The Game: Your friends (wait a minute, I’ve never seen these people before in my life!) are venturing through treacherous deserts, unfriendly villages, and a variety of other inhospitable settings. Armed with a crossbow – controlled with a fancy light gun mounted on the arcade cabinet – your job is to pick off any threats, be they nasty critters, falling projectiles, snipers, or what have you, and allow your friends to pass safely. (Exidy, 1983)
Memories: Y’know, I had to play Crossbow on MAME to remember what the heck the game was about…but once I did, I remembered that it was a very influential game on me at the time it was released. The novel concept of picking which game screen you’d explore next by shooting a representative icon on a menu-style screen was very cool, as was the watered-down, vaguely-D&D-ish atmosphere of the whole thing.
Crossbow was the last game bearing any resemblance to a major success by Exidy, which had been struggling to come up with the next big thing with such titles as Venture, Targ, Mouse Trap and Pepper II, and only coming up with new games which merited small but loyal cult followings. Exidy seemed to fall into a creative rut with this game – similar light-gun shooters Cheyenne and Chiller were virtually identical to Crossbow, only placed in different settings.
Atari did manage to turn out a better-than-average 2600 edition of Crossbow, even going so far as to include the scenario-choosing screen.