|System: Wii, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: High Voltage||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 8, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law is an excellent adaptation/extension of the adult-themed cartoon series of the same name. This is a fun romp through the Birdman world complete with all of the eccentric characters, irreverent situations, and hilarious dialogue that would have once been considered blasphemy uttered from such delightful Hanna-Barbara characters.
I've often thought that Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law was the result of the grandkids of Hanna and Barbara inheriting the right to the popular characters and just having their way with them during a year-long drinking binge. The show is hilarious, with well-written dialogue and surreal situations that will appeal to those that crave things left of center.
The game plays out like an interactive episode in the tradition of the point-and-click action adventure genre that is mostly associated with PC games. You will handle five different cases. In each case you will converse with the characters, search for clues, collect evidence, and prepare your case for trial. If you're familiar with games such as CSI and Law & Order, you know the drill. Each case culminates with a court appearance where you will do your best to make sense of the proceedings, offering evidence to corroborate your client's story or to contradict incriminating testimonials from the opposition.
For those of you that aren't familiar with the Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law series, let me tell you that you don't know what you're missing. The show stars an old-school superhero that we once knew as Birdman. He's since turned his back on the physical aspects of crime fighting and is now a lawyer where he can use his skills for .. fumbling and bumbling. Now known as Harvey Birdman, along with his sidekick Peanut, he works at the law firm of Sebben and Sebben where he handles cases involving familiar cartoon characters such as the Flintstones, Yogi Bear, and the Scooby Doo gang. The Flintstones episode is particularly hilarious as it lampoons the Sopranos, complete with intro featuring a backdrop of the dingy, industrial side of Bedrock. This cartoon show, and game, is definitely not intended for a younger audience. But for the rest of us, prepare for many unexpected, involuntary guffaws.
Due to the relative shortness of the game, with only five cases, in addition to the general lack of challenge, I would have to recommend this game as a rental. That suggestion should in no way reflect negatively on this game. The entertainment value is off the map. This game is fun and funny. But like a good joke, once it's told, it's over. There are no side-quests, no multiplayer modes, and there are no alternate endings. In other words, there's little replay value, although you can go back and select different questions and responses. Other than getting a few more laughs, there's not much substance to be unearthed in a revisit.
Character include Birdman, Peanut, Reducto, X the Eliminator, and the judge Mentok the Mindtaker. There isn't much in the way of "popular" cartoon characters as most of the gameplay focuses almost exclusively on the cast of the Birdman TV show. You'll also see some of the incidental background "animals" including the hippo, the grizzly bear, and the eagle. At no time do you ever directly control any of the characters. You could assume that you are acting as Harvey's assistant as you help interact with characters, search for clues, collect evidence, analyze the story, and offer the proper evidence in court.