Steve Ritchie is the guy that yells “Finish Him!” in Mortal Kombat. Yep, if you were expecting some big, muscular, hulking, demonic-looking guy decked out in leather and chains you might want to stop reading. Steve is the kind of guy that actually giggled after sentencing another player to death, not at all like the Shao Khan character that looked on in absolute bloodlust from his grotesque throne. But Ritchie is the guy responsible for the husky, overwhelming voice that announces the matches, calls for the finishing maneuver, and pretty much everything in the original Mortal Kombat games.
After they began to get bigger and bigger his role in the games obviously kind of went away, but up until then Ritchie was their go-to guy. And to hear him talk and look at him you would never think such a thing. In reality he’s a pinball wizard and has made countless pinball machines that have been featured in arcades all over the place. The funny thing is that he just happened to be working in the same building as the guys that were developing Mortal Kombat. His business was upstairs and theirs was downstairs. He’d done the voice-overs for his own pinball games and the creators MK thought that he’d be a good fit.
You remember the original Mortal Kombat? When there were only seven regular characters and two boss characters? Those were the good old days of MK and they went away very quickly when part 2 came out. Then the players introduced to more characters, more plots, and more special moves and fatalities than you could shake a stick at. Fatalities, babalities, friendships, animalities, and all the other gimmicks they put into the Mortal Kombat franchise moving ahead from part 2 on became so confusing that eventually it separated the real gamers from those that just wanted to have fun and witness some virtual carnage.
Eventually it got to the point that even the creators realized it was getting out control since there were so many characters in the franchise that people had trouble remembering them all. When Armageddon came out it was as though the creators were saying “here, let’s just slam them all together and see what happens”. The sad part is they still left out a couple of characters that had been left behind somewhere in the other games.
Getting back to Ritchie though, I kind of wonder what he thought about when he was voicing his part in the game. Obviously he’s not that menacing or sinister of a guy otherwise he might have sounded even more devilish. But the overall effect of his voice managed to entertain and chill people that played the game for as long as it took for MK to spiral out of control. By now of course the voice-over part has been given to at least one or two actors, or has been modified beyond all belief.
It’s just interesting and really amusing to know that this kindly-looking older gentleman, who’s more into pinball than anything, was responsible for the nightmarish voice that thrilled so many gamers back in the day.