The Cheesy, Joyous Music of the Ace Attorney SeriesS

I really like the Ace Attorney games - I like the characters, the situations, and I like the games' uncommon good humor. I like solving crimes, I like the silly judge, and I like seeking justice. I like how Maya likes hamburgers.

I've played every game in the series except Apollo Justice (bleh), so as you can imagine, I was very happy to hear that there will be a fifth Ace Attorney game, and that all the past games are coming to iOS.

And as much as I love the artwork and the goofy stories, the thing I love most about the Ace Attorney games is Masakazu Sugimori's delightful music.

I can think of few video game series whose music is so indirectly funny, with so much boundless energy. There are so many great songs throughout the series that it was very difficult to list my favorites, actually.

Part of that is because the way the songs tie together and transition from one to the next is a big part of what makes them so much fun. I've argued in the past that video games with no voice-acting used their music more effectively than games with a voice-track, and the Ace Attorney games uphold that theory.

(Of course, they're not entirely silent—the sound of text being "written" moves at varying speeds, and does a surprising amount to convey the tone of the speaker. And of course, there are the recorded "Objection!" sounds. We couldn't forget those.)

Regardless, I thought I'd just list a few of my favorites, and open it up to hear what songs you guys like. Or, to just let everyone make a ton of "Objection!" jokes in the comments.

Without further ado!


"Cornered"

I love "Cornered" - it's when the fighting-game roots of the Ace Attorney games are at their most fighting-gamey. Usually Phoenix has his back to the wall, or, conversely, is on a rocking offensive against a seemingly cowed opponent. But they always do seem to come back on him, don't they? At least until the end.


"Suspense"

This is the music that plays whenever something turns in the courtroom—when someone reveals that they have a secret strategy, or things get intense. It's also used to humorous effect from time to time, played as a deliberate overstatement of an otherwise casual situation.

I love it because it's so distinctive - it's not some melody, not really, more of this "nunununununun." But it tells you, without a question, that shit has just gotten real.


"Search"

Another one from Justice for All, this one plays when searching a crime scene. I really dig how the Ace Attorney games ape the style of 80's cop shows and movies, with the chime-y keyboards up against the driving bassline.


"Turnabout Sisters"

This one is one of my all-time favorites; it's such an unabashedly cheesy melody, with a great counter melody and a real bounce to it. But where it really kicks off for me is when it does that build-in back to the chorus. In fact...

I liked this song so much I recorded my own version of it, back when I had the time to record instrumental versions of video game music (It's the second video here). I played a bunch of instruments on this, and remember requiring like five takes to get the flute stuff right. It's loose—this was made in my bedroom for crying out loud!—but I'm actually still pretty happy with it! It was fun to get inside of the tune like this—I always meant to do some more of these; maybe I still will.


"Psyche Lock"

This one makes itself known in Justice for All, I believe (sometimes the Ace Attorney cases all blend together for me). It would play whenever Phoenix would use Maya's magatama to break through a witness' lies. I remember being pretty frustrated at some of these segments, and I may or may not have gamed the system by saving my game just before doing a psyche lock bit, then reloading if I made too many decisions. I'm sure none of you did anything like that, did you?

Anyhow, the music is some of my favorite "investigation time" music of all. More than makes up for the sometimes frustrating gameplay of those segments.


And there you have them - a few of my favorite pieces of music from the Ace Attorney games. But like I said at the outset, this is in no way some sort of definitive list. So, I put it to you: What are your favorite Ace Attorney songs?

Share some good ones and I'll update the post. Have at it!


Already, a ton of great suggestions:

"Gant's Theme"

Hypotenuse Man suggests Damon Gant's theme, and man is he right. I loved Gant as a character, and his lurching theme played into how he was this totally impervious badass for the longest time. Until he wasn't.


"Godot's Theme"

DocHobo points out that Godot's jazzy, noir-ish theme should be on this list. Well, I can't say he's wrong about that. So now it is.


"Confrontation"

The Havik shares this one from Miles Edgeworth Investigations, which, yeah, is really great. I haven't finished that game yet, so the music hasn't quite sunk in, but everything I've heard is awesome. This is like a more frantic redux of "Cornered."


"Objection!

Semajaral points out that a list of Ace Attorney music isn't complete without "Objection!" Here it is, an absolute classic from the series.


"Maya Fey's Theme—Orchestral"

Finally, Chadboban posted this orchestral version of Maya Fey's theme—I've heard some of this stuff before, not not for a while. Lovely stuff.


(Top image via Sekijitsu)