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Visual Novel / Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Case 5: Turnabout Substitution

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Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Case 5: Turnabout Substitution is a fangame based on the Ace Attorney series. A Fan Sequel to Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, it takes the form of a "bonus case" similar to the fifth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

It is notable for being one of the few Ace Attorney games made by fans you can actually play, as the full game (that is, approximately seven hours of gameplay) has been released.

You start out defending the series' lovable old Judge, accused of murdering an infamous serial killer in his prison cell. But as always, things are not as simple as they appear, and the case soon takes an unexpected direction. You'll meet cheerful funeral directors and public figures still stuck in Ancient Greece, decipher hidden messages on mysterious clues, and face a tough-as-nails prosecutor in an epic courtroom battle.

Download it here.

Has its own website, including a (very much needed) walkthrough and behind-the-scenes information.

An independent sequel, called Turnabout Revolution note , was released as part of the Never Ending Turnabout competition on Ace Attorney Online, and can be found here.

As this is a continuation to Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and references to the franchise up to that point are made in-game, spoilers for those games will be unmarked. You Have Been Warned.

This Fan Game provides examples of:

  • Anti-Villain: Paul Strings. Fisher and even Poole might also fall into this category. Averted with the Serial Killer, Rhea Wits.
  • Always Murder: It wouldn't be Ace Attorney without a murder. And since Erlenmeyer was never killed to begin with, you know someone will be killed.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Erlenmeyer's repressed feelings about his cat, Charles, were brought back when he saw Rhea kill someone and bury that person. This caused him to admit his guilt about the murder.
    • When you think about the context of the case, it makes sense, especially since Apollo, and the player, both who (probably) have no background in psychology, have to come up with an overly-simplistic reason as to why Erlenmeyer would admit to a murder.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When talking to Rhea Wits about her computer, her hobbies on it include creating scuba-diving simulators, hacking the pentagon's computer, and chatting with friends on the internet.
    Apollo: Yeah, right, like she knows how to chat on the internet!
  • Batman Gambit: Rhea. She is able to single-handedly draw suspicion away from herself while getting her hands on vital police info by playing the role of a witness. She controls her scapegoat by playing on his psychology, and plans on killing him to silence him about the whole incident. She even seduces Apollo and keeps herself out of his suspicion, despite leaving a trail as red as her shirt.
  • Bedlam House: Clooney's Prison-asylum.
  • Big Bad: Paul Strings occupies this role for the first half of the story, with the Mysterious Bust Killer acting as a Greater-Scope Villain. In the second half, with Strings in jail, and Erlenmeyer on trial, the real killer takes over as the Big Bad.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ema, in the most awesome and timely way imaginable.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Gerald Strings gives one to Apollo.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Rhea Wits seems nice enough when you first meet her, but it turns out that there's not a nice bone in her body.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Apollo exposes the Mysterious Bust Killer, and clears Erlenmeyer's name, who last we see, has recovered his sanity, and returned to being a biology teacher. But Jessica turns herself in for forging evidence, and is found guilty and forced to retire as a result, Paul Strings and Bob Erlenmeyer are still in jail, though they are content with the outcome, and the Judge is dead. And while Apollo is reuniting with his friends and family, The Stinger makes it clear that Rhea Wits is not going to take being imprisoned by Apollo lying down.
  • Breaking Speech: Rhea gives one to Apollo during recess just before the final confrontation.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The new judge keeps walking into the wrong courtroom, and loves arguing with himself about the properties of invisibility. He's also quite competent at what he does.
  • Buried Alive: While it isn't clear that Rhea did this to her victims, she certainly planned on doing this to Erlenmeyer.
  • But Now I Must Go: Jessica confesses to her forging evidence after the case is over, willing to end her career and go to prison.
  • Bus Crash: Arthur Chambers, the Judge's brother, is one of the killer's victims. Also Benjamin Woodman from Turnabout Big top is listed as another one of the victims.
  • The Cameo: Greeny of Francis Equitas: Ace Casanova (And Attorney) has contributed custom sprites to the fangame.
    • And don't forget about Jake Marshall, as well as Phoenix Wright, Trucy Wright, and Thalassa Gramarye.
  • Chekhov's Gun: As well as every other case in the series. The item: While investigating the crime scene of The Judge's murder, Apollo finds two pieces of gum close to each other, in the snow. One lemon, the other strawberry. It's 'fired' later when Rhea mentions how she chews lemon gum and strawberry gum together while giving advice to Apollo during the trial. She dropped the two pieces of gum from her pocket during the murder. See Wham Line, below.
  • Christmas Episode: The case starts December 26. Apollo's gift was being told that Trucy is his half-sister and Thalassa is his mother.
  • Continuity Porn: As you might expect from a fangame, references to the Ace Attorney series are everywhere. Apollo and Rhea even have an open discussion of the relative merits of the Wright trilogy, Apollo Justice, and Investigations if you Examine the right things.note 
  • Credits Gag: Every member of the cast is credited with a nickname, from "Master Baguette" to "The Thousand Voices".
  • Cryptic Conversation: Everything Erlenmeyer says is the truth, but most of it is so wrapped up in euphemisms as to be unintelligible, both in-universe and out. Learning to or trying to interpret his babble is a recurring plot point.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jessica Poole, just like every prosecutor before her.
  • Darker and Edgier: The differences are subtle, but this fan-made game is significantly less... censored... than the Ace Attorney series. The murders are more brutal, the morals are less black and white, and there is actual mention of alcoholic beverages.
  • Evil Plan: Paul Strings engineers a jailbreak and a Frame-Up in order to save someone whom he believes innocent, as well as frame Judge Chambers in order to replace him with his son. The Mysterious Bust Killer, in turn, attempts to kill and disappear their patsy, so as to continue their killings while keeping the police focussed on finding the wrong man.
  • Faking the Dead: Turns out Robert Erlenmeyer is nowhere near as dead as believed. And in a big twist, the actual killer's master plan involves inverting this trope, tricking the police into believing Robert is still alive and on the loose when he's really dead and buried so that they can continue their killings while forever keeping suspicion off of themselves.
  • First-Name Basis: Jessica Poole gets onto this with Apollo when discussing HT-5, but retracts it the next day, much to his surprise.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Gerald Strings became a judge like his father, but but resigns at the end to follow his own path in video game design.
  • Foreshadowing: Several lines hint at the true identity of the Mysterious Bust Killer:
    Apollo: (Note to self: Investigate Rhea being a sociopath.)

    Rhea Wits: I buried my brother with my own two hands. How could I possibly be upset after something like that?
    • Plus, if you present irrelevant evidence to her during the investigation, she says that she hates Canadian accents. The Judge's brother had a Canadian accent. She might have killed him because of this...
    • Oh, and one of the incriminating pieces of information that damned Erlenmeyer during his trial was the fact that he knew that Rhea's brother had a tattoo of an armadillo on his back. Rhea mentions that she has that same tattoo, which means that Erlenmeyer must have seen her commit a murder...
    • Erlenmeyer refers to the cemetary as 'Sylvan'. The most known 'Rhea' in mythology is Rhea Sylvia, the biological mother to the twins Romulus and Remus.
    • In Rhea's office, you find a photo of her and her brother. Rhea admits that since he didn't like cameras, there weren't any photos of him and her together, so she had to splice together two photos, and Apollo comments on the quality of the job. Wait, didn't the Mysterious Bust Killer also splice together photos of their victims to create the naked pictures?
    • Erlenmeyer also mentions that Miss Scarlet (aka the lady in red) was the culprit. He wasn't simply referring to a game of Clue, but to the only red-wearing lady in the game.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • In earlier versions, the 'back' button could sometimes fail to load when interrogating Paul Strings, thus rendering the game unwinnable.
    • The game can really start screwing up during the timed section.
    • It is possible for the game to not add one piece of important evidence to the Court Record during the second day of investigation.note  Since that evidence is necessary the following day in the courtroom, when cross-examining Rhea, it makes the game unwinnable.note 
  • Grotesque Cute: A light example. There is a skeleton on Rhea Wits' business card, and Apollo comments on how cute it is.
  • Guide Dang It!: One part of the game requires you to examine a completely unremarkable pile of snow in the graveyard. Given that the whole graveyard is covered in snow, and that there are many more noticeable points in the scene that cannot be examined, there's no way a normal player would think of looking there.
  • Hate Sink: Most of the cast is somewhat morally gray, but there's nothing sympathetic about the true killer, Apollo's new friend/partner Rhea Witts. Apollo concludes the trial with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how the killer is a despicable and pathetic human being.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": The Judge, AKA "Udgey" is finally given the actual name of "Judge Chambers". His equally nicknamed brother is dubbed "Arthur Chambers".
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Rhea's parting taunt is what ends up destroying her entire case.
  • Hourglass Plot: On the first day of the trial Chambers is on trial for killing Erlenmeyer. On the second day Erlenmeyer is on trial for killing Chambers.
  • Hypocrite:
    • During Chambers' trial in which he's accused of killing convicted serial killer Robert Erlenmeyer, Poole opens by saying that someone who murders a murderer is worse than the original murderer. When Erlenmeyer was on trial, Poole forged a psychological profile in an attempt to prevent him from being declared legally insane because she wanted him to be sentenced to death.
    • The killer also qualifies. Apollo's entire "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Rhea is centered around the fact that Rhea mocks all the people around her for living useless lives, when truly the life that is the most empty in the entire story... is Rhea's.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Like all canon AA cases (except the case that this game is comparing to) this case includes the word turnabout in the title. note 
  • Impossible Theft: During an optional phone call, Trucy somehow manages to steal Apollo's wallet when he had it that morning, and she had been on the other side of the planet for the past week!
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Rhea is able to handwave her response with a hypothetical the first time around, but the second mistake ends up being her downfall. Apollo himself notes that Rhea would have gotten away with everything if she had just paid a tad more attention to what she was saying.
  • In-Series Nickname: Jessica Poole alternates between "Antennas" and "Lady Justice" for Apollo, and Rhea takes right after Trucy calling him "Polly". This mirrors the way that Dahlia called Phoenix "Feenie" spoiler . Apollo, in his thoughts, also refers to Poole as "Deadpoole"
  • Interface Spoiler: Word of God commented on how this was avoided: most evidence from the first trial is irrelevant to the second... except one. If the game deleted all "unneeded evidence" between the two parts, the player would immidiately know which it is. So it doesn't.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Apollo is explaining to Rhea Wits why she sucks as the mysterious bust killer, one of the things Apollo says is a metaphor: he gave Rhea Wits a shovel, and she just kept digging, and that's why she got caught, it was her own fault! So what does Rhea do after that? Go into her Villainous Breakdown by repeatedly digging through the floor with a shovel!
  • It's a Long Story: Apollo's reason as to why he doesn't want Phoenix to call him "Polly".
  • Kangaroo Court: Just like the good old days, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Rhea Wits, however, gives arguments saying that the defense has an advantage in the Ace Attorney courts by pressuring witnesses with limited time, though, and gets the last part of the trial put on a time limit.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Both from the mind of French organist and composer Jehan Alain.
    • Erlenmeyer's leitmotif, which plays during the opening scene, is a very creepy organ piece.
    • A more dramatic organ piece plays during Apollo's confrontation with Rhea.
  • Original Flavour: Turnabout Substitution tries to feel like a real Ace Attorney case, and succeeds.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack:
  • Punny Name: In true Ace Attorney fashion:
    • We finally discover the judge's real name: Judge Chambers.
    • Some of the victims of the backstory case include names such as Rickroll and Dan Druff.
  • Put on a Bus: Phoenix, Trucy and Thalassa are on a trip in Borginia while Apollo is working on the case, he can keep in touch with them through phone call, however, so they're not completely absent. Phoenix also appears at the end, while Trucy and Thalassa show up during the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Apollo gives one when Ema claims Rhea is Apollo's girlfriend.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Apollo delivers one to the culprit at the end of the case.
    Apollo: ...I've been thinking about what you told me in the defense lobby. And I finally have an anser for you. [...] You are completely wrong. What gives meaning to our lives... is other lives. Those people you talked about, who were truly living, who weren't afraid of death... They aren't afraid of death... because they aren't truly living. They concern themselves with their own lives, and try to find meaning in cheap, short thrills. Do you know why a regular "Joe Schmoe", as you put it, will beg for his life when threatened? Because he has friends and a family that he doesn't want to leave. Friends and family that he does not want to suffer grief and hardship. Everything you said has been completely wrong, Rhea. The only person in this room whose life doesn't have meaning... is you. Poole has been prosecuting solely for Judge and Arthur. Strings is a judge only because of his father. And my reason for staying in this world is right here. But you Rhea.... You. I can't think of a better metaphor than this photograph. At first glance, it seems fine and normal. But on closer inspection... it's fake. You don't live for anyone, Rhea... not even yourself. This is what your life is truly like, Rhea! Face it: you're shallow, empty, imaginary. You think you've lived life to the fullest? You think you are the greatest human being, with the most meaningful life out of all of us? You're not. People won't care that you're gone. And I don't mean they won't mourn your death. I mean they'll care so little, they won't even celebrate your death. You think you'll live on in history as an exceptionally feared criminal? Heh. Even that won't happen. You are one of the most pathetic criminals I've seen! The only reason you got caught was your own fault. You cross-examined yourself to confession Rhea, I gave you the shovel... and you kept on digging.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Due to the engine limitations, the Perceive mechanic was not implemented. This was worked into the plot by the theft of Apollo's bracelet past a certain point.
  • The Reveal:
  • Significant Anagram: Rhea Wits' name becomes It Was Her. And she was the one who came up with the anagram idea in the first place.
  • Snow Means Death: The story deals with serial murders, and several areas to investigate are covered in snow.
  • The Sociopath: The Mysterious Bust Killer is a nihilistic woman who thinks killing is the "highest form of living." Heck, Rhea Wits would make Dahlia, Matt or Kristoff look tame compared to her. However, as Apollo points out when Rhea is revealed to be the true Big Bad, she's clearly incapable of loving anything or anyone, even herself.
  • Spanner in the Works: Accidentally taking his sleeping medicine and going to the cemetery at night might have cost Chambers his life, but it also derailed Rhea's plan to dispose of Erlenmeyer.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, we see Rhea standing in a cell, with blood in her hair, glaring at a (photoshopped?) picture of Apollo and herself standing together. While the music from the intro cutscene is playing.
  • Straw Feminist: Vivian Snow, Played for Laughs. There's no political message behind it whatsoever, especially since the author actually identifies as a feminist, and the plot is mainly driven by strong female characters. It does, however, serve to establish Snow as a potential suspect by making her seem more important to the story than she really is.
    • Also Fridge Brilliance as Snow mentions how everyone refers to the murderer as a man. For a lot of the case except when Poole is suspected, Apollo and others refer to the killer only as a man to stop you from guessing Rhea's the killer.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When the Judge gets run over several times. Rhea even admits it was overkill.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: What you get if you call Phoenix on your cell phone during the first day.
  • Theme Serial Killer: The Mysterious Bust Killer is not this. When Rhea is well and truly exposed she admits that the elaborate crime scenes and cryptic clues were just things she made up on the spot, thinking it would be fun to send the police on a wild goose chase.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Recurrent character Mike Meekins makes an appearance. True to form, he lets Chambers through while he's in disguise.
  • Tsundere: Poole has elements of this toward Apollo, and is significantly nicer to him when not going up against him in court.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Judge Chambers, to Strings and Fisher's plan to spring Erlenmeyer.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Just like the games that it's based off of. In this one the guilty party attempts to dig their way out of the courtroom, with a shovel!
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Paul Strings, who orchestrates a false murder to get a serial killer he believes to be innocent out of jail, and Jessica Poole, who is willing to forge evidence to convince the court that Robert Erlenmeyer is not insane and thus deserves the death penalty.
  • Wham Line: "Do you know why I always put strawberry and lemon chewing gum in the same box?" This sounds just like some random banter, but Apollo had found some chewed-up pieces of strawberry and lemon gum at the scene of the crime, meaning that unless some very unlikely coincidence happened, Rhea was there when the murder happened.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Rhea to Apollo when he decides to defend Erlenmeyer. Of course, there's more to her protesting this than Apollo thinks.
    • Everyone to Apollo when he accuses Rhea of being the actual killer.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Even though her execution is sloppy, the antagonist repeatedly adapts her plans to changing circumstances. When spotted by Erlenmeyer, she plays on his mental fragility to have him accuse himself; when he escapes from prison, she sees it as the opportunity to commit the perfect crime, killing the serial killer accused in her place while the police think he's still alive; and when Judge Chambers accidentally stumbles upon the crime scene, she quickly finds a way to murder him and pin the crime on the unconscious Erlenmeyer.
    • Also, while she's sloppy about saying things she shouldn't know or that incriminate her and allowing inconsistencies in her testimony, she's brilliant at covering for them and coming up with innocent explanations for them when challenged.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Apollo yells this when he finds out Jake Marshall was set up on the original trial of Robert Erlenmeyer and Jessica Poole requested a fake psychiatrist report.
  • You Monster!: Apollo yells this at Rhea once she confesses to him that she was the one doing the killings.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: You're able to get Chambers acquitted of Erlenmeyer's "murder" on the first day of the trial. The second trial day is an entirely new case with the roles reversed; Chambers has been killed and Erlenmeyer is the defendant.