A brief history of missile rides


Year: 2007

The insane, over-the-top, borderline racist shoot ‘em-up Chili Con Carnage has what is easily the funniest missile-riding scene ever put into a game, which in our book also makes it the best. It starts off strong, as gun-crazy hero Ram hops onto a stray rocket after battling an attack chopper, and zooms off in search of the villain Elvez Gonzalez.

Above: Our favorite screenshot of 2007 

We next see Ram (presumably) several hours later, after the cold, stark realities of riding missiles with limitless fuel reserves have set in. Miles out to sea, Ram is wet, freezing and hounded by a bunch of dolphins who are just way too happy about this whole stupid situation.

Ram’s dignity is at an all-time low, and it only gets worse when he runs afoul of a flock of low-flying seagulls.

Luckily, Ram’s suffering isn’t totally in vain, as his Uncle Marco swoops in via helicopter and informs him that the missile is headed straight for Elvez’s distant retreat.

Needless to say, fireworks ensue soon after. You can see the whole silly spectacle for yourself in the following video.


Year: 2007

If you take away anything from this article, it should be that when it comes to missile rides, nobody brings it like Contra. In its latest outing, the series returned to territory that had previously been explored only briefly by Sonic Adventure 2: that of missile-riding a ginormous rocket, instead of just a surfboard-sized one.

Above: DAMN, SON 

Contra 4’s missile is nothing less than a full-sized, futuristic ICBM, and before you can ride on it, you’ll need to fight your way up the support scaffolding that surrounds it.

Then, once you’re on board, you’ll need to contend with the attentions of this giant weirdo:

It’s not until you near the top of the missile that things start to get really crazy, though, as you’re forced to dodge and shoot incoming rockets while leaping from handhold to handold, all as the missile curves and arcs along its flight path.

Above: Precarious! 

Before long, the missile nears its intended target and goes vertical, forcing you up toward its base, where you’ll get to balance on its engines while avoiding jets of fire.

Then the whole mess slams into a building…

After which you’re left standing on the street, unharmed.

Above: YAY 


Year: 2008

Based not so much on the Disney movie as it is on the TV show within the movie, Bolt flirts with the idea of a super-powered puppy surfing on man-sized rockets, but instead opts to have its star drag them around with his teeth.

Despite the teasing, Bolt eventually does ride a missile. And when he does, it turns out to be of the huge, Contra 4/Sonic Adventure 2 flavor.

In order to save his friend Penny, who’s been trapped inside the rocket, Bolt has to dismantle it in flight, piece by piece. This begins with a couple of electrical panels on the side of the missile.

It then continues with the removal of the missile’s warhead, which flies off to detonate harmlessly in some nearby city or village…

… and culminates with Bolt eye-lasering his way into the compartment where Penny’s being held captive.

The remaining chunk of missile crashes to Earth somewhere in a snowy mountain range, but Penny and Bolt appear to be fine.

Above: Or at least they will be, until they have to decide which one will eat the other while they wait for rescue


Year: 2008

Taking its cues from Neo Contra, the Xbox Live Indie Game Weapon of Choice deployed its heroes in a unique, somewhat more candy-colored manner.

Above: Whatever you say, Wilford Brimley, sir! 

Candy-colored or not, it’s hard to argue with the results:

Above: Lock and load, rock and roll, etc., etc. 


Year: 2009

Say what you will about Ninja Blade, but it never shies away from trying to give gamers who love awesome, absurdly over-the-top action sequences exactly what they want. A prime example is its missile-surfing scene, which builds on what Devil May Cry 3 started by making it longer and interactive, and setting it amid a backdrop of Tokyo skyscrapers instead of some dank cave.

The sequence begins just after the game’s ninja hero, Ken, fights an attack chopper that seems to have been possessed by a bunch of giant snails.

Above: Looking at this thing, it’s hard to believe awesomeness is only moments away 

While he tries to wrestle it into submission, Ken grabs hold of the wrong end of a missile, which the possessed chopper immediately launches.

What follows is one of the game’s better quicktime events, as Ken struggles to gain control of the rocket…

… rides it up the side of a building…

… twists it back around…

… puts it on a collision course with the snail-infested helicopter that fired it…

… and finishes it off in true ninja style. Or possibly in the exact opposite of true ninja style.

Whatever, it’s awesome. It’s also a suitably well-executed example with which to end this history. Of course, still images can’t do justice to its majesty, so we recommend you check out the following video footage:




Jet engines from space


Helicopter blades



Aug 19, 2009

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From 1961 to 2008, there's a wealth of futuristic finery to behold


  • lovinmyps3 - August 19, 2009 9:52 p.m.

    Missle Rides?!?! Random much? Lol
  • CountFenring - August 19, 2009 9:52 p.m.

    I thought you ran on the inside of the missile in Sonic. It might be something else, but I remember running on the inside of a missile like thing in a GameCube game.
  • killerwhalen - August 19, 2009 10:06 p.m.

    This is one awesome article. And it's always good to get a Chilli Con Carnage reference.
  • _D-Man_ - August 19, 2009 10:23 p.m.

  • iJizzLots - August 19, 2009 10:30 p.m.

    No love for Megaman Zero? forgot which one, i presum its 3 or 4... a whole level was you INSIDE a missle. still, awesome list. 'specially enjoyed contra 3, that leve made no sense whatsoever, but man was it epic
  • husk94 - August 19, 2009 10:50 p.m.

    the jak 3 rocket ride waas AWWWWsome
  • norid - August 19, 2009 11:01 p.m.

    haha the pic of gir was awesome
  • EliteDog - August 19, 2009 11:09 p.m.

    YEEE HAAAWWW! ...sorry.
  • adadadad - August 19, 2009 11:25 p.m.

  • FETALJUICE - August 19, 2009 11:30 p.m.

    The Contra series will always remain the undisputed king of missile rides. lol
  • michaelmcc827 - August 19, 2009 11:50 p.m.

    well that was fun.
  • rxb - August 19, 2009 11:51 p.m.

    Amazing article, never would have thought the history of missile rides would be so deep. The DMC3 one has to be the funniest. The anime project Ako also has a cool missile ride sence.
  • Ninja-KiLLR - August 20, 2009 12:20 a.m.

    snake truly is the legendary soldier if he can do that move
  • Curtis_Stone - August 20, 2009 12:25 a.m.

    Contra/Konami really loves their missile riding... reCAPTCHA: "Olyphant seriously"
  • drprofessor - August 20, 2009 12:43 a.m.

    What about snakes from Battle Toads? anyway great article. love gamesradar.
  • sgloomy - August 20, 2009 1:25 a.m.

    i used to have that pig riding thing at the end as my background,ah, good memories!!!! but seriously, where do you guys even come up with these awesome ideas? i have a feeling it happens the same way that Matt Stone and Trey Parker came up with Towlie....
  • WeaselWithAGun - August 20, 2009 1:57 a.m.

    I'm so glad to see Jak3 in gamesradar. This just made my week!
  • Cyberninja - August 20, 2009 2:21 a.m.

    ok didnot know you could use pigs from invader zim like missiles
  • Dill - August 20, 2009 2:29 a.m.

    What a beast article. It's got so many screenshots! Great work, I can see the time spent on this... FeedbacK::I laughed at the games I recognized and read everything about them. Otherwise, I just looked at the photos.
  • Hurricrane - August 20, 2009 3:04 a.m.

    the Ninja Blade pics just made me laugh nonstop... great idea GR

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