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Introducing the Halo Rocket Launcher
The Rocket Launcher featured in Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and the forthcoming Halo: Reach on the Xbox 360 is the "M41 Surface-to-Surface Rocket Medium Anti-Vehicle/Assault Weapon". This design employs two removable barrels, pre-loaded with rockets, to speed up reloading under fire, and cut down on the bulk a UNSC soldier has to carry. The Rocket Launcher is equipped with a 2x magnification scope, and is surprisingly accurate even over long distances, although gravity will make a rocket drop in altitude at extreme ranges. The Rocket Launcher is available as a pickup throughout the Halo game campaigns, and is often placed at focal points in multiplayer maps. There are also multiplayer game-types exclusively focused on wielding the Rocket launcher.
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Advantages of the Rocket Launcher
The Halo Rocket Launcher is capable of inflicting huge and satisfying damage in game. Firing into a group of infantry will decimate them with one shot, due to the large amount of splash damage the weapon creates. Warthogs and other smaller vehicles (and their crews) can be destroyed with one shot, while the larger armored vehicles such as the Scorpion Tank and the Covenant Wraith require two to three hits. The Rocket Launcher's ability to fire two shots in fast succession means a player equipped with one is quite capable of taking even these monster machines out of the action.
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Disadvantages of the Rocket Launcher
It's not all good news when using the Rocket Launcher, though. To preserve the balance of the game, Bungie have implemented some drawbacks to the weapon. A player can only carry 8 rockets, including the two in the barrels, at any one time, and ammo pick-ups for the Rocket Launcher are generally sparse. The rockets themselves are fairly slow, allowing skilled players to dodge them when fired at a distance, and, if used in close-combat, the splash damage of the Rocket Launcher is just as likely to take out the player firing the weapon as the enemy. Due to the rockets leaving a trail of smoke back to where they were launched from, camping is out of the question with this weapon, and, if you miss the target, the slow reload time may allow your enemy to get the jump on you.
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Multiplayer tactics with the Halo Rocket Launcher
- Use the Rocket Launcher to take out the opposing side's vehicles first. Rockets fired under the wheels of a Warthog will turn the vehicle over and probably take out all its passengers. When firing on flying machines such as Ghosts or Banshees, fire slightly ahead of the vehicle ("leading" it) to compensate for the rocket's slow speed.
- If your enemy are bunched up or holed up behind cover, firing a rocket into their ranks can cause mayhem due to the massive splash damage.
- Keep moving after each use of the Rocket Launcher, and ensure no enemies are around when reloading, as the process can take up to five seconds. If the opposition does get the drop on you, switch to your secondary weapon to take them out rather than continue wrestling with an empty Rocket Launcher.
- If a player is jumping as he approaches you, attempt to fire a rocket into the ground where his feet will land, and try to time it for the lowest point of his jump. This way your enemy will take the full brunt of the splash damage.
- It's mighty tempting to head straight for the Rocket Launcher on a multiplayer map. If you're after it, you can bet your enemy is thinking the same thing. Hang back and take them out from a distance as they make a dash for the Rocket Launcher, then you or one of your teammates can swoop in and pick it up.
- The Gravity Hammer can deflect incoming rockets, so be very careful firing into enemies wielding one of these, as deflected rockets will tumble off across the battlefield and may take out some of your own team-mates.
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The Halo Rocket Launcher is a weapon of sheer brute force, and used wisely can make all the difference between victory and defeat. For further Halo multiplayer hints, tips and tricks, take a look at our complete Halo 3 multiplayer guide.