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Crossbow (Half-Life)

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This subject is related to the Black Mesa Incident era.
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Crossbow 1.png
Crossbow world HD.png
Production information

Black Mesa



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


Max ammo


Weapon category

3: Machine and Shotguns

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, where it can be found inside a suspended shark cage; 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.

Although it is very effective against distant targets, the bolts travel slower than 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 the multiplayer mode, 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] Unused HEV Suit lines refer to the weapon as "high velocity stealth crossbow" with "neuro toxin treated bolts". Although there are no references to the bolts having this trait in the final game, comments in the code mention the Crossbow inflicting poison damage.[3] The name "Tranquilizer Gun" was originally given to another weapon which the player could use to put other players to sleep, steal their weapons and items, and then humiliate them.[4]

In multiplayer, the Crossbow could fire bolts with the player's name written on them; they would stick in enemy players and remain in their corpses.[4] This was later removed as it was too difficult to read the names on the bolts, the feature being deemed pointless.[5]

In the chapter Power Up, Crossbow bolts appear in a breakable crate. It is unknown if the weapon was to be acquired earlier in the game.

The Female Assassins were originally to be armed with Crossbows. In the final game, they still have a quiver attached to their belt.

The bolts can pin enemies to walls in Half-Life: Source as is done in Half-Life 2.

The original Crossbow viewmodel was used as a placeholder for its Half-Life 2 counterpart in G-Phoria 2004 demonstration.

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.




List of appearances[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Steve Theodore's personal website (archived)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stephen Bahl on on his video game work (November 13, 2009)
  3. Half-Life SDK, combat.cpp
  4. 4.0 4.1 Half-Life Interview on Online Gaming Review (February 10, 1998) (archived)
  5. Half-Life Preview on Voodoo Extreme (1998) (archived)