All rise for Phoenix Wright

It’s lawyers a-go-go as DS gets its own slice of High Court drama

All rise for Phoenix Wright

You might think a game about being a lawyer would be about as interesting as reading the Highway Code, but Capcom would disagree. And it has proof - at least from Japan - where picking through the evidence and arguing your case in court has provided mightily popular, with three games already released around the character of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. So maybe it's only fair that European DS owners also get the chance to experience being a legal eagle, as Phoenix makes his way on Nintendo’s handheld over here for the first time. On one level, at least, it's certainly a good choice, with the DS's touchscreen making interrogation and organising evidence much easier than it would be on a button-based console.

But what's the game all about? Well, as in most legal dramas you're the star defence attorney who has to prove his client is innocent, despite all evidence to the contrary.

There are two main parts to the game. The first is the investigation where you get to survey crime scenes, interview the witnesses and gather the evidence you'll be using. Then things go all John Grisham as you enter the court, where you'll have to present your case as well as listen to and cross-examine eyewitness testimonies.

Of course, you won't be flying solo. Mia Fey, your mentor, will be on hand with good advice while her daughter Maya is your assistant. Luckily she's also psychic (well it is a computer game after all), which may prove pretty useful. Squaring up against you is Miles Edgeworth, your arch-rival. He's a slick prosecutor who's never lost a case, and his hatred for criminal behaviour drives him to use any means (and, ironically, we're guessing that could involve some criminality!) to ensure a guilty verdict.

As long as he doesn't get busted again for a trifling misdemeanour like a broken tail-light, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is due for release (gettit?) at the end of March 2006.