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In first-person shooter games, rocket jumping is the technique of using the explosion of a rocket launcher combined with a jump. The aim of this technique is to reach new heights and distances. Although the origin of rocket jumping is unclear, its use dates back at least to play in Quake. The biggest downside of rocket jumping is that it usually injures the player, either from the blast damage or fall damage. This effect makes the technique less useful in games where the damage from the blast, fall, or both is high. The technique is used especially in advanced/competitive play where it is used in order to gain quick bursts of speed, reach normally unobtainable heights, secure positional advantages, or in speedrunning. Rocket jumping is impractical in real life, and would be almost certainly fatal if attempted.
In the Quake series
While using explosives to propel oneself was first seen in Doom, the modern technique became a core mechanic in Quake, taking the technique to literal new heights. By exploiting the various quirks of the Quake engine, many advanced movement techniques were spawned: such as circle jumping, strafing, bunny hopping, and of course explosive jumping. The community quickly became accustomed to using these various methods of gaining speed, and so was born the first speedrunning community. Rocket jumping was kept as an intentional mechanic for the leading games in the Quake series. In Quake III: Arena some of the computer-controlled opponents use rocket jumps.
Rocket jumping has appeared in several games in a variety of forms, sometimes as a form of emergent gameplay.
A horizontal form of rocket jumping appears in Doom (1993), where it is used to reach the secret exit in E3M6 (it is possible to reach the exit without rocket jumping, but this technique was the intended method according to John Romero).
The first games to feature vertical rocket jumping were Bungie's Marathon and 3D Realms' Rise of the Triad (coincidentally, the two games launched on the same day, although the full version of Rise of the Triad came later). It was featured as well the same year on The Outfoxies, an arcade 2D plataform versus game released by NAMCO. The character Betty Doe can be seen performing one in the attract mode, so it might be the first time it was depicted as such. Rocket jumping became very popular in the original Quake (1996), and was used as an advanced technique for deathmatch play as well as for the Quake done Quick series. In Half-Life's (1998) multiplayer mode, the tau cannon can be used to launch the player into the air. In the Halo game franchise, players often use guns such as the Concussion rifle or Frag grenades to launch the player faster or higher for speedrunning purposes, or to reach normally unreachable areas or easter eggs. Rocket jumping also appears in Unreal (1998) and Unreal Tournament, where the player can fire Eightball rockets beneath their feet and gain altitude. In that game it is also possible to perform a similar move, the "hammer jump" with the Impact Hammer.
In the game Team Fortress 2 (2007), players can use the explosive knockback of a Soldier's rockets to rocket jump. Rocket jumping in Team Fortress 2 is a crucial skill required for players playing the Soldier class in high level play, especially to quickly move back to the next map objective after respawning. Demomen also have sticky bombs and grenades, which can be used to do a similar strategy called sticky jumping. Multiple other classes can also reflect these explosives back to themselves, allowing them to rocket jump too. In certain maps that contain explosive objects, any player can perform an explosive jump, at the cost of a large quantity of health. The Soldier and Demoman also have unlockable weapons to practice rocket and sticky jumping. These weapons do no damage to the player, but they also do not allow the player to capture objectives.
Also, in Overwatch (2016), multiple characters have explosive projectiles that can be used to rocket jump.
- Grenade jumping is an extremely similar concept, where players throw a grenade underneath themselves while jumping.
- When rocket-launched weapons were added to the battle royale game Fortnite: Battle Royale, players discovered that it is possible to ride launched missiles to reach other places that are time-consuming, difficult or impossible to access on foot, provided that the rider safely disembarks at a nearby platform before the missile explodes. This technique, called rocket riding, does not follow the typical definition of rocket jumping (in that it does not leverage the force of a rocket explosion), but can be seen to be related to it in that it inherits its risks.
Rocket jumping has appeared in other media as well.
- In the live-action film Transformers, the character Ironhide performs a rocket jump over a screaming woman after transforming from his truck mode.
- In the film Planet Terror, lead character Cherry Darling uses her false leg, a machine gun with underslung grenade launcher, to rocket jump over a tall wall.
- In the film Tokyo Gore Police, lead character Ruka uses a bazooka to rocket jump to a building's rooftop.
- In the online MOBA League of Legends, the character Tristana uses an ability of the same name.
- In Freddie Wong's and Brandon Laatsch's video "The Rocket Jump", the rocket jump is featured as the main part of the YouTube short. This later influenced their channel and studio into being renamed "RocketJump".
- In the episode "The Librarians and the Point of Salvation" of the first season of the 2014 TV series The Librarians, rocket jumping is specifically referred to but done using grenades.
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Description: "Everything you need for your rocket riding taxi service."
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