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Crossbow (Half-Life)

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Crossbow 1.jpg
Production information

Black Mesa



Technical specifications
  • 50
  • 20 (MP)
  • 40 (explosion)


Max ammo


Ammo type





Very long

Reload time


Usable underwater


Used by

Gordon Freeman

Game information



The Crossbow is a weapon featured in Half-Life.


The Crossbow is a silent projectile weapon with a scope. It is first acquired in the chapter Apprehension kept inside a suspended shark cage where a nearby scientist refers to it as a Tranquilizer Gun. It has both primary and secondary firing options. Its primary attack fires a bolt, while the secondary fire zooms in with the scope. Unlike most weapons, it can be fired underwater, making it especially useful against Ichthyosaurs.

It is very effective against distant targets, but the bolts aren't as fast as bullets, making the weapon a poor choice against extremely fast enemies or moving enemies at long range. Its massive damage output is offset by the scarce ammo supply available for it. The weapon can hold only a small number of bolts at once, and its reload time is slow. In multiplayer, the bolts explode on impact. When fired while using the scope, the bolts do not explode.

Behind the scenes[edit]

The Crossbow was designed by Steve Theodore.[1] The High Definition version was created by Gearbox's Stephen Bahl.[2] The unused HEV Suit lines refer to the weapon as "high velocity stealth crossbow" with "neuro toxin treated bolts". There are no references to the bolts having this trait in the final game. The Female Assassins were originally to be armed with Crossbows. In the final game, they still have a quiver attached to their belt.

In the multiplayer mode, the Crossbow could fire bolts with the player's name written on them, and these arrow would pierce and stick in enemy players and remain in their corpses.[3] This was later removed as it was too difficult to read the names on the bolts, deeming the feature pointless.[4]

In chapter Power Up, Crossbow bolts appears in a breakable crate. It is unknown if the weapon was to be acquired earlier in the game. There was to be a similar weapon called the Tranquilizer Gun which the player could use to put other players to sleep, steal their weapons and items, and then humiliate them.[3] The bolts can pin enemies to walls in Half-Life: Source as is done in Half-Life 2.

The Crossbow is available for use in the multiplayer portion of Opposing Force but does not appear in the singleplayer portion of the game or any of the other expansions. However, it can still be spawned using the console. The original Crossbow viewmodel was used as a placeholder for its Half-Life 2 counterpart in G-Phoria 2004 demonstration.




List of appearances[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Steve Theodore's personal website (archived)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stephen Bahl as quoted on Marc Laidlaw Vault on the forums
  3. 3.0 3.1 Half-Life Interview on Online Gaming Review (February 10, 1998) (archived)
  4. Half-Life Preview on Voodoo Extreme (1998) (archived)