Drake Edgewater - the vigilante cabbie from 1995's Quarantine - is back behind the wheel of his hover-cab in GameTek's Road Warrior, a violent kill-spree that explores the many meanings of the term "hack."
The aforementioned Quarantine was an interesting attempt at a 3-D shooter, a hybrid of Doom and Death Race 2000 in which you drove around destroying vehicles in your way and running over pesky pedestrians. A pleasing setting, to be sure, but Quarantine suffered from several problems, the most apparent of which was an unrelenting control scheme that made stopping your vehicle nearly impossible. Road Warrior tries to address its predecessor's most frustrating shortcomings, but in doing so it eliminates some of the features that made Quarantine special in the first place. Most notably, the addictive "vigilante for hire" element has been removed. In the first game, you had to earn money for weapons upgrades and repairs by picking up fares around Kemo City. In this sequel, you're simply sent on a series of assignments, and your cab is repaired and your ammo replenished upon completion. Another improvement allows you to brake more easily, but the movement of the game never feels realistic. Your cab still bounces around like a hockey puck whenever you get sideswiped, and getting stuck to scenery is an all too common occurrence.
Road Warrior does add some positive features. The original's simplistic story art has been replaced by excellent comic-book style cut scenes. A new option allows you to view your cab from behind, making it easier to maneuver through the maze-like streets, and an SVGA mode allows for smoother art on more powerful machines. And, in all fairness, the mission-based levels do give the game a bit more focus, eliminating the endless schlepping around of psychotic citizens.
For all its merits, however, this sequel to Quarantine doesn't have the horsepower to keep up with the next generation of 3D shooters. As a crash-course in offensive driving, Road Warrior provides some mindless fun, but is only a slight improvement over its flawed predecessor.