The Lifter replaced the kick from the first game as the ‘normal’ weapon. You start out with this, and you can also use it in towns as well. You can do things like pick up the snowman’s hat after you kick it, for instance, and if I recall there were a couple of other places it could be used as well. Seeing as you don’t have to upgrade it, its full potential is available to you from the start, and it’s quite useful.
Thrown enemies cause rather nice chunks of damage to other enemies, often destroying them outright. It feels pretty stealthy taking enemies out like that; no explosions or anything, just a nice, quick knockout. This is a great strategy for taking out the rather pesky Gorubeshu, especially during the license tests. Note that enemies themselves take damage when they are chucked. King Miroc in particular is affected by this,; he drops to exactly 1HP when tossed. A lot of enemy layouts were designed with Lifter in mind, so you can easily clear sections of the game with a little strategy.
Certain bosses are vulnerable to the Lifter as well. You can actually chuck Tron’s Servbot’s at the Gustaff for a little damage (and humor value), and you can also chuck Bon’s arms at him as well. This is also necessary for helping Tron and Bon break the rock in the Saul Kada Ruins, as well as other puzzles.
In my opinion, the Lifter is indispensable (literally). You’ll be fighting for a while in Very Hard mode without it, and knowledge of its usage is required if you want to pass the S-License test. The Lifter rates a perfect 10 from me, because it’s just plain awesome.