A brief history of missile rides


Year: 2002

Leave it to Contra to bring back missile-riding in grand style. The fourth level of Shattered Soldier begins with its heroes dangling from missiles under the wings of a plane…

Which almost immediately fires off its payload. YES NOW WE ARE BADASSES AGAIN.

Probably the biggest difference between the missiles in Shattered Soldier and the ones in Contra III is that, this time around, you can actually control them in flight.

Above: This isn’t actually so bad… 

And then, suddenly, THIS happens:


Once the robot’s defeated, you can watch the fireworks as you zoom safely away, secure in the knowledge that you’ve wreaked unimaginable environmental devastation and are clinging by your numb fingertips to a supersonic death trap.



Year: 2004

This barely counts as a missile ride, but we’re including it because a bunch of you would probably complain otherwise. Seen by many as the most ridiculous moment in the GameCube remake of Metal Gear Solid, the cutscene in which Solid Snake takes down his clone brother’s helicopter gunship ditches the actual “riding” in favor of showing us what it would be like if Metal Gear’s target audience was a bunch of nine-year-olds.

Above: We apologize for the crappy quality of these shots. The game is awfully dark 

As his Hind helicopter is on its last legs, Liquid Snake launches a salvo of rockets at his brother, who’s been making a fool of him with a Stinger missile launcher.

Above: Uh oh 

Undaunted, Snake backflips over one of the missiles…

Above: WHOOSH 

… and plants his foot on it:

Above: See that? That’s a foot making contact with a missile. For all of a split-second. That’s not a “ride,” it’s a boot-kiss

He then uses its leverage to leap high into the air…

Above: SHOOM 

… before taking aim with his heavy Stinger launcher and knocking the Hind out of the air.

Above: BOOOSH 

Here, it’s less stupid when you see it in motion:


Year: 2004

By 2004, it had become apparent that Contra just wasn’t Contra anymore without at least one missile ride, so Neo Contra upped the ante by adding two. Granted, both of them stretch the definition of “missile ride” a bit, but it’s Contra so we don’t care.

Above: CONTRA! 

The first one is right at the beginning of the game, and it takes place in space, where an apparently rider-less missile is being prepared for launch.

The missile then streaks toward earth, turning red-hot as it enters the planet’s atmosphere.

Above: It’s like you can see the badassness building up 

It then slams through a building before setting off a massive, city-leveling explosion.

When the dust clears, there’s just one thing left standing (or two, if you’re playing with a buddy): Bill Rizer and/or his sidekick Jaguar, right there at the center of the crater. This either means that he/they are invincible, or that they were in the rocket when it detonated. We’re pretty sure it’s the latter, but either way, it implies a ridiculous level of toughness.

The next one takes place much later in the game, when Bill and Jaguar get ditched on an about-to-explode flying aircraft carrier by that Animal Contra guy you saw a few screenshots back. As Animal makes his escape, Bill and Jaguar do the only thing that makes sense: they grab torpedoes and jump off after him.

Again, torpedoes aren’t exactly missiles, so this is a stretch. But again, it’s Contra, so we don’t care.

Above: WHEEE 


Year: 2004

2004 was a pretty busy year for missile riding, and Jak 3 capped it off with one of the most epic missile rides yet.

It begins when, in one of the missions, Jak and Daxter are tasked with charging up a missile and slamming it into a force field.

Daxter, with uncharacteristic bravery, immediately takes charge and leaps onto the rocket…

… with predictable results:

After that, you’ll be tasked with steering the missile through aquatic minefields and other obstacles, with one hit meaning instant death as you gather Eco to charge the rocket’s explosives.

It was simple, but it delivered a better sense of speed than just about any missile ride before it. To get a better sense of what we mean, check it out in the following video:


Year: 2005

Seen by many as the definitive instance of videogame missile-surfing, DMC3’s ride begins when, on their first meeting, Dante teases demon hunter Lady.

In a bad mood, she responds by (somewhat justifiably) shooting him with her bazooka, something she does without even looking.

Dante, who gets giant objects stabbed through his torso for fun, decides to play along and does a Matrix-inspired dodge to avoid the missile.

As he does so, he plants his foot on its underside…

… which then enables him to dart around the room, hooting and screaming like a jackass.

Above: WHOO! 

Above: YAH! 

Above: HAH! 

Once he gets bored of that, he boots the missile into the ceiling and lets it detonate harmlessly above him, creating a really cool explosion effect.


Still pictures can’t begin to do this justice, of course, so you’re better off taking a look at it in the video below:


Year: 2006

Take a good, long look at this screenshot. If you look just above Snoopy’s Sopwith Camel, you’ll see his little bird friend, Woodstock, flitting around the wings.

That’s more than just cute window dressing. Woodstock is Snoopy’s indispensible ally in this surprisingly decent flight-combat sim, in that he fills in for the kind of missile-guidance systems that hadn’t been invented by World War I. That is to say, he rides on missiles and guides them to their targets, and you can control him while he does so.

It’s all good, though – when Woodstock gets close enough to his targets, he breaks off and flits away, letting the explosives do the rest of the work.

Not the most badass example, granted, but still – it’s a beloved cartoon bird riding on missiles. What more do you want?


  • coolip - November 18, 2010 4:10 p.m.

    Wow, I'm actually surprised to see that Just Cause 2's missile riding wasn't included. But anyways, Invader Zim FTW!
  • Conman93 - November 2, 2009 5:58 p.m.

    EPIC ARTICLE!! I knew jak 3 would be here. That part is hilarious
  • oryandymackie - August 26, 2009 4:39 p.m.

    Those Devil May Cry and MGS cutscenes were stupid beyond belief. So what, Dante flies a missile around a small room which creates a suspiciously short lasting explosion which does no structural damage at all? P.S is Ninja Blade worth buying, or is it just QTE's?
  • Felixthecat - August 24, 2009 4:05 p.m.

    How could you include Bolt? Including that is like advertising, advertising a movie game is immoral and movie games breed. Buying a movie game just makes developers make more, do we really want to live in a worldlike that?
  • jeffrey3133 - August 23, 2009 12:23 a.m.

    this is a stupid artical
  • BeastlyB - August 21, 2009 3:52 p.m.

    When I saw gir it made me smile insanely,great article.
  • GamerTagsSuck - August 21, 2009 11:31 a.m.

    HOLY CRAP ITS GIR! That just made my day.
  • musashi1596 - August 21, 2009 10:53 a.m.

    Are we forgetting the missile riding mini game from Metal Slug X? Shame on you.
  • ZeroLegends - August 21, 2009 3:37 a.m.

    Ok running out of ideas much GR? Still good article. @adadadwhatever I wosh i could strap you to a missile and send you into space,without a helmet,twards the sun. ReCAPTCHA: over The...Rainbow!
  • smallberry - August 20, 2009 11:45 p.m.

    Yay for the Strangelove reference!
  • realybored666 - August 20, 2009 7:55 p.m.

    invader zim FTW!!!
  • LionheartAce - August 20, 2009 3:40 p.m.

  • noobeater - August 20, 2009 11:35 a.m.

    wow i vaguely remember mischief makers thx GR iv had my daily does of nostalgia. man all those creatures with wierd faces was......well wierd
  • Jordo141 - August 20, 2009 8:44 a.m.

    What the hell? NO METAL SLUG???!!?
  • tylerj800 - August 20, 2009 5:07 a.m.

    You guys missed the most important one, WOW. The missile flying mount from the card game i think. That is easily the best missile ride due to the amount of freedom and badassery.
  • aion7 - August 20, 2009 4:45 a.m.

    Badass article or badassest article? I think it's the large amounts of Contra that truly turn this article up to eleven.
  • MechGyver - August 20, 2009 3:47 a.m.

    For a moment i thought this article was about our male fallic friend...
  • TheWebSwinger - August 20, 2009 3:33 a.m.

    A verrry phallic article, GDar.
  • revrock - August 20, 2009 3:18 a.m.

    YES! Captain Marvel FTW!!!!!
  • TheElusiveMongoose - August 20, 2009 3:01 a.m.

    Another awesome article Mikel, and Doctor Strangelove is one of the best movies ever. (Am I really te first one to get that referance?)

Showing 1-20 of 68 comments

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