- "It's a comedy of errors, with the violence of Macbeth,so cute and charming, murder, zany, wacky, jokey, death!"
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- Because the series is entirely driven by Always Murder cases, it's almost inevitable that the cause of death of certain victims may make players uncomfortable, especially if the victim in question was said to be nice and likable when alive. The fact that photos of their corpses are present in almost every case as evidence doesn't help.
- Depending on how sensitive you are to scary stuff, many witnesses can start to become this as they get more and more upset.
- April May is a notable example, the first sign of her cracking involving her expression changing from "Cheery ditz" to "I'm going to rip off your skin and wear it as a coat" and back again so quickly you almost miss it.
- It's especially jarring when the last witness' freak-out was actually pretty funny, and then the next witness goes absolutely insane. It just goes to show that it's not just the perpetrators who can fall victim to a breakdown.
- A special mention must go to the film, where you're treated to the scene of Yanni Yogi burning off his fingerprints in acid.
- Think about the many Amoral Prosecutors you've seen in the game and to what lengths they'll go to secure their victories, even if it means innocent lives being sent to death row. This makes these prosecutors indirect murderers. Then comes the "Dark Age of the Law" brought up in Dual Destinies, where "win at all costs" becomes not only a tactic, but an entire philosophy (more exactly, "the end justifies the means"), advocated by Themis Legal Academy instructor Aristotle Means...who is a defense attorney, showing that both sides are willing to go to extremes.
- The police system isn't trustworthy either. For at least two years, the corrupt Chief of Police had the Chief Prosecutor under his thumb and (it's strongly implied) used her to get rid of anyone he disliked, even if it meant forging evidence (Edgeworth in particular nearly goes into a Heroic B.S.O.D. when he realizes that he scored at least one conviction on false evidence.) Before them, we had Blase Debeste, an Amoral Attorney as bad as they come, as the Chief Prosecutor. Then in Dual Destinies, the Big Bad kills and replaces a detective, with no one the wiser; Phoenix and Edgeworth only discover him because they are running a long game to force him to show himself.
Phoenix Wright: Justice for All
- The whole game is incredibly dark. No wonder it's the awkward game in the original trilogy.
- Phoenix's nightmare with that horrifying Nightmare Judge. It returns in 2-4, only this time it's as real as the situation.
- Richard Wellington's breakdown in Case 1 deserves its own entry. Nothing quite like someone strangling himself with his own scarf until his skin actually turns blue. And his scream actually gets louder as he's choking himself (as denoted by the text suddenly being in all caps)...
- Really doesn't help that Bach's 'Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor' is playing while this happens.
- Case 2 has this (caution, is kind of a spoiler)◊. Without knowing it's Mimi Miney, the first thing the player assumes is that it's Maya Fey◊, the charming and sunny assistant from the previous game, which can come off as terribly disturbing. Even bearing in mind the true identity, the Hidden Eyes, blood-smeared clothing, and general eeriness of this person is quite creepy (especially since she talks in morose, broken phrasing, evocative of a troubled lost soul).
- Ini actually Mimi Miney is a pretty creepy girl overall. For one, her damage sprite is downright scary. She tries to suffocate herself with her hat similar to Richard Wellington above. She also has some pretty creepy lines during the second half of the investigation like "I'm going to serve you a slice of humble pie! I hope you'll enjoy it!". Also just◊ look◊ at◊ these horrifying sprites. Like April May above, this is a girl you do not want to get angry.
- Also, if you are not used to Anime-looking eyes, the second picture presented in the trial can be scary as well.
- During the same case, Maya says she had a dream that basically describes being buried alive. Again, as more of the case comes to light what was really going on is revealed but at the start, it's still pretty unnerving to hear someone explain such a sensation.
- The end of Case 2, after the celebration scene, features Morgan Fey against a solid black background while her creepy Leitmotif plays, talking about her plans to knock Maya out of the picture so that Pearl can become the new Master of Kurain Village.
- In Case 3, Acro's situation is horrifying on many levels: His brother is in an irreversible coma because of Regina, he himself lost the use of his legs, and every day, Regina would take care of him. That's right: the unwitting "killer" of his brother was with him all that time, saying innocently that Bat became a star in the sky - while his brother was, in fact, in a coma. A brother who he visited at the hospital multiple times with the incessant company of the too-sweet and innocent princess Regina. It's no wonder he snapped. The situation was so unbearable that he contemplated the idea of suicide, but didn't go through with it. And when he thought he finally had a chance to get his vengeance, he ends up killing his parental figure by accident. The poor man is completely and utterly broken.
- All of Case 4. It might be the darkest case in the series. The atmosphere in that case after Maya's kidnapping until the final verdict is really unsettling and scary throughout. Also, be careful when presenting your evidence. You might get a bad ending if you aren't.
- Here we have the truth about Matt Engarde. The adorable, somewhat ditzy actor turns into a scarred, guilty as heck psycho. It's scary even if you had known from a walkthrough or otherwise that he was guilty because it's just so unexpected.
- He made his former lover kill herself. It isn't just the act, it's how she came to do the deed: She was dumped by Engarde for reasons unknown (presumably For the Evulz), and when Corrida, who was going to marry her, found out she was Engarde's former lover, he broke off from her. All to protect his pride. It's no wonder said lover was so shaken from being treated like property and offed herself. And unfortunately, scandals like these probably exist in real life.
- His Villainous Breakdown is scary in its own right; when Engarde's attempt to Blackmail Shelly de Killer backfires, he scratches his face multiple times proclaiming Guilty. You can see the blood running down his hands from all the scratches he's inflicted on himself.
- If you put yourself in Phoenix's shoes, then The Reveal itself is Nightmare Fuel. He thought Engarde was truly innocent, but then more and more shady things end up surrounding his client. After pressing him further, Engarde reveals his true colors; he's not innocent, he's a thoroughly psychopathic bastard, and worst of all, if Phoenix didn't help him get away with his crimes, Maya would die. To work for somebody whose actions stand against your moral code when you're an inherently good man is a complete nightmare.
- Shelly de Killer deserves a mention. With his Leitmotif playing in the background, a red aura surrounding his person... you'll have nightmares for weeks. Not only that, but he has stitches going right down the middle of his face. What the hell caused this guy's face to need those stitches?
- And to top it all off, This man, who not only was the actual killer of Juan Corrida but also of countless others, is never found and incarcerated. He's still out there free as a bird waiting to perpetrate more hired hits. Just pray his next victim isn't you.
- The first instance where you're forced to make a choice between a 'Guilty' or a 'Not Guilty', with the 'Guilty' option resulting in Maya's death, and the 'Not Guilty' option resulting in Adrian Andrews taking the fall for Matt Engarde's crimes. While you're fretting over which choice is the right one to take, the screen is frozen on Matt Engarde's sneering face, as if he was looking directly at you with malicious glee. During this event, you cannot even save your game. You're forced to make a choice right there and then. Fortunately after making your choice, Franziska snaps her whip and barges into the courtroom with new evidence in hand to help Phoenix finally turn the tables on Matt Engarde.
- The absolute worst part? Cases like this could actually happen. Attorneys could end up getting a client who is guilty as sin, and they're forced to fight for a Not Guilty verdict, otherwise something terrible will happen to them or someone they know. The kicker? For these attorneys, there is no such thing as a miracle.
- The bloody Jammin' Ninja button could be this for those not used to the amount of blood on evidence. Half of it is bloody. What's worse? Oldbag wants it. Would she have killed Juan (or whoever the Jammin Ninja was) to get it?
- Announce The Truth 2002, while being an awesome song in its own right, can be downright creepy when played during some parts. Notable examples include Acro claiming Phoenix to be insane, several moments with de Killer, and Ini Miney/Mimi trying to suffocate herself with her hat. Imagine walking in a dark alley, suddenly hearing this music and having de Killer jump and kill you. Scary...
- And then there's the haunting Search ~ Core 2002 theme, which plays at the most appropriate time in this game: when Matt Engarde, your client of Case 4, reveals his true colours and becomes your first ever not-so-innocent client...and he reveals that he was the one who had Maya kidnapped by an assassin in exchange for a 'Not Guilty' verdict.
- Here we have the truth about Matt Engarde. The adorable, somewhat ditzy actor turns into a scarred, guilty as heck psycho. It's scary even if you had known from a walkthrough or otherwise that he was guilty because it's just so unexpected.
Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations
- Dahlia's "back-turned" pose from Case 1 was very disturbing in its own right. There's just something darkly unsettling about seeing her back to you with that heavy shade across the side of her face. Like getting your first glimpse into hell itself. It's actually more unnerving than what follows when she faces you with a Death Glare and incinerates all her butterflies with her pure rage. Just watching her stand silently, looking away and feeling the anger course through her can send chills up your spine.
- Case 3 starts off in the most unsettling way, making it seem you lost the case without even having a chance to defend it, having Winston Payne mock your defeat, showing that "the other man" was Phoenix Wright, it all makes it seem that YOU were guilty and no one believes the Defendant mentioning this "other man". You start off thinking "I am guilty, how am I going to defend this person and myself?! Then it reveals, right after the "Game Over", that a terrible trial was enacted by Phoenix Wright and then Phoenix himself mentions he wasn't in such trial and that a retrial would be in order. Through the case you find out there was a phony Phoenix and that the performance you watched at the start of the case was not with Phoenix himself, but rather of his phony, "Xin Eohp".
- Whatever Bruto Cadaverini does as part of his duties as The Don of his crime family, something the player can only imagine since he's never actually seen in-game beyond his portrait and profile, it sure as hell is scary enough that nobody questions him whenever he demands something (e.g. money) from them. Not even Furio "YOUSE TALKIN' TO ME?!" Tigre is gonna mess with a million-dollar debt he caused by getting into an accident with Cadaverini's daughter.
- The conclusion of Case 4, in which Terry Fawles, the defendant whose acquittal is just inches away from happening, kills himself on the witness stand. Not only is heartwrenching, but also quite horrifying because he dies in the courtroom before your very eyes. It's no wonder Mia didn't set foot in a courtroom for a year after the incident (remember, this was her first case).
- Case 5: We witness Dahlia getting exorcised out of Maya's body, letting out a scream, and in her final on-screen moments takes the form of a very creepy ghost before turning into a flame and vanishing, while flashbacks to her crimes go off.
- The same case gives us a seemingly unremarkable moment which, if you've been following the game's story closely, can give others a run for their money. In the final investigation, it eventually turns out that Sister Iris has a twin sister. You most likely already know who she is. You're also certainly aware of her true nature. Then, her portrait is brought up, and it's a side-face photo; no other character had that kind of a portrait before. And then, there's nothing on that photo except for a dark grey featureless silhouette. Combined with the description Age:Deceased, the shock was enough to make eyes water. Now, you wouldn't want to miss out on this, would you?
- If we're going down that road you have to also mention this mugshot◊ (in HD-quality just for extra chilly points) from the previous case, Turnabout Beginnings. Again, same as before: you can easily tell who this is supposed to be and you know what she's capable of because this isn't the first time you've seen this character. But all you're given is a shadowed, featureless mugshot to go by, even though the outline tells you right away who you're dealing with. Going back to the "back-turned" pose from the top of the Trials & Tribulations section, this strikes the same unsettling chord. Stare into it for awhile and, combined with what you know about the character, it will make your blood run cold and linger in your mind. It's as though someone was asked to draw a picture of Dahlia Hawthorne's soul.
- On the subject of Dahlia... She killed two people, got a third to commit suicide, poisoned a fourth into a coma, planned on poisoning a fifth, and placed the blame for the death on one of the aforementioned two people she killed on the would-be poison victim (the actual victim just tried to warn him), and she almost got away with it, not because she could call a massive amount of resources like Redd White or Matt Engarde, not because she had done an inside job like Manfred Von Karma, but just because she was a pretty faced sociopath who put the judge in her pocket with her cute looks. She stands out even more due to lacking an over the top gimmick like the other criminals. How many Dahlia Hawthornes are out there in the real world, escaping punishment because they don't look the part?
- Remember the Dahlia silhouette? Well, The Reveal of the real killer in "Bridge to the Turnabout" likewise goes for subtle Show, Don't Tell tension and a Mood Whiplash payoff instead of outright confirmation. The lights go out... and suddenly, there's an ominous red glow coming from a certain new Affably Evil prosecutor you've probably come to love. And his reaction? A quick chuckle and congratulations, no comedic coffee-throwing or anything like you've come to expect. Sure, he ultimately turns out to be a Sympathetic Murderer whose action was actually half-justified (in contrast to Dahlia, who was ironically his intended Asshole Victim).
- The "psyche-locks" appearing in inner temple, blocking entrance to the training hall. It was creepy when the first one appeared, but it really became a nightmare fuel when they increased in number. On the second day of investigation, an earthquake hits, Edgeworth (Iris' escort) faints and Iris runs away. You hurry to the inner temple, and after the familiar sequence of chains and locks appearing, you find that the single lock on the training hall door has increased to FIVE. We have no idea what the fuck is happening, and at that point it almost felt like the cave was a living creature piling lies on lies to stop us from getting to the truth.
- Can we go over Morgan's entire plan in this case? She waited for her own daughter(Dahlia) to die, then waited for her other daughter(Pearl) to channel that daughter, so that she could kill her niece and frame her third daughter(Iris) for it.
- Especially if you look at it from Maya's perspective. Had the plan gone as intended, she would have been killed by Pearl. Had it went as it was, without Godot's timely arrival, she would have been killed by her own mother.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
- Perceiving in general. The creepy slower-than-usual music, the swirling background and the flickering eyeball at the bottom is usually enough to scare anyone off playing the game entirely.
- Apparently Apollo's eyes are bugging out completely as he stares down the witnesses with such intensity. Imagine how creepy that would be for anyone just watching him perceive something.
- Kristoph Gavin might be one of the scariest characters in the series. His reasons for destroying so many lives was just because he was fired from defending someone for losing a card game. Also, he is the only murderer in the series who actually could have gotten away with his crimes if it was not for the test of the jurist system, because there was not a single legal way to prove his guilt. He's just that intelligent and Crazy-Prepared.
Apollo: The record will show... that when the verdict was announced, special witness Kristoph Gavin... laughed. A laugh louder than any ever heard before... or since. A laugh that echoed in the halls of justice, lingering for what seemed like hours.
- Perceiving him is scary enough, but when you see his nervous habit—namely, his hand tensing and a combination of his finger bones and the scar on his hand forming a demonic face, you will need to take a break from the game and move on.
- His eyes. It doesn't help that they're hidden behind Scary Shiny Glasses when he testifies...
- His black Psyche-Locks. Just what is he hiding that warrants not only five Psyche-Locks, but black ones instead of the usual red ones?! They mirror his undying will to not tell the truth.. He'll do anything, anything to protect his secret, and will do it with infinite coldness. Poisoning adults, children, lying, murdering people in cold blood... he's actually done all of this. Just imagine what that sick bastard would have done to Trucy, Apollo and Phoenix had he got out free.
- With the release of Dual Destinies, we finally learn their true meaning: the desire to protect their secret is so deep, it goes beyond concious desire and is hard etched into their psyche & unconcious mind. If brute force is used, they could potentially harm the person's heart/soul, but even so they are near impossible to break by convential means. This means the answer to the question which brought them up, "Why did you kill Shadi Enigmar?", is so deeply ingrained in his self, it utterly consumed him and lead to his extreme actions.
- And finally, when Vera is found innocent by the jury, Kristoph breaks down into an extremely creepy psychotic laugh.
- Apollo's words on the situation really serve to drive home how creepy Kristoph's laugh truly is.
- The moment when Magnifi's diary is presented. When it showed up, this player felt a sinking feeling in his gut as he realized that this is the moment when Phoenix Wright's career is destroyed, that this was the only available option: present the obvious forgery, or lose. Truly a terrifying moment.
- Neither of them are nice people but the image◊ of Pal Meraktis trying to strangle Alita Tiala with a lamp cord is pretty cold since it looks chillingly like domestic abuse.
- During the MASON System simulation in the fourth case, a conversation becomes unnerving and creepy when the discussing party mention feeling like they've been watched for some quite time.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
- From Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Proto Badger (pictured). Whether he's ever-so-slowly sneaking up behind you, a sword in hand or popping out of the ground staring directly at the player, this azure abomination will frighten the pants off of you, more than any murder in this game. Pleasant dreams indeed... It doesn't help that at the time, the Proto Badger was acting like a corpse.
- In the intro to case three, Edgeworth gets attacked by a person with a sword in a Proto Badger suit with empty eyes. The Proto Badger is just generally pretty creepy. The empty, black, soulless eyes, the permanent grin...
- Case 4: Calisto pointing a gun at Edgeworth. In a series where the player character is rarely put under threat of death by another character, this can make the player's heart jump. To make things worse, Calisto shoots, and Edgeworth barely dodges it.
- It's painful for him to reminisce about because he had to deal with that all the way back in the fourth case of the first game.
- Case 5: That Shih-na is a psychopath.note . In addition, the psychotic laughter and Slasher Smile involved in that Villainous Breakdown, and the lopsided Psychotic Smirk that increasingly replaces her normal expression as time goes on just gets more and more unsettling.
- Quercus Alba gets his own Objection! clip, despite not being an attorney. It is fairly harsh on the ears, and the fact that it's an audible Objection shows you just how powerful he is within the context of the law.
- On an Adult Fear level, Alba is a corrupt diplomat who is also the head of a major smuggling ring and uses his power to keep his name clear, whose dealings resulted in the death of an innocent witness and the catastrphic damage of the economy of an entire country with counterfeit bills. Scandalous ambassadors and other people in positions of political power who use their power to subvert justice unfortunately exist in real life.
- There's also Quercus Alba's breakdown, where his skin begins to chip away and is blown off, leaving only his mummified-looking husk.
Ace Attorney Investigations 2
- In Case 1, Edgeworth, Kay, and Gumshoe are inside an enclosed space with Shelly de Killer and a hostage. Then the lights go out... He doesn't kill anyone, but it's abundantly clear that he could. Easily.
- Investigations 2 has the second case's introduction, which features Knightley lying dead in a dank, eerily-lit prison, bleeding heavily from a neck wound inflicted by a hound with a bloodied snout...
- Case 2's Villainous Breakdown. The killer yells that they didn't do anything wrong, and the real bad guy is Sirhan Dogen the assassin, as images of him appear on a black background and his bell rings. The rings get more and more frequent, as she starts covering her ears (implying she's hearing the sound in her head, as we are), until they blur and turn into an emergency siren as she screams. In short, you're basically watching her Sanity Slippage, caused by the imprisoned assassin repeatedly reminding her he has agents who can go after her family at any time. Probably one of the most disturbing breakdowns in the series on a psychological level. You later find out Dogen had a good reason for going after her, but at the time you're led to believe he was doing it all For the Evulz, which makes you wish he was guilty.
- How about the first time you encounter Dogen in person? Between the creepy music and the fact that he looks like he's looking at you despite being blind, some players find him to be something of a jump scare.
- In the very least it's Paranoia Fuel but the description of Dogen's method can leave you unnerved. The charming sound of a little bell could mean you've actually been marked for death. And he doesn't do it with a rifle or anything uncivil like that, oh no, he will come right up and do the job hands-on with a knife.
- In the 5th case, 14-year-old Simon Keyes's drawing of what he witnessed happened in SS-5. Especially at how he draws Sirhan Dogen the assassin.
- In general the setting of the SS-5 Incident is unsettling. Using an orphanage as the site of a presidential assassination (followed by murdering a witness at the scene) is pretty dark (not to mention Huang's pleading just to see his son before he's killed, making it all the more depressing). The fact the orphanage director was in on it and they buried his body on the grounds where children play is even worse. Furthermore the fact the murder of the president was covered up so thoroughly in the aftermath gives you a chilling look at how influential and vile Blaise Debeste is.
- Blaise Debeste is practically Nightmare Fuel personified. The very idea of a 68 year old Psychopathic Manchild is incredibly disturbing in itself, and almost from his first appearance he's horribly verbally abusing his own son. And it only gets worse as you learn more of what he did... holding a foreign president for ransom and having him assassinated anyway, auctioning off evidence from past cases, brutally murdering another person who found out, forging evidence in the past and using that fact to blackmail coroner who helped him, and her family, later on, kidnapping the judge's son to manipulate his own trial... and then you remember that this guy was Chief Prosecutor for who knows how long, and is implied to have killed more people in the past, including his wife. And to make matters worse, he has a voiced Objection, and it somehow manages to be worse than von Karma's and Alba's combined. It sounds practically demonic. He also gave Von Karma the only penalty during his entire career which sent DL-6 incident in motion, making him the Greater-Scope Villain in the entire series.
- How about the Big Bad of all of AAI2? Simon Keyes is one of the most fiendish final bosses in the franchise. Why? Because he was responsible for a majority of the murders in the game...and didn't lift a finger for any but the last. He was able to easily manipulate everyone, even getting Edgeworth into bailing him out of suspicion in Case 2. He had nearly everything under control, the only slip-up until Case 5 was his aforementioned issues in Case 2. The only reason he was even caught was due to an utter Spanner in the Works in Justine Courtney who brought the fake Huang to the roof on April 4th. Had she not done so, everyone would be none the wiser AND even if they had, he would have had no direct hands in any murder. The only bright spot is that all his targets were true Asshole Victims.
- Despite being an overall sympathetic figure, the Big Bad 's misanthropy can be downright chilling at times, especially one of his dialogues for presenting wrong evidence, which has him asking Justine to prove Edgeworth wrong in his stead just so he can laugh at Edgeworth being betrayed by his friends. The fact that he's dressed as a clown at the time doesn't help. He could very well be a sympathetic version of The Joker or Kefka.
- Something about amnesiac Kay◊ clutching her head and screaming without any sound to go with it (other than the usual 'beep-de-beep' effects) is unnerving (since the visualization is less like memories returning and more like being haunted by demonic voices that won't leave her head). Even the idle version◊ with her grit teeth and erratic, eye-twitching stare is unusually derranged for this series.
Dai Gyakuten Saiban
- The real murder method of the first case: a rare poison that is absorbed through the bloodstream. It works by causing total body paralysis, including breathing, resulting in death by suffocation as the victim is helpless to do anything, unable to call out or get any help as they slowly die. This poison is totally unknown in the game's version of Japan, making the cause of death completley untracable there, were it not for a Spanner in the Works. Made even worse by the fact that the first case's victim is John Watson himself. And even worse? This poison is REAL, and its effects in the game are no exaggeration.
- The horrifying tales of the prosecutor Barok van Zeiks more than qualify. With every single case he prosecuted before the events of Case 3, each defendant, guilty or not, ended up dying, either by natural means (according to Sherlock Holmes) or by machinations set up by the Big Bad. It's no wonder that he got the nickname "Death God of the Old Bailey" and practically every defense attorney in the UK was frightened by him.
- Case 3 features a death by being locked inside a burning carriage and slowly burning to death. Even though the victim is the Big Bad who got away with his original crime that is not a pleasant way to go.
- The final villain's breakdown has them try break their cane on the witness stand and strangling Inspector Gregson with it while on the stand.
Crogley: YOOOOOOOOU TRAITOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR!!
Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2
- The Masked Man's true Leitmotif is a downright disturbing Dark Reprise of Asougi Kazuma's theme. Listen here. (Beware of major spoilers)
- In the second case, after you reveal that William Petenshy is an escaped convict desperately trying to get into a death-row inmate's old apartment to find a treasure he was promised, the normally comical character suddenly becomes a deranged lunatic (spoilers in the link, obviously). Made worse by his being in some of his normal poses, but now sporting a really disturbing Un-Smile and accompanied by slightly off-key sound effects. The unsettling music doesn't help either. Even the jurors are horrified in-universe!
- Genshin Asougi's death, at first glance. Imagine being sentenced to death by hanging, said execution getting botched, having a metal mask placed over your head, being placed in a sealed coffin, and after how many hours pass by, when you come to and try to come out of your coffin, you get shot out of nowhere. As it turns out, the seemingly-botched execution was planned, but it's still a terrifying thought.
- Related, Madame Rozaik, the wax sculptor's testimony in Case 3's trial, which involves her describing how hard it is to make a mould out of a dead body's face before Rigor Mortis sets in, in vivid detail. And she talks about it in a way that implies The Professor isn't the first dead body she's done this to. Not helped by her theme playing through this sequence.
- The entire premise of the game's backstory. Someone relatively high-up in the British judicial system caught a Serial Killer in the act and blackmailed him into becoming his personal hitman, using him to kill his way to the top. Then, he coerces several key figures in both Britain and Japan into a massive conspiracy cleaning up every loose end. Part of this involved setting up Van Zieks' "Death God" reputation by killing everyone he prosecuted, another part involved taking advantage of international extradition treaties to assassinate key targets without fear of retribution. At least part of both countries' governments were in on this. Paranoia Fuel sets in when you find out the Japanese judge, someone you probably never suspected for a moment, is a killer working for the Big Bad. Imagine being caught in the middle of all this.
Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice
- Before the game even launched, the description of the Kingdom of Khura'in's handling of defense attorneys in the animated prologue to the game is unsettling. They made being a defense attorney a capital crime. It is literally punishable by death to claim someone isn't guilty when the water mirror has already said otherwise. The courts are referred to as "the court of despair" because so many guilty verdicts are handed out without any sort of objection. One defendant is even dragged out of the courtroom tearfully pleading for a defense attorney but it goes unheeded.
- The sheer hatred of defense attorneys in Khura'in is beyond crazy. The only other notable time Phoenix himself faced such an antagonistic courtroom? It was Labyrinthia's Witch Trials. The main difference between the two? Labyrinthia is a fake city with no actual casualties. Khura'in is far worse because of its government ever since Ga'ran came into power. Because of the DC Act, defense attorneys are scarce in Khura'in and that led to cases that led to the deaths of many innocents because of the lack of actual interpretation of the Divination Seance. Both of this created an infamous reputation that created the "Courts of Despair".
- The web demo can cause a chill to run your spine when you first see the images projected by the water mirror. You see Ahlbi raise something above his head and his terrified expression is upsetting (since he's only 9). Then he brings it down harshly and everything goes black followed by text reading "PAIN" in big red letters appearing in the lower left. It implies the victim suffered before they died but since you're only told it hurts, it can be disconcerting (plus, again, without more facts you're basically seeing a 9-year old boy kill another person, which doesn't sit well).
- It can get uncomfortable during the trial when the audience gets whipped up in saying Ahlbi (along with Phoenix) deserve the death penalty, just based on the hazy visions of the Pool of Souls. For one thing, Ahlbi is just a scared kid on the stand who thinks he has no recourse, quivering and comforting himself by talking to the dog in his bag while the entire room is demanding he be hanged (Gaspen is pretty bad too in this regard, gleefully labelling Ahlbi a traitor and a murderer). Then there's Phoenix, who is just trying to do the right thing and not only being ridiculed, but having the Sword of Damocles (or rather the judgement of the Holy Mother, as it would be in this case) hanging over his head the entire time. It really ratchets up the tension for the player and makes getting a "Guilty" verdict one of the more Fridge Horror-laden moments in the series history.
- The Divination Seance music (especially the Scare Chord). It certainly reinforces the tone of being stalked by someone (or something) about to strike.
- While he's still very much the smug blowhard of a bully that he was in Dual Destinies, Gaspen Payne's career choice as Khura'in's Chief Prosecutor is quite disturbing when one thinks about it. Because he was shooed out of the prosecutor's office by Edgeworth (and rightfully so), he decided to prosecute in a country where Defense Attorneys are basically extinct and has sentenced an untold amount of people to death for the sake of starting fresh with a perfect record. And he is disturbingly smug about the prospect of sending an innocent nine year old boy to his death, along with Phoenix when he takes his place in Ahlbi's corner. He basically went from Winston Payne 2.0 to a less intelligent and more incompetent Manfred von Karma, which really says a lot about the type of person Gaspen is.
- Case 2 brings us Roger Retinz, a.k.a The Great Mr Reus, a former magician with a grudge against Troupe Gramarye. The sheer amount of loathing that man has running through his veins, and the sheer cackling insanity he shows when taunting Magnifi Gramarye from beyond the grave can be downright chilling-especially given his "taunting Magnifi" pose, where he looks like the freaking Devil admiring his own Hellfire while laughing at the soul caught therein. The Villainous Breakdown is quite creepy: He puts on one final "show" for the court, making creepy masks of each member of the troupe appear in his cloak, them making them vanish in flames while proclaiming how he'll see them all burn. They he gets to Trucy, except when he opens his cloak, it's his mask inside. He freaks out for a bit, then tries the trick again, only to have his face show up a second time, this time bloody and laughing. He then starts panicking, yelling that he's not to blame (in a manner that echos "Hellfire" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame), as multiple spotlights shine in his face as the camera slowly zooms in. It's implied that a large amount of this might just be happening in his head, showing just how deluded and insane he's become.
- Tahrust Inmee's Divination Seance. Just imagine seeing a cloaked figure wearing a creepy mask suddenly hovering towards you in the darkness and ended up killing you at the end. Not helping that it is one of the most challenging seances to crack down, so you get the privilege of seeing the scene over and over again.
- The whole truth? It was all a cultivated suicide. Tahrust used his own death to draw away suspicion from his wife over the fact that the place he died is an entrance to a rebel base and that they were rebels.
- The end of Case 3's first trial, especially to those savvy about the series conventions. The witness turns out to be a complete dead end, and Phoenix has nothing. The judge feels there's no further need to prolong the trial, and so declares Maya and Phoenix GUILTY. ...Now would be the time for the obligatory Big Damn Heroes moment, right? Naturally, the bailiff runs in. Phew, the trial is saved... wait, he came to say another murder has occurred, and Maya looks guilty of that one too? And now the prosecution officially accuses Maya of not just one murder, but of being a vigilante serial killer who's been operating for the past 2 years?! He's suspending the trial to ensure she gets a worse sentence?! When it's implied she was already getting the death penalty?!? And no, the guilty verdict is NOT overturned. In a rare moment in the series, a day 1 trial ends in a decisive victory for the prosecution, and Phoenix is, as Rayfa points out, a dead man walking.
- Case 3 has Phoenix entering a possible rebel hideout alone... and inevitably being knocked out and waking up in an old, dilapidated room with the recently-espaced Datz Are'bal. The sense of dread is defused when Datz is revealed to be a pretty jovial guy for a rebel, but it comes right back when he "tests" Phoenix by pretending to to want to leave the rebellion, and when he "passes" reveals he was fully prepared to stab him to death right there if he turned out to be an agent of the queen. Remember, Datz is ex-military, so he would've made good on that threat. It's a good thing Phoenix was smart enough to talk his way out of that one, because Datz is clearly someone whos bad side you do not want to be on. The whole situation makes the rest of the investigation extremely tense as Phoenix can't reveal anything he learned there to anyone, as if it got out he'd been speaking with someone essentially considered a terrorist... well given the Exact Words of the DCA, he'd be considered one himself.
- You thought that Dual Destinies's Final case was really that dark? Well, the final case of Spirit of Justice makes it look like a rainbow story full of joy. It features the death of not one, not two, but FOUR PEOPLE IN ONE SINGLE CASE, with one of them being Apollo's father! It's like a deadlier version of Turnabout Goodbyes!
- The Divination Seance showing Inga's last moments is downright haunting before Apollo can make sense of it. It isn't too bad to start with, until Inga is stabbed in the back. Seeing "Pain" flash up on screen is practically a Jump Scare here. In the final seconds before Inga's vision fades to black, he sees what appears to be a faceless Dhurke Sahdmadhi who seemingly laughs at him when the screen cuts to black before Inga succumbs to his injury. It's even worse for poor Rayfa, who initially has a panic attack from having to process it.
- Rayfa has a very realistic-looking panic attack while trying to conduct a seance for her father, hyperventilating and all. It's hard to watch, and it's also terrifying to imagine yourself in her situation.
- We also get to see the pleasant scene of Dhurke getting shot thrice. With the 3D models. You also get to see Amara get shot in the stomach while testifying in court and then being told she only has a 50% chance of surviving.
- One witness late into the trial has a "damage" animation that's practically a Jump Scare. Namely, a sudden lightning flash coming from behind Amara, scaring off her animals and showing her as a terrifying glowing-eyed silhouette for a split second. It's a good thing she's actually not evil, or it could've gotten even worse.
- The last moments of the trial deserve special mention. It's one of the few times someone's life is threatened in court as the queen calls in the royal guard. Yes, for the last part of the trial PHOENIX AND APOLLO are held at gun point!
- The low, droning music track that plays when you have to present The Reveal that Dhurke was Dead All Along. It sounds more like something out of a Survival Horror game, and perfectly captures the moment: both Apollo and the player know exactly what the solution to this contradition is, but desperately don't want to believe it. And instead of a Take That when you present it, you get a Scare Chord.
- Jove Justice's Divination Seance is a huge example of Adult Fear. Imagine being a parent who is caught in a fire with your baby, desperately trying to escape with you and your child's lives until you're floored by a blow to the head. You drop your child to the ground, and in your final moments desperately try to reach out to your baby before your vision goes dark and the fire consumes you, with your last thoughts being that your child is going to burn to death and there's nothing you can do about it. This was exactly what happened to Jove Justice during the last moments of his life.
- Apollo nearly drowns. It's hard not to come out of that part feeling like Apollo did in that moment because of the way it's written and the speed the dialogue appears at. It's hard not to feel like you yourself are drowning while it's going on, since the scene drags out and makes you feel a sense of desperation and fear like nothing before in the series. No matter how aware you are that they won't kill Apollo here, the scene is terrifying and, on a second play or when talking about it with someone who's not as far in the game as you, can stir up feelings of anxiety. This one part of the game is traumatic.
- The Final Boss is without a doubt the most frightening Ace Attorney villain, yet. This is a woman who, out of petty jealousy, framed her sister's husband for murder, used her own niece as a blackmailing tool to keep her sister and nephew in line so she could legally kill them later, and left an infant to die in a fire without batting an eye. This is a woman who is responsible for Khura'in's downright toxic and putrid legal system which has killed many lawyers and innocent people alike, and makes it impossible for those accused of a crime to have a shot in court, almost leading to 9 year old Ahlbi's death as well as being the reason why Beh'leeb and Ta'hrust have to resort to framing Maya for Ze'loht's accidental death. This is a woman who is not afraid of rewriting the laws in court to suit her needs, including making standing up to her punishable by death. This is Ga'ran Sigatar Khura'in, a ruthless and sadistic dictator who comes dangerously close to getting away with all of her crimes if not for Apollo's quick thinking.
- The moment she reveals what she's really like. Forget the fact that she looks like some kind of Evil Sorceress straight out of Dark Fantasy. It's also at that point that she decides to reveal she's completely fucking insane, changing the laws of Khura'in on a whim not only out of desire to win the case to legally kill her own nephew but also out of raw sadism and mentally torturing her own family out of nothing but spite for her sister. Even the tone of her theme changes from intimidating but regal to discordant and shrill. as if the music itself were slowly losing its mind.
- Let's not forget about her breakdown. She desperately tried to commune with the dead even when she knows she can't, and when she tried so hard and failed miserably she collapsed. When she woke up she was convinced that she was the Holy Mother whom she tried to channel. She essentially had a Sanity Slippage.
- Case 5 has Maya being held hostage for several days. While this has happened before, this time she actually has to be hospitalized and put on an IV drip when she's recovered. One can only imagine how much distress Phoenix felt at having to go through this all over again. Sure, it's revealed she was rescued earlier than was first thought, but that doesn't make it any less horrifying.
- Speaking of flashbacks to 2-4, anyone suddenly start to have those when you realized that you are unknowingly condemning Maya to death with ease, just like Edgeworth? Or maybe you got those flashbacks earlier because you picked up on the fact that Phoenix was not acting like himself, and you went through all of that knowing why Phoenix would be acting so peculiar? It really doesn't help that, just like back then, his opponent, Apollo this time, has extremely good arguments that deftly shoot down his own just like Edgeworth's back then, while Phoenix's by comparison are weak and desperate and more than once, Apollo's skill forces Phoenix to play dirty, just like before.
- Dhurke's final request before expiring was for Maya to channel his spirit. He dies and Maya channels his spirit right then. Leaving aside how unnerving it must have been to watch someone die then try to channel them right afterwards (Maya is only accustomed to channeling the deceased after some time had passed since their death), there's the matter that Dhurke was channeled right after he died, meaning the first thing he got to see was his own body lying on the ground, dead. Imagine having an out-of-body experience on an operating table but it's 100% real and you know that the only link you have left to the living world is the spirit medium channeling you at that moment. It's enough to drive a person mad but Dhurke perseveres on because he has Unfinished Business.
- In the anime adaptation, we get to see animated interpretations of the crimes as they happened. This also applies to the false testimonies of what say, the real suspect, claims to have seen. For example, the First Turnabout shows Frank Sahwit actively seeing Larry exit Cindy's room after the murder and deciding to call the police, when we already know that's not how it happened. That's all fine and dandy, but then we get to the cases where one of the heroes is the defendant; in other words, we get to see the lovely image of Maya, and later Phoenix himself, murdering Mia.
- The portrayal of the "murder" of Robert Hammond in the beginning of the first Turnabout Goodbyes gives a very eerie atmosphere to it. With the dark night and leafless trees makes the murder lifted straight out of a horror movie.
- Redd White's Nightmare Face when he kills Mia is quite unsettling, and doubles as a Jump Scare.
- Manfred von Karma's depiction in the Turnabout Goodbyes episodes is far more chilling than the game counterpart. Here, he shows a great level intelligence and fear towards anyone who stands in his way. This is shown in greater detail with episode 10, in which instead of meeting Phoenix and Maya in the files room regarding the DL-6 incident and tasing them to get the evidence, he gets it right when Phoenix and Maya arrive, showing how well he knows about the clues that might lead to the murder of Robert Hammond. Lastly, when Karma taunts Phoenix about usage of evidence of court in the moment where the guilty verdict is given, he ends his taunt by calling him an amateur and, unlike the other episodes, where a dramatic pointing results in someone being blown away, Manfred does it by SLAMMING his fist on the table. The episodes make von Karma truly live up to his reputation has a "demon" prosecutor.
- He certainly sounds like a demon too, especially in the English dub. You thought he was terrifying already? Try listening to his dub VA channeling his inner Tony Jay every time he speaks!
- During the arc, we also get to see Phoenix's flashback of the class trial as a child. On top of the children accusing him of stealing the money, we're also treated to seeing the teacher trying to goad him to confess to an incident he wasn't responsible for with a twisted take of a smile. Even if you assume that the teacher is probably just trying to get through the day without a hitch, the studio put the effort into making sure you're seeing it through the eyes of a child being scapegoated understandably feeling that everyone is against him.
- The moment Maya reveals that she found the bullet that killed Gregory Edgeworth hidden in Manfred von Karma's office gives a close-up on von Karma's face: his irises have shrunken and his gums start showing as he clutches his shoulder, where the second DL-6 bullet is located. His eyes keep bugging out all the time, and then he lets out the scream that haunted Edgeworth for 15 years. The moment in his testimony when he describes picking up Yanni Yogi's pistol is just as unsettling. His voice gets all raspy and he mimics holding a pistol with both hands as he says that he "knew it was destiny". As he gets off the witness stand he looks frail, barely kept standing by his walking cane that is shattered by Phoenix's outburst.
- Morgan Fey's sprite where her pupils seem to be missing are adapted in this version into Glowing Eyes of Doom. There's also a more sinister air surrounding her this time around, and the calm demeanor as she talks to Ini (Mimi) about getting her off the hook is enough to send shivers down your spine. let alone when she chillingly talks to a portrait of Misty Fey.
- We all know how scary Ini actually Mimi is when she starts to show her true colors, but in the Anime version, we can get to hear her nasty demeanor towards the defense and it's quite unnerving to listen her threatening voice in the latter half.
- Unlike in the games, Franziska getting shot is actually shown, and it seems to be worse than the injury she sustained in the games, since she actually seems to have fainted. Further, while the original games, her shooting might have been a Kick the Son of a Bitch, a Kick the Dog, or a Take That, Scrappy! (depending on your opinion of her), but since the anime toned down her bad demeanour, it also gives her a more sympathetic P.O.V..
- Matt Engarde's reveal of his true self is even more creepier in the anime. Why? Because he does it while giving out a very disturbing laughter that can be unnerving for many people. It also shows that this is pretty much a nightmare in-life to Phoenix, because at this point, he was begging that Engarde being the culprit was a lie, he wanted to believe in the goodness of his client... until that reveal slams him down that he's working for an evil bastard this time.
- Then comes his breakdown, where he scratches bleeding lines into his face with his nails. Think the anime wouldn't show something like that? It does. Twice.