Quarantine Trivia (SEGA Saturn)
There is a small bug/oversight in the game: If you earn more than $99,999 then your money becomes a minus figure, meaning you suddenly can't buy anything!
On March 31, 1995, Quarantine was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.
The copy protection code sheet is actually entitled "PEDESTRIAN WEIGHT TO IMPACT RATIO TABLE"
"Weight of Pedestrian" is along on side and "MPH" on the other!
The dark red paper that it's printed on is also somehow suiting...
Like Sam Jeffreys I also decided to write a little note of appreciation to Ray Larabie, and also took the chance to ask him how Gametek managed to find all the cool music for the game. Here's what he wrote:
"That’s funny, I was just talking about Hoverboy today!
The only band that made it over here was You Am I who had a top 40 hit with “Soldiers”. It’s one of my favourite juvey, teen-angst songs, up there with Pleasant Valley Sunday by the Monkees.
Gametek knew someone who knew someone who ran a very inexpensive film production company in Oz. I think they did music videos but I’m not sure. They did the FMV for another Gametek game … dome D&D thing and it was extremely funny! I forget what it was called but the video was great. I believe that Simon Day was the connection with the bands … Drake himself! I still feel like I’ve never made a cool game since Quarantine. GTA London was kind of cool but it’s no Q-tine. The group of 5 guys who put Q-tine together are still working in the same office. Right now were doing a game based on the 1979 cult movie, the Warriors. Rod Humble, the producer is producing (or directing, I forget) the next Everquest title."
I talked to Ray Larabie, via e-mail a while ago, and told him how much I loved Quarantine. I asked him if he had any interesting bits of trivia or anecdotes he could tell me. He was kind enough to reply with this (which I hope he won't mind me submitting here):
If you start the game with -sassyversion all the passengers will be nude! Some of the names of the characters come from Toronto clubs that hosted "Elvis Mondays". Drake, Edgewater, Beverly etc... All Toronto club names. Kemo was named after a Toronto drug legend. Sometime in the 80's the government developed a super powerful strain of medical marijuana for use in chemotherapy. The seeds were allegedly stolen and for a while there were reports of "superpot" called Kemo going around. Probably just a tale.
When I was testing the game none of the programmers could spare a minute to give me any cheat codes. It was very frustrating as I had to rely on save games which don't always take you to the right spot. Thanks to GameTek, the pirate community got hold of an early version of the game. Someone kindly made a cheat program to edit car stats etc. That helped me test the game.
The donut mission in the Wharf. I knew it was too difficult. I asked Ed to change it a couple of times but I guess it slipped his mind. We didn't have a bug database back then, just scraps of paper, napkins etc. We fixed it in the 3DO version. Here's how you get past it: Make sure you get your ride on the south side of the map, far away from the trainyard. Pick up fares down there until you get the mission. Save your game immediately! Drive on the sidewalk and use your nitros, rubbing against the parking meters etc all the way down to the trainyard. Save immediately. Now you should have just enough time to get through the maze of trains. Sheesh!
In Japan, Quarantine for the Playstation is called Hard Rock Cab. http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/data/20853.html
Why hovercabs? The original demo was done right about the time Wolfenstein 3D came out. There were some flat shaded polygon cars running around the streets but the poly count was limited for forty, Not enough for round wheels. I didn't do the cars in the first game but I did about half of them in Roadwarrior. After we switch to sprite cars we were used to the idea of hovercars. Greg drew the original hovercoils. Some were roundish but I pushed him toward the cubic ones. I wanted a burning hovercoil to fly off a car when it was destroyed but there wasn't enough time to do it. The city was built with a system of blocks. These blocks couldn't be rotated so I had to make really complicated systems to get everything to fit together. That editor was a big pain in the ass! The map editor was really fun. You could pick a block type and just paint them down with the mouse.
During the course of the game you were supposed to be collecting parts of a modified hovercoil that could lift the cab to airplane height for an aerial blimp/hovercop battle. Since we were using a raycasting engine we couldn't tilt the cab which would had made for some shitty flying so it was scrapped.
The bad guys were made by dressing me up like a tough guy and putting me on a rotating turntable made pieces from Kevin's (boss and lead coder) doghouse. The motorcycle riders were done by putting an exercise bike on the same platform. I had built a cool, cardboard prop gun but it ended up being about two pixels high!
That's about everything that could be called interesting. I was joking with Greg (lead artist on Quarantine) about doing a remake and he suggested that we would do all the Quarantine areas and the Roadwarrior areas. We'd definitely make sure Drake was first and foremost a cab driver. Picking up passengers is the most important part. I like the hovergrid thing in the park. I didn't think you should blow up if you stay off the hovergrid too long but there should have been some kind of disadvantage. Like scraping the ground and damaging your hovercoils and losing control a bit. No getting out of the cab though. No switching to a new cab. Just Drake and his cab running baddies down. "If the eyes are glowing, he ain't worth knowing"
...And (further to Apogee's earlier trivia item), unless I'm very much mistaken, Simon Day (who played Drake Edgewater in the intro movie and provided the shouty rock gem that is used as the intro music) is the same Simon Day who fronted legendary late-80s/early-90s Sydney pop/punk band Ratcat!
Simon Day, who is credited for the music - not to be mistaken with the Australian garagebands - also played the person you see in the intro.
One of Quarantine's designers, Ray Larabie, now runs a great font site in his spare time, containing over 400 fonts that he's made. He even created a font called Edgewater, in honour of Quarantine's lovable taxi-driving, ped-killing protagonist :)
The CD version of Quarantine includes a great soundtrack, featuring 11 Australian bands. There is no mention of this soundtrack in the manual, and there is only a brief/incomplete credit list at the end of the game. Here, then, is the complete soundtrack listing:
01. Berlin Chair - You Am I 02. The Driver Is You - The Fauves 03. The Wahooti Fandango - Custard 04. Ingrown - Smudge 05. Lie Down Forever - Godstar 06. Snail Trail - Screamfeeder 07. Uranium Watch - The Daisygrinders 08. Weak Will - Underground Lovers 09. Whirlwind - Hellmenn 10. Yellow Beam - Crow 11. Now You Know - Sidewinder
You can buy CDs by (nearly all of) these bands at Greg's Music World: http://www.musicworld.com.au/
GameTek released a sequel in 1995: "Quarantine II: Road Warrior".