|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|
While conversing with characters, you'll have three different choices from the dialogue tree. There is always one straightforward answer, in addition to two smart-ass ones. Of course it's fun to go for the laughs, and it will help to extend the replay value. Sometimes you'll actually be rewarded with bonuses for choosing the more zany conversation from the menu.
The characters are voiced by the same actors that provide the voiceovers for the TV show, with the exception of Stephen Colbert, who probably thinks he's too good for a lowly videogame. At least we get a cameo from Lewis Black, who in my opinion, kicks Colbert's arse. The voices are delivered as professionally as the TV show, displaying the characteristic inflections and the sharp wit of the writers.
Environments such as Harvey's office, the cafeteria, and the local bar are rife with clues and characters that will help you with each case. These cases aren't very difficult. You'll usually find everything that you need simply by asking. A collection of rubber nipples anyone? In addition to revealing the storyline and offering some belly laughs, the characters will also help you prepare your case for the courtroom. When cross-examining characters, they will often blurt out the exact piece of evidence to present in order to win the case. This does make the game too easy. These last few lines should have been offered as a series of special hints for those that are having a difficult time solving the puzzle.
Not that you need hints, but you'll also have a few crests on hand which you can use as "free turns" when you make a mistake. More crests are awarded for locating specific items or generally doing a fine job on the case. You'll only need them if you offer the wrong piece of evidence during the trial. Each time you get it wrong, it will cost you another of these crests. Once they are gone, you'll have to start over. But trust me, the only way you'll lose is if you've got the sound turned down or you can't understand English. The answers are literally shouted at you. During the trial, you can scroll through the testimony to look for inconsistencies. If only the answers weren't so obvious near the end of the trial, there might be some good puzzle elements to this game. But take it as it is. Once the trial is over and your client has been exonerated, or a bad guy is found guilty, the gang delights in a few lighthearted gags and everything is all forgiven. On to the next case.
Graphically the game looks identical to the TV show, but that's not saying much since Hanna Barbara basically invented the cheap-looking, mass produced look of the low-budget Saturday morning cartoon. The colors are vibrant and primary. No subtleties or nuances of shading here. It's all presented in glorious, flat, two dimensions. The animation is a little jerky in places, but it too is similar to the cartoon, and there's nothing wrong with emulating the show that inspired it. I love the look of the game, and am thankful the developers stayed true to the look of the TV show and didn't attempt to bring the Birdman universe into the third dimension. The sound effects and music have also been borrowed from the show. The result is not unlike taking a part in a cartoon series.
Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law will teach you as much about law as a cartoon will teach you about the laws of physics. Don't take it too seriously, and you'll have a blast.
CCC Senior Writer