Crossbow (Half-Life 2)
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- "Citizen Tech crossbow is constructed with tubular steel sections comprising the main body, obvious weld marks and mismatched hardware communicate the nature of this junkyard prototype. This crossbow utilizes a electric dme cocking mechanism."
- ―Concept art
The Crossbow is a long-range sniper weapon featured in Half-Life 2 and Episodes. It is ruthlessly effective against distant, unsuspecting opponents, but is difficult to utilize in melee combat or against fast moving opponents due to its very slow reload and the low velocity of the shot. The primary trigger fires a bolt; the secondary trigger zooms in on targets, the only weapon in the unedited Half-Life 2 with such a function.
This weapon is aesthetically different from the one seen in Half-life in a number of ways. First, it is obviously jerry-built rather than manufactured, constructed as it is from various scavenged parts. Second, the bolts are not fletched, but rather pieces of red-hot steel rebar about 12 inches (30 centimeters) long. It is based off real-life ammunition, the SABOT round, which is essentially a depleted uranium rod, fired at a velocity supposedly making it capable of firing straight through mountains and still continue its original flight. Third, the weapon does not have an ammo magazine. After firing, the tension wire pulls back to accommodate the next rebar, which the user places directly onto the weapon. Finally, the device is powered. What appears to be a small 12v RayOVac Lantern battery is attached to the underside which apparently runs an electrical current through the bolt when it lies upon the firing mechanism. This has the effect of superheating the rebar. This can be noticed when placing the rebar on the crossbow, it will emit some sparks.
In Half-Life 2, the Crossbow is first discovered on the body of a burnt Resistance fighter overlooking an Overwatch outpost in the level Highway 17, right before the Petroleum Station bridge, as well as on the platform at the middle of the Bridge Point bridge, again next to a Resistance member corpse. In Episode One, it is found on a shelf in the chapter Urban Flight. In Episode Two, the crossbow is found in the hands of a dead Rebel, right after the scene with the Barn Advisor. The crossbow's ammunition is fairly rare, the weapon itself even more so. Its jerry-built nature, coupled with the fact that the Combine never use it and its ammo is usually found upon the dead bodies of citizens or in supply caches; suggest very strongly the new Crossbow was invented and manufactured by the Resistance, as an answer to the Combine's sniper rifle. The addition of an electrical current to Half-Life 2's crossbow is presumably why the weapon is so deadly against organic opponents; the red hot bolts plow straight through organic material, and if the target is in front of a solid surface the bolt will literally nail the target to it.
Its rarity is most likely due to the difficulty of acquiring the materials needed for its construction, especially the scope which makes it so effective. It is unlikely that the Resistance would possess the skills and equipment to manufacture scopes themselves, so one would have to be salvaged from somewhere instead, possibly from a Combine sniper rifle or pre-Combine hunting and sniper rifles.
The crossbow is an exceptionally powerful weapon, capable of killing most organic targets instantly. However, like all weapons in Half-Life 2, it does have its disadvantages.
- Once fired, the bolts don't have as much velocity as a bullet. Consequently, unlike the hitscan nature of most of the conventional weapons, the bolt is actually modeled as a high speed, physical projectile. They are affected by gravity over long distances and follow a slight downward arc as they travel. Users firing over long distances must account for this drop by aiming slightly above the target.
- Do not attempt using the Crossbow against anything other than human-sized enemies. Manhacks will go down (but hitting them will prove to be a challenge in itself), vehicles will have the rebar bounce off it, the thing is the epitome of futility against more than one Antlion, and usage of it against Striders is suicidal. It can, however, be used to damage Hunters, and is particularly damaging when fired into their "eyes" - scoring a hit into the flechette launcher muzzle will kill the Hunter instantly. Crossbow ammunition is scarce. Reserve crossbow bolts for high value targets such as Overwatch Soldiers, Overwatch Elites, Antlion Guards, Poison Zombies and Hunters. Small, weak targets, such as Manhacks and Headcrabs should not be fired upon with the crossbow, because not only is it a waste of a bolt when a half dozen rounds of pistol ammunition or a good hit with the crowbar would do the same job, but the bolt is also far more likely to miss.
- Like the original Tau Cannon, crossbow bolts can ricochet off most surfaces at sharp angles. This is too unreliable a tactic to consistently accomplish such feats as hitting enemies around corners (unless the player is very skillful and well practiced); it can, however, still be useful. For example, firing just below a target coming down a hill can result in the bolt ricocheting off of the ground up into the target.
- Hitting moving targets is mostly a case of prediction and timing proficiency. Aim both above and in front of the target to land the hit. As always, practice makes perfect (especially when practicing in Half-Life 2: Deathmatch).
- The crossbow is one of only two ranged weapons capable of firing underwater. However, the bolt's course once it starts traveling through the water gets very unpredictable. Fortunately, the weapon's battery doesn't cause a shock if used underwater.
- Zig-zag and move unpredictably if an opponent is using one in multiplayer.
- In the Highway 17 Chapter, at the train bridge area, this is useful for sniping the Combine on the other platforms.
- It is worth noting that the bolt will ricochet if it hits a floor or wall at a shallow angle. Knowing this, it is possible to preform "trick shots" to get targets that are behind an object or around a corner.
- There is another multiplayer trick involving the crossbow and SLAM mines. When an explosive lying on the floor is hit, the bolt won't ricochet, but will continue to travel along the floor with its speed drastically reduced. The bolt essentially turns into a makeshift floor-sliding rocket-propelled grenade, deadly to anyone who stands in the way. Similar effect can be achieved using Grenades.
 Related Achievements
|Targetted Advertising (10G)|
|Pin a soldier to the billboard in the chapter Highway 17.|
 Behind the scenes
- The crossbow's retail HUD icon shows it with a magazine, which might suggest that the crossbow was originally supposed to be just like the original Half-Life Crossbow, and the unused ammo icon resembles the original Half-Life Crossbow arrows. It also features the same kind of stock as the original Half-Life model. The original model was also used in Half-Life 2 as placeholder at G-Phoria 2004.
- Originally, just like Crossbow, the crossbow was in the slot 3 of offensive weapon selection system.
 List of appearances
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Deathmatch (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Lost Coast (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode One
- Source Particle Benchmark (Game files only) (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two