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Game Review

The first Devil May Cry game was actually intended as a sequel in the Resident Evil video game series, but it was so uniquely scripted and feverishly active that the decision makers at Capcom determined it should have its own title. So they reworked things a bit and established a new franchise that quickly gained an enthused following. Fans gushed over the game and pinned it with the descriptor "extreme action." And boy does that label fit.

Devil May Cry 4 is a frenzy of third-person slashing and shooting mixed with impossibly athletic acrobatics that feels like a mash-up of the Matrix movies and high-octane martial arts flicks. All this whiz-bang is rendered in dazzling cinematic high-def. But there's a lot more going on here than just stylish gameplay and attention-grabbing eye candy.

Dealing Death to Demons
This latest chapter in the Devil series centers on a guy named Nero who's a member of a demonic cult called the Order of the Sword. This swaggering youth isn't all that interested in the church-like services of the Order. But when he steps up to protect the girl he loves, he's assigned the job of hunting down and battling scores of monstrous demons using the power of his demonically infused arm—better known as the Devil-Bringer.

If you're sensing a dark spiritual theme to all this, then you're getting the gist of things.

Nero's fiendishly powerful arm can be used throughout the various levels to grapple across gaping chasms and absorb malevolent powers from idols. And it's a key weapon for grabbing cringe-worthy creatures and bashing them in a series of violent attack combos. (How cringe-worthy are they? One is a gigantic, bulbous frog-like thing. Another is a monstrous half-snake-half-venus flytrap critter.)

But as Nero somersaults about, slaying hellish demons and tossing out snarky wisecracks, he also has other weaponry at his command. A rapid-fire pistol called the Blue Rose locks on targets and blazes endlessly without a reload. And his five-foot-long sword, the Red Queen, has a built-in throttle that can rev up the blade to unleash chain saw-like carnage.

The hero of past Devil games, Dante, shows up here as well with his own unique arsenal. The Pandora briefcase, for example, can morph into elaborate machine gun and gyroscopic rocket launcher variations that offer splashy ways to pulverize baddies into piles of mush. All that dark slaughter is accompanied by detailed bloody animation and realistically gruesome sounds of slashing blades and cleaving flesh.

Not Just Nude Nymphs
Although the majority of the cast is composed of sword-swinging males, a few female characters get in on the action, too. But their presence seems to be more about barely clad sexuality than anything else. For instance, one scene features a set of apparently nude, dark, fairy-like creatures that fly around rubbing and caressing each other with the obvious intention of titillating players.

Those females who do take on the warrior role have provocatively skimpy outfits and hyper-accentuated breasts—which slow-mo camera sweeps take in with as much bouncing detail as an M-rated game will allow.

Sprinkle in dialogue that includes "a--," "h---," "d--n" and "bulls---," (and even references self-fellatio) and you've got a world that will leave visitors with lots of unhealthy bits dancing in their minds long after the high-powered action has been turned off.

Then add a cult of humans who have infused themselves with demonic powers and who worship a huge living statue called The Savior and you can consider things officially pushed from bad to spiritually twisted worse.

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Bob Hoose Kevin Simpson

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