Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney • Page 2

Another Ace up their sleeve.  

Apollo's eager assistant throughout - essentially the role of Maya to Apollo's Phoenix - is Trucy, a 15-year-old stage magician who calls Mr Wright "Daddy". It's a disturbing image, and one that Apollo immediately doesn't believe. Could Phoenix really have had a daughter at 18 (he's 33 now) that he'd never mentioned? Trucy is manic, enthusiastic, and has an incredibly peculiar obsession with her "magic panties". Oh lord. It's like when Butz was flirting with nine-year-old Pearly in the last game all over again.

In fact, as astonishing as it might seem, the first full-length chapter seems to be more about her stolen panties than the tale of a murdered doctor and the associated local crime lords. It even contains the line, delivered by Trucy, "You must have a nose for finding girls' panties." That localisation team really likes pushing their luck... ("My panties are in extra-dimensional space. Anything can fit in there.")

The only concern here, however, is how quickly you feel you might as well be playing Phoenix and Maya, for the way the banter between Apollo and Trucy develops. During a story revolving around a rock band, Apollo is all bemused by modern music and complains about the noise, while Trucy swoons at the band and boasts about how much she enjoyed dancing, while trying to steal posters from backstage. Apollo's only 22, and doesn't have the stuffy appearance of Phoenix - couldn't he have a more distinct personality? However, that doesn't mean it isn't hilarious - it is, constantly.

So yes, the graphics for the DS. They are all-round improved (but for the Judge), but mostly very modest. However, every now and then there's some nice 3D designed stuff, like the camera swooping into the overhead diagrams of crime scenes. And for chapter 3 there's an extended rendered 3D sequence with a song that's really very pretty. But boy are you going to watch it a lot. It must have been repeated fifteen times during the story, so proud they must have been with their efforts.

You'll soon grow to love Trucy, but not as much as Maya. Maya is best, and I'll fight anyone who disagrees.

So what else has changed? Well, with Phoenix we had the Magatama which allowed him to see when people were lying, and gave the challenge of breaking through Psyche Locks. These, introduced in the second game, allowed you to use the Court Record outside of court, giving those sequences a heavier puzzle element and fleshing out the game considerably. Apollo has no such thing, but instead has a bracelet and the ability to focus in on witness's nervous twitches while on the stand. This ability, only occasionally available, means you need to pick a suspicious statement, and then focus. The graphics go all weird and swirly, and you super-zoom in on the witness's body. They "speak" in slow motion, and you can move your magic vision around trying to spot a twitch. The game puts it this way: "It seems that nervous habits are unconscious reactions that manifest when someone is trying to hide something." You call them on the lie, and present the evidence to prove it.

There's a big problem with this, however. It takes place in court - the sequences that already had lots of puzzling, leaving the exploration sections again lacking.

To make up for this, rather than Detective Gumshoe (is he ok? Is he still with Maggey Byrde?!) we have Ema Skye (who you might remember from the bonus chapter on the DS version of the first game). She's now 25 and working as a detective, and not a forensic scientist as she had always hoped, but that doesn't stop her applying her favourite scientific techniques. Again, as with the bonus story in the first Phoenix Wright, your inventory now shows most objects in 3D, letting you rotate them and zoom in to find hidden features. And Ema has her gadgets, including fingerprint powder and blood detection spray. Added to these is a machine capable of scanning through the micro-layers of paper. All are great fun. And, sigh, all are barely used.

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John Walker

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