Can a video game be created around a 14th-century Italian political satire? Well, no. But in EA's mind, apparently, it's not a bad idea to steal the title and some plot elements for a slam-bam "God of War" clone.

Can a video game be created around a 14th-century Italian political satire? Well, no. But in EA's mind, apparently, it's not a bad idea to steal the title and some plot elements for a slam-bam "God of War" clone.

Classical literature majors will recognize this third-person action game's title from Dante's epic poem, but that connection should quickly be put out of your mind.

This is a gory, adult video game about slicing up the tortured dead and liberating a beloved girlfriend from an infernal marriage arrangement in the most gruesome and visceral way possible.

Players assume the role of Dante, an Italian crusader who promised his pure soul to his beloved betrothed, Beatrice, before venturing into the Holy Land during the Fourth Crusade. As a crusader, he committed numerous acts of violence and bloodshed under the supposed protection of the Catholic Church.

Dante is killed during an assault on the holy city of Jerusalem, but he manages to best death and return to life - only to discover his family and beloved are now paying the price for his unholy indiscretions.

This discovery is the catalyst for the plot, sending Dante off in pursuit of the devil to free the captured soul of Beatrice and halt her marriage to the Prince of Darkness.

Journeying from the land of the living into the nine pits of Hell described in the original poem, players face hordes of tortured souls and Satan's minions. Dante wields the scythe of death and a blessed cross his lover game him.

Gameplay is reminiscent of most recent third-person action titles, including the obligatory timed button-pressing sequences to graphically eliminate key foes. As you defeat enemies, their captured souls empower you to access existing talents and gain more impressive moves.

Where "Dante's Inferno" really shines is in its environments. The story lends itself to graphic depictions of Hell, and the developers do not disappoint. As Dante ventures through the nine circles, he faces great set-piece battles on each level.

But be forewarned, the game is very adult-oriented. Female nudity and lewd acts are depicted, and the plot delves into the concepts of sin and punishment.

While the single-player story is fairly brief, EA's already announced a multiplayer mode that will be downloadable in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, even with that content, this one's better as a weekend rental than a library-building masterpiece.