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"I find Duckman much easier to endure when he's being useful, and in all fairness to him he is quite a good healer. Unlike Lulu, who contributes nothing of value to anyone, ever."
     -Sam, Suikoden III Part 3

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney : Part 1
By Jeanne
Posted 06.15.07
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6
Welcome, friends, to the very first recap of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Once again, I am turning my back on the umpteen other games I have in my recap queue in order to bring you the story of some gay lawyers. Sam will be joining me on this journey, a journey where we will all hopefully learn something about ourselves, about the world, and about life in general. Okay, not really -- I just wanted to make it sound like we'll be doing something productive instead of making lots and lots and lots of inappropriate, buttsex-related comments.

Before we begin, I must take care of a couple of administrative matters. These are always as fun for me to write as they are for you to read, but annoying, know-it-all fans with inferiority complexes make them necessary, so don't blame me. I'm innocent, Your Honor.

First, this is a Nintendo DS game, meaning that I have no reliable way to record footage of it the way I do with all my other recapped games. So I'm pretty much recapping it as I play it. Of course I would never want to mislead you fine folks by accidentally leaving something out, but I must warn you that it's much more likely if I can't easily replay the footage. I'm hoping we can all survive should I miss some essential piece of dialogue.

Second, as I mentioned, this is a game about lawyers. Almost everything takes place either in a courtroom or during various investigations related to cases, and the system introduced in the game is loosely based on the Japanese courtroom, even though the English translation takes place in L.A. Now, my knowledge of legal matters comes from books, TV, and a Wikipedia article on the Japanese legal system. So any nitpicking I do is with this information in mind. If you are a legal expert and the thought of me possibly passing on misinformation in the form of poking fun at a Japanese lawyer game is enough to send you running to the message board to correct every tiny mistake, then you might want to skip this one.

So what is Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney all about, you may wonder? Technically, it's about a defense attorney with the improbably ridiculous name of Phoenix Wright who aims to attain a "Not Guilty" verdict for his falsely-accused clients. But that would not be delving into the true theme of the game. No, the true theme is something even deeper than courtroom battles or finding the truth, or even believing in someone despite the odds. And that is...

This game is really fucking gay.

Sure, I tried to think of a polite or witty way to describe it, but when faced with the overwhelming mountain of homosexuality, words failed me. But it is really fucking gay. Seriously, imagine Squall and Seifer, Twink, and the entire male cast of Suikoden gathered around a DS and watching someone (let's say McDohl) playing through Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. I can guarantee you that the phrase, "Holy shit, this game is really fucking gay" would be uttered more often than "Is someone's hand on my ass?" or "Where did you get that cute little leather jacket?"

It's that gay. I only hope I can do it justice. Get it?!

With that said, the first case -- which I will be recapping in this installment -- doesn't feature the same massive level of homosexuality as Cases 2-5. But as you will see, it will foreshadow the gayness and the multitude of inappropriate innuendoes to come. Not to mention, it gives us an awesome example of the retardation of the game's legal system. Let's get started!

The first chapter is titled, appropriately, "The First Turnabout." Yes, I already know that "Turnabout" is a reference to the Japanese title of the game. Please don't e-mail me about it -- I might miss a vital message on how to enlarge my penis if you clog my inbox with that shit. The chapter opens with a little cut scene, done in the animation style of the game. From the top of the screen, something that looks like a penis head drips blood onto the floor, causing me sympathetic pains in my tiny 12-year-old urethra. The camera pans up to show us that the object is not, in fact, a penis head, but the regular kind of head belonging to a statue of a naked man posed like "The Thinker." Which is so much less gay. A gloved hand holds the blood-covered statue as a voice -- presumably belonging to the owner of the gloved hand -- pants and moans.

The camera switches to a shot of a young woman lying face-down, a pool of blood forming under her head. The voice, who we can safely assume is the chick's killer, whines, "Why me?" as if being a murderer is so haaaaaaaard. The view switches again so that we can see a full-body view of the guy, losing any suspense over who actually committed the crime but gaining a good laugh. Because our killer is some middle-aged guy in a fuchsia suit and bad toupee. To make matters even more unfortunate, he has a giant, raised mole right between his eyes. Now, I'm warning you -- before the end of the game, you may find yourself becoming accustomed to fuchsia suits. They're more common in this game than Mary Sues in the Final Fantasy series. But you must resist this urge! The day you no longer blink an eye at the hilarity of fuchsia suits is the day you've already begun to die inside. I can't let that happen.

So our murderer in the flamboyant suit worries out loud about getting caught. Because wearing bright colors and talking to yourself are surefire ways to remain inconspicuous. But he has a plan! A plan which he will continue to share with us via monologue. See, he's going to try to frame someone else for the crime. And he has someone in mind. Based on a split second flashback image, we find out that the killer saw someone -- from behind -- walking down a hallway. This person is the perfect scapegoat! The plan can't possibly fail!

Now that we know the murderer's appearance and his devious plan, we can proceed to the trial.

A little text screen tells us that it's August 3rd at 9:47 AM in the District Court Defendant Lobby. Said lobby is decked out with a cushy couch, a potted plant, shitty artwork, and two armed guards by the double doors. All of this is part of the static backdrop. See, this game is one of those first-person Japanese text adventure games, none of which I've ever played, not even the hentai ones. I'm actually serious this time. Although I heard about a hentai version of this game that involves Phoenix Wright fucking pretty much every female character. Someone obviously missed the entire theme of the game. Because they didn't read this recap.

Anyway, since we're in the first person right now, we see everything from the POV of our hero, Mr. Phoenix Wright. He's speaking in blue font enclosed in parentheses, which I always assumed was a character's thoughts, but half the time other characters respond to this text, so they're either telepathic or Phoenix talks to himself out loud. Neither of these options would be totally out of place in the series.

At this particular point in time, Phoenix appears to be nervous. I say this because his first line is "Boy am I nervous!" I'm awesome at really digging deep into the dialogue -- it's a special talent. Someone named Mia calls his name from offscreen. Now, generally the expression of nervousness combined with the crying out of a name -- not to mention the porno soundtrack -- would indicate that something rather risque is taking place. Not so fast. See, the name "Mia" is a female name. And Phoenix Wright is -- how can I put this delicately? -- not interested in the affections of the fairer sex. He, uh, prefers the company of men. And having buttsex with them.

'It took me two hours to cram my boobs into this outfit.'

Mia appears on screen, and her character design can be summed up in a single word: boobs. Even though her jacket and miniskirt are nothing out of the ordinary for the single female lawyer stereotype, she wears her jacket open with only a black bra on underneath. Oh sure, you could try to argue that she's wearing some kind of shaped top. But no. That is a bra. A bra that shows every inch of her rather impressive cleavage. Reading Mia's profile in the Court Record -- the place where all the character info and evidence is stored -- we find out that she is Phoenix's boss, a 27-year-old defense attorney. I just don't understand why someone of her advanced age is wearing something so revealing. Shouldn't she be wearing some unflattering granny clothes?

Whatever the case, Mia is obviously still hot, despite being over-the-hill. And maybe the cleavage-baring is some sort of courtroom strategy. Not because any of her opponents -- except maybe women -- would be interested in the female form, but because they might get so nauseous from staring at her gigantic knockers, they'd end up making a mistake. In addition to her bra and stylish suit, Mia wears a yellow scarf and a weird teardrop-shaped stone around her neck. Not that this will come into play in my recap at all, but it becomes semi-important later.

Phoenix greets Mia nervously, and again, this isn't because he's intending to bang her. It turns out that he's about to try his very first case. And that's not a euphemism for banging her. "Well, I have to say Phoenix, I'm impressed!" Mia comments. "Not everyone takes on a murder trial right off the bat like this." This sounds like she's commenting upon the situation for the very first time when she must have known about Phoenix taking on a murder trial well in advance. After all, murder trials take quite some time to prepare, and as Phoenix's boss, Mia would likely hold some responsibility for assigning the case, or at least would have consulted with him on it. So I must just be reading the situation incorrectly. Let's move on.

Mia continues, "It says a lot about you...and your client as well." Phoenix thanks her, unsure if she intended that as a compliment or not. Don't look at me, I can't really tell either. "Actually, it's because I owe him a favor," Phoenix admits, although he doesn't exactly give details about what warranted such a high-level favor. We can pretty much guess, however. With her Surprised Face on, Mia asks, "You mean, you knew the defendant before this case?" Okay, now I know it can't be my imagination. It seems that Mia really did not discuss anything about this case with Phoenix in advance. My first inclination is to think that either Mia is a retard for not speaking to her underling about the case before the actual court date, or that Phoenix is a retard because he kept all this information from his boss until the actual court date. However, this type of situation is perfectly normal for this game. What I said before about murder trials taking time to prepare? Well, in this system, the trial begins within days of the murder. Consulting the Court Record one again, it turns out that the victim, Cindy Stone, was murdered on the afternoon of July 31st. It is currently August 3rd. It's possible that Phoenix only took the case the day before, meaning that he may not have had a chance to talk over it with Mia. Not that this isn't still retarded, but not for the reasons you might have originally thought.

In the biblical sense.

Oh, and Phoenix has one piece of case-related evidence in the Court Record -- the autopsy report. So he's going to trial with pretty much no information whatsoever. I'm sure his client will have the best defense possible!

Phoenix tells Mia that not only does he owe his client a favor, but his client is part of the reason he's a lawyer in the first place. You just know there's some juicy, inappropriate story behind that. Maybe it's just my overactive recapper brain -- this could have a perfectly platonic, non-pervy explanation. But both you and I would be so disappointed if that were true, wouldn't we? Anyway, I guess if this is Phoenix's first case, he hasn't been working for Mia for very long, which would explain why she doesn't know anything about this naughty backstory. Then again, I doubt Phoenix would tell the sexy details to an icky girl. "I want to help him out any way I can! I just...really want to help him. I owe him that much." Phoenix insists. My dirty recapper's imagination is alive with the possibilities.

Someone offscreen starts screaming in green font, "It's over! My life, everything, it's all over!" No, there's no one on a laptop running their LJ friends list through a text-to-speech reader. This ridiculous display of drama queenery is coming from none other than the defendant himself. He shrills some more about death and dying and how he, himself, is going to die, causing Mia to remark, "It sounds like he wants to die..." Normally I would snark on such an obvious line, but this game has its fair share of sarcasm as well, so Mia is just being an honorary recapper here.

Phoenix sighs in exasperation, used to the flamboyant antics of his "friend." Said friend shows up in the next instant, replacing Mia on the screen because in this style of game, only one person can display at a time (Yes, with some exceptions, I know. Don't e-mail me, for the love of Christ.). The friend and defendant's name is Larry Butz. You read that right: Butz. That's not an inappropriate, immature nickname I made up -- that's the character's actual name. This means, as Sam put it so eloquently, that Phoenix Wright is a close personal friend of the Butz. You'll notice that many of the character names in this series are puns or "clever" wordplays, some of which allude to the homosexuality inherent in the games. For instance, Mia's last name is Fey. And now we have Larry Butz. It would be unsurprising indeed to meet someone with the moniker "Gaylord Von Buckfutter."

Larry Butz has obnoxiously spiked light brown hair and a Satan beard, and he wears a shiny blaze orange vinyl jacket. At this very moment, he has his hands balled under his chin while he cries an anime-style river of tears. Masculine! "Nick!!!" he screams, referring to his nickname (no pun intended) for Phoenix. Phoenix is all, "Um, hi." Just because the guy is on trial for murder doesn't mean he has to act like a total wuss in front of Phoenix's boss. Jeez. "Dude, I'm so guilty!! Tell them I'm guilty!!! Gimme the death sentence! I ain't afraid to die!" Butz shrieks, while strangely giving the thumbs-up sign. I'm sure this isn't the first time Phoenix has seen his hand in that particular gesture, if you follow me.

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