Have You Played… Quarantine II: Road Warrior?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I’ve gushed before about Quarantine, an open-world murdertaxi game where you drove odd passengers around a prison city, stacked up on weapons to take down fellow road-users, flung golfish into lakes, and brought down a megacorp. But have you played its 1995 sequel, Quarantine II: Road Warrior? This was the game to teach my naive younger self that sequels to games you adore won’t necessarily be good.

Quarantine, as I’ve gushed, was set in a weird and wonderful sprawling city where you could happily pootle around taking fares and starting carfights. Parts of it still live in my brain. Sure, it had a core set of missions running through, but it let you slack off to take in the city as much as you pleased.

Road Warrior took away this freedom. It chained mission after mission. Upgrades were doled out, not earned. Levels went from sprawling, winding streets to ordered grids. The comic book character portraits weren’t as evocative as Quarantine’s spritemen. It stopped feeling like a place I’d want to poke around. It was streamlines, repetitive, boring. It didn’t help that Road Warrior took Quarantine’s dark comedy into zaniness.

I do still fondly remember driving through cornfields, though – vegetation in an FPS was rare those days, I tell you.

I suspect I played Road Warrior in 1996, only a year or two after the family got a PC and my gaming wasn’t confined to friend’s houses. Until this point, I’d not played many sequels and mostly been lucky to play good ones, so it took me a few days to really understand… no, it is possible that I actually don’t like this. I similarly remember, perhaps a year earlier, the weird realisation that a company which had made games I’d really liked was also capable of making ones I didn’t. Ah, innocences lost!

[Thanks for the screenshot, Jack Lightbeard on MobyGames.]

20 Comments

  1. Freud says:

    Doom on wheels!

  2. gabrielonuris says:

    Oh I remember playing it, together with the first GTA and Carmageddon…. I think I’m proof that video games doesn’t make you violent, otherwise I’d be a psycho.

  3. zapatapon says:

    …so does that mean the endless stream of recommendations has officially run out of good games and we turn to the bad ones now?

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      Aerothorn says:

      As noted in the entry on Dragon Age II, “Have you played” has never been about unqualified recommendations :)

      • zapatapon says:

        Yes, I remember quite vividly the spontaneous flamewar that the DA2 entry ignited.
        But the main point, then, was that the article pointed to an aspect of the game that the writer actually found good, innovative, interesting and worth discussing (possibly despite the rest). While here, I don’t really see a recommendation, even qualified.

    • N'Al says:

      Really?

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      gritz says:

      Yeah, it’s frequently going from “here’s this rare gem you should revisit” to “here’s some crap I vaguely remember from my childhood that wasn’t even very good for its time”.

      It basically jumped the shark entirely when they did one about Steam cards.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Aw. You guys suck. Or have no soul. Pick one.

  4. The Denzel says:

    One of my favorites, well the first one at least.
    Best box art ever.

  5. welverin says:

    I’ve not played it.

    Hell, I never even heard of it before now.

  6. Myrdinn says:

    Holy crap, yeah I’ve played this (shareware probably tho) but would never had remembered it.

    You should probably embed a video in these “have you played” posts because it’s usually the first thing I do when I see a familiar title.

  7. N'Al says:

    Didn’t even know there was a sequel.

  8. Moonracer says:

    I played the hell out of Quarantine but the sequel managed to elude me while it still seemed interesting. Sadly this thread reminds me of my hesitation for the crowd-sourced spiritual successor “Collateral”. Hopefully it will actually happen and wont be too linear or goofy.

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Were these games inspired by Cabbie from Escape From New York?

  10. kosch says:

    I remember the great music from the first one as I had the CD version with my dual speed (that’s right dual speed!) SeedyROM drive.

  11. kosch says:

    aaaah this takes me back, link to youtube.com

  12. a very affectionate parrot says:

    A combination of parental unsupervision and the tech savvy of my school friends meant i played this game long before I should have.
    I remember being profoundly disappointed that i couldn’t just drive over people the first time i played crazy taxi.

  13. Turkey says:

    I remember this game having a some really terrible opening levels where you had to compete in a futuristic car combat tournament thing just to get in the real game.