Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
If you had not played or seen Capcom's Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney series you could not be faulted for thinking High Voltage Software's Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law is one of the most creative and innovative ways to revive the point-and-click adventure games that were so popular on the PC in the 1990's. This entry however, also published by Capcom, comes after Phoenix Wright has already brought justice to the long forgotten genre, and as a result the developers could quite easily be charged with counterfeit for their efforts.
Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law is exonerated by being the exclusive representative of the formula on the PSP and by its use of the art and characters from the Cartoon Network series of the same name. Each of the show's voice actors lend their talents to the game with the exception of Steve Carell. The graphics look even better on the PSP than they do on TV. While fans of the series will get more from the experience, a familiarity with the characters is not required to beat or enjoy the game.
Playing as the half-man, half-bird lawyer you must investigate crimes and prove in court various outlandish schemes. Usually the suspect and means are more obvious than the manner in which you must prove your case in court. As in Phoenix Wright you gather evidence and question subjects and witnesses. If you fail to collect key evidence or exhaust each question you will not be able to proceed to the next step. This is often frustrating as it is not always clear what you need to do next.
When questioning subjects you have the ability to press them on their their statements and present evidence that can potentially trap them into a contradiction, in turn, forcing them to change their statement. While the outcome is generally obvious the pleasure of execution is not diminished, much like lining up a row of dominoes just to watch them fall one by one.
Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law is by no means a poor man's Phoenix Wright. It is a game that is just as entertaining, just as challenging and perhaps even better paced. A worthwhile purchase at the bargain price at which you can now attain it.
- Phil Fogg