Capcom’s Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law from 2007 was the unlikeliest of things – a cartoon tie-in that wasn’t a total waste of everybody’s time. It’s quite amazing really considering that Harvey Birdman on first inspection isn’t ideal fodder for a videogame. He may appear to be a superhero, but under that bright exterior he’s little more than blundering lawyer.
It’s easy to pinpoint what does make it a good game though. Rather than stick Harvey and his band of fellow lawyers into some half-baked action game it instead bears a startling resemblance to Capcom’s own Phoenix Wright series.
The [Adult Swim] cartoon series saw Harvey sticking up for a long list of Hanna Barbera characters in the courtroom, each of which placed in a precarious situation. Scooby Doo and Shaggy in court for narcotics abuse, for instance.
The five cases on offer here also star several Hanna Barbera characters although presumably due to licensing issues they aren’t quite as well known as Scooby Doo. For better or worse, this is the only place you’re going to get to see an FMV clip of Secret Squirrel flashing his private parts at passers-by.
The first case involves exploring different locations – with a simple point and click interface – to try and find evidence to prove that Peter Potamus isn’t guilty of arson while a later case sees Birdman in prison along with Dixie and Pixie. Outcomes of situations are often humorous. The way Manillia Gorilla has been portrayed as an utter simpleton is a particular highlight.
When not pointing and clicking the rest of time is spent watching short but snappy animated cut-scenes. The animation is a little bit of a mixed bag, although you could always argue that it’s true to the show in this respect.
Once enough evidence has been gathered for a case it’s off to the courtroom. Evidence has to be presented at the right place and time in order for the story to progress. Select the wrong item and you’ll loose one of Birdman’s sacred crests. Just like Phoenix Wright if you ever get stuck then the best way to get unstuck is to simply try clicking on everything until you get the right thing.
Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law’s isn’t the most renowned of games – hence this article – and this is likely to be down to the fact that it wasn’t ever released in the UK, limited only to a release on Wii, PlayStation 2 and PSP in the US. We’re sure we don’t need to remind you that the PSP is region-free, however. It’s a relatively inexpensive game too, which is always a bonus.