that solid state, graphene augmented super-capacitors have been invented/perfected several decades ahead of the real world timeline in Metro's universe, and those have the required theoretical power output to match or even exceed the said thresholds in a practical size for a handheld weapon.
  • If Miller is killed while carrying the gun, it will be dropped. It is then highlighted, signaling that it can be picked up. It cannot be picked up, however, since his death always means game over.
  • A railgun such as the Hellbreath is not to be confused with a Gauss gun; both types of weapons use electricity to generate electromagnetic fields to accelerate a projectile at extreme velocities but each are designed very differently. A Gauss weapon (also known as a coilgun) would use electromagnetic coils to accelerate a ferromagnetic round, while a railgun uses two parallel rails and a projectile that is a good conductor of electricity to complete an electric circuit.
  • In Metro 2033, the Hellbreath is mostly used as short-range defense. While in Metro: Last Light, it has a longer effective range, allowing the user to snipe distant targets. Therefore it is even more versatile than Tihar.
  • If left idle long enough, Artyom will poke a wire on the weapon, then look at his finger, showing a metal splinter.
    • The same animation is used in the Developer Pack, in which the player character's hand clips through the now-flipped prongs of the weapon. 
  • While the Hellbreath has muzzle flash while fired in Metro 2033, in Metro: Last Light it does not.
  • Hellbreath's power meter is identical to the one found on the universal charger, but they need to be manually charged individually. 
  • There is a Hellbreath on the top of one of the bookcases with the equipment in the ammo exchange kiosk in Riga.
  • While Hellbreath cannot be purchased in-game, it would sell for roughly 241 MGR if it were available in a shop.
    • For those who are 'strapped-for-cash', the first Hellbreath can be acquired in Lost Tunnels, which can be used to great effect for a large part of the game. Upon reaching Armory Station, the second one appears, one of the weapons can be sold in exchange for a Duplet and Artyom will receive a lot MGR. He will still have the other Hellbreath, as well as the heavy automatic shotgun, if wishing to sell or use that instead. This helps in earning the Scrooge achievement. This method is not applicable in Metro 2033 Redux, however, as the Hellbreath was removed from Lost Tunnels and was made available for purchase in Armory for 210 MGR.
  • In Heavy Squad, Diesel mentions that the Hellbreath Hans uses was stolen from Armory Station during a Nazi raid and also mentions the name "smithy", likely referring to Andrew the blacksmith.
  • Hellbreath can be seen strapped to Miller's back during the Dead City level. Miller can be seen removing the railgun from his back, and raising it above his head whilst traversing the flooded drainage area. It is likely he does this to avoid getting the electrical components wet, which could lead to the weapon malfunctioning, or could electrocute him.
  • The Hellbreath may be a reference to the Gauss rifle from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, with both being a gun that uses electricity to fire the weapon and having an effective range from mid to long range. The Hellbreath, however, is less powerful than the Gauss rifle, not being able to kill most enemies in one shot due to less effective production.

Bugs[]

  • In Metro 2033 Redux and Metro Last Light Redux, if the Hellbreath is equipped with a Laser Sight attachment, the laser dot will be misaligned, pointing a little left and down from the center of the screen. This makes the attachment a useless purchase.
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