The following is a Guest Article by JediSquidward. For more information check the bottom of the article.
“For fifteen years, I have had a recurring dream.” –Miles Edgeworth
This year, the Ace Attorney series celebrates its fifteenth anniversary. This humble collection of games has grown from a simple project into one of Capcom’s most identifiable and popular franchises. With the subject matter of the series being so unique, it has expertly carved its own niche in the gaming world from a fine marble. The blue giant Capcom became part of the video game elite, along with Nintendo, Sega, and Bandai Namco in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, showcasing not one, but two of their biggest poster boys. However, Smash is a land of opportunity, a time capsule for games that helped shape the industry, and we hope that someday, the royal blue of Mega Man will be joined by the royal blue of Phoenix Wright.
Who is Phoenix Wright?
An accomplished defense attorney, Phoenix Wright is a seeker of justice, doing anything he can to help his clients get a ‘not guilty’ verdict. He is willing to help people from all walks of life find the truth. Phoenix Wright is, first and foremost, a man. He is not gifted in supernatural physical abilities or skill with weapons. He is not a stern, masculine hero. His personality is often goofy, witty, and sarcastic. He is someone who can barely keep up with the crazy world around him, but somehow manages to. He is constantly put up against impossible odds in order to save people. An array of sadistic prosecutors, eccentric witnesses, and an often clunky and ineffective legal system work like gears in a clock to push their “truth”, to let lies be made history. Against everything, Phoenix’s soul is interlaced with the search for justice, the undying passion to find what is right and what is wrong. He is not a superhero, yet he is a hero.
In September of this year, the series added to its library Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice for the Nintendo 3DS to critical acclaim, making it the sixth main title in the series. However, that excludes the many other branches of this tree, such as the Japan-only The Great Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright’s crossover with perplexing puzzle solver Professor Layton, his appearance in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and ongoing adventures of friend Miles Edgeworth in Ace Attorney Investigations. Despite all this, the base of this tree came from three modest DS games released annually from 2005 to 2007, titled Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Justice for All, and Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations. Going even further back to the roots are the original Japanese releases made for the wildly popular Gameboy Advance, with the first being released on October 12th, 2001.
“October 12th… Why, that’s today’s date, fifteen years ago!”
Hmm, it appears it is! What better time to speculate the concept of Phoenix Wright in Smash, right here, right now?
Importance to Nintendo
As I stated before, the Ace Attorney series holds a very significant and defined niche within the gaming community. For example, in any scenario involving a courtroom, whether it be on YouTube, TV, movies, etc, gamers will always reference Phoenix Wright from something akin to muscle memory. And really, why shouldn’t they? The Ace Attorney series deserves its place in gaming culture. With the original trilogy, it was a unique concept that attracted new gamers and created new audiences, a very Nintendo-nian philosophy, especially in the years of the DS and the Wii. The US release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney in 2005 was one of the first landmark titles for the dual-screen sensation, and would only continue to grow, even going so far as to being featured in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010.
In 2013, the series was brought back into the cultural zeitgeist with Dual Destinies, and has since launched into an identifiable property with huge relevance to Nintendo. The franchise’s whole history was made on Nintendo consoles, particularly their handhelds. The series is especially fruitful in Japan, with an anime and movie, among other things. Need conclusive evidence? Just look at the large Ace Attorney presence on the menu of the Capcom bar!
“Mr. Squid, that is hardly what I would call ‘conclusive evidence’.”
Uh, sorry, your honor. Actually, earlier this year, we had a guest article from user Handyman titled “The Case for Phoenix Wright”, which goes into this topic in much more detail.
How will Phoenix Wright play?
Many of Phoenix Wright’s colors would reference other characters in the series.
- (OT) Phoenix Wright’s default costume is his suit from the original Ace Attorney trilogy. He has a blue jacket and his tie leans a little more toward red than pink.
- (DD) Phoenix Wright possesses an alternate costume, his new design from Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice, which features a somewhat darker shade of blue than his standard outfit, and the tie leans a little more toward pink than red. Note that the order of costumes mimics those of Cloud & Corrin, two of the final three DLC characters with alternate costumes.
- (OT) This maroon costume features him in a maroon suit and a white tie, along with a black shirt. This mimics his friend and rival Miles Edgeworth, the “demon prosecutor”.
- (DD) In this costume, Phoenix has a bright red suit with medium blue tie and white sleeves, based on his successor Apollo Justice.
- (OT) This tight black jacket pays tribute to Phoenix’s mentor, Mia Fey. While the shaft of the tie is tan, the knot is purple, alluding to both Mia’s Magatama charm necklace and tan scarf. This is the only costume which features two colors in the tie.
- (DD) Phoenix dons a light purple jacket and dark purple tie, referencing his assistant Maya Fey.
- (OT) The torso of this suit is tan, while the arms and shirt are dark green, also sporting dark black pants and a white tie. This costume is based on mysterious masked prosecutor Godot.
- (DD) Phoenix wears a bright yellow jacket and bright blue tie, a homage to Athena Cykes, along with orangish brown hair.
- Crawl – No
- Wall Jump – No
- Jump Count – Two
- Exclusive Abilities – Evidence System
- Weight Class – C
- Height Class – B
- Speed Class – C
- Mirrored Stance – No
In Smash Bros, Phoenix Wright should play similarly to in his own series (and if you’re a good player, there will be just as much reading). Phoenix Wright in Smash looks for evidence, finds it, and utilizes it to his advantage. As a character, he is akin to a mix between Olimar and Mr. Game and Watch. A lovely detail in many characters in Smash for Wii U/3DS, many of his sound effects are taken from his original game series. His voice is taken from Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice, and he is very expressive, like King Dedede. He features an array of very short range and very long range attacks, so players will most likely want to make use of his evidence system. While largely a keepaway character due to his evidence, he also possesses effective close range attacks.
Phoenix Wright possesses a unique mechanic when playing as him, a tendency among Smash for 3DS/Wii U newcomers. By holding his down special, players can find one of six random pieces of evidence, which they can store up to three of at a time (it is impossible for two of the same type of evidence to be in the reserve at a time). In Phoenix Wright’s percent UI, the currently equipped piece of evidence will be displayed in the corner, like Shulk’s various Monado arts. He can switch between them manually by quickly tapping down special, but also by finding a new piece of evidence (the new piece will become equipped) or using the evidence (this will move to the next piece afterward). In his side special, these pieces of evidence become unique and different projectiles that can be used once, or they can all be used at once by executing his neutral special “Objection!”, in which more evidence creates a larger and stronger attack.
Using the evidence system, players will find unique setups, punishes, and other uses for the various projectiles they have. A good Phoenix Wright player will keep the situation in mind, adapt as it changes, collect evidence to support their case, and capitalize on flaws from their opponent.
|Kirby||Kirby receives Phoenix Wright’s iconic spiky hair. In his move, Kirby is able to perform an Objection at any time, though it will always be a level one Objection.|
Phoenix Wright’s series of origin is “Ace Attorney”, and the series symbol is the gold flash which appears in the logo to all of the games in the series. This also is seen in Phoenix’s moveset.
|Entrance||Phoenix looks at papers, tapping them two times. He then hands them to assistant Maya Fey who then takes them away, disappearing off screen. Phoenix steps forward, performing his iconic point, accompanied with a gold flash and sound effect on the hand. This immediately establishes that Phoenix uses multiple characters in his moveset.|
Phoenix Wright holds his thumb and index finger of his right handup to his chin in a check mark position. He uses his left arm to hold his right elbow. This is taken from Marvel 3; however, Phoenix is usually smiling in his Smash moveset. A good lawyer smiles no matter how bad it gets.
|Idle Pose 1||
Phoenix Wright switches hands, rubbing his index finger back and forth with eyebrows raised and his eyes looking upwards and to the right, indicating thinking. Whenever Phoenix needs to find a connection, he’s sure to take his time thinking about it.
|Idle Pose 2||Phoenix Wright slicks his hair back using both arms. If the player is wearing a Dual Destinies outfit, one strand will come back forward, a reference to the intro of the game.|
Phoenix performs his forward walk from Marvel 3, looking forward and moving his arms with fists clenched.
Phoenix runs fully extending his arms and legs, each producing something close to a right angle. He does not move from step to step very quickly when running, allowing the pose to be out slightly longer for the player to see.
|Forward Jump||Phoenix jumps extending both arms upwards and both legs downward. This is similar to his super jump pose in Marvel 3, and is a unique jump pose compared to most other characters in the Smash Bros cast. Phoenix also grunts when jumping, similar to Snake.|
|Backward Jump||Phoenix performs his back jump from Marvel 3, extending his arms and legs are at what are close to right angles, similar to his run animation. Phoenix also utters a grunt during this move; the same grunt as in his forward jump. It is important to note that he does not make a grunt in his double jumps.|
|Forward Double Jump||Phoenix jumps extending both arms downward and both legs straight downward. The arms are straight downward in order to differentiate this from his forward first jump.|
|Backward Double Jump||Like his forward double jump, Phoenix extends both arms and legs downwards, although here he is not facing straight up, but rather diagonally, leaning backwards.|
|Crouch||Phoenix crouches slightly hunched over with his foot on the ground from his left leg, his left arm resting on it and his knee on the ground from his right leg. He still has his thumb and finger up to his chin from his right arm, like in his idle stance.|
|Hitstun||When in hitstun, Phoenix makes a shocked expression with his jaw dropped and eyes wide open. This is similar to Dedede’s expression when being hit in Smash 4.|
|Launch||When Phoenix is launched, he spins around like most other characters. However, his arms are spread outwards when this happens. This animation is taken from his “Order in the Court” Hyper. His roll animations and missed tech fall are also from this. His eyes are closed during this animation, and he makes a shocked sound, like all characters when launched.|
Phoenix has out both arms and legs while spinning around. It is important to note that he stays in this pose, even when spinning around as he falls to the ground after being launched. His eyes are closed during this animation.
|Footstooled||Phoenix enters a pose facing towards the camera very similar to his neutral air (explained later), with the same facial expression. However, his arms are not being used to shake his head, but rather are kept at waist height. Both the fact that he does not move his limbs during this animation and that all footstooled characters spin while it happens clarifies that this is not his neutral air.|
|Freefall||Phoenix keeps both legs close with his hands covering his head for safety. Unlike some characters, he does not spin around when he is in his freefall animation. Phoenix still has a decent amount of horizontal speed in his freefall state. When he does this, he makes a sound along the lines of “woah”.|
While balancing near the ledge with both feet like Samus, Phoenix holds his hand behind his head using the arm on the side of the stage.
|Ledge Hanging||Phoenix hangs onto the ledge with both arms raised above his head. He will also try to climb up, flailing his legs like Yoshi’s flutter jump, though not nearly fast enough for a visual effect. The speed and arc he does it is similar to Lucas’s idle animation in which he waves his arms back and forth.|
|Shield Pose||Inside of the shield, Phoenix performs his high grounded block from Marvel 3, in which he pushes both arms out to block an attack while facing his head away from that direction.|
In his shield break animation, Phoenix stands up, but slouched over. He gets a sweating, concerned expression. He keeps his hands down to his sides the whole time. His upper body does not spin around during this animation in order to have the animation better resemble his original game. However, he still possesses the same sound effects, stars above head, and pulsing red visual effect as the rest of the cast when they are in their respective headache animations.
|Sleeping||Phoenix lays down in a semi-fetal position with both hands under his head, creating a cushion.|
|Jab Combo||In the first jab of this move, Phoenix holds up a few papers with his right arm, looking them over. The hitbox is a bit small. In the second hit of this jab, Phoenix extends his right arm outwards while holding papers, though the angles his elbow, making the hitbox smaller than the third jab. The third and final hit of this jab combo has Phoenix perform his iconic point outward with his left arm.|
This side tilt takes inspiration from light Paperwork (High), and like that move, it hits the opponent three times. The upwards axe kick arc allows for the opponent to be more easily caught in multiple hits, as the hitboxes move upwards with them. This move launches the opponent very similarly to Ryu’s heavy side tilt, and has nearly identical starting and ending lag. The attack is larger than in this reference photo. When performing this move, Phoenix says “Please, take a look!”
In this move, he extends his left arm with his finger pointed outward, creating blue energy resembling his hand that acts as a large hitbox. This move launches mostly horizontally like Pac Man’s side smash, and has a lot of knockback. It is one of Phoenix Wright’s most reliable KO moves. The move has about as much starting lag as Pikachu’s side smash, and extends a little less distance than Corrin’s side smash, though it has a very large amount of ending lag. There is not a sweetspot on the finger. When performing this move, Phoenix will randomly say “Contradiction!”, “That’s illegal!”, or “See you in court!”, though the same statement can never occur more than twice in a row.
Phoenix gets on his knees, searching the ground for evidence. He wipes away dust with both hands to find a possible clue. In this game, there is a visual effect of dust being wiped away and into the air when he performs this move. This move is functionally a bit similar to Bowser Jr’s down tilt if it was more hard hitting. It is also a three hit move and has a similar hitbox. However, it starts up just a few frames later, the move has a bit more knockback, and it launches a bit more upwards. Each hit of the move has a decent amount of freeze frames. Phoenix says “Something suspicious…”
The courtroom’s defense podium appears as Phoenix slams his both of his hands down. This move is very similar to Charizard’s down smash in terms of starting lag, power, and knockback angle. The desk is visible while charging the move, and the animation is Phoenix slamming his hands down. This move does not possess a pitfall or stun effect.
|Up Tilt||Phoenix starts the animation by holding many papers in both hands, but the wind immediately blows them away up into the air above him, making him shocked. The hitboxes of this move are similar to Samus’ up smash in that they cover a circular arc above the character, but instead of going from left to right, the papers scatter all over. Like Phoenix’s side tilt, this is a multi hit move. If the player presses the button a second time, Phoenix will quickly grab each of the papers from the air, resulting in more hitboxes from his arms grabbing each of the papers. This is similar to how a player can continue Link’s side smash into a second part of the move by pressing the attack button an additional time. This move is very good follow up after down throw at low percents.|
With both hands, Phoenix holds the infamous statue “The Thinker” over his head. Though this was the murder weapon in both “The First Turnabout” and “Turnabout Sisters”, Phoenix does not use it as a blunt object, but rather holds it up as if presenting it as evidence. This move is very strong and has high vertical knockback, but takes about as much time to start up as Ike’s up smash. This is to give the item weight to it. In addition to this, the hitbox of the move is rather small, as the statue is about as wide as Phoenix’s head.
Another important thing to note is that unlike many up smashes, such as those of Pac Man and ROB, the beginning of the move does not possess any hitboxes on the left or right side to pull the opponent in, and Phoenix holds it straight above his head and not in front of him. Phoenix quickly exclaims “Ha!” when he holds up the statue, more as a statement than a sound.
Phoenix slips, falling forward on his butt. As he falls, he flies into the air, extending his arms and legs outward with a shocked expression. This dash attack has high starting lag, similar to Ike’s dash attack, as the hitbox occurs when he hits the ground. However, Phoenix barely moves forward at all during this dash attack, which when combined with its starting lag, justifies its very high power and knockback, allowing it to even be used as a KO move at high percents.
Phoenix rubs the sides of his head with both arms with a concerned, sweating expression. This is a single hit move that launches at a low horizontal angle; Phoenix grunts in frustration when performing this move.
With his right arm, Phoenix holds a paper outwards, using the left arm to point at the paper (though this is the opposite in the image). This move has somewhat short range, a little bit less than Luigi’s forward air. If the player can land this first hit on the opponent, then pressing the button once more will trigger another attack, like Bayonetta. In this second hit, Phoenix extends his right arm which is holding the evidence straight outward, slightly turning his body (head still facing forward) and with his left arm kept back (unlike in Marvel 3) to further show the visual difference between hits one and two. His arm is somewhat angled downwards in this second hit.
Further establishing the difference in range between hits one and two is that in hit one, the flat side of the paper is facing Phoenix, while in hit two, the flat side of the paper is facing toward the camera, creating a larger hitbox. Phoenix says “Look at this!” during the first hit, and “Explain this!” during the second. There is no sweetspot on the paper. This move is very similar to Bayonetta’s forward air in starting and ending lag, freezeframe count, damage, knockback, and that each hit landed causes the player to jump a little bit, though the two hits each have a few more active frames than in Bayonetta’s forward air.
|Back Air||In this back air, Phoenix turns his torso around (but does not completely turn his legs around,) and throws an array of papers, like his side tilt. This move also has Phoenix throw papers at the opponent, has very similar starting and ending lag (a little less of both since this is an aerial), and hits the opponent three times.
However, unlike Phoenix’s side tilt, the papers in this move create a bit more of a circular arc, very similar to Samus’ forward air. Because of this, Phoenix turns downwards a little bit as he releases the papers (like Samus), but does not completely spin around on his way back. This move is unique in that it is a ranged back air that moves in a downward axe kick arc. Phoenix Wright exclaims “More evidence!” during this move.
Phoenix sneezes downwards in mid air, with the sneeze acting as the hitbox. This is done at a diagonal angle downwards. Like Luigi’s down air, the starting place of the sneeze at the very beginning of the move is a sweetspot that causes a meteor smash, and the move also has about the same starting lag as that move as well. The ending lag is a bit higher, however, since the hitbox is very large. When the sneeze appears, the whole thing appears at once. He makes a very audible “Achoo!” during this.
|Up Air||Phoenix will look upwards at a slightly diagonal angle, and will unleash a “Take that!” bubble very similar to Zelda’s up air. He also says “Take that!”, as one could guess. The size of the “Take that!” bubble is the same as or very slightly smaller than the explosion in Zelda’s up air. The bubble appears at a slightly diagonal location, and consequently has a high knockback angle.|
|Grab||If a player is caught within this grab, a series of chains (an X shape with a lock in the middle) circle around them as the opponent is then placed directly in front of Phoenix, like Greninja’s water effects in his grab (this makes Phoenix visually let go). In addition to this, one large red Psyche lock (not large enough to extend past the chains) appears in front of the chains, facing the camera. While this is happening, Phoenix is looking straight in the direction of the opponent downwards at a paper.|
The one Psyche Lock will begin to crack. Because they must crack more and more each time, Phoenix can only perform three pummels maximum, and the the opponent is automatically let go afterward. Because of this, each pummel does a bit more damage than most others in the cast. During this, the chains do not move at all. To show Phoenix doing something, he taps a piece of paper with each pummel. Phoenix is looking downwards at the paper, which consequently means that the paper is not as high up as in his jab animation. Phoenix can pummel at the same frequency as ROB.
Phoenix extends his left arm with papers in hand. This hits the opponent, sending them forward. Like most forward throws, the knockback is neither high nor low, making it not optimal in most scenarios. Phoenix says “You’re lying!” when he performs this throw.
Phoenix holds up the Magatama necklace, an item given to him by Pearl Fey allowing him to see the lies of others. The Magatama glows more and more until reaching a burst of light, resulting in the opponent being launched backwards. This move is very powerful, and has as much knockback (same angle as well) as Ness’ back throw. However, unlike most grabs in the game, this does not turn the opponent around due to them being trapped with Psyche Locks, so it may take just a few percent higher to KO with this move compared to Ness’ back throw. When Phoenix Wright performs this move, he says “Power of truth!” as he reveals the Magatama.
In this move, the opponent is instantly broken from the chains and is placed lying directly under Phoenix, like the animation of Ness’ down throw. Phoenix sneezes (which looks practically identical to his down air), launching the opponent straight upwards. This move has just a little more knockback than Mario’s down throw, easily allowing for a follow up at most percents.
In this up throw, the Psyche Lock begins to rumble, then breaks. Any cracks from pummels the player may have performed before disappear at the start of this animation. As this happens, Phoenix points straight up with his left hand similar to Greninja’s up throw animation, launching the opponent straight upward. There are minor details to show the difference between this move and his pummel so the player can easily tell which is which. This move launches straight upwards and has about as much knockback as ROB’s up throw, making it kill at around 150% or so.
|Neutral Special “Objection”||
“Objection!” This move is Phoenix Wright’s trademark, properly represented in his neutral special. This move functions similarly to a Falcon Punch, a large physical attack with a significant amount of startup time and even more significant knockback and power. However, the player can’t perform this move at just any time. They need evidence, and more evidence means a larger “Objection!” bubble with more power and knockback (though they all at have at least a decent amount of both). When the player performs this move, all of their evidence is used up completely. This makes raising an Objection a risk that must be done at the right time and place, but yields major rewards. Because of this mechanic, the move has noticeably less starting lag than a Falcon Punch, though still enough for it to not be able to be thrown out at any time. The amount of starting lag is always the same, since it is crucial for the player’s understanding to be able to get a feel for it and reliably land it.
There are four levels. Having one piece of evidence will create a small objection bubble about the same size or a little bit less than an uncharged side smash from Mega Man, two pieces will create a medium objection bubble about the size of a fully charged Charge Shot from Samus, and three pieces will create a very large bubble a bit larger than Mega Man’s fully charged side smash. Because of the appearance of the Objection bubble, these are not perfect circles and extend a bit outwards to the side. Each level has slightly more freeze frames than the last. The fourth state is when Phoenix has no evidence at all, in which he tries to object, but then fails. When this happens, he becomes embarrassed. Phoenix fully extends his left arm pointing, and the “Objection!” box appears just beyond that with a tiny bit of space in between. Though this greatly increases the range of the move, Phoenix’s arm does not have a hitbox, so it is important to space it correctly. It is important to note that the “Objection!” box is shown at the height of Phoenix’s point, which cannot be angled, so it may be possible for characters such as Kirby to duck underneath his level one Objection. The “Objection!” still goes straight forward even when used in the air. It is absolutely critical that the size of the Japanese and American word box are the same, and this applies to moves involving the “Hold it!” and “Take that!” bubbles as well. The bubbles are taken directly from the original game art and are not given a new makeover.
|Neutral Custom 1 “Hold It!”||This move does not damage the opponent, but rather stuns them by putting them in a headache state like Mewtwo’s Disable. Phoenix launches a “Hold it!” bubble, and says it as well. More evidence causes the opponent to be stunned for longer.|
|Neutral Custom 2 “Take That!”||Instead of becoming more powerful with more evidence, the startup time for the move becomes quicker. Because of this, the move has a little bit less knockback than the normal version. Phoenix launches a “Take that!” bubble, which is about the size of a small “Objection!”.|
|Side Special “Present Evidence”||
In this special move, Phoenix becomes able to use the evidence that he has found and highlighted in his evidence below in the Player UI (how he finds evidence is explained in his down special). He will step forward holding the selected piece of evidence straight up with his right hand. This move has low starting and ending lag. Depending on the piece of evidence he uses, it will issue a different type of projectile attack. The player can use each piece of evidence once, and similar to when throwing Pikmin as Olimar, using a piece of evidence will then automatically move to the next one so it can be used afterward, in addition to the player being able to manually change evidence. Since each piece of evidence can only be used once, the player must cleverly use them in the right situations to their advantage. When this move is performed in the air, it will stall Phoenix for a moment, like Fox’s Shine. When Phoenix presents the evidence, there is a very quick visual flash of a flame coming from that piece of evidence, which will be the same color as that specific projectile.
Presenting the knife creates three light blue bursts with visual similarity to Falco’s lasers, but with a bit less length. These also have a pointed design at the front. One burst launches straight forward, and the other two launch at minor upward and downward angles. These all come out at the same time, have moderate priority, and launch at about the same speed as a heavy Hadoken. The projectiles do not travel especially far.
Presenting the cell phone creates three small dark green fireballs above Phoenix, one directly above and two angled diagonally in front of him in a circular arc, though all three remain mostly above him. After a second, they all at the same time move towards the nearest opponent caught within its range, like Palutena’s Auto Reticle. They do not have a hitbox until this may happen, and will disappear after a moment if they do not find a target.
Presenting the photo creates a fast moving, long range dark purple beam very similar to ROB’s Laser. However, this cannot be angled, does bounce off walls, and has a travels a little less distance. In addition to this, it has low priority and can collide with other projectiles, cancelling it out, unlike ROB’s Laser. This move is multi hit, hitting the opponent three times. The move still has about the same amount of knockback as ROB’s uncharged laser, launching the opponent straight upwards, though it does less percent damage.
Presenting the folder creates a red proximity mine a little bit larger than Samus’ fully charged Charge Shot directly in front of Phoenix. If an opponent comes into contact with it, it will have an effect like Zero Suit Samus’s Paralyzer, allowing Phoenix to go in during this time and utilize it more as a zoning tool more than just a simple projectile. It also deals a large amount of percent damage.
Presenting the watch creates an orange fireball about the same size as Mario’s Fire Orb custom special. This then launches straight outward at a little less than the top speed of Samus’ non-tracking green Super Missile, though this maintains a constant velocity the entire time, and moves straight forward. This also launches similarly to Samus’ Super Missile, but with less knockback, making it not a reliable KO move. This move has reasonably high priority, but can be ducked under by characters like Jigglypuff and Kirby.
Presenting the vase creates a fast moving bright yellow fireball that comes out in a very large arc. If it hits, the opponent will be launched about as much as Lucas’ PK fire, though at a more upwards angle. This move also does decent percent damage and has relatively high priority. The projectile stays throughout the whole arc, so it can be used to edgeguard opponents who are below Phoenix. The arc is slightly more representative of an oval than a circle. For visual effect, the fireball has a visible trail behind it. When using this move, it is important that the player spaces themselves out properly, because hitting an opponent with it from far away may be difficult due to its large arc. This move cannot be angled.
|Side Custom 1 “Lasting Evidence”||In this custom special, Phoenix is able to use each piece of evidence three times in his side special before they are gone. Because of this, only two can be on screen at a time, there is a large amount of starting and ending lag to this move, and the projectiles are weaker.|
|Side Custom 2 “Roulette Evidence”||In this custom special, performing a side special will choose a random piece of evidence that Phoenix has collected, regardless of which is equipped in his player UI below. Because of this, the evidence has more power, priority, and knockback.|
|Down Special “Investigation”||
This move has two different functions depending on whether the player taps the button or holds it down. If the player holds the button, Phoenix gets on the ground and finds a piece of evidence, which he holds up with his right arm for the player to see. At the moment the piece of evidence has been revealed and the sound effect plays, it will be added to the evidence, and will become the equipped item in
the corner of Phoenix Wright’s health, like Shulk’s Monado Arts. This move is very quick, and takes just a bit longer than Olimar’s Pikmin Pluck, allowing it to be done in rapid succession. When performing this move, the evidence will fill one of the three available spaces. Trying to perform this move while all three evidence spaces are filled will do nothing, not even perform the alternate action instead. This will teach the player to internalize to hold to investigate and tap to switch. The piece of evidence a player will receive is completely random, unlike Olimar’s Pikmin order in Smash 4. This is acceptable since Phoenix’s moveset does not rely on evidence nearly as much as Olimar’s does on Pikmin. The same piece of evidence cannot be found a second time if it is already in Phoenix’s inventory.
|“Evidence Switch”||While holding down the button searches for evidence, tapping the button manually switches the piece of evidence currently in Phoenix Wright’s inventory (though this can also be done by using evidence or picking up new evidence) without an animation interrupting him, like the Monado Arts. This allows Phoenix to switch between pieces of evidence at any time without interrupting gameplay. It is impossible to highlight an empty evidence space, as although there can be empty spaces, they do not appear in the player UI.|
|Down Custom 1 “Dangerous Investigation”||The animation takes much longer (about as long as Snake’s Claymore Mine in Brawl) than the standard, but there is an explosion effect once the evidence is shown to the player, which acts as a hitbox that can damage enemies. This has large knockback and damage due to its long startup time. This does not affect his Evidence Switch.|
|Down Custom 2 “Rejuvenating Investigation”||The animation takes much longer (about as long as Snake’s Claymore Mine in Brawl) than the standard, but Phoenix heals 5% damage once the evidence is shown to the player. Due to how long the move takes, when it can be safely done, and the percent healed, this move is not overpowered or easy to abuse. This does not affect his Evidence Switch.|
|Up Special “Stepladder”||Throughout the series, there is one item that seems to follow our heroes wherever they go, and that is the humble stepladder. Not only is it a recurring joke in the franchise, but also Phoenix’s up special. Upon inputting the move, a stepladder appears, which Phoenix climbs. The stepladder, while mostly upwards, does cover a bit of forward distance, about as much or a little more than Marth’s Dolphin Slash, and travels about the same height as well. It does not cling to the ledge, but not to fear. Upon pressing the special button, the ladder appears, and Phoenix automatically climbs up, though the player can stop this early by pressing the the special button or down on the control stick. Afterwards, he goes into his freefall state. Because of the way this move works, the player can get to the ledge even if the ladder has extended past it. Like Peach’s Parasol, when the ladder appears, it acts as a weak disjointed hitbox, and there is a hitbox in every step Phoenix makes, ending with a launch. Phoenix climbs just a bit slowly, making him still susceptible to attack.|
|Up Custom 1 “Ladder”||
This stepladder is taller than the standard one, but does not have any hitboxes. Phoenix moves at the same pace when on this stepladder.
|Up Custom 2 “Quick Stepladder”||This stepladder is does not contain multiple hitboxes, and it does not launch the opponent. Instead, it has one weak hit. However, Phoenix climbs to the top of this ladder very quickly (though the player cannot cancel it early) and the move clings to the ledge, making it a safer option in some situations. This move is similar to Marth’s Dolphin Slash.|
|Final Smash “Turnabout”||
Phoenix Wright lets out an “Objection!” slightly larger than the level three objection. . They are then brought into a final smash cinematic, which takes place in an empty, landmarkless location, like the final smashes of Shulk and Mega Man (Like Mega Man’s, this one is dark blue). In this, Phoenix appears on the left side at his desk (he will be on the left side no matter which side he was facing when he landed the initial hit) and confront the opponent. First, he will slam his desk, and point at his opponent, complete with a white flash and sound effects faithful to the Ace Attorney series. He says “The one who actually committed the crime… was you!” The camera then moves over to the opponent, who is directly facing it, like the witnesses in the games. Each piece of evidence they have will deal an extra 10% each here, in addition to the damage already dealt in this part. When the camera pans back to Phoenix there is a white flash. Phoenix slams down his desk, with another white flash, and then makes his final point, with a large gold flash from earlier on his finger with sound effects and another white flash. “It’s time to pay for your crimes!” The camera moves to the opponent, and a “Take that!” bubble covers the majority of the screen while Phoenix also says it, dealing more damage to the opponent. The cinematic then ends as the opponent is launched with incredible knockback, and it goes back to the normal fighting screen.
This final smash removes all evidence from Phoenix’s evidence bar once it is finished.
|Crowd Cheer||The crowd cheers “Phoe-nix WRIGHT! Phoe-nix WRIGHT!”|
|Up Taunt||Phoenix holds up a piece of evidence up to the sky with his right arm while facing toward the camera and looking up at the evidence. This is similar to Marth’s up taunt. If Phoenix has no evidence, he will make the same embarrassed expression and purple effect as when he does not have evidence in his Objection.|
Phoenix confidently drinks coffee from a white mug in his left hand, with his right arm on his hip. This is inspired by Prosecutor Godot. He is facing forward when doing this.
Phoenix, facing toward the camera, has his head slightly down with both of his eyes closed. He is holding the Magatama necklace, both arms holding the lace, and the Magatama in the middle. The Magatama then glows green, though there is no sound effect. This is heavily inspired by Zelda’s side taunt.
Phoenix looks to his left, then his right before scratching the back of his head with an embarrassed face. Meanwhile, Maya is jumping behind him to his left and right. Phoenix says “Looks like I won the case, Maya!”
Phoenix slicks back his hair (if wearing a Dual Destinies costume, one strand will come back) and is about to say something when Maya barges in from the left side of the screen, vertically holding a white banner with “Victory!” written on it. Like the “Objection!”, “Hold it!”, and “Take that!” bubbles, the japanese version may change the written message, though the size remains the same. Phoenix is then surprised and annoyed by this. This is a reference to the ending of Turnabout Goodbyes from the first game.
|Victory 3||Phoenix shakes the knot of his tie with his left hand with his eyes closed and chest outward. He then brings up his right hand, tapping his papers twice, and then pointing with his left hand at the camera (a bit to the right of the frame, not directly), ending with the same gold flash effect on his finger as in his entrance animation. This victory animation freezes as he points since it is an important action, similar to Link’s victory animation in which he holds up his sword. During this animation, he says “Under all lies hides the truth!”.|
In all of Phoenix Wright’s victory animations, there is a visual effect of rainbow confetti coming down. This is inspired from the confetti that will rain down when getting a “Not Guilty” verdict in Phoenix Wright, and the same effect was in Smash 64 for all characters when winning a match. Another small note is that in this game, the announcer says “Phoenix Wright” instead of simply “Phoenix”. His victory theme is a remix of “Won the Case! First Victory”.
That’s it for Phoenix Wright. The Ace Attorney franchise is one that is inherently Japanese. It takes place in what is obviously Japan, with a legal system from Japan, and even the games themselves are visual novels, which are very popular in Japan. Yet, somehow, it moves past those borders, and has become a shining example of video game storytelling. Like all great fiction, it strikes an emotional chord that anyone can identify with. The search for justice and the search for truth is the basis of a better world. Beyond politics, beyond society, people care about what is right and what is wrong, and games let us make right from wrong. When we are Phoenix Wright, we seek to change the world for the better, even if it’s only a game. Because games, because art, is what drives people, it is what inspires people. As much as Ace Attorney is escapism, it is also confrontation. As much as it is a game, it is also real.
“Hmm. Well, this has been a very lengthy, very long case. I see no further doubt as to the inclusion of Phoenix Wright in Smash Bros. I rule the defendant, Phoenix Wright,
That is all. Court is adjourned!”
All-around terrible person JediSquidward can be found on various social media, and is more than willing to 1v1 someone in Smash at anytime or anyplace, especially Smash 4 (ROB Main) or Project M (Snake Main). He also has a personal message to finish with.
“Hey everyone! This is jedisquid. You actually made it through that whole thing? That’s crazy, I appreciate it. I wanted to thank everyone at Source Gaming for putting their all into helping me release this article. That ending… pretentious, huh? Well, it’s about to get a whole lot worse. Fifteen years ago today, the first Phoenix Wright game was released in Japan, and it’s also my seventeenth birthday today. When I was about eight years old, I discovered the Ace Attorney series, and it still remains a large part of my childhood, as justice has always been one of my most important values. Coincidentally, my name, Bailey, means ‘seeker of justice’. I’ve recently been playing through the series (I didn’t really grasp what was happening in the games in my younger years), and it’s made me reflect on where I’ve been, and where I’m going. Thank you all so much!”
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