Video Game: Dead Head Fred
Dead Head Fred
is a horror-themed 3rd-person action/adventure game for the PSP by Vicious Cycle Software.
Set in 1940's style film-noir (gangsters, fine suits, and evil mob-bosses... mixed with zombies, radioactive mutants, and cursed statues), the plot and game focuses on recently deceased Private Investigator Fred Neuman (a no-nonsense badass with a penchant for violence and fine suits) as he explores Hope Falls, New Jersey on a quest to track down his killers, solve his last contact's case for him — the one that led him to the decaying city in the first place — and above all, find his missing head.
This game is notably unique from others in that Fred fights, explores, and socializes with a variety of skills and biological weapons gained from switching his head with up to 9 different personae, each totally unique from the other one.
Its interesting gameplay mechanic aside, the game itself, the plot, and most notably the voice acting is filled to the brim with the darkest, grossest humour
you will probably ever see in a PSP game— bonus points to the former's extremely lax and extremely casual approach to death.
This game provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: In the credits, Fred, played by John C. McGinley, states that he's auditioning for a comedy set in a hospital, in the role of a sarcastic asshole of a doctor.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Lefty
- Battering Ram: Special attack of the Stone Head.
- Blow Gun: A perk of the Tiki head. Can be upgraded to cause monster infighting.
- Brain in a Jar: Fred's default head is this. It is also the cut-scene head, alongside the Dummy head.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- During the end-credits interview, Fred chides the "little bastard" that got him killed several times on level 15.
- In-between waves in the Elevator Gauntlet at Pitt Tower, Fred will make an analogy about the carnage he is making. Before the last wave, he has this to say:
Fred: Damn. That was bloodier than a... bloodier than a... oh, make your own damn analogy!
Fred: See you at the respawn, fuckface!
- Darker and Edgier: The original Fred Neuman was a cute robot named Geo. He then turned into a super-deformed, pint-sized and extremely angry detective with a jar for a head. His final incarnation is the angry, trash-talking, excessively violent corpse we see today.
- Darkness Equals Death: Tunnels in Freak Farms, where the only way to progress is to set yourself on fire, or you'll be killed by an invisible monster in the dark.
- Dead to Begin With: Fred. It's a major plot-point.
- Eaten Alive: Overlaps with The Swarm. A special attack of the Scarecrow head is shooting crows at the target. An upgrade effectively triples their number, and a further one causes them to continue eating their victim. They can be also set on fire, increasing damage even more.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Zombie Town is—gasp!— a town made entirely of zombies!
- Expressive Mask / Frozen Face: Fred's frontal lobes give him a furrowed brow. However, that's about all he can do. (Not that he doesn't always seem pissed.)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Oh, this game has tons of it.
- Item "Pitt's Large Fishing Rod":
Tooltip: Insert joke about Pitt's rod here
- Briefing for mission "Fight of the Living Dead":
Grizzle: I want you to kill all those damn zombies hanging out in my locker room. I don't know how they keep getting in there, but dropping the soap there is pretty dangerous, if you know what I mean
- Mission "Runnin' Shine" (a mission given in the bathroom):
Sleazy Urinal Guy:
Pssst! Hey, pal... you wanna to make some quick cash??? How, now wait... don't freak out on me, it's not what you're thinkin'!
- Good Is Not Nice: Fred is an excellent example.
- Groin Attack: Counter against Executioner: Knee to the crotch, axe to the head.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Fred has... slight anger issues.
- Hammer Space: Excluding that usual part with inventory, every time Fred rips someone's head off (and you will do it often), he just puts it somewhere into his suit, around the waist. He never empties that area.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Pitt meets his end, appropriately enough, when he and Lucky, mutated by the radioactive waste from his power plants, fall off the top of his own tower.
- Invisibility Cloak: Your typical sci-fi cloaking field, comes as a perk of the Jar Head. It makes you invisible to enemies and transparent to the game camera, shorts out in water, will flicker if not upgraded, slows you down, turns off when jumping and can be upgraded to enable a stealth attack.
- Leg Cannon: Lefty uses a Thompson Machine Gun (Tommy Gun) to brace his tiny, deformed right leg.
- Limit Break: Appropriately enough, Fred has super-powerful moves available when he is extremely angry. The bar is named the "Rage" meter.
- Losing Your Head: Fred suffers from this.
- Lost in the Maize: The entirety of Freak Farms, complete with lurking monsters.
- Mini-Game: There are lots of things to distract Fred from his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Native American Casino: Well, it is run by a fellow called "Aztec Eddie".
- Off with His Head!: Fred does this to every enemy he encounters, provided he doesn't beat them to a pulp.
- Perpetual Smiler: The Dummy Head. It's made of plastic, yes, but the smile is definitely always there.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Guess who.
- Shock and Awe: Fred can channel electric currents using the Jar head.
- The game's shopkeeper's voice is obviously based on Peter Lorre. His name? Sam Spade.
- This doubles as a Punny Name, since one of his hobbies is grave robbing.
- Another pun; Sam Spade has a special trade item called Black Falcon. Tooltip? "Better than Maltese Falcon".
- Also one from Grizzle:
- The entire first quest. Go to Creepy Hollow to beat the Headless Horseman. Your first fight is near a windmill. The final showdown is in a graveyard. He also gets his head back. Does this remind you of anything?
- Save the Princess: Pops out, eventually.
- Super Drowning Skills: Fred surely has them, when not wearing the Stone head.
- Swiss Army Hero: A major focus of the game is using the different heads for various purposes.
- Teeth Flying: A perk of the Skeleton head - Fred shoots teeth shotgun style, and it can be upgraded to double the amount of teeth, stunning weaker enemies with two spits.
- The Vamp: Juju Judy tries to put the "romance" back in necromancer, but Fred isn't having any of it. She wouldn't look too bad if she wasn't all gray and with black veins standing out all over her body like she was dead several days, or had red Glowing Eyes of Doom.
- Waterfall Puke: A perk of the Mutant head. It damages enemies, slows them down... and plumbs broken pipes.
- What the Hell, Hero?: One mission involves obtaining mutant tissue samples for professor. When it's done, professor will call Fred a "sick bastard", because he skinned them, instead of something, well, cleaner. He then regrets not being specific.
- Wreathed in Flames: An ability of the Scarecrow head, used to advance the story. It also increases your damage and acts like light source.
- Your Head Asplode: Execution for Freak Farmers. Also Rage attack for the Mutant head.