As the first game in the popular Ace Attorney series, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney follows the adventures of Phoenix Wright, a young defense attorney who must find his way to becoming a great lawyer by following the lead of his mentor Mia Fey.
The DS version of the game is a remake of a 2001 GBA game that was never released outside of Japan, but is updated with touch screen controls, microphone support and a new never-before-seen fifth chapter called "Rise From the Ashes".
The fictional courtroom proceedings presented in the game, in many ways, parodies the Japanese civil law system, which is known for having a very high prosecution rate.
The plot of Ace Attorney presents Phoenix Wright, a rookie defense attorney as he takes on his first few cases under his mentor, Mia Fey. In his first case Phoenix must represent his best friend Larry Butz who has been accused of murder.
After his first case, however, Mia is murdered in the office they share, and it is up to to find out what happened and work out who really committed the crime that robbed him of the chance to learn more from his friend.
Phoenix is not alone however, as Mia’s sister, Maya Fey, arrives from her training as a spirit medium and becomes his assistant as he tries to piece together the facts. Maya, as a spirit medium, has the ability to summon the spirits of the deceased and channel them into her body, altering her appearance and taking on the mind and personality of that person.
Phoenix first encounters this when Mia, summoned by Maya, helps him win a case with sound advice. However with Maya being only a trainee in this profession, she is still not very good in controlling this ability and as a result always call upon the person she wants to at the right moment. After this case, Maya decides to call Phoenix 'Nick ', as his name is too long in her opinion.
Phoenix’s main rival is Miles Edgeworth, a prosecutor who will stop at nothing to gain a conviction, even if it means telling witnesses to "not mention" information pertinent to the case. Edgeworth is an old school friend of Phoenix, but they lost contact after an incident.
Edgeworth is accused of murder, and turns to Phoenix for help. Sensing Edgeworth is genuinely scared and needs help, Phoenix accepts to represent him and sets out to prove Edgeworth's innocence.
The First Turnabout
Phoenix defends his childhood friend Larry Butz for the murder of Cindy Stone.
The prosecutor in this case in Winston Payne.
The case is intended as a tutorial, to familiarize the players with the game mechanics of Phoenix Wright.
The case is simple, and is the only case in the game where you know who the murderer is beforehand- the weird-looking guy at the beginning who is seen holding the bloody Thinker statue, Frank Sahwit. The case wraps up very simply, as Phoenix uses logic and copious amounts of help from Mia to prove that Frank was actually just a thief, who'd been trying to steal from Cindy Stone when she walked in. In a fit, he grabbed the closest thing at hand, a statue of The Thinker, and struck her with it. He had just seen Larry leave her house a few minutes before, so Larry became the perfect scapegoat. His first case under his belt, Phoenix sets off in hopes of a brighter future.
In this case, Phoenix loses his friend and mentor, Mia Fey and it is up to him to defend her sister Maya in the trial for Mia's murder. It also is the first case to bring up the DL-6 incident, and Misty Fey, which are both important parts of later cases. This case features the first appearance of Miles Edgeworth as the prosecutor.
This case is much more difficult than the first, and the stakes are much higher. It introduces the main plot of the game, the DL-6 incident, in which Misty Fey, Maya and Mia's mother, was called upon to do a summoning to help the police with a murder case. The man she fingered during the channeling, however, was proved to be innocent, and the police kept the details secret. Redd White, however, found out about the summons and exposed the information to the press, making Misty a laughing stock- she went in to hiding, leaving Mia and Maya without a mother. Mia quickly left training for being a spirit medium and turned to the law, hoping to exact justice on the man who destroyed her mother.
And she had been close. She had many important files, hidden inside a Thinker statue (which was, once more, the murder weapon), and White found out by having his assistant, April May, wire-tap Mia's phone. White didn't care if she was caught, though, as he considered himself above the law. He even had Mia's mentor, Marvin Grossberg, in his pocket, evidenced through Grossberg's unwillingness to help you out, and the disappearance of his gigantic painting later in the case (that reappears in White's office).
White, it turns out, wasn't just blackmailing Grossberg into doing his bidding. It seemed as though the only goal of his company was blackmailing others with the dirt he dug up on them, going so far as to cause people to commit suicide. It was no wonder he had to kill Mia, who was so close to discovering his secrets. With one fell stroke, he tore the family apart, leaving just Maya with you. White is put behind bars for good at the end of this, with April May serving time for aiding him.
A TV celebrity; Jack Hammer, is murdered. His co-star Will Powers, who plays the Steel Samurai in 'The Steel Samurai: Warrior of Neo Olde Tokyo' is suspected. Maya suggests the case to Phoenix because she is a huge fan of the TV show. Miles Edgeworth is the prosecutor in this case.
Turnabout Samurai takes a break from the main story to tell a different, insular one. As the Evil Magistrate lies dead in the Global Studios lot, Maya calls you and tells you you're going to defend Powers, a bear of a man who's actually a real softy. It's immediately apparent that he wouldn't hurt anyone. He's just a stuntman in a good role, and he's been framed.
Heading out to Global results in nothing but a headache since it means overcoming the famed Wendy Oldbag, working security detail, and catching Cody Hackins, a little kid who likes to break in because he really worships the Steel Samurai. The only real information you get is that Powers was hurt during practice, and the weapon was the Steel Samurai's spear. Everything looks bad from the start- only Powers had an alibi that wasn't easily provable, and there was also the matter of The Steel Samurai being caught on camera. After a while, though, Phoenix notices that the Steel Samurai on the camera is too short and limping on the wrong leg, thus proving it wasn't Powers in the picture. Phoenix even later uncovers a bottle of sleeping pills, and finds out that there were two more people in the studio that day, Dee Vasquez and Sal Manella, two of the higher ups at the studio. They're less than cooperative, saying they had been trapped at a different part of the studio until 3, which doesn't line up with the murder time of Hammer, which was around 2:30.
Phoenix unearthed a photo during the investigation, however, that showed Hammer and another man at the second lot of Global Studios. Hammer, during a scene, had accidentally pushed the man back and he fell onto a sharp fence post, which pierced his heart and killed him instantly. Vasquez used this to blackmail Hammer, keeping him from the stardom he could have achieved and making him do only children's shows for nearly 5 years. Hammer had had enough, though, and it was he who decided to do murder on the day of the crime- the murder of Dee Vasquez. He dressed in Powers' Steel Samurai costume so he could frame Powers, and ventured over to studio 2, where Vasquez had been.
They say fate is not without a sense of irony, and as Hammer leapt towards Vasquez, murder on his mind, he missed. He fell. He was stabbed in the heart by a sharp fencepost. Determined to keep herself from getting in any kind of trouble for this, Vasquez ordered Manella to help her. They redressed the body, hid it in a van that was nearby and then, when they could, drove it over to Studio 1 and left it, once more framing Powers for the murder.
Powers is shocked that Hammer would try to frame him, and sighs as he realizes that the Steel Samurai can't go on without Hammer, who played the evil character. All is not lost, though, for at the moment that Manella had laid eyes on Maya, he came up with his next story- The Pink Princess!! Powers gladly accepted this new role, and Maya's fandom shifted from Steel to Pink. Looks like everything turned out OK.
Miles Edgeworth is suspected of shooting a man and it is up to Phoenix Wright to defend his rival, in a seemingly impossible case.
Manfred Von Karma makes his debut as prosecutor in this case.
This case ties the DL-6 story thread back in and puts a bow on it. At the beginning of the story, Edgeworth is shown, his hands on a gun in the middle of a lake. Lotta Hart, a photographer, was camping nearby and had a sound- sensitive camera hooked up. As soon as it sounded, it took a series of photos, capturing the moment of the crime. This, along with the police testimony of a nearby boatkeeper that Edgeworth passed by, muttering to himself about the murder, was enough to convict him of killing Robert Hammond, the defense attorney in the DL-6 case.
What's worse is that Edgeworth would have had a motive. It was Edgeworth's father who died in the DL-6 Incident, and it was Hammond who got the man the police blamed a "not guilty" so many years ago. That this happened on the anniversary of the incident merely made it poetic. It was an open and close case, and von Karma was certain it would take mere minutes.
Leave it to Phoenix to drag it out to the logical conclusion that none of the evidence or circumstances were good enough to put Edgeworth as the murderer, especially since the hand used to fire the gun in Lotta's picture wasn't the same as the fingerprints on the gun. Using this to buy time, Phoenix finds the boat shop keeper, a rather confused old man, and brings him in as a witness... but he won't testify. Or even act like he knows where he is, forcing Phoenix to attempt one of the game's more memorable cross examinations: calling the boat-keeper's parrot to the stand. The gamble works, and it's eventually determined that the old man is Yanni Yogi, the defendant in the DL-6 incident, and that this whole course of events has played out not for Edgeworth's revenge, but for his own.
Yanni actually WAS innocent of the DL-6 incident. However, the press around the case was so bad that, though he was acquitted, he could never shake the people calling him a murderer everywhere he went. He decided to exact revenge on the man who ruined his life and take Edgeworth down with him, as it had been his father who was murdered and caused the case in the first place. Yanni admits to the murder, but there's one thing Phoenix wishes to tie up still.
The DL-6 incident was never solved, and if Yanni wasn't the murderer, the circumstances meant that only Edgeworth or Edgeworth's father could have been the one who killed. What happened was that Yanni, Edgeworth Sr. and Miles Edgeworth were riding in an elevator together when an earthquake struck that left them stranded, and the air was running out. Yanni began to lose it, berating the father and son for stealing his air, and threw himself at Gregory Edgeworth. Miles picked up the closest thing to him, Yanni's gun (which had fallen out of the holster in their struggle), and threw it. A gunshot rang out, and everyone passed out from lack of oxygen. When they were roused, Gregory was dead, and it could only have been Edgeworth.
Edgeworth has had a crippling phobia of earthquakes ever since.
Until Phoenix notices that the gun had actually fired twice. Where was the second bullet? Close inspection of the evidence revealed a bullet hole through the glass on the elevator, though no bullet had been found before. All that anyone remembered was a blood-curdling scream after the gunshot. If it hadn't been Edgeworth's dad, though, then who was it?
Gregory Edgeworth was actually a defense attorney, who Miles was looking to emulate later in life until this incident. It wasn't the shame of losing his dad, but the pain of the defense attorney Hammond getting Yogi off on all charges. Gregory had been doing more than just criminal defense. He'd been researching into corruption, falsified evidence and witnesses being told to withhold information, and he'd been getting pretty close to hitting an end point. And this was a thorn in the side of the prosecutors, specifically the highest profile one: Manfred von Karma. When the gun went off, it hit him in the arm, and he walked over to the elevator, and saw a golden opportunity- his single greatest threat, passed out on the floor, a gun lying next to him. Seizing his chance, he pulled the trigger, and it was all over. A pass of a metal detector revealed that the bullet was still in von Karma. Edgeworth was then cleared of murder in all accounts, von Karma taking the fall he'd dodged for so long.
Maya comes to you at the end of the case with tears in her eyes, telling you she'd been useless. Earlier, though, von Karma had run into you in an evidence room. He tasers Phoenix and steals his evidence, but Maya holds on to a bullet- a bullet that wound up saving the case. No matter what you do for her, though, she leaves to start training in Kurain Village again. Maya gone, Phoenix looks back on his first year as an attorney, and looks forward to more in the future.
The Classroom Case
Turnabout Goodbyes delves very far into the past, for both Edgeworth and, later, Phoenix. While the origin of Edgeworth as a prosecutor is part of the main story point, Phoenix is mentioned later as a flashback, explaining a time when he was at a new school and someone's lunch money had disappeared. Phoenix couldn't turn to anyone, and they all thought it was him who had stolen the money, until a small boy with a cravat shouted "OBJECTION!" Miles Edgeworth flew to his feet to defend Phoenix, stating that the evidence just wasn't there. Larry Butz piped up from another corner of the room, defending Phoenix as well. Of course, it was Larry who had stolen it, but he had a good alibi, so no one thought it was him. He couldn't let another kid take the fall, though, so he interjected, and from that day forth, Phoenix was to be a defense attorney, as he would always remember how helpless he felt until someone came to defend him. He wanted to be able to pass that feeling along.
Rise From The Ashes
This case was exclusive to the DS version of Ace Attorney and featured touch screen controls for some of the investigation techniques.
Phoenix must defend Lana Skye for the murder of Detective Bruce Goodman. In this case, Lana's sister Ema becomes Phoenix's assistant, due to Maya being away for her spiritual training. Ema is a young scientist who is intelligent beyond her years.
Rise From The Ashes is the longest case in the Phoenix Wright games, and one of the most complicated. It starts with the murder of one Bruce Goodman, a detective, by Lana Skye, the Chief Prosecutor, in the parking garage of the Prosecutor's Office. She stabbed him with Edgeworth's knife, in Edgeworth's call, and immediately rattled off a phone call when she was done to her sister, Ema, and the only word that could be remembered was 'tailpipe'. There was even a photo, from Angel Starr (the star witness, lololol), a former detective herself who now dates multiple people at once and sells box lunches. All of this precludes one final fact: Lana is choosing not to fight and is pleading guilty. Phoenix will have none of this, though, and investigates the case anyways, eventually finding a few things, specifically in the tail pipe, pointing to a case called the "SL-9 Incident".
SL-9 was a case from many years ago that revolved around a serial killer named Joe Darke. Goodman, it turns out, was involved with the case. So was Starr, and Neil and Jake Marshall. The case ended with Darke in custody, but he escaped and ran into the office of the Chief Prosecutor, who was, at that time, Damon Gant. The only person in there was Ema, and he charged her, only to be apprehended by Neil. Neil and Darke fought, but the power went out and, in a flash of lightning, Ema saw Neil on the floor, Darke about to stab him, and lashed out, pushing them away and knocking Darke out, only after he managed to kill Neil. Darke was sentenced to death, but something didn't gel right to the detectives... there was evidence they found that was missing, and evidence that none of them remembered existing, used in the case. Even after it was put away, they wanted to investigate still further, and Starr alluded to that case in some way tying to the current one.
Things take a further unexpected turn when Damon Gant, now Chief of Police, shows up during the hearing. He then mentions a second murder that the police are looking in to, in which someone was murdered in the evidence room. Using the clues in front of him, though, Phoenix determines that it was actually Goodman who had been murdered there, as well, and perhaps then transported over to the prosecutor's building.
Someone, it seems, had been trying to steal from Goodman's evidence locker, Phoenix hypothesizes. It's a finger scanner that opens the locker, but a glove had blocked the door from closing fully, according to video evidence, proving that it couldn't have been Goodman because he wouldn't have needed that otherwise. Jake Marshall is then revealed to have dressed as Goodman so he could take evidence to look further into the case, as he never felt Neil was fully avenged. This, however, proves that Goodman wasn't killed in the Evidence Room, and Phoenix is once more in trouble, as this proves Lana must have killed him. A list of people who had entered the evidence room is then produced, with one of the codes for entry a secret, reading only as a series of sevens.
In an effort to understand what had happened during SL-9, Phoenix and Ema break in to Chief Gant's office, which was split with Lana's straight down the middle. Acting on a hunch, Phoenix breaks into Gant's safe using the series of 7s that was on the evidence room admission list and finds a piece of cloth with a handprint on it and a piece of a jar- a piece that was missing from a jar Phoenix had in evidence, and finally, an evidence list with a drawing on the back of two men, one about to stab the other. Phoenix, the next day, attempts to show who really killed Neil during SL-9, and uses some of this evidence, only to find that... it all pointed to Ema. Gant was also able to produce a photo of Neil impaled on the spear of a suit of armor, blood pulling out of his mouth, saying Ema had pushed him and he accidentally fell to his death like this. Lana said that she had changed the layout of the scene to make it look otherwise, even to the point of burying the tip of a knife into the cut, to prevent Ema from the shock of knowing she killed a man.
But something seemed wrong... The spot of leather that had been found in the safe matched with what Neil was wearing, only it had already been cut out in this picture. And how could Ema's name have been written on the jar if it had been broken? It would be impossible to write along the cracks like that. This shows that someone had been to the room before Lana had been, and it was them who had cut the leather and written her name! And there was only one person this could have been: Chief Gant. It was in his locker this evidence was found, so it seemed apparent at first that he had cut out the leather with Ema's handprint and had written Ema's name on the vase himself so that he could have something to hold over the head of Lana, so that while he was Chief of Police, he was still, essentially, in control of the prosecutor's office. Pointing out an inconsistency with the blood stain, though, Phoenix hit on a deeper truth.
Gant had killed Neil. Gant had come into the room, killed Neil himself by putting him on the suit of armor's spear, and then ordered Lana to change the way the crime was laid out, thus starting her subservience to him that would last many years, culminating in this case.
It had been evidence cleaning day in the police HQ. Any cases that were too old to reopen had their evidence disposed of, and Gant went in with Goodman since Goodman had lost his ID. Goodman then appealed for SL-9 to be reopened, and Gant panicked, lashing out and killing Goodman. He then called Lana, who he had load the body into Edgeworth's car and they cleaned up the evidence room as best they could. Later, Gant called Edgeworth and asked for something to be brought to him, and Edgeworth only happily obliged, not realizing that he was transporting a body.
Gant almost seems amiable when he admits defeat.
At the end, Ema goes off to school to become a scientific investigator, her bond with her sister renewed, and her sister serving minimal time for aiding Gant in his nefarious schemes. The case not only destroyed 2 of the most powerful law enforcers in the district, but also cast severe shadows over the Prosecutor's office, about nefarious acts, covering and falsifying evidence, but it seems like it's going to be ok. Edgeworth has nothing to worry about and Phoenix, now without a partner, sits back for the next case.
Ace Attorney’s gameplay is split into two sections: investigation and trial.
Once Phoenix accepts a case, he must go to the crime scene and try and work out what really happened. This involves using the touch screen to examine an area, looking for important items, interviewing witnesses via a series of questions and presenting collected evidence, and check collected pieces of evidence for more clues. Everything can be controlled using the standard buttons as well as the touch screen for the Nintendo DS version. Once enough evidence and witness statements have been collected, the game moves into the second section, the trial.
The trial is controlled in exactly the same way as the investigation, but is focused on picking holes in witness statements and presenting evidence to the judge to prove your theories on what really happened. As each witness statement is presented, you can press each statement made to push a little harder and clarify the information. Sometimes, this will lead to new statements being added, or allow you to present contradicting evidence against the statement in the form of an objection. In the Nintendo DS version, you can also object by shouting "Objection!" into the microphone. If you present the wrong evidence, however, the judge will penalize you. Once you are penalized five times, it is game over and the game resumes to the title screen where users can choose to start from the beginning or resume from the last save point.
In the Nintendo DS version of the game, a fifth case has been added to the game, and a new mechanic is introduced which allows some pieces of evidence to be manipulated in 3D using the touch screen, so they can reveal more secrets. You can also dust the evidence down with fingerprint powder and blow into the microphone to reveal the print.
The music of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney can be found on the double disc "Gyakuten Saiban 1 2 Original Soundtrack", composed by Sugimoi Masakazu and Akemi Kimura. Disc one features music from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
Track Listing (Disc 1)
- Gyakuten Saiban - Prologue
- Courtroom Lounge ~ Beginning Prelude
- Gyakuten Saiban - Trial
- Examination ~ Moderate 2001
- Logic and Trick
- Ryuuichi Naruhodou ~ Objection! 2001
- Examination ~ Allegro 2001
- Investigation ~ Cornered
- Announce the Truth 2001
- Investigation ~ Cornered / Variation
- Jingle ~ It Doesn't End Here
- Search ~ Opening 2001
- Shinshuu Ryouri ~ Gyakuten Sisters' Theme 2001
- Police Cell ~ Jailer's Elegy
- Keisuke Itonoko ~ Itonoko Geijissu
- Reminiscence ~ True Evening of Grief
- Soranosuke Hoshikage ~ Age, Regret, Reward
- Congratulations Everybody
- Reminiscence ~ Light and Shadow at the Film Studio
- Oo-edo Soldier Tonosaman
- Reminiscence ~ DL6 Case
- Search ~ Core 2001
- Reminiscence ~ Classroom Trial
- Won the Lawsuit! ~ The First Success
- Gyakuten Saiban - End
- Gyakuten Sisters' Ballad
Total Time: 44:28
For Disc 2, visit the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All article.