In the off chance you haven't been paying attention, the last few weeks have seen me somewhat fixated on the possible voice actor strike that's looming over the gaming industry right now. I'm not going to mince my words, the idea scares me. However, I intend to use that fear to do what I do best...
In an attempt to showcase the importance of voice acting in gaming, this month's Character Battle will focus on the talents of one man in particular: Jamieson K. Price. If you followed the link, but don't recognize him, then allow me to solve some of the mystery for you... he's the current (and reigning) voice of Lu Bu from the Dynasty Warriors series & its many spin-offs. They don't come much stronger than the "Flying General" and he's the only enemy you're ever strictly told NOT to pursue. Throughout the series, he's usually the strongest opponent you'll face & the most powerful character you can use upon maxing him out. He's the biggest & the baddest and, because of Jamieson's performance, this month's contest is to determine who uses that voice the best!
Your eyes are not deceiving you, trust me. It's our first Triple Threat Match! Before we get started, I would like to point out that Price also provides the voices for both Iron Tager & Raven. Be that as it may, I'm going to focus solely on Leo here since he is the latest representative for Arc System Works and there's no reason to unfairly tip the scales. Three characters, three series, plain and simple. Let's meet our stout & rugged contestants, shall we?
First up, we have the "Hero King", Algol. Early on in the Soul series, there's mention made of a king who was forced to kill his son. That king was Algol and the murder weapon was Soul Edge itself. Before you jump to any conclusions, understand that even though Algol wielded Soul Edge, he was able to resist its influence. He killed his son, Arcturus, because Soul Edge had infected his mind. Remorseful over the actions he was forced to take, Algol forged Soul Calibur. I'm going to repeat that because it warrants repeating: Algol resisted Soul Edge & forged Soul Calibur. Let that information marinate for a minute or two. It wasn't until the twin blades clashed again that his essence was given form & Algol was reborn, now with the powers of the Soul blades coursing through his body. Hideo Yoshie wasn't kidding when he said that he proved to be the "strongest character in the series".
Next up is my Guilty Gear Xrd main, Leo Whitefang. Right off the bat, Leo exudes confidence & bravado. Any man that walks around with a personal dictionary that he also regularly updates has absolutely no shortage of ego. As one of the Three Kings of Illyria, he has long running (but ultimately friendly) rivalry with Ky Kiske. However, Leo's persona is a carefully crafted mask of sorts. Despite what appears to be a boisterous attitude, Leo is actually a very conservative and surprisingly demure guy. He's more about propping up the team than he is hogging the spotlight. Furthermore, he'll openly concede to being part of someone else's plan if the situation calls for it. Personally, I would love having someone like the "Lion of Dual Swords" in my corner.
Finally, there's Noob Saibot (or, if you want to split hairs, Bi-Han). Of the three warriors under the magnifying glass today, his story resonates with me the most. Here's a guy who hated his title, despite being so damn good at what he does. Oh, by the way, I'm talking about "ninja"... not Sub-Zero. With his death at the hands of Scorpion, Bi-Han's soul was reincarnated in the Netherrealm. There, all the anger & hatred that permeated his violent existence as an assassin took root and he was reborn as a shadow wraith. Regardless of all his shifting loyalties & affiliations, at the end of the day... Noob is only ever in it for Noob, period.
So how does all of this circle back around to Mr. Price? Well, technically, it doesn't. You see, while he does provide the voices for all these badasses, I'm using his portrayal of Lu Bu as the proverbial litmus test. On that merit, which character is most similar to the legendary general? Whenever you talk about Lu Bu, you have to make mention of his unparalleled might. Of all our warriors on deck, only one can match him myth for myth... so to speak. While Noob is a deadly force, his lore only extends as far as his opponent. Leo's runs a little further on ahead of him, but the duality of his persona opposed to his actual nature somewhat neutralizes the myth. That leaves the one & only Algol. The beauty of Algol's legend is that it runs so deep into the history of combat, it's been more or less forgotten by history. Now I ask you, what's more terrifying than a "forgotten" legend fighting its way back into relevance & reminding the world of his actual might?
Until next time... keep fighting the good fight, my friends.