Crossbow (video game)

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Crossbow flyer.png
North American arcade flyer
Developer(s) Exidy
Publisher(s) Exidy, Atari, Mean Hamster Software, Absolute Entertainment, Atari
Platform(s) Arcade, iPhone, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari XE Game System, Commodore 64
Release 1983, 1987
Genre(s) Light-gun games
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Exidy 440
Display Raster, 320 x 240 pixels (Horizontal), 256 colors

Crossbow is a video arcade game released by Exidy in 1983.[1] It was later published by Absolute Entertainment for the Commodore 64, DOS and by Atari for the 2600, 7800 and XE Game System starting in 1987.[2]


Crossbow was the first arcade game with fully digitized sound and speech (some earlier games such as Journey used a loop tape for music and speech effects). It also featured some of the most advanced graphics of the time. Crossbow featured an optical light gun. The game's light gun resembled a full-sized crossbow.


Arcade Gameplay Screenshot

Gameplay requires the player to protect a band of adventurers (referred to as "friends" by the game) from afar by shooting objects that threaten them. The adventurers enter from the left-hand side of the screen and attempt to cross the screen unharmed. If the player helps them reach the opposite side of the screen safely, the adventurers survive to the next scenario, and new adventurers are occasionally granted between scenarios.

In addition to the obstacles, the adventurers are vulnerable to the player's shots. The first time the player shoots an adventurer, an on-screen message is shown: "DON'T SHOOT YOUR FRIENDS!" Thereafter, shooting an adventurer will cause him/her to emit a cry of pain, and to walk at a slower pace the rest of the way. A second shot will kill the adventurer.

Scenarios are chosen by shooting a destination on a map screen, which include: town, desert, volcano, cave, bridge, jungle, and castle. The goal is to reach the final scenario, past the castle, in which the player confronts the Master—who presumably created the dangers in the game. Defeating the Master of Darkness requires shooting him in the eyes when they turn red (and deadly). The player is treated to a brief congratulation and a challenge to defeat the Master again, but if you dare. Following this screen the player starts over with however many adventurers survived the confrontation.

Arcade Gameplay Screenshot, showing where the red, green, and blue choices will take you

This game can be played with the MAME video game emulator, using a mouse instead of the crossbow-shaped light gun.

An iPhone version was released in 2010 by Mean Hamster Software.


  • Game designer and chief programmer: Nick Ilyin
  • Programming: Vic Tolomei, Larry Hutcherson
  • Hardware designer:Howell Ivy
  • Sounds and vocal characterization: Ken Nicholson
  • Lynn Pointer (art design)


External links[edit]