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Tear Jerker / Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: The Contempt of Court

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Even then and now, Brisbane just can't seem to catch a break...
This game definitely has some of the most sympathetic characters…
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Moments pages are Spoilers Off. You have been warned!

  • Hearing that Marvin Grossberg had been murdered would certainly upset and unsettle an Ace Attorney fan.
  • Brisbane's story. For the first 25 years of his life, he's a Shrinking Violet, most likely intimidated and bullied a lot. Then, his best friend is mysteriously murdered in front of his eyes, and he is framed. His attorney manages to acquit him and discover his friend's true murderer, but they're not done trying to screw up his life - as a parting gift, they throw the murder weapon at him before being dragged off, resulting in the loss of an eye. No wonder he turned out so rough.
  • Vulper's story could apply as this. He starts off as just an average prosecutor, when his step-brother, Jack Crane, a member of Aculeus, contacts him, and sets him up with a forger. It all goes downhill from there. Not only is he roped in with Aculeus (and, by extension, Hemlock), his brother rats him out to Redd White, who sends him to assassinate Vincenzo Cicatrice. He is unsuccessful, of course, and even gets a scar for it. One year later, the two brothers are assigned to transport the incredibly valuable enigmium, but Crane decides to steal it and split the fortune with his brother... or, rather, Brisbane. After going through this, is it any wonder he decided to off his step-brother? No. Following this, Vulper flees the country for five years, eventually returning to do some... admittedly pretty horrible things, and is finally brought to justice. But the universe isn't done with him yet, oh no: After Cedric Maplethorpe is imprisoned for attempted murder and manslaughter, he is murdered by Hemlock in his cell, and Vulper is set up as the obvious culprit. At this point, Vulper knows it's over: he can either confess to a murder he didn't commit, dooming him to the gallows, or simply let the Boogeyman bump him off in the night.
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  • Just about everything about poor Maris Rubin. The girl wants nothing more than to please her customers and cannot bring herself to make a mistake in front of them. When she cut her hand badly on the rail of the Maplethorpe Hotel's stairway as she was delivering coffee, she hid the cut under some gloves because she was worried about upsetting the customer. Unfortunately for her, the client ended up being the extremely paranoid Stan Nyph who took her wearing gloves the wrong way thinking she had poisoned his coffee and pointed a loaded gun at her. Maris understandably was frightened and managed to get the gun from him but suddenly a very loud gunshot was heard and Nyph was dead. Maris then stated she saw a "ghost" and later even believed she shot Nyph. It was at that point that no one, not even Maris herself, believes she was innocent. It was a good thing Phoenix was there to get to the bottom of it as always.
  • This game is good with tragic backstories, and the next up to the plate is Terry Greisen aka. James Trent. Many years ago, James and his wife Sarah Trent (along with Clive Warren) were a very good detective team and were cracking open cases up and down. They soon stumbled upon the smuggling ring and decided to take it down as well. Unfortunately, they got too eager: Warren was almost killed and Sarah was really killed by Hemlock. James took her death very hard and decided to dedicate the rest of his life to taking down Hemlock. When James tried to continue the search for Hemlock and the smuggling ring to Interpol, they decided against it which led to James leaving Interpol and taking matters into his own hands. This is also what led to James changing his name to Terry Greisen and developing his over-the-top detective lingo to throw Hemlock off. Poor James because this only led to his partner Victor Barrows nearly getting killed and Perry Docks aka. Clive Warren really being killed. James was dealing with the pressure of having two people he cared about being killed. This was all discussed to Phoenix after Phoenix managed to break his Psyche-Locks and, like with Vulper, James has a unique animation where his jacket falls off and he finally drops the detective lingo. The real kicker is the next animation where the poor guy looks like he could burst into tears any moment to the point he was actually having an emotional breakdown. It takes a very heartwarming speech from Phoenix to get him out of it and James leaves it to Phoenix to take down Hemlock hoping no other innocent person would be killed.
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    • To make it all the more tragic, James and Sarah actually had plans for the future together once they apprehended Hemlock. They'd likely settle down and start a family, retire and grow old together until the end of their days. Hemlock basically took all that away from James once he murdered Sarah in cold blood. Of course, when Hemlock had the nerve to not only rub Sarah's death in James's face, but claim that her dying was all her and James's fault because she stuck her nose in business she shouldn't have, is it any wonder why he's so outraged?
  • In case 4, you finally get to hear what's happened with Renwick Smith for the past 5 years. It's revealed that after Hemlock figured out Smith hid the enigmium and refused to tell him where it is, Hemlock forced Smith to be his right-hand-man and had him constantly cover up his tracks for his murders. Though Smith was relieved to not have to kill anyone himself, he still feels intense guilt over the fact that he has to witness the murders firsthand and can't do a damn thing about it. It really gets to him when Brisbane is nearly killed by Hemlock. Remember, doing all of this - witnessing all of these crimes, covering Hemlock's tracks - Smith did it all for the protection of Brisbane, the only person Smith himself stated that he cares about. And Hemlock ends up nearly killing Brisbane anyway after finding that he had the enigmium! Right before Phoenix presents Smith's profile to reveal he's Hemlock's #2, Smith has a unique sprite where he is actually frowning. Not the usual bored/angry frown, but a genuine sad one.
    • To go further into this, Smith technically is guilty of his crimes. Sure, he didn't try to kill Brisbane nor did he steal the enigmium, but he was revealed to have tampered with the crime scene and a bunch of other things for the sake of Helmock. Even though Smith isn't evil, he is still a guilty man for other crimes and Phoenix was just trying to figure out what to do about all of this. Sure, his plan is the same to take down Hemlock but that means if Hemlock goes down, Smith will most likely be facing charges as well.
    • And it's particularly sweet how Smith truly cares about Brisbane and was willing to commit many crimes just to keep him safe. It's clear that Smith [[Jerkass isn't a nice guy]] and is very anti-social. However, Brisbane was the first person he could truly connect to and Brisbane feels the same way. Even Weever comments on how the two often see each other and how good they get along.
    • Hell, even Brisbane told Smith if he told him that Hemlock was harassing him for the enigmium all those years, Brisbane would've gave it to him no questions asked. This was a guy who was hellbent on keeping that material for himself (not for money but as a memento of Jack Crane). Indeed, Brisbane and Smith are the best of friends.
  • To follow up on that, Morag Weever may seem like a strict person, but she genuinely is touched on how Brisbane and Smith get along and she really doesn't want to believe that Smith tried to kill him. She only stated what she saw in court and even looked saddened from all of that.
  • The Bad Ending if Phoenix fails to present the correct evidence during any of Freude's Rage Breaking Point moments. Freude breaks Phoenix's badge and per the agreement, Phoenix was forced to step down as defense attorney. Phoenix, clearly in a state of depression, stated that Smith was found guilty and Brisbane never woke up from his coma. He finishes saying that Hemlock is still out there and that he got him.
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