Soldier Of Fortune, a CD-ROM based video game featuring the anguished cries and death-throes of its victims, has been rated as adult-only entertainment by British Columbia's film classification board.

The ruling bans sale or rental of the game within the province to people under 18 and means the game's Canadian distributor, Beamscope Canada, will have to withdraw the product from retailers so that it can be labelled accordingly.

Other provinces are not affected by the ruling. If British Columbia goes ahead with its plan to rate all computer games, it will be the first jurisdiction in North America to limit access under force of law.

In her ruling, classification board director Mary Louise McCausland wrote that Soldier Of Fortune players "can enact gory violence that results in the horror of evisceration, decapitation, dismemberment and victims burning to death." She continued: "If this inconveniences distributors, I believe that the inconvenience is necessary to protect the interests of the public."