The Crossbow appears in the third of the five weapon swaps of the mission "Executive Order" as well as the third and last part of the mission "WMD". It can fire two different types of bolts, normal or explosive bolts. It also has an attached Variable Zoom scope, which the player can steady and also zoom in further. The Crossbow has fairly high hip accuracy, and although it is fairly strong, the bolt needs to hit an enemy's head or chest to score a one-shot kill. Unlike other scoped weapons, the crossbow can be reloaded while aiming down the scope.
In Executive Order, you also get a zip line attachment on the second use of it, similar to the grappling hook attachment on a KS-23 in Vorkuta. Also, the Wii version of Vorkuta replaces the flaming explosive catapult with a Crossbow with a flaming tip.
The Crossbow also appears in multiplayer, available at level 33. It has no attachments, and always fires explosive bolts. Unlike its Single-player counterpart, the multiplayer crossbow fires projectiles that do drop over a certain distance like the ballistic knife. It is one of the weapons used in the Sticks and Stones Wager Match playlist, along with the Ballistic Knife and Tomahawk. It is also the 19th weapon in Gun Game. When a player is hit by an Explosive Tipped bolt, the screen flashes red and an indicator comes up in the shape of an arrow with the word "Stuck" on it, indicating the player has been hit with an explosive bolt. At this point, there is nothing the player can do to save themselves, and will be killed along with any teammates within the blast radius by the explosion after 1.5 seconds, One of the few things a "Stuck" player can do in this situation is attempt to take his attacker out with him by rushing towards them in the hope the blast kills them as well, although this is less than reliable and is near impossible if the target has the Flak Jacket perk.
When using this weapon in conjunction with Scavenger Pro you gain a total five explosive bolts. As well, the crossbow is the one of the few non- pistol secondary weapons that refills from scavenger (the other being the ballistic knife). Pair it with Sleight of Hand (Pro) and the player would have a explosive weapon that can receive ammo more regularly from the Scavenger perk, and fire faster through Sleight of Hand, than the Launchers in Black Ops. When using Sleight of Hand, a good way to get the Fast Hands Kills is to stick enemies with the Crossbow. The player damages the enemy when the bolt hits and reloads quickly before the bolt explodes, which counts for the challenge if the player does not cancel the reload (e.g. by sprinting).
The killfeed icon for a direct impact from a crossbow bolt is the same as that of any other grenade direct impact.
In Hardcore, being hit by a bolt is fatal. In Core and Barebones, a player can be killed by the bolt alone if the player's health is low enough, and a direct impact in any game mode to a player in Second Chance is sufficient enough for the kill. The Crossbow does not have a damage multiplier for the head, but a direct impact kill can still register as a headshot.
The bolts fired by an enemy will have a red tip, while friendly crossbow bolts will have a green tip, in the same way as a Semtex.
The crossbow can be obtained in Zombies mode via the Mystery Box on Ascension , Kino der Toten, Call of the Dead, and Five. The very long reload time makes it difficult to use effectively in solo mode, as the player is left vulnerable. Its Pack-a-Punched version, the Awful Lawton distracts any zombies near where the bolt lands, similar to a Monkey Bomb, though the time the zombies are distracted is shorter than a Monkey Bomb's. If a Zombie is shot with the Awful Lawton, it will always be gibbed, and the zombie will humorously claw at the bolt that is stuck in it. Also, the Pack-a-Punched crossbow can be used to collect the Sacrificial Lamb. Trophy/Achievement.
Speed Cola helps with the reload unless upgraded when it is not as important, though it is still convenient. Juggernog is not too helpful, but it will help if a zombie is shot when it is too close by and explodes near the player. Double Tap has no effect, as you can only shoot one arrow at a time.. This weapon is a great backup weapon when playing with multiple people, upgraded to the Awful Lawton, as the "Monkey Bomb" addition to the bolts can help when someone needs to be revived or there are too many zombies to handle.