The latest game in the controversial Grand Theft Auto series has been given an 18+ age rating by the British Board of Film Classification.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, which has been created by Rockstar Games, will go on sale for the Nintendo DS in the UK on March 20 and is the first title on the format to be given an adult rating.

According to the BBFC, the game, which features drug-dealing and gangland killings, contains "very strong language and drug references".

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Unlike its previous release Manhunt 2, Rockstar Games was not told to make any changes to the finished game before it would receive a classification. The BBFC refused to issue a classification for Manhunt 2 on two separate occasions, deeming the product dangerous if it fell into the hands of children.

The game caused so much controversy that a UK high court judge even suggested it should be banned. However after Rockstar Games made a number of cuts to the content, Manhunt 2 was eventually issued with a classification.

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Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is likely to cause concern as the Nintendo DS is considered a child-friendly console. However, prior to its classification, Sam Houser, founder of Rockstar Games, told Edge magazine: "Nintendo wanted us to make GTA, and we wanted to make a game on their platform. They didn't want us to make a GTA for kids, and we weren't interested in making a game we wouldn't normally make."

See also: Grand Theft Auto IV coming to PC platform