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Particle explosion effect is making my game slow

In my game, when you shoot an actor I want it to look like the actor is splitting up and exploding into pieces. I tried using particles, but I saw it was not very reliable and the particles sometimes took off too late. So what I did was create 4 particle-looking actors, spawn them when the actor is about to be destroyed, interpolate them away, fade them out and then destroy them. This gave it the effect I wanted, however at times there can be over 20 actors destroyed, which in turn ends up spawning 80 actors in all directions, which makes my game lag when used in my phone. Is there perhaps another way to get this particle effect in a more efficient way? Perhaps using animations or maybe something else?

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