The Plasma Caster, also known as the Laser Cannon or the Shoulder Cannon in its most common shoulder-mounted form, is a Yautja long-range energy projector weapon. Capable of guiding armor-penetrating plasma bolts towards distant targets, it is arguably the most powerful and technologically advanced offensive tool at the Yautja's disposal. The bolts fired by the weapon explode in a burst of plasma shrapnel upon striking a target, causing grievous wounds and potentially damaging other enemies near the point of impact.
Young Yautja are not equipped with Plasma Casters and must undergo a Rite of Passage where they must go on a Hunt using only their bladed weapons. Plasma Casters and other advanced weaponry are only bestowed upon Predators as they gain experience and take part in greater Hunts. Despite the enormous power of the Plasma Caster, or rather because of it, it is considered among the least honorable weaponry the Yautja posses. Often, when faced with particularly worthy prey, a Predator will discard his Plasma Caster and rely instead on its more basic weapons.
The most commonly seen version of the Plasma Caster is shoulder-mounted. Capable of firing multiple long-range bolts of charged plasma, the power of each individual burst can be adjusted manually, ranging from a minor setting to kill individual prey to a blast powerful enough to breach the hulls of interstellar craft. These energy bolts are typically pale blue in color, although yellow and gold colored shots have also been observed.
The Plasma Caster is aimed via a targeting system typically built into the Predator's Bio-Mask, causing the weapon to track with the user's head movement, although some have been seen with integral targeting systems. Often, a three-pointed targeting laser sight is also used to increase accuracy. The tracking servos of the weapon are some of the most vulnerable articles carried by a Predator and damage typically renders the weapon unusable, although some models can be modified and used as a hand-held weapon in the event of tracking failure. Plasma Casters also appear to have a degree of targeting memory, able to track and fire at a target even if the Predator itself turns in another direction, although it is likely this only applies to stationary targets.
The exact mechanism by which the shoulder-mounted Plasma Caster is fired remains unclear. While some individuals have been seen to fire the weapon using their Wrist Gauntlet, others have done so without any apparent input; it has been suggested that Predators may activate the Plasma Caster by manipulating buttons on the inside of their Bio-Mask with their mandibles. A Plasma Caster can be charged by the user when fired to generate a more powerful shot that is more damaging to prey. By default, the weapon's attack range is greater than the Predator's visual range, however a Predator's mask incorporates a zoom function that changes this relationship, enabling a Predator to act as a sniper if required. The basic shoulder-mounted Plasma Caster can be dual wielded (i.e. one on each shoulder) if two are collected, although this does not seem to be common behavior and is reserved for particularly dangerous situations.
- Main article: Plasma Cannon
A handheld version of the Plasma Caster. It was mainly featured in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, when the Predator Wolf's Plasma Casters were damaged. The Yautja fashioned a Plasma Cannon out of the components, but it was captured by the Yutani Corporation after a human survivor, Dallas Howard, stole it and used it to aid in the humans' escape.
Gauntlet Plasma BoltEdit
- Main article: Gauntlet Plasma Bolt
Super Predator Plasma CasterEdit
The Berserker and the Tracker on the Game Preserve Planet used a slightly modified Plasma Caster design that employs a revolving action to fire multiple plasma bolts at any time, similar to a Gatling gun. Berserker and Tracker both used this weapon while hunting captured humans on the planet.
- Wolf is the only Yaujta to wield two Plasma Casters simultaneously on film. He is also the only one to use a Plasma Cannon.
- While almost all Plasma Casters have their targeting hardware built into the Predator's Bio-Mask, Greyback in Predator 2 had a Plasma Caster with its own integrated laser sight, implying it can be used without a mask.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Aliens vs. Predator [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360]. Rebellion.
- ↑ Alien vs Predator: The Last of His Clan
- ↑ Paul W.S. Anderson (writer and director). Alien vs. Predator [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Predator: Concrete Jungle [PlayStation 2, Xbox]. Vivendi Universal Games.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers) and John McTiernan (director). Predator [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers) and Stephen Hopkins (director). Predator 2 [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Aliens versus Predator 2 [Microsoft Windows]. Monolith Productions.
- ↑ Aliens versus Predator: Extinction [PlayStation 2, Xbox]. Zono Inc.
- ↑ Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers) and The Brothers Strause (directors). Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.