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Video Game / Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: The Contempt of Court

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: The Contempt of Court is a fangame based on the Ace Attorney series.

For nearly a month after the events of Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix Wright hasn't had a single case. Suddenly he is thrust into a series of them, starting with the murder of Marvin Grossberg. Over time Phoenix discovers something more secretive and sinister underlying this string of seemingly random murders. With the addition of an intimidating new prosecutor and a sarcastic slacker of a detective, Phoenix unwittingly stumbles upon a series of killings that somebody doesn't want solved, secrets that somebody doesn't want uncovered, people that somebody doesn't want to talk — somebody who is pulling all the strings of an elaborate plot for vengeance, power and control...

More information and download links can be found here. The full game has been released as of March 22nd, 2017.

Visual Novelty has a Let's Play of the game here. Der Namenlosen Gamer also has a completed playthrough here.


This Fan Game provides examples of:

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Once the Big Bad has been revealed to the court, he activates Plan V, which involves armed goons seizing control of the building and blocking all communication with the outside. He then takes the judge's seat for himself and continues the trial, forcing the members of the court to play by his rules.
    • On a lesser level, Phoenix's office gets repeatedly invaded by police officers one of which is the aforementioned Big Bad.
  • Always Murder: Averted in the last case. Moreover, failing to kill Brisbane more or less led to Big Bad's undoing.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Case 1 has you playing through the last trial of defense attorney Vincenzo Cicatrice, as seen through his point of view. Case 3 has you briefly playing as Renwick Smith in the past, setting up a cliffhanger to Case 4. Case 4 has a section where you play as Edgeworth when Phoenix is under the influence of Hemlock.
  • And the Adventure Continues: A post-credits sequence shows Phoenix 2 days later, receiving a phone call from an unnamed man to take part in a game of poker to represent him, after supposedly hearing of Phoenix's exploits throughout the events of the game. Having taken place the day before the infamous final trial (See Interquel below), we all know who that man was, and we all know what happens next...
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  • Big Bad: While Vulper may be The Heavy, he is ultimately not the main villain of the game. That role goes to the leader of Aculeus, Hemlock. He's responsible for Renwick Smith becoming his puppet through blackmail and he's very heavily implied to be the one who killed Blaine Chill, which also implies that he also had a hand in the murder of Cedric Maplethorpe.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Vex Vulper is this, along with being The Heavy.
  • Big "NO!": Prosecutor Vulper gives a rather large one after he's been penalized in the first case.
  • Busman's Holiday: Phoenix goes to a hotel for his long-awaited vacation. Of course, there's a murder in there, and Phoenix ends up defending the suspect.
  • But Thou Must!: At a certain point in The Ensnared Turnabout, when Lyle Hemlock later tricks Phoenix into contradicting himself about Detective Smith's fingerprints, it would mean having to tell the court everything that Smith had done; accessory to Hemlock's murders as one-half of "The Boogeyman", perjury, and perversion of the course of justice by eradication of vital evidence that would have been traced back to Hemlock. The only upside to that is that the murder charge on Smith's head would be lifted, but Smith would likely still be jailed, something Phoenix had been fighting so hard to avoid. Of course, the player could just have Phoenix try to cover for Renwick, but given the circumstances and that action would contradict everything that Phoenix stands for, Phoenix would confess otherwise after saying nothing is wrong. Ergo, regardless of the player's choice to have Phoenix expose Smith's secret as Hemlock's right-hand man or not, Smith will step in and confess to everything anyway.
  • Condensation Clue: As Hemlock was listening to them at the time, Renwick writes a message on the detention center glass telling Phoenix to go to Interrogation Room 2, where incriminating evidence on Hemlock is hidden.
  • Continuity Nod: Lots of it. A number of them are likely to go over your head if you haven't played any of the previous games.
  • Courtroom Antics: Well, it wouldn't really be Phoenix Wright without it.
  • Dragon Ascendant: The backstory of Case 2 and Case 3 involves an organisation known as Aculeus, formed from The Remnant of the former Codophian Smuggling Ring. Its leader is hinted to be one of these. Though the flashback at the end of Case 3 reveals him to be The Starscream.
  • Dramatic Irony: Due to the flashback portion at the end of Case 3, the player goes into Case 4 well aware that Renwick Smith, the defendant, is Hemlock's accomplice. Phoenix himself doesn't find out until near the end of the final investigation.
  • Everybody Lives: Almost shockingly for an Ace Attorney case, nobody dies in Ensnared Turnabout. The victim, Brisbane, is beaten into a pulp but recovers, and even Terry Greisen survives his direct encounter with Hemlock.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Brisbane, Vulper and Jack Crane studied in the same law school in their youth.
  • Exact Words: At the conclusion of case 1, Brisbane reveals he is the current owner of the enigmium, whips out a familiar King of Hearts card and promises that Vulper can have it as well as freedom if he confesses to everything. Vulper agrees, not realizing that Brisbane never said the card was the enigmium. Brisbane thus tricked Vulper into confessing over an ordinary playing card; quite appropriately, the King of Hearts is known as the Suicide King. Brisbane ends up going back on the "freedom" part of the promise, though.
  • Foreshadowing: There are several hints at Hemlock's true identity all throughout the 4th case, before The Reveal finally comes.
    • Before the first trial, Snow is enraged to find out that that Brisbane, the case's victim, is still alive. He passes it off as frustration over having to re-write his testimony, but as Hemlock, Brisbane's attacker, he has a very good reason to be angry that he didn't quite finish the job, especially as part of the reason he tried to kill Brisbane was because Smith had told him his identity.
    • You find Snow in his office during the second investigation, shredding a file on Hemlock. He claims that the whole precinct is deleting their files on him, but this is a lie. He also says that he worked hard for his current office because "when I set my mind on something, I get it." This turns out to be an accurate summary of Hemlock's entire motivation.
    • There's a lot of information in the case that you only have Snow's word to go on. Brisbane being dead. The lack of evidence at the crime scene. The entire police force shredding Hemlock's files. Renwick's fingerprints on the Kurmp puppet and murder weapon. The player takes it for granted at first, but after The Reveal the deception becomes obvious.
    • Once you learn that Hemlock is skilled at 'playing characters', Snow's insistence on making up names whenever he's called to testify makes an eerie amount of sense
  • Interquel: Set a month after Trials and Tribulations but just before his final trial as we see in Apollo Justice. And as the game's epilogue shows, which takes place on April 18 2019 — the day before Phoenix's infamous final trial.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Krump (actually Vulper in disguise) points out that Phoenix somehow always proves a witness guilty of the crime.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Cedric Maplethorpe's Accidental Murder of his associate leads to the exposition and eventual downfall of an entire crime ring.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Hemlock's henchmen don't take it well when he says he's going to kill them along with everyone else in the courthouse to their faces.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Turns out Phoenix and Edgeworth are indirectly responsible for Hemlock's rise to power, also hinted by Renwick in Case 4.
    • The events of AAI allowed Hemlock to take control of a massive criminal organization, providing him with the global manpower to aid him in his control spree.
    • During the events of Contempt of Court, by acquiting "Detective Snow" of a murder charge, Phoenix unwittingly aids him in obtaining the second commodity he needed: the money, in the form of an extremely rare and priceless metal named enigmium.
    • Phoenix bringing down Redd White and Damon Gant (together with Edgeworth) way back in AA also helped Hemlock immensely. Vulper lost his backer who hid him from Hemlock, and Gant's resignation allowed Schaden Freude, Hemlock's puppet, to return.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Requesting Edgeworth as a prosecutor for the final trial.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: In a first for the series, it's possible to get your client cleared but another innocent person found guilty in the game's second case.
    • In the last case, if you answer wrong even one time during Schaden's Rage Breaking Point, not only Wright loses his case, but his badge ends up crushed.
    • Alternatively, presenting Maya Fey's profile when the Judge asks who the puppetmaster is, Phoenix starts talking about how there's one person in the profile list who hasn't been in this case at all and then reveals the true culprit, Maya Fey! The cheerful, goofy music plays as everyone else is shocked, confused and angry. There are even moments of Breaking the Fourth Wall as he calls her the true mastermind of "The Contempt Of Court", the name of the game, then is confused when everyone isn't very pleased to hear it, but tries defending himself saying that the Court-Records, the series's forums all agreed that it was Maya, calling it a flawless and well thought out theory, with then the Judge calling it a practical joke and asks Wright if there's someone pulling his strings and presented Maya's profile for a laugh (The Player), before Wright curses Ropfa, the creator of Conflict of Interest and the one responsible for the Maya-Did-It joke theory in the first place, and the Judge gives Wright the ultimate penalty: A game crash!
  • Poor Communication Kills: The murder in case 2 could've been avoided if Maplethorpe had asked Barrows his name instead of assuming he was Nyph from the start.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Turnabout of the Snow, Phoenix gives one to Brisbane which even leaves him speechless.
    Brisbane: Am I the only one in this room with a brain?!
    Phoenix: Quite the contrary, Brisbane. YOU'RE the one in the room who isn't using their brain!
    Brisbane: What did you say?!
    Phoenix: Throughout this trial so far, you haven't put any thought into anything. You're not interested in finding the truth. You just want to get Vulper guilty as quickly as possible. As I've stated many times already, I'm not defending Vulper, as per the conditions of this case... Being a mass-murderer, I admit he is most likely the perpetrator of this crime... but unless we examine the case thoroughly, how will we know for sure? We're here today to find out what happened in the prison that night, not to blindly persecute! Your mentor, Manfred von Karma... It's obvious you've picked up his manner of prosecuting. You don't bother looking for the truth! Instead, you stoop to his level of "prosecuting", using intimidation to get your way... and when you don't, you throw tantrums like a spoilt child!
  • Serial Killer: Hemlock is this as revealed in Case 4, as the mysterious "Boogeyman" killer that James Trent has been tracking for six years up until the present day. The Boogeyman kills his victims using a garrotte wire while leaving a piece of a Cohdopian Smuggling Ring card behind, the latter only being for the first three victims. It turns out Hemlock, as a high-ranking member of the smuggling ring six years ago, began a global killing spree to the top of the ladder (with a hapless Renwick Smith in tow), beginning with that of Clive Warren, a mole in the smuggling ring who Hemlock mistook as a legitimate member. Eventually that left only Manny Coachen, Calisto Yew, and of course the boss himself. Then the events of AAI Case 5 saw Coachen's death and the arrest of Yew and Alba... allowing Hemlock, now the highest member, to usurp the ringleader position.
  • Shout-Out: In one scene in the courtoom lobby, Greisen asks Phoenix "So what happened between you and this Renwick customer?" - it's a line taken directly from Garth Marenghis Darkplace. The game's author admitted that he is a BIG fan of that show.
  • Spotting the Thread: Vulper's Krump disguise would have been perfect, if he had actually wore blue contacts from the beginning.
  • Tempting Fate: During the Haunted Turnabout:
    Phoenix: I mean, a haunted hotel in the middle of nowhere, a terrible rainstorm kicks up... Can this vacation get any more cliched...?
    • And to top it all off, a gunshot and a scream are heard soon after.
  • That Wasn't a Request: When Chief Freude wants to know who called him to testify, he doesn't phrase it as a question. It's an order.
    • As for Hemlock, he wants absolute control over his life and everyone in it, so when he tells you to do or say something, you WILL do so right away, or you're in a lot of trouble.
  • Trilogy Creep: Inverted than played straight. Originally the game was stated to have 4 cases. "Turnabout Before a Fall" was dropped entirely so the game goes straight from "The Haunted Turnabout" to "Turnabout of the Snow". But the development of Turnabout of the Snow had such a Schedule Slip that the author eventually decided to split it into two cases, with what was originally Part 1 becoming its own stand-alone case.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In the last trial, Smith says he'd get 30% of the cut, "around 30-40 million dollars". If the enigmium was worth billions, then he's a whole order of magnitude wrong.


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