While RTS games often have super units with amazing abilities, they rarely have moves that rank among the greats. The exception to this is Supreme Commander, which features the greatest and most devastating move in the entire genre: dropping a nuclear warhead on the enemy’s Commander.
Why is this great? Well firstly, Supreme Commander has the best nukes of any RTS game, as its huge maps gave the developers the scope to make these doomsday weapons as spectacularly powerful as they needed to be. At the same time, the size of the map means that the weapons don’t ensure total armageddon for your enemy – it’s not just a one-shot-kill weapon against the target faction.
In other words, it’s quite possible to spread out your base on the sprawling terrain and avoid total destruction from a single hit, which is why hitting the Commander is such a strategic kick in the jewels.
The best thing to do with an ACU was to destroy one within an enemy base
The Commander unit is in many respects a regular super unit. It builds bases, has special abilities and can be upgraded to function as a very powerful combat unit. The snag is that when it dies, it goes off like an atom bomb in its own right. It’s a bit like playing chess using a hand grenade as a king; a hand grenade that automatically pulls its pin when it’s in check mate. As a result, when you drop a nuke on the enemy’s Commander, you not only cause a hell of a lot of damage, but you also cause a secondary explosion that’s likely to finish off even the hardiest of buildings and units, many of which will then explode too.
This isn’t the easiest move to pull off, though. Although the nuke has a huge blast area, you really have to get the Commander close to the point of impact to get a one-shot kill. What’s more, the nukes in Supreme Commander often have a flight time of over ten seconds, so aiming at the Commander isn’t always a guarantee of landing the shot on him when it splashes down. Of course, many other games boast devastating super weapons, but it’s the ability to turn a single missile strike into a chain of nuclear annihilation that makes this move a winner.
Oh - and don't forget it goes both ways too, so don't leave your ACU guarding your base in case you actually want the enemy to airstrike him and win the game immediately...
Nine: The Rocket Jump
As featured in Quake
The rocket jump has been around since around 1996, when Quake bettered Doom with the ability look and move up and down, rather than just left and right. It’s a simple concept: you shoot a rocket at the floor as you jump, and use the force of the blast to propel yourself much higher than the ascent of a normal jump.
The rocket jump may show up in plenty of other games, but it was invented in Quake
What makes the rocket jump so great is that you have to learn how to perform it, rather than just simply pressing the Jump button. For every perfectly executed rocket jump, there will also be half a dozen guys who kill themselves with the rocket, mis-time the jump and go nowhere or overshoot and fall to their death because they missed the target ledge. It’s a move that requires considerable dexterity and skill, and it’s still one of the must-have moves in the repertoire when it comes to classic shooters.
The rocket jump has fallen out of favour with many modern multiplayer shooters to some extent. It’s not really appropriate to leap thirty feet into the air from an explosion in Call of Duty 4, although it was featured prominently as a part of the role for the Soldier class in Team Fortress 2 and is actually a critical advantage for the Soldier class that was deliberately placed in the game.
While it may have been a commoner sight when almost every shooter featured a rocket launcher, the rocket jump is still a popular fixture in tournament FPS games, and it also enables you to get to places that you couldn’t otherwise reach.