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Take the thrill, excitement and plot of Crazy Taxi and place Duke Nukem in the driverseat. This is how I would describe Quarantine. It’s fast, action-packed and extremely exhilarating.
Picture a place in the future called Kemo City where the skylight is grey, the buildings are falling down around you… You’re unemployed and have no way of making your ends meet. Life is spitting you in the face every single day. And just when you think it can’t get any worse than this, all hell breaks loose around you. Cars are suddenly accelerating up the street… Jumping out of the way just before the first car could smear you over the pavement, you quickly scramble to your feet and run for cover in the nearest building you can find.
Then life throws you a punch… The cars are armed! Bullets are flying through the air, and some of them have found their way into the building you are hiding in. Several other people are screaming out as they are torn apart by the continuous spray of metal, painting the walls red with their blood and intestines. Throwing yourself down on the floor, you can feel a bullet whizzing through the hair on your neck. Too close! Apparently this is not such a good place to stay.
You discover you have a dilemma. The building is not safe, but where can you go? The streets are even more deadly. Nevertheless… you can’t stay here, that’s for sure! While the bullets are still raging on all sides, you crawl for the nearest exit… trying to avoid looking at the corpses lying all over the floor and furniture. Bloody and in shock you reach your destination and arrive in a small back alley. The alley is protected by large brick-walls… Finally safe! No way in hell those bullets can penetrate these walls! Time to relax and to come up with a plan.
Carefully looking around the corner you can see numerous cars driving around in the streets shooting on everything that moves. Other pedestrians are killed instantly by cars impaling them on their bumper or shooting them from a distance. Soon the corpses have build a small river of blood that is slowly making it’s way into the city sewers. Gushes of blood are thrown high in the air as vehicles are speeding though the forming puddles on the pavement. Then suddenly it strikes you… The cars are not aiming for the people on the streets. They are trying to shoot each other! Well… maybe the guy in the yellow cab is trying to kill pedestrians, but the rest are trying to blow up the other cars!
It amazes you why the cars can take all this punishment and still be able to drive on, until one of them slams into a building… ripping off the paint-job on his right side. ARMOUR! The cars are armoured! You realise you would probably be safer as a passenger in one of the vehicles, than being out on the streets.
Hell… If just one of these guys would drive you home you would gladly give him or her all your money. And you just bought yourself a new rifle; maybe it’s time to take it out from underneath the bed… It’s worth a try. You’re dead if you just stay here. Might as well try to hitchhike with one of them…
Quarantine has it all! Great mindless fun combined with a mindless hack-and-slash plot! You drive around in the big city, picking up passengers and trying to eliminate the competition. Usually at the same time. For the money you get from your passenger you can buy upgrades for your vehicle, be it weapons or armour.
But the game also has a story attached to it:
2022 Kemo City is the jewel of the West and the hovercar capital of the world. A prosperous city on the East Coast of the United States.
Like any metropolis, Kemo City has a growing crime problem. In Kemo, however, crime has become so widespread, that law enforcement would be both futile and extremely expensive. Talks begin about possible solutions.
2026 Kemo City's crime problem reaches epidemic proportions. The economy slows to a near halt, while crime and black market trading become the only sources of income for Kemo's impoverished inhabitants.
2029 Enter Omnicorp. This Mega Corporation has big plans for Kemo, claiming they can clean up the city and it's crime problem. The project is code named Q.
2030 Construction of a 5 meter thick, 10-meter high wall composed of plasticized concrete and steel begins. Inhabitants are told that the wall is merely a "defensive measure," and that passage in and out of Kemo will be freely granted.
2031 The wall around Kemo nears completion. A few of the lucky inhabitants manage to escape as panic begins to engulf Kemo City.
2032 June 3, the wall is completed and the only exit has sealed shut. Project "Quarantine" is now fully functional and Kemo has become a prison city. Along with isolating the current violent population, Kemo will also serve as a prison for any other violent criminals.
2043 Omnicorp decides to test "Hydergine 344", on the current population, a neurodrug reported to eliminate "criminal thoughts" in patients. Hydergine 344 is introduced into Quarantine's water supply.
2045 Unknown to the designers of Hydergine 344, Kemo's water supply has an abnormal high bacterial and viral content which reacts with Hydergine 344 forming a psychoreactive virus. The virus causes synaptic breakdown, the main symptoms being violent psychopathic tendencies. About half of the prisoners have become crazed violent killer lunatics intent on killing anyone who is not a crazed violent killer lunatic.
2047 The virus is spreading.
Now enter you, the player, and all the pieces are in place. Time to make some serious mayhem on the streets of Kemo!
If the game has one flaw it is this: The controls are different to what we are used to in today’s racing games, so getting used to the movement in Quarantine can take some time. But remembering back to when I had the game installed on my 486, I can promise you that the controls CAN be mastered! If you are in trouble at any time in the game, you should check the manual, which is included in the archive. It tells you everything you need.