Ace Attorney -Trials and Tribulations- Original Soundtrack

aceattorney3 Album Title:
Ace Attorney -Trials and Tribulations- Original Soundtrack
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Release Date:
March 31, 2004
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Like most Capcom series, each successive iteration of Gyakuten Saiban has had a different composer behind the wheel. With Gyakuten Saiban 3 it seems that Noriyuki Iwadare tried to bring the series back to its roots after Akemi Kimura’s very interesting, slightly bizarre, and surprisingly solid Gyakuten Saiban 2 soundtrack. Instead of finding a voice of his own, Iwadare uses Masakazu Sugimori’s work on the original as a template for his work, for better or worse. If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I’m willing to bet that he is sitting in an unmarked van outside of Sugimori’s house as I type this. It’s a shame that Iwadare didn’t really take the reins and go somewhere fresh with this mostly lackluster soundtrack because it falls pretty flat as a whole, despite several very cool and catchy courtroom and investigation themes.


Let’s start with the good. The melodies and progression of the first several courtroom themes are very enjoyable, especially when looked at as spiritual successors to the original Gyakuten Saiban themes. “Gyakuten Saiban 3 – Trial” is as ominous as ever; right from the get-go chiptune organs bleat out minor key harmonies that give off a feeling of oppression and foreshadow the tough trials to come. “Examination ~ Moderate 2004” fits very well with its mysterious and whimsical melody line, and its counterpart “Examination ~ Allegro 2004” kicks the song into double-time to show that Phoenix Wright is breaking a sweat while trying to catch the devious witness on the stand in a lie. “Announce the Truth 2004” is another great theme where Iwadare uses some unconventional timing with the melodies in the tune, giving it a slightly off-time feel. The loop is a little rough, but it works well enough.

In the courtroom, Iwadare has proven that he has what it takes to keep things interesting and ultimately listenable away from the Game Boy Advance. His investigation and search themes are also well done, with “Search ~ Opening 2004” fitting perfectly within the game’s initial easygoing move-around-and-examine-everything sections of the game. Awesome, it’s time to click stuff! “Investigation ~ Middle Stage 2004” steps it up with a melody that imposes a little more pressure on the player… things are starting to get a little uneasy in the field for Phoenix Wright. These themes are fairly solid and are fun to listen to.

When it comes to location and character themes, Iwadare really starts to thin out. “Dahlia Hawthorne ~ Distant Traces of Beauty” does a whole lot of nothing during its two minutes. Comprised entirely of slow one note synth swells and a very simple melody over them, the only thing beautiful about this track is when it finally fades out. “Godot ~ Fragrance of Dark Coffee” is initially intriguing due to its jazzy little faux-saxophone melody, but it gets less impressive and more repetitive as the track goes on. “Takabishiya Department Store” is appropriately bouncy and light-heartedly classical and is just about as enjoyable as the musak Macy’s plays during the holidays. Price check on an annoying track, please. “I Just Want Your Love” follows suit being something that I can’t recommend listening to outside of the Gyakuten Saiban gaming experience; I just want to skip this track.

Unfortunately, this string of shallowness follows suit throughout a good chunk of the rest of the disc, culminating in a series of weak and ultimately forgettable themes that I can’t even bring myself to write about. How’s “Warehouse Tiger”? Blah. “Hazakurain”? Oh, blah. “Winning! – The Victory Does Not End”? Blah! There is room in your brain for many other better things than these pieces. All of the important pieces are here as far as the courtroom and search scenarios are concerned, but the character and location themes bring this album down like a pair of cement shoes, and I’m tossing this one overboard.


If you’re searching for a solid Gyakuten Saiban album, I highly recommend the Yomigaeru Gyakuten soundtrack, which has the remastered DS version of the original Gyakuten Saiban soundtrack. It is the peak of Gyakuten Saiban music thus far. I can only recommend the Gyakuten Saiban 3 Original Soundtrack for fans of this particular game or to devoted fans of Iwadare, but chances are that most of them that are reading this right now already own this soundtrack. Gyakuten Saiban 3 isn’t necessarily a “bad” soundtrack, but it is mediocre as a whole and extremely shallow; what you hear on first listen is what you get. There’s hardly any depth to these themes. Just like the last girl I dated, the more time I spent with this album, the less I enjoyed it. At least Iwadare doesn’t burn everything he cooks.

Ace Attorney -Trials and Tribulations- Original Soundtrack Tommy Ciulla

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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Tommy Ciulla. Last modified on January 18, 2016.

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