Crossfire (video game)

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For the role-playing computer game, see Crossfire (computer game). For the online computer game, see CrossFire (online PC game).
Crossfire (Apple II).png
Gameplay screenshot
Publisher(s) Sierra On-Line
Designer(s) Jay Sullivan
Platform(s) Apple II, Atari 400/800, PCjr, Commodore 64, VIC-20
Release date(s) 1981
Mode(s) Single-player

Crossfire is a popular Apple II, Atari 400/800, VIC-20 and Commodore 64 video game created by Jay Sullivan, first published by Sierra On-Line in 1981.


In Crossfire, the player uses the IJKL keys on the keyboard to move and ESDF to shoot left, right, up, and down[1] among an array of blocks, avoiding incoming fire and dispatching enemies. The playing area consists of 42 blocks (7 rows by 6 columns), through which there are six vertical alleys, five horizontal alleys, and 30 intersections. The player can move and fire in any direction, but can only stop in intersections.

Along the left, right and top sides of the playing area are 16 pockets, each of which holds four enemies, one of each variety. These enemies emerge and move among the blocks, firing at and attempting to collide with the player. The enemies differ only in appearance, not in power or behavior. The first is small, bluish, and diamond-shaped (worth 10 points); the second resembles a scarab (20 points); the third is orange with blue legs (40 points); the fourth is silver and diamond-shaped (80 points). Like the player, the enemies can move and fire in any direction, but are not as fast. Unlike the player, they never run out of ammunition.

Within four blocks near the middle of the playing area are four orange, spindle-shaped bonus items. Twelve shots from the player after collecting the previous bonus, or missing the previous bonus, or the beginning of the level, the next bonus emerges from its block and becomes accessible. If it has not been collected after five further shots, it goes back into its block. Capturing the bonus items grants 100, 200, 400 and 800 points.

The player can fire only a limited number of shots before having to reload. In early rounds this number is around 30, but drops as the levels progress. When ammunition runs low, a cluster of four pulsing white dots appears at the symmetrical point of where the player is related to the centre of the grid. This cluster marks where the player needs to go to reload.

Play begins with three ships; an extra one is awarded every 5,000 points. The level ends when all the enemies are destroyed.


Although already available for other computers, a cartridge version of Crossfire was among the launch titles for the IBM PCjr, announced in late 1983.[2]


Softline called Crossfire "a new twist on arcade games with delightfully colorful beasties and smooth animation", which "offers hours of challenge and enjoyment for the dedicated and persevering gamester".[1] BYTE called Crossfire "one of the most difficult and challenging arcade games to play ... The reflexes take a long time to master, but, once you get the hang of it, it's addictive".[3] PC Magazine‍ '​s review was less favorable, calling the alien-attack scenario overused. It described the IBM PC version's graphics as "adequate, but nothing spectacular", and the controls as imprecise and inelegant.[4] Ahoy! was also critical, stating "come now, do we really need a bare bones grid shooting game (the VIC graphics are absolutely starved), with no character or atmosphere?"[5] InfoWorld was more positive regarding the IBM PCjr version, describing it as "an engrossing waste of time".[6] The Addison-Wesley Book of Atari Software 1984 gave the game an overall B+ rating, calling it "one of the best strategy shoot-'em-ups to come along in a long while ... it remains tough, and one that you won't tire of easily."[7]


  1. ^ a b Tommervik, Art (1982-01). "Crossfire". Softline. p. 15. Retrieved 13 July 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Wiswell, Phil (1984-01-24). "Coming Soon: Games For The PCjr". PC. pp. 142–145. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Clark, Pamela; Williams, Gregg (December 1982). "The Coinless Arcade - Rediscovered". BYTE. p. 84. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  4. ^ van Gelder, Lindsy; Sandler, Corey (February 1983). "The Organization Man Meets Pac-Man". PC Magazine. p. 194. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Michaels, R. J. (1984-04). "Cross Fire". Ahoy!. p. 61. Retrieved 27 June 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Mace, Scott (1984-08-13). "PCjr: Back to Basics". InfoWorld. p. 38. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  7. ^ Stanton, Jeffrey; Wells, Robert P. Ph.D.; Rochowansky, Sandra; Mellid, Michael Ph.D., ed. (1984). The Addison-Wesley Book of Atari Software. Addison-Wesley. p. 98. ISBN 0-201-16454-X. 

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