Follow TV Tropes


Visual Novel / The Empty Turnabout

Go To

The Empty Turnabout is a fan-made case in Ace Attorney Online created by DWaM, Spyromed, kwando1313, NihilisticNinja and Gumpei.

Taking place in an Alternate Universe of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, The Empty Turnabout features the murder of Ian Arts, a mysterious wealthy man responsible for a major scandal in the past. Apollo Justice steps up and decides to defend Nathaniel Marston of this crime, believing that he is innocent despite having confessed to the deed. Former Lawyer Phoenix Wright gives Apollo his attorney's badge back and comes along for the ride as a mere spectator. Will Apollo defeat the Chief Prosecutor himself in court or make yet another blunder after what happened in That One Case six months ago? A certain figure in yellow lurks in the shadows, watching every step Apollo takes...

Due to its length, the case is split in three chapters. You can play the first one here, the second one here and the third one here.

The Empty Turnabout provides examples of:

  • Absence of Evidence: This becomes a contradiction in Marston's testimony when he claims that he and Ian Arts struggled over Marston's handgun, because the gun only has Marston's fingerprints.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Athena Cykes murdered Simon Blackquill six months prior to the case, and he himself murdered Metis Cykes and walked away thanks to Athena's testimony.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Of Dual Destinies. Here, Athena Cykes is not part of the Wright Anything Agency but instead an up-and-coming defense attorney who's pretty famous thanks to Apollo's defense when she was put on trial six months earlier. With the prologue twist that Athena was actually guilty, as Apollo finds out just before the Not Guilty verdict. There's also the fact that Courtroom No. 4 wasn't bombed, but instead it was destroyed in an earthquake.
  • Ambiguous Ending: A person is found guilty of Ian Arts's murder, but it's not that clear that person actually did it due to the vagueness of the crime. Then Apollo approaches Athena and tells her that the police are checking a man's blood to determine whether he's the real killer, but his name is never mentioned. Even the author himself admits the ending is ambiguous.
  • Amoral Attorney: Athena Cykes. She killed a person but got away with an acquittal, and is pretty famous as a defense attorney. She also wants to take a case solely to gain more fame.
  • Asshole Victim: The victim of the case six months prior, Simon Blackquill. Not only did he kill Metis Cykes himself, but he used Athena's testimony to walk away free. Athena later killed him as revenge.
  • The Cavalry: Trucy arrives just in time to the trial to give Apollo an important piece of evidence that allows him to formally accuse Mary Adair of the crime. This was foreshadowed earlier in the chapter, when Apollo called her and asked her to bring him something.
  • Central Theme:
    • Who must be rewarded by the legal system: innocent people or smart criminals? This leads to another question: how does the populace react when the latter are rewarded and the former are punished?
    • Is it wrong for a murderer to walk free if they had a good reason to do it?
  • Death by Adaptation: Simon Blackquill.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: You confront the guiltiest-looking character in Chapter 2 out of 3, but Apollo pulls a fast one on the suspect and the audience by revealing that he never intended to indict this person of the crime. You then accuse someone you already cross-examined earlier, who is the Final Boss. And this person still didn't commit the crime, which is why you don't have any evidence to prove her guilt and lose the trial altogether.
  • Downer Ending: You lose the trial altogether after fighting for three chapters. Marston is found guilty even though he didn't do it, but he's okay with it. Furthermore, Athena is never punished for killing Blackquill, although it is revealed that she did so because Blackquill had killed her mother and got away with it thanks to her testimony... when she thought he was innocent. There's something positive, though: Apollo has figured out who really killed Arts and has called the police.
  • Good Lawyers, Good Clients:
    • Subverted with Athena Cykes of all people, who actually killed Simon Blackquill but was acquitted by Apollo... even though he genuinely believed she was innocent.
    • Zig-zagged with Nathaniel Marston, the current case's defendant. He confessed to the crime, but Apollo believes that he didn't do it. Fast forward to the end of the trial, and Marston is found guilty as he wanted. It's implied that he didn't really do it.
  • Guide Dang It!: The point in Chapter 1 where you have to type in a type of long-range weapon can be this if you don't have the outside knowledge about guns required. And you must include a specific adjective to make it work. We're talking about a sniper rifle; it's not enough to type in "rifle" alone. There are absolutely no in-game hints as Apollo insists that it's an easy answer.
  • Locked Room Mystery: Arts was killed in his study, and the witnesses found only the defendant inside when they broke in. There is only one door to the study, and the room has a balcony that looks over an endless abyss. It's Apollo's job to figure out how anyone other than the defendant could have entered, killed the victim and escaped without leaving traces.
  • Multi-Part Episode: Cases in Ace Attorney Online usually have just one part, but this one is so long that it's split in three chapters, with the last one being the shortest.
  • Never Found the Body: Arts's body was found shortly after his murder and was declared dead by Mary Adair, a witness, but it was gone when the police arrived. The trial goes in circles as the defense, the witnesses and the prosecution debate about the murder method and the body's whereabouts. Even Mary's report is called into question late in the trial by herself to complicate matters even more.
  • Not Me This Time: Athena Cykes murdered Simon Blackquill six months ago, and only Apollo knows it. The game presents Apollo in such a way that it appears he only took this case because he suspects she also killed Ian Arts and wants to finally bring her to justice. But she didn't do it, as it turns out.
  • Red Herring:
    • Athena Cykes is questioned in Chapter 2, and in a twist, Apollo tells her that he only summoned her to the stand to make her think this trial was about her and that Apollo was desperate enough to accuse an innocent person just to get his revenge on her. She's shocked.
    • Mary Adair is accused in Chapter 3, and we get to read her inner thoughts about destroying Apollo's theory, but Apollo doesn't manage to produce enough evidence to prove she killed Arts. She didn't have access to a gun, so she's ruled out and the trial is over with a guilty verdict for the defendant.
  • Tired of Running: After 6 months of angst, Apollo finally realizes in chapter 2 that he can no longer ignore or run away from a taunting, murderous Athena, and instead fights her in court "like a man", quoting her.
  • Wham Line: For those who have played Dual Destinies, Apollo offers a whammy in Chapter 2. He casually states the name of the person who was murdered six months ago: Simon Blackquill. In this game, he was killed by Athena... his friend in the canon games.
  • Worthy Opponent: In chapter 3, Athena has the chance to lie and render all of Apollo's efforts so far in the trial meaningless by testifying against his theory about Arts's murder, but prefers not to do that because it would be too easy and boring. She wants a fair fight against him sometime in the future, so she goes ahead and tells the truth, allowing Apollo to keep accusing Mary Adair.
  • You Didn't Ask: After the trial's conclusion, the witnesses casually say that they withheld important information in their testimonies. Namely, that Mary Adair was alone with Arts's body for a while, without the other witnesses watching. Why didn't they point that out in the trial? Because, quoting one of the witnesses, nobody asked!