Deus Ex’s Plasma Rifle is an interesting weapon. Looking at its in-game stats, it appears to have a very impressive damage output, making it something of the ranged equivalent to the Dragon’s Tooth Sword — a sort of ultimate weapon to help the player power through the second half of the game. Indeed, both weapons even share the aspect of them having ‘multi-hit’ attacks. The Plasma Rifle was intended to launch three plasma projectiles that deal a base damage of 40 points (with additional damage from the projectile explosions), while the Dragon’s Tooth actually hits five times in a single swing for 20 point base damage for a total of 100 damage.
Of course, as many Deus Ex players are aware, the Plasma Rifle is nowhere near as strong as its stats indicate. In fact, the damage of the weapon ends up having an incredibly low total of 8 base points of damage per projectile, which makes it one of the weakest firearms in the game, only slightly stronger than the Assault Rifle (which does base 3 damage per bullet) and the Flamethrower (which does base 5 damage per flame projectile, but does set targets on fire). This discrepancy is actually the result of the Plasma Rifle in the Game Of The Year and 1.112fm versions of the game erroneously using the damage values from Deus Ex’s multiplayer mode. As more of a side note, the Plasma Rifle is also bugged in that it will lose its firing sounds when the weapon is taken from the map in which it is initially spawned to another map. It shares this bug with the Flamethrower.
However, one must also remember that the 8 damage is the strength of the weapon at an untrained skill level. Mastering Heavy Weapons will turn the damage into 16×3 (master gains a +100% damage bonus and extra damage bonuses are possible with the Targeting Augmentation and headshot multipliers) with the addition of damage from the explosions from the plasma projectiles making it a perfectly reasonable, though perhaps disappointing weapon.
This guide is to further assist any desired usage of the weapon by providing a list of locations of the fairly uncommon ammunition.