WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney got so much right. It was one of those games that I was super hyped for and it managed to surpass all of my lofty expectations. It had so many memorable moments that I hope to never forget; one of them being the scene accompanied by this week’s music pick.
Maya, the plucky assistant who’s always there with a smile on her face and a goofy comment to make, has seemingly died by being dropped into a pit of fire. Phoenix, alongside Luke and Espella, are forced to make a run for it and manage to find refuge in a nearby tavern. During the night, Phoenix finds himself unable to sleep and during a conversation with Rouge, the woman who runs the tavern, he, for lack of a better term, breaks and goes on about how he wasn’t able to save Maya and that he doesn’t think he can look after the two kids who are stuck with him.
All the while, you’ve got the track playing; a remix of Maya’s theme from the Ace Attorney series. It’s the only time in the game this music plays and it makes its mark. If you weren’t feeling sad already, this rectifies that as it acts as a solemn reminder that Maya is gone and isn’t coming back.
At the same time, though, it’s strangely uplifting, as if Maya’s memory is trying to convince Phoenix that he needs to get his act together, which is reflected in the accompanying conversation.
Rouge is not happy hearing Phoenix throwing himself a pity party and she points out that, while Phoenix is moping, he hasn’t taken into account that he’s making both Luke and Espella worry about him, and that as long as he’s being so down in the dumps, there’s no way he can properly look after the two kids. This results in Phoenix letting all his sadness and anger out, whilst Luke watches on from afar.
This track isn’t just about making the audience feel sad; it’s about helping them through it. Sadness and despair are unavoidable, but you don’t let those feelings fester. You accept them, take them all in and, by doing that, you can get through it and keep walking forward. For me, that’s what this music’s about and it helps make an already moving scene all the more emotional.