Music to My Ears: Phoenix Wright


I don’t know why it took me so long to play through the Phoenix Wright series, but I’m finally a believer.

To be honest, I was kind of an idiot. See, when I was growing up, courtroom drama was the name of the game. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents after school while my mom worked long shifts as a nurse, and that meant copious amounts of two things on the television: game shows (which really needs its own post) and courtroom/detective shows like Matlock, Columbo, Perry Mason and, later, Diagnosis Murder.

As a result, I’ve always been a pretty big fan of that sort of media. Hell, it’s one of the reasons why the trial in Chrono Trigger is one of my favorite parts of a game that is littered with epic moments (that and realizing the impact of your earlier actions). There’s just something about the moment where you pick out a critical flaw in testimony or hammer a witness for a confession that resonates with me.

Well, the Ace Attorney games are pretty much all about those moments, so I don’t know what I was waiting for.

I’ve rectified that mistake in the last couple months, plowing my way through the first four games in the series in preparation for Dual Destinies, which comes out in just a few weeks. For me, it’s a toss-up between Trials and Tribulations and Apollo Justice as to which was my favorite. And the music went a long way toward making those aforementioned moments important — any time a great song hit at a critical moment in a case, it made things that much better.

Here are five of my favorite tracks from the first four Ace Attorney games:

Ace Attorney — Pursuit (Cornered)

Probably the most well-known track in the series, but that spot is deserved. This song in the first game was the moment that you knew things were serious. You finally exposed a flaw in the witness’ testimony, and your reward is to rock out for the next few minutes.

Justice For All — Great Revival: Franziska von Karma

I enjoyed Franziska in the second game. Unfortunately, most of the game was pretty mediocre in my book. Ace Attorney set the standard for the series, Trials and Tribulations features a completely crazy final case, and Apollo Justice surprised me with how much I liked a new set of characters (with Phoenix being a pimp behind the scenes). JFA’s soundtrack didn’t have many songs I liked, but this was one of them.

Trials & Tribulations — Examination (Allegro)

One of the hallmarks of the music in the Ace Attorney series is that you get a regular theme during the early testimony in a case, and then as you near the end of the testimony, that music steps up a little bit. Maybe the beat gets more intense or there’s a key change. Each game features a theme with a variation like this, but the one from T&T was easily my favorite.

Apollo Justice — Guilty Love

Klavier Gavin might be my favorite prosecutor in the series, although it’s an extremely close race between him, Edgeworth, Franziska and Godot. Gavin’s bonus is that he has a shredding guitar theme for himself, a perfect fit considering his character.

Apollo Justice — Cross Examination

This was really the only moderate cross examination theme I liked. The allegro version is good as well, but there’s something about the base track that speaks to me. I think it’s the kind of mysterious, inquisitive vibe of the track, and the fact that it loops so well as you weave your way through the early testimony of a witness.

Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games on a recurring basis, which is basically whenever Chris gets around to writing it. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.

3 thoughts on “Music to My Ears: Phoenix Wright

  1. Great songs! Pursuit (Cornered) is such a classic obviously had to be on the list (I don’t play Marvel vs. Capcom 3 but really wanted Phoenix to be good so that when I’m watching highlight reels I could the turnabout theme haha). I really like Apollo Justice Cross Examination. Video game music composing must be so interesting. Songs have to be good, fit an appropriate mood, and often be acceptable on repeat. It’s great when they nail a song that you are going to have to listen to a ton.

    I actually only ever played the first Phoenix Wright sadly. Not sure why, I loved it, just never got the others. But I’m super pumped for the new one, I will definitely get it!


    1. I’d highly recommend playing 3 and 4 if you get the chance — both of them are very good. I think a lot of folks pick 3 as their favorite game, and I really enjoyed 4, which surprised me a bit considering the change in most of the cast. Still, Dual Destinies looks like it’ll be a lot of fun as well.

      1. Yeah my brother highly recommends them and I would definitely love to get around to it at some point. Maybe I will try to marathon it before Dual Destinies. A lot of people I know really like Apollo Justice as well.


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