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.
Each rocket does 20-160 points of damage, in round multiples of 20, plus a maximum blast radius of 128 units. Thus 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.
The rocket launcher can inflict enormous damage against groups of monsters, and is often the preferred weapon for dealing with particularly tough monsters when energy 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.
- 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.
- In vanilla Doom, the rocket's splash damage does not take the vertical axis into account, and can in some cases be used to blow up enemies or barrels well above or below the rocket's impact. Some ports change this behavior by default.
Data not listed is the same
|Shots needed to kill1,2||Mean|| Standard
|Heavy weapon dude||1.00||0.00||1||1|
|Baron of Hell||5.09||0.50||4||6|
- 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.
- Assumes that all rockets actually strike the target.
- Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.
The IWADs contain the following numbers of rocket launchers per skill level:
- Blast damage
- Rocket jumping
- Rocket passes through the player who fired it
- Rocket launcher (Doom 3)
- Rocket launcher (Doom 2016)
- Rocket launcher (Doom Eternal)