Codex Gamicus

Crossbow is an arcade game released in 1983. It was ported to the Atari home computers, the Atari 2600, and the Atari 7800.


You play a crossbow archer who adventures through an enchanted world in a quest to find and destroy the evil Master of Darkness. Use your arrows to protect your friends from a variety of perils and attacking enemies.

There are different stages to go through in the game. You must shoot one of the three colored boxes (red, green or blue) in order to choose the path you want. There is a desert, a ghost town, ice caves, a volcano, a bridge, a jungle and a castle. For the friends who accompany you, each of them has a different weapon. To begin with, you have a swordsman who carries a long sword, a woman warrior who carries a short sword and a shield and a dwarf who carries a handaxe. You can gain up to five additional friends from certain, respective stages: from the desert, a boxer who uses only his fists; from the volcano, a gnome who carries a morningstar; from the bridge, a wild woman who carries a club; from the jungle, a hunter who carries a knife; and from the ice caves, a wizard who carries a magic wand. You can have a maximum of eight friends. On each stage you must protect them from anything that attacks them like vultures, scorpions, snakes, bats, ghosts, gorillas, pterodactyls and other creatures that approach. Sometimes they can fight off the attackers themselves, but they are not always fast enough to defeat them, so you must protect them from those enemies as much as possible. Also, you must not shoot any of your friends or it will cause them injury. Furthermore, you must also protect them from other deadly objects that come toward them like rocks, fireballs, arrows, icicles, lightning bolts and so on. You must see that they each make it safely to the other end of the stage. Some stages even have treasures at the other end which can be collected for bonus scores.

On some stages, a path may be blocked; like at the volcano, it will be blocked by a lava flow, so you will have to shoot the rock in order for your friends to cross over. Also, in the ice caves, you must shoot two big ice pikes into the two big crevasses in the path, so your friends can cross. When you get to the castle, you must shoot the chains to lower the drawbridge, so your friends can get inside. Once inside, they must walk onto a trapdoor that they will fall through. After all your friends have fallen through the trapdoor, you will finally meet The Master of Darkness himself (a bodiless giant head with an evil face), who will try to destroy your friends by zapping them with deadly magic rays from his eyes. You must shoot each of his eyes several times to keep them closed, until they become bloodshot. After that, shoot each of them once more and The Master of Darkness will decay and disintegrate into a skull. Then he will rematerialize and dare you to try him again. After that, the game starts over again, but with increased difficulty.