E3 '07: Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law Hands-On

Your Honor, we hardly object to this hilarious-looking courtroom game based on Adult Swim's winged legal eagle.

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If you've never seen Cartoon Network's show Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, stop now, go find a copy of the DVD, and then come back to us. We'll wait while you enjoy one of the funniest shows on CN's Adult Swim schedule. There, now wasn't that funny? Now that you're familiar with the legal exploits of Harvey and his fellow legal eagles, we can tell you about the upcoming Harvey Birdman game for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, which we got to check out at Capcom's E3 booth.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

The game will feature Harvey as he endeavors to solve and bring to justice five different cases with gameplay that is highly reminiscent of another Capcom lawyering game: the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series. Of course, the twist to Harvey's particular brand of courtroom skills are the absolutely insane (and sometimes inane) characters that form the dramatic personae of the cases, along with the show's trademark bizarre sense of humor. In the first case, which acts as a sort of tutorial on how to play the game, Harvey's apartment is burned to the ground and he's got to prove that his friend Peter Potamus is innocent of the crime, despite showing up moments after the blaze (and proceeding to roast s'mores over the flames).

As with the Phoneix Wright games, you'll be presented with various pieces of evidence that you can examine before or during examination and cross-examination. When a witness is on the stand, you'll have a number of questions you can ask to choose from, and, depending on their answer, you can present the evidence to either support or refute their claims in front of the judge.

The opening mission features an examination and cross-examination with Potamus and the real culprit, the ever-philandering Gigi. Evidence in the opening case includes a police report indicating when Gigi reportedly arrived at Harvey's home, a lighter with the initials P.P. (or is that G.G.?) on them; and more. As the opening case, it's not a particularly difficult one to solve, although game producers told us that the later cases in the game will ramp up in difficulty, as Harvey has to search crime scenes for the evidence and interrogate witnesses himself.

The game is patterned to look much like the Adult Swim cartoon, though the build we played still didn't have final animations or cutscenes in place. In addition, while the game will include real voice acting from the cast of the show (including Gary Cole as Harvey and Peter MacNicol, among others), the development crew did a great job of providing stand-in voice-over work for the game until the final audio is added. In fact, whoever was doing the voice of the incomprehensible Vulture likely has an alternate career in voice work ahead of him.

Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law is scheduled for release in November of this year on both the PS2 and PSP. We'll keep you up-to-date on the game in the coming months.

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