Quarantine (1994 video game)
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|Genre(s)||Racing, Cyberpunk, First-person shooter|
Quarantine is a 1994 racing/first-person shooter computer game for MS-DOS and 3DO, created by Imagexcel and published by GameTek. Versions for the Japanese market were done in 1996 by Asmik for the PlayStation and MediaQuest for the Sega Saturn, renamed as Hard Rock Cab and Death Throttle respectively. In the game the player drives a taxicab through a post-apocalyptic city, picking up customers and killing enemies. Due to the gratuitous violence the game was controversial at the time of release.
The success of Doom by id Software in 1993 led to many other companies attempting to follow Doom's success. Most ended up making unsuccessful "doom clones". Quarantine was one of the few games that successfully exploited the features of Doom with its own texture mapped stages, semi-open world maps, and vehicular combat gameplay. The game was later continued with the sequel, Quarantine II: Road Warrior, which largely kept the original gameplay, but introduced a more mission and story-driven gameplay.
KEMO city was known for the manufacture of hovercars, meeting the country's demands for transportation until 2022. Over time, however, KEMO's crime rate had risen so far that the economy collapsed and the city descended into disorder. Criminals roamed the streets in armored hovercars, terrorizing the citizens of KEMO without fear of retribution. In 2029, OmniCorp promised city officials that it could clean up KEMO and return it to normal. The offer was accepted, and the corporation began the construction of a massive wall around the city under the guise of a "defensive measure". The wall was completed three years later, and the only exit sealed shut, turning KEMO into a massive prison city for all inside, criminal or otherwise. The outraged population reacted violently, and the city degenerated.
Ten years later, in 2043, OmniCorp decided to test the behavior altering chemical Hydergine 344 on KEMO. This chemical was supposed to pacify the citizens of KEMO, and was distributed through the city's water supply. Unfortunately, OmniCorp failed to predict the chemical's reaction to the stagnant water, resulting in massive brain damage and insanity in the many of KEMO's citizens. More than half the population became crazed killers overnight.
Drake Edgewater, a 21st-century cab driver and one of the lucky few unaffected by the spreading virus, is desperate to escape the city alive. Driving his '52 Checker "hovercab" armed with an assortment of headlight-mounted weaponry, he delivers passengers and packages for what money he can make to upgrade his vehicle and escape.
Quarantine required a rather powerful system when it was released. One of the original ads in magazines for the game used the slogan "If you've got the ram, we've got the pedestrians."
The CD version features tracks from Australian alternative bands.
- You Am I – Berlin Chair (2:42)
- The Fauves – The Driver Is You (3:38)
- Custard – The Wahooti Fandango (3:00)
- Smudge – Ingrown (3:13)
- Godstar – Lie Down Forever (3:26)
- Screamfeeder – Snail Trail (2:49)
- The Daisygrinders – Uranium Watch (3:47)
- Underground Lovers – Weak Will (5:29)
- The Hellmenn – Whirlwind (4:17)
- Crow – Yellow Beam (5:00)
- Sidewinder – Now You Know (4:51)
The PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions were released in Japan exclusively, under the names Hard Rock Cab and Death Throttle, respectively. They are mostly the same as the original PC version, but while they had enhanced floor and building texturing, they suffer from slowdown and pixelation. The essential textscreen information is translated to Japanese, though most text remains in English and the live action video is neither dubbed nor subtitled. Additionally, the PlayStation version features green blood censorship.
Reviewing the 3DO version, the four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly were divided. They all concurred that the driving controls are subpar, but while three of them opined that Quarantine would appeal to a niche audience (one predicted it "may be a cult hit") with its soundtrack and strange, tongue-in-cheek humor, the fourth simply declared it "Too warped for me." They gave it an average of 5.75 out of 10. GamePro's reviewer also predicted the game was "bound to gain cult status" and gave it a rave review, praising the usefulness of the four camera views, the high level of uncensored violence, the introductory FMV, the "macabre" backgrounds, and the large selection of rock music tracks. They noted that the driving controls are difficult but concluded that "Doom lovers looking to score more gore will dig this grim, futuristic escape saga". A reviewer for Next Generation commented that while the open world, open-ended structure is captivating, both it and the vehicle's controls have a steep learning curve which demands that the player spend considerable time learning the game before actually playing it. He concluded that "the game is on balance, once you get the hang of things, and it's cool", and gave it three out of five stars.
A sequel, Quarantine II: Road Warrior, was released in 1995 for DOS.