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Rocket launcher

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On E3M8 of MOUNTAIN.WAD, the rocket launcher can only be used at relatively close quarters.

E2M8 Battling Cyberdemon

A rocket-to-rocket battle with the cyberdemon on E2M8: Tower of Babel.

This article is about the original Doom games weapon. For the weapon in Doom 3, see Rocket launcher (Doom 3). For the weapon in Doom 4, see Rocket launcher (Doom 4).

The rocket launcher is used to fire rockets, missiles that fly in a straight line and explode when they hit anything solid. When picked up, the launcher contains two rockets (four at the I'm Too Young To Die and Nightmare! skill levels).

The launcher first appears in a secret area of the level E1M3: Toxin Refinery and appears again in secret areas of the following three levels. It is finally found in a non-secret area on E1M7: Computer Station.

Combat characteristics

Each rocket does 20-160 points of damage, in round multiples of 20, plus a blast radius of 128 units (taking a direct hit automatically incurs the full 128 additional points). The rocket launcher is approximately as powerful as the super shotgun, but equally effective at long range and with a more rapid rate of fire, although rocket ammo is less plentiful than shells.

It can be used for rocket jumping in some areas, for example to reach the secret exit of E3M6: Mt. Erebus.

Tactical analysis

The rocket launcher is usually the most effective long range weapon in the game as its projectiles fly faster and it has a higher rate of fire than the BFG9000. Against a particularly tough monster such as a Baron of Hell, getting in several rocket hits is not that difficult due to the rocket speed and reload, whereas it is more difficult score a direct hit with the BFG9000 blast.

The rocket launcher can inflict enormous damage against groups of monsters, and is often the preferred weapon when cells are low. The rocket launcher can also conserve ammo due to its splash damage which can deliver (roughly) the same damage to a large number of targets given that they are all close together in proximity to the rocket's blast.

However, when using the rocket launcher at close range or within a confined structure, great care must be taken to avoid the effects of blast damage. Even a player with 200% health and armor can be killed by several such accidents. For this reason, using a rocket launcher around Lost Souls or Pain Elementals is hazardous.

Novice players may also be caught off guard by the weapon's horizontal auto-aiming which sometimes causes a rocket to be launched a few degrees away from center.


Sshot rocketlauncher64

The rocket launcher as it appears in Doom 64

  • As with the BFG9000 and chaingun, the full rocket launcher sprite (after pickup) is slightly too large for the screen, and can only be viewed with a level or resource editor.
  • The rocket launcher has a "safety catch" similar to the BFG9000. When selected while the fire key is still pressed, the rocket launcher will not begin firing immediately like other weapons, but only when fire key is released and pressed again. It is likely this feature was implemented to prevent severe player injuries by accidentally firing the weapon at close range.
  • Due to the rocket launcher's explosive force, it is often used in many speedruns to propel the player to a faster momentum, or to slingshot the player over jumps that typically could not be reached by running alone.
  • The rocket launcher's appearance in Doom 64 is slightly different. However, not much has been changed, with the exception it delivers some knockback to the player when fired.


Rocket launcher data
Weapon number 5
Damage 20-160 (direct hit)
0-128 (blast radius)
148-288 (direct hit + blast radius)
Included ammo 2 (4 on skills 1 & 5)
Max ammo 50 (100 with backpack)
Ammo type Rocket
Shot type Projectile
Velocity 20 map units per tic
(700 map units per second)
Shots per minute 105.0
Sound DSRLAUNC (firing)
DSBAREXP (impact)
Appears in Shareware Doom
Registered Doom
Ultimate Doom
Doom II/Final Doom
Thing type 2003 (decimal), 7D3 (hex)
Radius 20
Sprite LAUN (before pickup)
MISG (wielded)
MISF (firing)
MISL (in flight)
BEXP (impact)
Class Weapon

Damage done by a rocket impact (direct hit plus blast)


Damage done by a rocket impact (direct hit only)

Shots needed to kill1,2 Mean Standard
Min Max
Barrel 1.00 0.00 1 1
Trooper 1.00 0.00 1 1
Sergeant 1.00 0.00 1 1
Wolfenstein SS 1.00 0.00 1 1
Imp 1.00 0.00 1 1
Chaingunner 1.00 0.00 1 1
Lost Soul 1.00 0.00 1 1
Commander Keen 1.00 0.00 1 1
Demon 1.13 0.33 1 2
Spectre 1.13 0.33 1 2
Boss Brain3 1.76 0.43 1 2
Revenant 2.03 0.16 2 3
Cacodemon 2.35 0.48 2 3
Pain Elemental 2.35 0.48 2 3
Hell Knight 2.86 0.41 2 4
Arachnotron 2.86 0.41 2 4
Mancubus 3.24 0.43 3 4
Arch-Vile 3.72 0.55 3 5
Baron of Hell 5.09 0.50 4 6
Spider Mastermind 34.03 2.60 27 40
Cyberdemon 45.16 3.09 36 52

  1. This table assumes that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, impact animations, and backfire checks are consecutive. In real play, this is never the case: counterattacks and AI pathfinding must be handled, and of course the map may contain additional moving monsters and other randomized phenomena (such as flickering lights). It is also assumed that all projectiles are launched at nearly the same range, so that the various procedures call P_Random in the same sequence each time. Any resulting errors are probably toward the single-shot average, as they introduce noise into the correlation between the indices of "consecutive" calls.
  2. Assumes that all rockets actually strike the target.
  3. Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.

Appearance statistics

The IWADs contain the following numbers of rocket launchers:

Ultimate Doom323232
Doom II272828
TNT: Evilution313232

See also

Weapons from Doom and Doom II
Fist Pistol Shotgun Chaingun Rocket launcher Plasma gun BFG9000
Chainsaw Super shotgun

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