Platforms: Apple II, Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, IBM PC/Compatibles


Main Genre:
Visual Presentation:
Fixed / Flip Screen


Atari 7800 version of Crossbow
Atari 7800 version of Crossbow

Crossbow is an action game originally released in arcades by Exidy and later ported to several home computers and consoles. The game is a first person shooter where players need to help a group of friends cross treacherous landscapes in order to reach their goal.


The goal in Crossbow is to retrieve stolen treasures from the castle of the Evil Master of Darkness. The begins with a map where players can choose one of several possible directions to travel by shooting one of the two or three colored blocks along the bottom of the screen. Each path leads to a different type of zone; after a selection is made, the game switches to a side view of the selected zone with the friends attempting to walk across the screen from left to right at a continuous pace. Each zone will have a variety of dangers; players need to shoot any hazards to keep their friends safe as they journey from one side to the other. Once all of the friends have completed crossing the screen, players will be brought back to the map and once again need to choose a direction of travel. Players need to find a path to eventually reach the Castle Hall where the Evil Master is located.

Each zone encountered in the game has a different theme along with different types of obstacles and challenges. Depending on the path that is selected, it's also possible to have to cross a zone more than once. The possible zones are:

  • Desert: Numerous types of desert creatures attack including scorpions, vultures, snakes, ants, and more. Players gain another friend the first time surviving this zone.
  • Haunted Village: It is night in the village, and numerous ghosts, werewolves, witches, and lightning bolts cause trouble.
  • Volcano: A volcano in the distance spews numerous volcanic rocks which fall from the sky. A river of lava blocks the path as well, and a large boulder can be shot to knock it over forming a bridge. An additional friend joins the team the first time this zone is completed.
  • Ice Caverns: Stalactites fall from the ceiling and bats swoop down. Crevices in the floor need to be filled in by shooting stalactites above before any friends reach the gap and fall in. Another friend joins the first time players complete this zone.
  • River: Bouncing boulders and swooping pterodactyls need to be shot or avoided; jumping creatures such as fish, frogs, alligators, and more appear as well.
  • Jungle: Numerous monkeys throw coconuts and dangerous plants are found along the ground. Players gain another friend the first time surviving this zone.
  • Castle: Players will need to lower the drawbridge by shooting the ropes holding it up before any friends accidentally walk into the moat. Once the bridge is down, everyone can cross. Guards appear at the top of the castle and shoot arrows while pterodactyls attack from behind.
  • Castle Hall: The final zone before facing the Evil Master! A dragon appears overhead and shoots fireballs while arrows appear from the right. Players only need to reach the center of the screen; from there, a platform lowers and it's time to face the Master! The Master shoots numerous, quickly moving lightning bolts. If players defeat the Master, the game repeats but with an increased level of difficulty.
When shooting targets, players need to avoid accidentally shooting a friend. The first time this happens, the game warns not to shoot friends; after that, a first shot will injure and slow down a friends movement, and a second shot will kill him. Any time one of the player's friends is hit by one of the dangers or falls off of the path, the friend is lost. The game is over when players have no more friends remaining. Points are earned throughout the game for each target that is shot as well as a bonus for defeating the Evil Master.


The original arcade version of Crossbow used a light gun shaped like a crossbow; some of the home conversions used a light gun as well (when available, such as on the Atari 7800 and Atari 8-bit computers), while other ports used more common controls for home systems such as a mouse or joystick.


Platform: Atari 2600
Programmed by: Dan Kitchen
Platform: IBM PC/Compatibles
Adapted by: Scott Marshall
Artwork by: Mike Sullivan
Produced by: Alex DeMeo


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Arcade Version


Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
Instruction Manual
Atari 7800

Packaging/Label Styles

This game has releases with the following standardized packaging styles: