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March 17, 2017

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (Part 2)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Part 1 Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney - Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

It's like the scum of the Earth had a party in Tok-
Err, in Los Angeles!
We continue the story of this game with case 2, Turnabout Corner. We see multiple scenes that appear disconnected: Someone pulling a stand, a girl chasing a fleeing guy down the street, a man with a tuque being hit by the side of a car…We cut to Apollo Justice’s new fate: Two months since his first case, in which his mentor Kristoph Gavin was arrested, he finally accepts to join the Wright Talent Agency. He meets the strange teenage girl from that first case, the one dressed as a magician… Phoenix’s daughter, Trucy Wright. Considering he had no children at age 24, nine years prior, she was likely adopted. That, or… No, I’d rather not imagine that.

Er... Let's call the police about that one?
It shouldn't be any of my business.
Unless it miraculously relates to the case.
We get our first warning sign: Phoenix is not at the agency, he’s at the hospital. Was struck by a car’s side-mirror the previous night. Not hurt too badly, thankfully. He already has a case for Apollo, too; the client, or rather a person close to the client, is met at the Agency. Some weird guy with a bowl on his head. You got it wrong sir, it’s called a bowl cut, it’s not just a bowl. You’d still look ridiculous, but you would look less ridiculous. The client, named Guy Eldoon, is the local Noodle Guy (in case the backwards word didn’t clue you in), says that his stand has been stolen. We’re told to find it. We have a third mystery, too; one of Trucy’s stage magician props was stolen. Her… panties. Well, this is taking a turn for the awkward… She says they’re just a prop allowing for some magical effects, not an actual pair to wear. You know, I never thought I’d be discussing things like that outside of a review of an adult game. So now we have potentially two thieves and a hit-n-runner to find. Goodie.

And she's the boss's wife. Better not piss her off if we want
to see another day.
Our investigation begins as we meet the people near the location of the hit-and-run. That mansion belongs to the Kitaki, a family of a Yakuza-inspired mob. Mafia in the first game, Yakuza here… some other cases mention other criminal groups… I wouldn’t be surprised if a future Ace Attorney game had a gang war as part of its story. And I thought Liberty City was complicated! Apollo and Trucy also learn that a murder happened within People Park on the other side of the street. Visiting Eldoon, we see that his stand was right next to a high-class doctor’s office, the Meraktis Clinic. A police car is parked near it. Last but not least, we meet Alita Tiala, who asks Apollo Justice to defend her boyfriend/future husband… Wocky Kitaki, who is being accused of the murder of Pal Meraktis.

Honestly, the cases in this game are fairly big, so I will skip most of the investigation, going only over the important events, in particular those of that very busy night. Once again, the bulk of the investigation is to figure out where each actor of the case was when the murder happened, what they were doing, and whether or not they have a reason to lie through their teeth. And as you can expect, there wouldn’t be a mystery if the whole case wasn't resting on a convoluted multiplication of outlandish coincidences, all of which must be untangled at a snail’s pace, through discovery and presentation of evidence.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyup. Exactly that.
The case is going places it shouldn't be going.
In Meraktis’ garage, we get the ever-present ladder/stepladder discussion, because no Ace Attorney game is complete without it, and we find a pink phone under the surgeon’s car, as well as something stuck in the exhaust pipe… Trucy’s panties. Urgh, I feel uneasy mentioning that piece of evidence… Is that some sick joke from Shu Takumi, to make everybody uneasy when they mention that part of the story, which they have to do, because it’s important to the mystery? Oh, and that car is missing its side view mirror, the one that was found in a trash can in the park. Phoenix Wright helps with the case, explaining that Pal Meraktis made much of his money helping the local Yakuza, by providing cheap surgeries for them and conveniently hiding those off the clinic’s records.

That is NOT what she was saying back when she didn't
know we were kinda working with Wright!
I am not big on the whole "waifu" fandom thing,
but with her great intelligence, resourcefulness and
cuteness, she makes a good case for it.
We also meet Gavin. Again. Oh wait, no, not the same Gavin. This is Klavier (heh) Gavin, brother of Kristoph, y’know, the guy we caught in court for killing a black guy for no apparent motive. Also a rock star, if the pun name didn’t clue you in. We’ll know more about this guy later. Oh, we also encounter Ema Skye, head detective on the case. Yup, that same girl Phoenix Wright saved from prison in the DLC case of the first game, Rise from the Ashes… which, in hindsight, I really, really should have played. Nicolas, you moron. Seems Ema has received the same memo the folks on crime scenes from the first game received: Be as unhelpful as possible to the defense. It takes some convincing (as well as a mention of Phoenix Wright) to get her to help. She even teaches how to dust evidence for handprints. As for the crime scene, we find that the corpse was found carrying Eldoon’s stand…  Later, we also meet the defendant, who is such a wannabe gangster teenager that he wants to be sent to prison for that crime. Yup, we always get difficult clients.

Fan-tas-tic. Having a defendant who wants prison.

Sheesh... How does he even juggle the jobs of prosecutor
and rock star? How does he prosecute while he's on tour?
On the next day, in court… first off, we see that the prosecutor is Klavier Gavin. Okay, that’s a surprise, but there’s an even better surprise: Unlike most prosecutors in the series, he’s a decent guy who treats his job as what it’s supposed to be: Pursuit of the truth. And he’s friendly, too, even in the middle of court action. Second, we learn through Wocky’s testimony, that Mal Praktis-er, I mean, Pal Meraktis made a major slip-up. Wocky had Leeroy Jenkins-ed his way into a gang shootout, and had to be operated for a bullet dangerously close to his heart. Oh, and Meraktis left the bullet in there. There goes a motive for why Wocky would want the guy dead.

Hm... there is something very odd
about that guy.
Next up is the witness, Wesley Stickler, who is drawn too realistically for the Ace Attorney world. He’s also more verbose than Wendy Oldbag, and that’s saying something. This guy makes me uneasy. He yelled when he witnessed the altercation, causing the victim to turn his head towards him, explaining why the bullet hit the temple of the surgeon’s head. Oh, Stickler would be a pretty good witness, if he didn’t get, oh, every single damn detail wrong. Wocky was wielding a knife, not a gun.

One of his testimonies is solid, though, and Apollo sees no outright contradictions, so Trucy stages a fake kidnapping of herself to order a recess. Yeah, apparently she’s always somehow traveling around with a large puppet hidden on her, even if it should be too big and too heavy for her to carry. The cases of Ace Attorney make sense, but the number of nonsensical silliness outside of cases is staggering. In that recess, Trucy reinstates that Apollo is gifted with a sight that lets him see slight nervous reactions, mostly to lies, and can use them to call out a witness. It’s gimmicky, but it works within the context of that world. Since it’s the second time this is used, you are told exactly what to look for.

Actually, it's exactly what it seems. Perv.
From there, we deduct more stuff from the guy: He didn’t actually have his cell phone with him; it was in Meraktis’ garage. Which he dropped there that night, just a bit before witnessing the scene. It’s also where we found the, urgh, panties. Turns out, Stickler is also a creepy pervert who stole more than one pair of undergarments, including Trucy’s and Plum Kitaki’s. Oh, he can claim that it was to study them and discover the secret of the magic trick Trucy does with hers… Stickler can’t even remember from which angle he actually saw the altercation! And this spins the mystery into a whole new light: The victim’s right temple, the one that was shot, was towards the noodle stand when he turned to the university student! You know the old horror cliché, “the call comes from inside the house”? Well, here, it appears the bullet came from the stand. Somehow.

Stickler is arrested for panty-snatching (still can’t believe I ever had to write this for my blog…), and thus we continue our investigation. We learn that Wocky and Alita were going to marry in a month. Later we see Eldoon and learn of his animosity towards Pal Meraktis; that guy’s ties with the local criminal families made him rich, while Eldoon, originally a surgeon himself, was left with nothing else but that noodle stand. Back at the crime scene, Ema Skye teaches us how to check footprints; pour plaster, dry it off, then ink the bottom, slap that on a sheet and compare to the footprints of the people in the Court Record. Yup! Thanks to this, we see that both Wocky and Stickler were on the scene, along with a mysterious print near the back of the stand – a print left by a slipper from Meraktis Clinic. Time to explore the clinic. I'm glad to go, with Ema Skye munching on Snackoos in my face, I was getting a bit hungry.

Either the Meraktis Clicnic decided on partnerships with
Eldoon and a high-class shoe store, or something's wrong
The clinic has indeed a pair of slippers missing, while all the bowls from Eldoon’s stand rest on the floor, with a pair of high heels. If all this was wholly unrelated to the case, it’s something we could definitely call a... noodle incident. Apollo and Trucy hear sound into the doctor’s office and rush in, but they’re too late to see the person. However, the runaway robber entered two digits on the 4-number code of the safe, and we figure out the other two thanks to the fingerprint powder. In there: A squished bullet and the papers about Wocky’s operation… which mention “Nurse Alita Tiala”. Huh, I figured Wocky would be the kind to go “Helloooooo Nurse!” when seeing her.

If you thought Yanni Yogi's change was big in the
previous review...
We also find out that the toe prints on the slipper and the high heels are the same, and Wocky confirms that the high heels are Alita’s. Showing Wocky’s record to Eldoon awakens the savior surgeon type in him, and he states that the young Kitaki should be operated, like, right now, instead of being on trial. We even get the biggest twist so far in this case: Eldoon’s blond hair is not real! He has the head of hair for the surgeon job underneath that soup bowl… Well, put simply, he looks like a doctor now. He states that Wocky could die at any moment now, that bullet near his heart is a ticking time bomb. Think that might be why Alita got close to him? Hm, I think so too.

Gotta love when the curtain of lies is parted.
Time for the next day’s trial. And who is on the stand? Miss Tiala herself! We waste no time to present her connection to Pal Meraktis. Since Alita helped write the true report about Wocky’s condition, she knew about her husband-to-be’s fate. She can’t deny the connection, either. Using Apollo’s perception powers, we figure out that, contrary to her statement, she had a reason to go back to the clinic recently. And the reason is simple; a recent health check-up made by the Kitakis, which would reveal to them Wocky’s condition… which Alita has an interest in keeping secret.

She can claim all she wants that nothing happened afterwards, but the bullet found in the safe says otherwise. Its ballistic markings indicate it came from the gun that belongs to the Kitaki family. She confesses in the end to wanting the Kitaki family’s fortune, and nothing else, and she delivers a grand verbal beatdown to Wocky in the process. But we would still need to prove how that ties into the case. Well, she was the one who broke into the doctor’s office to try and get the chart while Apollo and Trucy were at the clinic, so that solves another mystery.

I do enjoy the 3D versions of the crime scenes used in
the game, it's just sad that aside from that one time in
the first case, none of them are interactive.
The discussion comes back to the mysterious killer, who they soon figure out must have been hidden in the noodle stand. We prove it was Alita, tying evidence and memories of things seen - like the bowls stored in the Clinic. The pieces fall in place: Alita went to see Meraktis to get the file and save herself, but he didn’t want to be a target either, so they fought. A bullet was shot, and he almost strangled her to death with a lamp cord. She fainted, and he ended up trying to dispose of what he thought was the corpse, into the park’s river. His car wasn’t working… the exhaust pipe was blocked by a pair of p- Ah, for fuck’s sake, panties again? Anyway, the first thing he saw was the noodle stand, he put her in there, then she regained consciousness shortly before the encounter, she picked up her gun – which he also tried to dispose of, put it in the stand – and she shot him while he had his head turned towards Wesley Stickler, his right temple towards the stand.

Defeated, Alita, calmly confesses. Case solved. The irony is that she went to get Apollo as Wocky’s attorney, convinced a rookie would be unable to defend the Kitaki properly!

Phew, I hope the next case won’t be that long or that convoluted. I say that, but this is Ace Attorney. Non-convoluted cases are a rarity. Oh well, see ya then.