Monday, September 28, 2020

7 Characters Voiced By Black Actors.

January 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Ent., Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( Actors aren’t just plying their craft on stage and screen. Sometimes, they get behind the mic and give us some of the most memorable characters in gaming or the important ones to the plot. Let’s look at ten characters from acclaimed games featuring Black actors as the voice.

Officer Tenpenny (GTA: San Andreas): Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L has a legendary voice and has played legendary roles. His approach of either playing himself in roles or making the role Samuel L. Jackson is one that very few actors can pull off. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is the perfect example of doing just that. One role that Samuel L gave his voice to was the corrupt Officer Tenpenny.

I’ll tell you, this character was a real bastard. From something as trivial as picking with CJ when he returns to San Andreas in 1992 to being involved in major corruption to causing the city to riot once he gets off, Tenpenny was a cold-blooded menace and Jackson played him to perfection.

I would’ve loved if Rockstar revisited Frank Tenpenny in a San Andreas Stories going into him joining the force and becoming corrupted over time. Something had to happen in his career that he became just rotten to the core. Bonus points if Samuel L. Jackson reprised his role!

Vice President Keith David (Saints Row IV): himself

Keith David is actor who is also known for his voice over work. As a matter of fact, he has said that three of his favorite roles included stuff he did for cartoons with two of my faves: Goliath in Gargoyles and Al Simmons/Spawn in Todd MacFarlane’s Spawn. While he first showed up in the Saints Row franchise as gang leader Julius Little, he really rocked it as Vice President Keith David in the fourth installment to the series.

As Vice President Keith David, he pretty much supports President main character in his decisions. Like, there is little conflict between the two no matter how unreasonable the decision. When the team ends up battling aliens, Keith David is there on the ship as well, providing support. Again, he rocked this role—then again, he had choice since it’s him.

Carl Johnson (GTA: San Andreas): Young Maylay

I really enjoyed L.A. rapper Young Maylay as CJ in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. First off, CJ’s character was the best proxy for the player ever. A very close second is Niko Bellic. Both were characters who had done dirt before, had been involved with crime but were now trying to turn their lives around and go straight.

As you know, the world of Grand Theft Auto is filled with people who don’t know the meaning of “legal” and “above the board.” If they do, they’re still somewhat suspect people or folks who just don’t care. It’s San Andreas, anyway. Corruption and disorderly conduct are the law of the land. Young Maylay’s CJ was a guy who didn’t want to get involved. He wanted to be there for his family during a grieving period.

Of course, things don’t always go as intended and he’s pulled into a bigger mess than ever. The whole time you have this exhausted, annoyed, and often times confused performance from Maylay which really stepped it up for voice acting for main characters in the franchise along with Ray Liotta’s role as Tommy Vercetti in GTA: Vice City.

Kratos (God of War original trilogy and prequels): Terrence C. Carson

Man, Terrence C. Carson’s work as Kratos in the pre-PS4/Xbox One games was great. When I first heard him I thinking “Wow, he soundsreally familiar.” I was amazed to find out it was an actor who was part of my childhood—which is often the case. Carson’s Kratos had a deep bassiness to his voice which added to a character dealing with Greek gods.

Admiral David Anderson (Mass Effect original trilogy): Keith David

This is my favorite Keith David role in gaming. The David Anderson character was originally how main character Shepard was imagined. I don’t know if we were supposed to play as an aged Spectre or if Bioware added some years onto him but he’s great at pulling for Shepard. He gives advice and pulls strings if needed and does so with this voice that tells you the gravity of what he’s doing.

I don’t know if anyone else could’ve pulled of David Anderson and I wouldn’t have minded a game with a young David Anderson as the main character.

Big Smoke (GTA: San Andreas): Clifton Powell

This guy. Big Smoke started out San Andreas as a close friend of CJ and his brother Sweet. As the story unfolded, you would find out that he was actually in the pocket of C.R.A.S.H, a taskforce within the police department led by Officer Tenpenny.

Clifton Powell delivered on my favorite character from San Andreas and really caught the hood dude who is obviously smarter than the guys he hangs out with but is also obviously full of it and speaks in far grander terms than his environment.

Little does the player know that Big Smoke has tasted power and seen the world far beyond Grove Street—and he’s willing to throw the gang under the bus to enjoy it. The best example of Powell’s Big Smoke is the scene where the gang heads (Sweet, CJ, Ryder, and Big Smoke) are in the car and ordering from Clucking Bell.

Lance Vance (GTA: Vice City): Philip Michael Thomas

How awesome is it that Rockstar managed to get Ricardo Tubbs from Miami Vice to play as a main character in a game based around the same time in a similar city? Tubbs’ Lance Vance was cooler than the underside of the pillow. He had the smoothest ride, was marginally helpful in shootouts and Thomas just brought a street-wiseness to the character who started out as Tommy’s partner and became his final enemy in the game.

Thomas also returned to play Lance in the prequel, Vice City Stories which is set a few years before VC and focuses on the Vance Brothers becoming major players in the city’s crime scene. Fun fact, Eddie Murphy was one of the inspirations for the character and Rockstar actually considered having him voice Lance Vance. I believe Philip Michael Thomas was a great decision.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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