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They are first found in the final level of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, known as Rocket Rush. This special barrel must be used by Dixie and Kiddy Kong to travel through the Buzz infested cliffs. The apes can control the rocket to move left and right, and they can also hit to use the exhaust fuel. However, doing so causes the barrel to run out of fuel faster, which can only be replenished by Fuel Barrels. After the monkeys maneuver to the bottom of the cliff, they hit into an Ignition Barrel and quickly begin to ride upwards. The Rocket Barrel must then be controlled as it slides through the small gaps of the cliffside. If they hit into any of the walls in the gaps, they run out of fuel much faster. Eventually, they should make it to the landing platform and get out of the Rocket Barrel to finish off the level.
In the Super Nintendo version of the game, the Rocket Barrel can simply defeat any type of Buzz by making contact with it. In the Game Boy Advance version, however, the player can only defeat Buzzes by pressing left and right on the or to use exhaust near them. However, this only works with green Buzzes, so the red Buzzes scattered throughout the level cannot be defeated at all in the Game Boy Advance version. If the Rocket Barrel runs into them, one of the apes will get damaged. Another type of rocket barrel found in both versions of the game was in the level Rocket Barrel Ride. Known as Booster Barrels, these barrels carried up the Kongs to higher platforms, or to help the player find certain secrets.
Rocket Barrels reappear in the racing title Donkey Kong Barrel Blast. Here, a fleet of them appear in the racecourse Cosmic Highway, and they will fire homing missiles at the racers and attempt to slow them down. One giant Rocket Barrel is also entered, and the racers fly through its interior before exiting the Rocket Barrel. Since the fleet of Rocket Barrels are in the background, they cannot be destroyed.
The Rocket Barrel makes a reappearance in Donkey Kong Country Returns. The Kongs can hold the button to rise up, and let go of to let the Rocket Barrel descend. Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong must be careful though, as there are many dangers to avoid, and they must have quick reflexes. If the Kongs hit something, the Rocket Barrel explodes and the Kongs will lose an Extra Life Balloon. When using the Wii Remote alone, the button is used to ascend instead.
The Rocket Barrel also appears in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, but can now take up to two hits before exploding. However, in Hard Mode, much like in Donkey Kong Country Returns, it'll explode upon taking damage even once.
The Donkey Kong Country television series also features a rocket-like barrel referred to as the Barrel Rocket. In the episode "Barrel, Barrel... Who's Got the Barrel", it is used by Bluster Barrelworks to deliver barrels. In the later episode "To the Moon Baboon", the Rocket Barrel is used to transport several items to the moon as a time capsule.
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