After nearly 30 years of voicing the world’s most famous plumber in video game history, it can be hard to imagine Charles Martinet playing anyone other than the beloved Mario. However, you may be surprised to learn that Charles Martinet’s voice talents extend much further than you might imagine.
Believe it or not, when he was in college in California, Charles Martinet used to struggle with a fear of public speaking, having to take acting classes to combat his phobia. Imagine if the world had been deprived of his talent! It wouldn’t just be the Mario franchise that would have been vastly different, but also some of the characters from those games.
ten Announcer, Referee, Boxers – Super Punch-Out!!
It’s crazy to think that one of Charles Martinet’s first vocal video game appearances was featured in a boxing ring – and yet, there he is! Released by Nintendo in 1994 for the SNES (only 2 years after the release of Mario Teaches Typing), Great punch!! features Charles Martinet as the main boxing ring announcer, as well as the referee and the boxers themselves.
Overall, the game received high praise upon release, with players applauding opposing characters and straightforward gameplay with surprisingly challenging difficulty. Players enter the game as Little Mac, entering the boxing tournament to become the champion of the World Video Boxing Association.
9 William Shakespeare, Ludwig van Beethoven – The Great Hunt Through Time by Carmen Sandiego
While all gamers living in the ’90s know the iconic theme song, few remember that Charles Martinet lent his voice to two characters in the 1997 PC game Carmen Sandiego.. William Shakespeare and Ludwig Van Beethoven both play minor roles in the point-and-click adventure game.
The main plot primarily revolves around master thief Carmen Sandiego, who uses her Chronoskimmer time machine to prevent key historical events from happening. This was in the middle of a series of educational games that used the voice talents of Charles Martinet, as featured in Mario Teaches Typing in 1992 as well as The ClueFinders Math Adventures in 1999.
8 Admiral Holtz, Rebel Pilot – Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
This 1999 sci-fi space simulation game was the next in the Star Wars series of games and was a direct sequel to the hit games Star Wars: TIE Fighter and Star Wars: X-Wing vs TIE Fighter. Players enter the game as Ace Azzameen, the youngest of a family of space traders, who enlists as a fighter pilot for the Rebel Alliance to save his family in a galactic civil war.
Charles Martinet can be heard as Admiral Holtz, commander of the Imperial Star Destroyer “Corrupter”, which Rebel Alliance players are tasked with destroying. Martinet also provides voices for an unnamed rebel pilot, straddling both sides of the Civil War!
7 Vigoro – Skies of Arcadia
For its Western release for European and American audiences, Charles Martinet voiced the character of Vigoro, the hijacker and optional boss on Dangral Island in the 2000 JRPG, Skies of Arcadia. Players explore the world from their flying airship, with turn-based combat gameplay similar to Dragon Quest and early Final Fantasy.
When rewriting the script for Western audiences, the localization team was influenced by the work of Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly). The team used it to elaborate on the previously straightforward dialogue by including more sarcastic responses, including for Vigoro’s character.
6 Homunculus – Shadow of Memories
This mysterious adventure game from Konami was released for PlayStation 2 in 2001 and stars Charles Martinet as Homunculus, a djinn or genie. When main character Eike is stabbed and killed outside a local restaurant, Homunculus is summoned and resurrects Eike, offering to take Eike back in time to prevent his own death using a time-traveling digipad .
The wackiness of the game is only aided by the spooky tones of Homunculus through Charles Martinet. With a singsong English accent reminiscent of any self-respecting anime villain, Swift sounds completely different from any previous role we’ve ever heard of him.
5 Eaoden, Gimli – The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age
Just when you think Charles Martinet’s lineup couldn’t get any wider, he voices both Eaoden the Rider of Rohan and Gimli the Dwarf in Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. Released in 2004 for Playstation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, the game loosely adapts the plot of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, although some fans have spotted gameplay similarities to Final Fantasy 10..
This isn’t the only time Charles Martinet has appeared in a Lord of the Rings game. In addition to The Third Age, he is also credited as the Easterlings in EA’s 2003 game The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
4 Announcer, Snake Eyes, Lau Chan, Shun Di – Virtua Quest
Charles Martinet’s penchant for voicing multiple characters in the same game continues in Virtua Quest, a spin-off of Sega’s Virtua Fighter released in 2004 for the GameCube and PlayStation 2 in Japan and the United States. (Strangely, it was never released in Europe.)
In addition to the announcer, Swift voices Snake Eyes (from the G.I. Joe series). It also provides the voices of Lau Chan (a Chinese leader who specializes in the “Tiger Swallow Fist” fighting style) and Shun Di (a wizened Chinese who uses the “Drunken Kung Fu” fighting style).
3 Orvus – Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
Fans of the Ratchet and Clank series might be surprised to see Charles Martinet credited as the character, let alone Orvus. As the designer of the Great Clock, located at the center of the universe to keep time, Orvus leaves Ratchet and Clank various heartfelt video messages, which is our first chance to hear Martinet’s voice in all its glory.
Fans and critics praised both A Crack in Time’s story and visuals, as well as the fun gameplay elements. A Crack In Time was also the penultimate installment of the Ratchet & Clank Future series, followed by Into The Nexus in 2013.
2 The Older Brother – Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
Who would have thought that the sweet voice of Mario could also be a cruel and brutal gangster villain? Released in 2007, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men launched on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 to mixed reviews.
Charles Martinet voices the devious older brother (also known as Vaultbreaker) in a gang called The 7, the game’s main antagonistic group. After kidnapping the main character’s wife and daughter, they blackmail Kane and Lynch, their giving three weeks to get their money back. At the end, the older brother is blasted by a landmine that Kane detonates (followed by a somewhat anticlimactic cliffhanger).
Perhaps the most famous departure from his usual role as Mario (and the most diverse) is Charles Martinet’s performance of Paarthurnax in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This immortal dragon lurks atop High Hrothgar as leader of the Greybeards, a faction that has sworn to worship the gods in silence, despite possessing Words of Power.
Players encounter Paarthurnax multiple times as part of Skyrim’s main quest (including the big reveal as part of “The Throat of the World” main quest). Charles Martinet’s voice as Mario is almost completely unrecognizable with deep, booming tones as he aids the Dovahkiin in their quest.
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