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Video Game / Dead Head Fred

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"Heads will roll"

Dead Head Fred is a horror-themed 3rd-person action/adventure game for the PlayStation Portable by Vicious Cycle Software in 2007.

Set in 1940's style film-noir (gangsters, fine suits, and evil mob-bosses... mixed with zombies, radioactive mutants, and cursed statues), the plot follows 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—which led him to the decaying city in the first place—and above all, find his missing head.

The game's unique point is that Fred fights, explores, and socializes with a variety of skills and biological weapons from switching the head on his shoulders, up to 9 different types. That aside, 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!
    • Every time you die:
      Fred: See you at the respawn, fuckface!
      Fred: Thank you so much... FOR SUCKING!
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Implied with Judy.
    Judy: Maybe you will use your manly strength to beat the information out of me. That might be fun...
  • 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, since the plot revolves around Fred trying to remember what happened the night he died.
  • Die Laughing: Overlaps with Laugh Themselves Sick. This is how Judy dies, having a faint laugh after seeing Fred get angry over the only piece of information she gives him (a videotape), then wretches in pain and succumbs to her injuries.
    Judy: You're so 'andsome when you're angry... haha ha ha... NGGGGGH!
  • 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.)
  • Good Is Not Nice: Fred is an excellent example. He insults anyone who he doesn't stand (including his former partner and children) and is always in an angry mood, but he helps out civilians and plans to stop Pitt from controlling Hope Falls.
  • Groin Attack: Counter against Executioner: Knee to the crotch, axe to the head.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Fred has... slight anger issues. Then again, how would you feel if you were about to crack the biggest case of your career only to end up shot and decapitated, then reanimated without your head since your worst enemy is using it as a trophy and you're constantly surrounded by idiots?
  • Hammerspace: 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.
  • I Love the Dead: Heavily implied with Juju Judy, since most of her interactions revolve around her trying to romance the recently deceased Fred. Also, Sam drops a comment of how "stiffs", a slang for dead people, are considered lucky.
    Judy: Information? What information? All the information you need is that this...(moves hands in an hourglass shape through her body) yours for the taking, dead man.
  • 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, as well as the Headless Horseman though he gets better. He can also deliver this fate to his enemies to refill his Rage Meter, and does this to the deceased Vinni and Aztec Eddie in order to see their memories and learn more about the case.
  • 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.
  • Posthumous Character: Vinni Rossini, formerly the largest benefactor of Hope Falls, and whose mysterious disappearance leads to the entire plot.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Guess who.
  • Shock and Awe: Fred can channel electric currents using the Jar head.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
  • Title Drop: During their second conversation, Sam explains to Fred his specialties regarding worms and heads.
    Sam: I can show you lots of interesting things. You'd be surprised! You can do a lot of things with a dead head, Fred.
  • 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 a professor. When it's done, the 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.