Abandon all hope ye who enter the secret code to Level 9. The first part of Dante Alighieri’s pre-Renaissance masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, has been adapted into a video game by Electronic Arts. The game, which hits stores Feb. 9, recasts the moody, reflective poet as a buff, sword-swinging Crusader out to save his beloved’s soul from the fiery clutches of Lucifer. It looks like there will be a lot less introspection and whole lot more decapitation than in the original. Surprisingly, though, Dante’s phantasmal tour guide Virgil hasn’t been changed into a wisecracking talking dog that can give you hints.
This isn’t the first work of literature to be transformed into a game, but up to now it’s usually been via movies. Where the Harry Potter and Beowulf games had just as much to do with the films as the books, Dante’s Inferno skips that step, ready to muck around in public domain without the help of Hollywood. BioShock, which has a sequel releasing the same day, certainly borrowed from Ayn Rand’s philosophy when designing its Art Deco dystopia (it even had a character not-so-subtly named Atlas) but it didn’t purport to be a straight interpretation of her books.
This newfound interest in literary gaming got us thinking: What other classics would we like to see coming to a console near us?
Don Quixote: A lot like the old arcade game Joust, except your enemy is a windmill.
Hamlet: Polonius’ Revenge: This re-imagining is a stealth game in the mode of Metal Gear Solid that has you sneaking throughout Elsinore, hiding behind curtains and listening to other people’s conversations. But don’t get caught, or it’s curtains for you!
Edgar Allen Poe’s RavenHunt: Use the light-gun to shoot at those pesky ravens rapping at your chamber door.
Catch-22: There is no way to beat this game.
The Brothers Karamazov: Power of Three: Dmitri wields the power of ice, Ivan the power of fire, and Alyosha the power of heart. Together they must face down the final boss, an evil, black-robed maniac called the Grand Inquisitor.
Finnegans Wakeboarding: Welcome to the world of Joycean extreme sports!
What do you think? Excited for Dante’s debut on the Xbox 360 and PS3? Any other titles you’d like to see?