Waiting for Godot…to finish his point: The Music of Ace Attorney 3: Trials and Tribulations

Gamer Grooves

As always, a friendly reminder that this post may contain spoilers.

See that warning up there? The one that says that this post may contain spoilers? Yeah… that one. If you are in the process of playing the Ace Attorney games and haven’t beaten or are on Trials and Tribulations, please stop reading and beat the game(s) before you get something spoiled for yourself. The game is too good to end up ruined, and as someone who loves the series, I would hate for that to happen for anyone.

When I had the idea for these posts, I knew I wanted to cover Ace Attorney. When I sat down to listen to the soundtracks, however, I struggled on deciding which game to focus on. I didn’t want to do the whole series because there are too many songs for that and they’re basically all amazing. I decided to go with Trials and Tribulations, the 3rd in the series. I did learn something really interesting when I was getting started on this article, however.

I was under the impression that the soundtracks for these games were all written by the same people. They all had similarities, so I figured it was one person changing it up each game. In actuality, there have been 3 composers across the Ace Attorney series: Masakazu Sugimori and Akemi Kimura composed/arranged for Ace Attorney 1 and 2, Toshihiko Horiyama composed the soundtrack for Ace Attorney 4, and Noriyuki Iwadare composed for the two Ace Attorney Investigation games, Ace Attorney 5, and Ace Attorney 3 (the game for today!)

When going through the soundtrack of T&T, I discovered a couple of songs that stood out to me as being more than just their placeholders in the score. Trials and Tribulations has 3 songs that I really liked and each created a memory that stuck with me. So let’s have a listen if there are no objections?

Songs

Luke Atmey – I Just Want Love

Phoenix Wright T&T ~ Luke Atmey ~ I Just Want Love DS

Luke Atmey was probably one of the smartest criminals I ran into within the Ace Attorney universe. I’m actually torn as to whether or not the soundtrack wants me to think less or more of Luke Atmey. His advanced vocabulary, his observational skills (mileage can vary on that one, I suppose), and ability to have puzzled out all Mask DeMasque crimes makes me think that he’s actually pretty damn smart after all. Granted, his name (like most names in Ace Attorney games) is a pun that denotes his behavior, so he’s also a tool (props to the localization team as some of the direct translations/word play from the Japanese text may not have made much sense in the US).

Luke Atmey wants your attention and if he has to be an ace detective to do it, so be it. I was fairly impressed when I learned of Atmeys crime and had kind of wished that he hadn’t done it. He was super interesting to me and this music presents him as a theatrical man with very little to hide (well, despite being a criminal mastermind). To this day, I hope that I’ll see Luke Atmey again, but this is a pipe dream because murder in Ace Attorney world usually means the death penalty. I can dream though… I can dream.

Godot – The Fragrance of Dark Coffee

Phoenix Wright T&T ~ Godot ~ The Fragrance of Dark Coffee

Many of the people that saw Godot thought he was the smoothest man alive. I thought he was annoying as hell. I always thought that as a prosecutor he wasn’t nearly as good as Edgeworth or Fransizka nor did he have the crushing oppression of Manfred Von Karma. He was just always sort of smug, drinking his coffee and thinking all my points were crap all of the time (Guys, we may need an intervention for Alex – EDITOR FRANK). This would change in the final trial, but I’ll get to that after we dissect his theme.

It might follow that because I don’t like Godot, I don’t like his theme either. The way I figure it, Godot’s theme wants you to feel two things: one is that he’s cool and slick like a stereotypical private eye, the other is that he’s a man shrouded in mystery. I’ve always liked this song because, while it didn’t make me feel the former, it doubled up in the department of the latter. It makes me see Godot as a man who has something so massive to hide, that finding out what it is will be reserved for the final case. It’s kind of an odd opinion, I know. How can I be interested in him but still not like him? Much like Godot, it’s a mystery that goes deeper than words can tell.

Cornered 2001 (2004 Remix)

Phoenix Wright T&T ~ Cornered 2001 (2004 Remix) DS

You’re in the final trial against Godot and you have to prove he committed the murder for which Maya is currently accused. It turns out that Godot has seen you as an unworthy successor to his loved one, Mia Fey, and blames you for her death. At this point in the trial, you need to present that one last piece of evidence as Godot puts everything on the line. The game tricks you because no matter what evidence you show, Godot has the same condescending speech… at least initially.

When he starts to demean you for showing the wrong piece of evidence, you object while he’s saying it. That’s when Phoenix unveils that he has the last essential piece of evidence all along, and then this music starts to play. For those that don’t know, this is a variation on the cornered theme that plays in the first Ace Attorney game. Immediately you feel a rush of confidence and you realize that you have conquered Godot finally and thoroughly without help from anyone else.

This means a lot is because throughout the games the ghost of Mia was helping you out pretty constantly. Usually it was to save your ass from a difficult cross examination or to get you to look at evidence differently. This is the moment that Phoenix proves he has finally come into his own as an attorney and remixing the music from Ace Attorney 1 reinforces it beautifully. I still get shivers down my spine when I listen to it and think of the implications that this song has on the game and its characters. Holy hell do I love Trials and Tribulations.

Afterthoughts

Start playing a song from an Ace Attorney game and chances are good I can go ahead and sing along. Even a game as recent as Ace Attorney 5 (out on the 3DS Eshop, so buy it because it’s awesome) has me humming as I listen to my younger brother play it in the car. The soundtracks for these games are all great and I encourage you to play all the rest. The more people that support them, the better chance we have of getting them localized and sent here by Capcom. Also, because there’s more Ace Attorney, that means there’s more music. Lord knows that we’ll all be better off with that.

…and with that, today’s article comes to a close. I’ll see you all tomorrow for a new game.

Court is Adjourned

Ace Attorney 3 Trials and Tribulations

Alex McVeigh
About Alex McVeigh 28 Articles
Alex has been a nerd for as long as he can remember. Every normal conversation he has had could be matched 1 for 1 with a conversation about why Scrooge McDuck is obviously richer than Edward Cullens' Dad and here's why. He can talk about and play video games for hours only to conclude with "anyone wanna play some magic?