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Video Game / Dynamite Headdy

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Dynamite Headdy is a Platform Game by Treasure with the unique feature of taking place in and behind the scenes of a puppet show. You control Headdy, a puppet with a detachable head that can be used as a projectile, on a mission to confront King Dark Demon, a Big Bad who has, quite literally, stolen the show. On your way you meet helpers such as Hangman, an animate handhold; Headcase, a walking box with a rotating selection of power-up heads inside; Beau, a visitor from Fluffy Cloud Heaven who points out bosses' weak points; and Heather, a mysterious woman with detachable hands.

The 'puppet show' nature of the game's setting comes up quite a bit, although it also has elements of a live action play or a movie. Each stage of the game is called an Act, and is subdivided into sections called Scenes. Backgrounds are often missing sections through which the backstage area can be seen, and sometimes actually fall apart. Some sections of the game take place backstage, and enemies and NPCs both sometimes take on the role of stagehands or other staff. Even the Life Meter reflects this: Headdy's vitality is represented by a klieg light whose color (and the size of the "H" in the middle) corresponds to the amount of life left, and bosses have a similar spotlight with an "E" in the center. There's also a scene where an orchestra is visible in the background playing the background music. Needless to say, metafictional and setting tropes get quite a workout in this game.


This game provides examples of:

  • 2½D: Used in a few places, especially when rotation is involved, e.g. the tilting platforms in Act 3 Scene 1 and the boss of Act 5.
  • Action Bomb: Bomb Head is a power up that turns Headdy's head into a bomb that can be thrown to the ground before blowing up and damaging any nearby enemies. However, if Headdy does not throw the bomb before it detonates, it will explode while still attached to him, causing a One-Hit KO.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Twin Freaks, known as Rever Face or Funny Angry in Japanese. The fight takes place in an Auto-Scrolling Level filled with obstacles that Twin Freaks can crush Headdy against for a One-Hit KO if he fails to avoid them.
  • Already Done for You: Upon reaching Act 4-4, Beau appears to reveal to Headdy that Heather already defeated the act's Keymaster before he showed up, and the game immediately transitions into Act 5 after.
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  • Always Identical Twins: Gatekeeper and Nasty Gatekeeper, known as Yayoi and Izayoi in Japanese, respectively, look identical with the exception of the claws and more wicked looking face on the Nasty Gatekeeper.
  • A.I. Roulette: Bosses that notably use this include Trouble Bruin's Flying Scythe and Final Boss King Dark Demon.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The final boss fight.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Trouble Bruin in the original Japanese version was called Maruyama, was purple and had wide round eyes and a goofy smile. The international version colored him brown and turned him into a Perpetual Frowner. The color change might just have been so you could tell he's supposed to be a bear and not a cat, though a lot of people just thought he was a brown cat, especially as he seemed to a lot of people to say "m-m-meow" when he turned up (it's actually saying "Ma-Ma-Ma-Ma-Maruyama). Also, the American game cover compared to the European and Japanese ones. Many of the bosses within the game receive a similar change.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: One helpful character, Beau, tends to appear during boss fights to point out the weak points, complete with onscreen TARGET notice and synthesized voice clip.
  • Background Boss: Spinderella, known as Motor Head in Japanese, is a very notable example, as she can switch the camera's perspective to make it so Headdy is in the background, and the camera faces her back.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: At the end of the second world it seems that Headdy is going against Trouble Bruin's Octopus Trap machine, but as soon as he starts moving, Mad Dog, the real boss, falls from the sky and crushes Trouble Bruin, who gets stuck under Mad Dog for the entirety of the fight!
  • Beam Spam: Baby Face's third adult head fires a hemispherical spray of lasers followed by a longer beam aimed at Headdy's position related to Baby Face in a very fast alternating pattern.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Trouble Bruin (Maruyama in Japanese) and his Kuma Body, although he is referred to as a cat-bear (who looks more feline than bears).
  • Big Bad: King Dark Demon / Smiley.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The Gatekeeper offers false praise and thanks to Headdy for all of his hard work once he reaches her and implores him to leave as the location they are in is not King Dark Demon's castle and dawdling here would put everyone in danger. Heather promptly shows up and calls the Gatekeeper on her lying, beginning the battle.
  • Bonus Boss: After the end credits have finished rolling, a numerical keypad appears. Entering the correct randomly-generated four-digit password (whose digits you discover by beating the bonus game once per digit) allows you to fight an extremely difficult boss, presumed to be the greedy manager of the theater the show takes place in, or the President of Konami, depending on which version you're playing. Fortunately, against this boss you have infinite lives.
  • Bonus Stage: Most stages have one Liberty Head, which leads to an "intermission" Mini-Game where machines spit out a continuous stream of basketballs (and the occasional bomb) and you must knock them into the two moving tiers of hoops above. There are three special hoops that do something different from awarding you a point if you dunk a basketball in them: a hoop with a basketball symbol that doubles the rate of basketball fire, a hoop with a "slow play" symbol that reduces the speed at which the hoops move, and a hoop with a Keymaster symbol that destroys one of the ball machines. There is no time limit for getting the requisite score to win; you lose by getting hit by too many bombs, getting both machines destroyed, or forfeiting by canceling the head. The reward for completing the bonus game is one digit of a four-digit password to be used at the end of the game after the credits roll. With each digit you get, the number of baskets you need to make increases by five (from a starting value of five), and the frequency of bombs increases slightly. Once you have gotten all four digits, the Liberty Head icon will no longer appear on Headcase. One perk of entering the bonus game is that when you leave, whether you win or lose, your health is returned to maximum.
  • Bonus Stage Collectables: The four digits collected in the intermission bonus games are used to open the door to a Bonus Boss at the end of the game. There are seven chances total.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Slammer Head isn't as flashy as almost any other power-up, but will do double the damage to any enemy.
  • Boss-Only Level: All end-of-act bosses and most Trouble Bruin battles get their own scene. There are two entire acts where all the danger takes place in boss fights: Act 7 against the Gatekeeper & Nasty Gatekeeper, and Act 9 against Trouble Bruin's Super Finagler (which has other obstacles to worry about as well).
  • Bounty Hunter: Mad Dog (Bounty Boundy in Japanese) is this, being only the Keymaster to have been hired by King Dark Demon to kill Headdy.
  • Breather Level: Invoked and then subverted in Stage 7, which is very short with two easy bonus points and a Liberty Head (bonus stage), and no enemies until reaching a robotic Gatekeeper. Then you get punished gruesomely for your naïve belief that the game would be so kind by having to face the Nasty Gatekeeper, and the rest of the game past this point is no better.
  • Broken Record: Beau's Training Stage has her say "Target!" every time an enemy is about to pop up, which becomes increasingly frequent over time.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bino, classified by the game as a backstage worker, appears often "on stage" in many ways (grabbed or thrown in by a boss, boss wearing a MASK of him, wandering aimlessly on the arena...) and his elimination is the key to get many of the Secret Bonus Points.
  • Climax Boss: The end-of-act bosses are Keymasters (well, at least from act 2 through 6), but the Gatekeeper (end of act 7) is certainly one. If the Keymasters count, Twin Freaks (end of Act 8) does too.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel:
    • Baby Face's final form. He only has one attack, a grab, and if he connects with it, he dies of old age before doing any harm.
    • The secret final boss will get really angry after you've hit him enough times, but at that point one more hit will defeat him for good.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: King Dark Demon has a crystal ball which signals which attack he will perform next, while Headdy is given a choice between four power-ups to respond with.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Functions as a curtain call for every single character in the game.
  • Crowd Chant: If Headdy runs out of lives but still has continues, the crowd will chant his name to try to bring him back.
  • Cosmetic Award: Getting all the Secret Bonus Points or beating the Bonus Boss does not affect gameplay in any way, and in fact all you get in either case is the game briefly acknowledging that you've done so.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Bonus Boss is the incredibly greedy boss of the theater, and his two henchmen. In the Japanese version, he is actually supposed to be the President of Konami.
  • Crosshair Aware: In the fight against the robotic Mons Meg in level 4-2.
  • Cultural Translation: There are several. The level names in international releases are parodies of movie/music names while in the Japanese version, they just give the general level idea in a simple phrase. The Geisha in Scene 7 is replaced by a robot who is far less threatening when they change forms, as the original had sharper claws than the robot. In stage 4 of the Japanese version, Mons Meg was a large doll named Rebecca. Trouble Bruin was changed from purple to brown in the international version. The Heavy head's icon was changed from the Japanese characters to a large onion of some type. Even the ending has some minor differences. In the Japanese version, Smiley latches onto Headdy's head and he tries pulling it off humorously, while in the Western releases Heather hugs Headdy, though this may be because there was no dialogue in the Western release.
  • Cutscene Incompetence:
    • The Robo-Collector captures Headdy at the start but is no threat at all during gameplay.
    • A rare unintentional example: Headdy jumps on the first few steps of the tower level on his own, but about 1 in 10 times, the programming omits something and he falls off, causing minor damage.
  • Deflector Shields: Protector Head surrounds Headdy with a ring of fireballs that damage enemies. Not impenetrable, but nothing's getting in without taking a hit first.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: The Wooden Dresser and Baby Face, in different ways. The Wooden Dresser is vulnerable after losing everything, but quickly brings in new stuff afterwards. Baby Face slowly loses faces until he runs out.
  • Difficulty by Region: The game starts with 3 continues in the Japanese version but none in the North American/European version (you can earn continues in both versions) and has a few other tweaks to make the American/European version more difficult. On the other hand, Twin Freaks, one of the hardest bosses in the game, has twice as much health in the Japanese version, but has a significantly smaller hitbox in the Western version.
  • Dub Name Change: Nearly everything when translating from Japanese to English had a name change.
    • Mokkun to Headcase
    • Fukkun to Hangman
    • Yakkun to Beau
    • Fingy to Heather
    • Maruyama to Trouble Bruin
    • Bounty Boundy to Mad Dog
    • Jacqueline Dressy to Wooden Dresser
    • Rebecca to Mons Meg
    • Motor Hand to Spinderella
    • Mitsuru to Baby Face
    • Yayoi to Gatekeeper
    • Izayoi to Nasty Gatekeeper
    • Rever Face to Twin Freaks
    • King Dark Demon to Dark Demon
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: The general trend with exceptions on both sides.
  • Energy Weapon:
    • Rocket Head fires lasers straight forward. Can penetrate certain barriers that the other shmup heads' projectiles cannot.
    • Baby Face's third form fires lots of lasers at Headdy.
    • When King Dark Demon's crystal ball flashes all colors, he will fire a massive beam that only Pin Head can avoid.
  • Evil Is Hammy: King Dark Demon's voice samples in both versions. In the Japanese version, most of the boss characters, especially Trouble Bruin, serve up some oft-affable ham in their text-only speeches.
  • Evil Overlord: King Dark Demon.
  • Evil Puppeteer: One boss is a clown puppet that controls another puppet to fight Headdy.
  • Fat and Skinny: The two minions of the True Final Boss.
  • Faux Action Girl: Heather appears to be an Action Girl at first, going as far as to defeat one of the Keymasters before Headdy shows up, but later on in the game, she gets captured and must be rescued. Twice. Some may say that she deserves a break for some of this: the first time she was blindsided by the Nasty Gatekeeper, who showed up out of frickin' nowhere, and the Japanese version explains the second one: she was trying to reach out to Smiley, and he attacked her in response. Still though...
  • Finagle's Law: The Super Finagler, which spends one scene trying to shoot Headdy like it should, then goes haywire and starts attacking both Headdy and its owner.
  • Flash of Pain: Enemies usually flash white if they're hit without being destroyed.
  • Follow the Money: Entirely absent. Naturally, this also means no Law of 100. Since there is no way to save, extra lives and continues, far from being meaningless, are rare and precious pickups.
  • Geisha: In the Japanese version, Yayoi and Izayoi both appear to be designed after one.
  • Gimmick Level: Besides Act 6's Unexpected Shmup Level, Act 3 starts with an area that has depth, so Headdy can move up and down as would be ordinarily seen in a Beat 'em Up. Then Trouble Bruin pulls Headdy backstage, ending the gimmick.
  • Guide Dang It!: Many of the Secret Bonus Points require you to perform extremely counterintuitive or un-obvious actions, and there are no hints anywhere. Fortunately, they're not mandatory, and in fact, aren't worth a thing.
  • Heal Thyself: Sleepy Head. Headdy goes to sleep and gradually regains health until he is fully revitalized. Can be dangerous to use if you're currently under attack, although it can be canceled like most heads. There is also a non-head healing item, the Jellybean, which restores half of your maximum health.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Pin Head makes you tiny and decreases your firing radius, walking speed, and jump height accordingly, and usually leads to the safer, less rewarding path in the early game. In a level near the end of the game, it instead leads to a challenging path that ends with the only 2-up reward in the game, and it's also very important against the final boss.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Used deliberately. Headdy's body can take damage while his head cannot, whether or not it is attached to his body. This becomes important at some points. The key to beating a certain boss is noticing that it targets Headdy's head instead of his body. It also means that ducking is not very useful for dodging damage, as due to Headdy's proportions most things that can hit him while he is standing will still hit him when he is ducking. The solution is generally to don the Pin Head, making Headdy's body small enough that hazards go over it. Ducking is still useful for hitting low targets, though.
  • Hold the Line: The penultimate level has Trouble Bruin's robot go out of control and chase both of you down a very long hallway. The robot is invincible, and Trouble Bruin himself may only be stunned. Trouble Bruin spends the whole sequence tackling and clinging on to you because he needs somebody to hug during the stressful experience, while you desperately Try Not to Die (and you can't let him touch you if you want the bonus point). This lasts for about two minutes.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A tank miniboss in Scene 4-1 is defeated by deflecting its shot onto the ceiling and letting it drop onto the soldier driving the tank.
  • Homing Projectile:
    • Pig Head fires two of them from its nose, but unlike most heads cannot be fired itself. Good for dealing with enemies from a distance, but not for much else.
    • Money when the Bonus Boss throws it. (Yes, you read that correctly).
  • Hostage Spirit Link: In the second boss fight of Act 7, the Nasty Gatekeeper (Known as Izayoi in the Japanese version) captures Heather and keeps her held in one of it's claws for the duration of the fight. It uses Heather to guard it's face, and if Headdy accidentally hits her, she unleashes an attack that is completely unavoidable, even with the Empty Head power up.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: The event that kicks off the plot, with King Dark Demon forcibly derailing the puppet show from whatever it was originally going to be about. Also referenced in the Japanese version before the fight with Trouble Bruin in Act 3, Scene 2, which helps explain his motive:
    Trouble Bruin: Let's begin the next scene right now! It's time for Dynamite Maruyama's entrance!
  • Human Shield: The Nasty Gatekeeper spends most of her fight using Heather to shield her weak spot.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Jellybeans. "Yum yum!"
  • Improbable Weapon User: The Bonus Boss and his henchmen attack with dollar bills.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Pin Head, which makes Headdy tiny. Useful for getting through small openings and avoiding certain hazards. When it shows up you usually face a fork in the road with a tiny path where you need Pin Head to proceed and a normal-size path that often requires some other head. Even where the level layout doesn't actually split, Pin Head and whatever the alternative is will give you entirely different strategies for proceeding through the level. It's also useful to avoid an otherwise screen-filling fireball that King Dark Demon likes to cheaply slide offscreen and shoot at you.
  • Intangible Man: Empty Head, which reduces Headdy to a white outline with no color inside. Rather one-sided, as you can still attack enemies but their attacks go right through you. Still vulnerable to Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits and damage from hitting Heather in the fight with the Nasty Gatekeeper.
  • Intermission: The bonus game is presented as an intermission of the puppet show the game is set in. Headdy steps outside to shoot some hoops each time one happens.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here:
    • Act 5, which consists of one really tall tower.
    • Hangman's practice stage, natural since Hangman's usually used to pull you up.
    • The second-to-last stage has a constant rising floor, lots of walls that can squish you, and Maruyama's last vehicle.
  • Just for Pun: Most of the levels in the international version are puns of popular movies (e.g. Stair Wars), and The Dragon that looks like a cat but is really a bear is called "Trouble Bruin".
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Dark Demon has a beam attack that fills most of the screen.
  • Killer Teddy Bear: Trouble Bruin is a cutesy bear puppet, and also Headdy's most recurring foe. Trouble Bruin takes control of a variety of killer machines by attaching his head to them.
  • Large Ham:
    • Trouble Bruin in the Japanese version. Full stop.
    • All versions have Dark Demon with his Evil Laugh and his take on This Cannot Be!.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Act 3, Scene 1. Subverted in that it ends with Trouble Bruin bursting through the background and pulling Headdy backstage, where the rest of Act 3 takes place. Also subverted in that the lava, like everything else in the game, is fake.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • Trouble Bruin's theme plays when he enters a scene. In the Japanese version, it continues to play during the storyline, but in the other version, there is no storyline, so the only way to hear it in full is through the sound test. The song uses a couple of voice samples that aren't anywhere else in the game. Also the music that plays when King Dark Demon's castle is revealed, which is similarly cut short in the international version.
    • The track that plays when you first fight Trouble Bruin is only heard during that fight, and since he goes down in two hits, you’ll only hear the first 30 seconds of the track and never hear the part that plays after it before it loops around.
  • Losing Horns:
    • A rare non-Game Show example: when your game is over by losing all your lives (because you chose to give up, blacked out without earning any continues, or used up all your continues)... you get the "confirm selection" sound, followed by an electronic groan sound (so a Type A, then).
    • Baby Face does it too in his last form (Grampa Face?). If his hand manages to grab you before you can finish him off, he makes a "Wah-wah-wah-waaaaah" noise, then appears to die of old age before exploding the usual way.
  • Losing Your Head: Usually Headdy's head snaps right back to his body, but it can be snagged by "Venus Headdy Traps".
    Headcase: Don't lose your head, Headdy!
  • Lost in Translation: Due to most of the dialogue being removed, the English version appears to be lacking in plot or context.
  • Made of Explodium: Most enemies make an explosion with a distinctive high-pitched sound. End-of-act bosses shower debris upon defeat, and you get a continue for every 13 shards of debris you collect.note 
  • Mary Sue: Possibly invoked in the Japanese version, where it is revealed that King Dark Demon was originally Smiley, an animate award that was supposed to be presented to the "greatest puppet", but instead interpreted this to mean that he was to become the greatest puppet, leading directly to his Start of Darkness and transformation into the evil king.
  • Meaningful Name: Bruin's name is Dutch for brown, which is his coloring, but also a Stock Animal Name for bears. This is not the case in the Japanese version where he is colored purple and named Maruyama.
  • Money Mauling: The True Final Boss of the game attacks Headdy by tossing money at him.
  • Mood Whiplash: Act 7 starts off as a Breather Level completely devoid of any enemies, with a light, friendly tone. The boss at the end of the stage is also fairly straightforward, with Heather helping out. Then, after the boss is defeated, the background breaks away to reveal an ominous hellscape with King Dark Demon's castle looming overhead. Then, the boss captures Heather before getting up for a much more intense round two, with music to match.
  • More Dakka: War Head continually fires projectiles in all directions, and Act 6's extremely bizarre Feather Head allows you to vomit a constant stream of tiny birds from your mouth as an attack. Also see Spread Shot.
  • Murderous Mannequin: Wooden Dresser, a giant wooden mannequin, is a boss character who uses costumes that give her various powers to try and kill Headdy.
  • Mutually Exclusive Power Ups: Aside from his normal head, there are over a dozen different heads Headdy can put on, each of which grants him a different special ability. Almost all of these can be switched for another head whenever you're near Headcase, revert to the normal head after a fixed time, can be canceled at any time, and revert to the normal head at the end of a Scene, but a few work differently: Pin Head lasts until the end of the Scene and can only be canceled by switching to another power-up; Head Trip expires after a time limit but can't be canceled and, since you can't shoot it, can't be switched; Bomb Head reverts as soon as it explodes; Liberty Head is really just the way you enter the bonus game; Air Head, Rocket Head, and Feather Head remain for the duration of Act 6 and cannot be canceled, although you can still switch between them.
  • Nintendo Hard: Well, at least in the international versions. Some levels really test your ability not to smash the control through the screen.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • Played with, in that the characters are well aware that they're puppets in a puppet show, but aren't as obviously aware that they're characters in a video game. This is also how Trouble Bruin makes his first entrance — by pushing the backdrop ONTO Headdy, signaling the first boss fight.
    • At one point, while you're passing through a fairly normal area, Trouble Bruin punches through the backdrop and drags you backstage.
    • The secret final boss of the game? The Boss of Konami.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Falling off the screen doesn't kill Headdy, instead launching him back upward while damaging him some.
  • Obstructive Foreground: Coupled with Baby Face's 3rd form's Beam Spam.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • For the first Act 7 boss, if Heather gets into position to throw a key at the Gatekeeper a little too late, she'll try anyway, but the Gatekeeper will get out of the way in time, sending Heather into this trope as she scrambles to get the key back.
    • After what looks like a Breather Level in 7 you beat an easy boss then suddenly the background turns dark, revealing the enemy's castle, evil music starts playing, and the Nasty Gatekeeper arrives.
  • One-Hit KO:
    • A cheat turns Headdy into this (though there is a glitch: in stark contrast to most side-scrollers, bottomless pits are the only thing in the game to not be lethal, even when the cheat is on). Without the cheat, nothing instantly kills Headdy for most of the game. Then the late-game introduces the concept of getting squished, and runs with it at the start of Act 9.
    • The Vacuum Head lets you do this to any enemy on-screen.
    • If the Bomb Head explodes before Headdy throws it, it immediately costs him a life.
  • One Password Attempt Ever: After the credits have rolled, a screen appears where you could enter a 4-digit password on a keypad. You only get one shot at entering the password (which changes for every playthrough). Completing the basketball minigames reveals the password number by number.
  • Plot Coupon: Each of the five Keymasters holds a key, all of which are necessary to approach King Dark Demon's castle.
  • Poison Mushroom: Head Trip (Buddha Head in Japanese), a massive head made of metal which slows you down a lot and prevents you from jumping or shooting, and it makes strange faces too. It can't be canceled. It has a distressing tendency to show up during boss fights.
  • Post-Defeat Explosion Chain: Bosses, minibosses and some pieces of scenery seem to have invisible explosive charges planted on them which activate when the object they're attached to is damaged enough.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Certain head power ups can become more of a hindrance if they are collected at a bad time.
    • Vacuum Head is great for clearing away enemies and sucking up items but must be discarded if you need to do anything involving shooting your head to proceed, which is most of the time.
    • Pig Head fires homing projectiles and is therefore similar to Vacuum Head but you can't get items either.
    • Super Head's enhanced mobility will often send you flying into enemies or other hazards.
    • Bomb Head makes you unable to do much of anything except avoid stuff while you're waiting for it to explode.
    • War Head will sometimes lead to certain things being hit before you want them to.
  • Product Placement: For itself. Billboards reading "Dynamite Headdy: Now on sale!" can be seen in the background during some of the early stages.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The Nutcracker plays during the Mad Dog Boss fight complete with an orchestra and composer playing the music in the background.
  • Punny Name:
    • Trouble Bruin. Seems there's always trouble brewing when he's around.
    • The two puppets composing the puppeteer boss were named Marrio & Nettoh (marionette) in Japanese.
    • Two Haniwa (those Japanese statues who are the basis for Cactuars in Final Fantasy) enemies were named Honeywan I and II.
    • Headcase is a case that holds your head power-ups.
    • Beau uses an arrow to assist, a pun on "bow and arrow".
  • Quad Damage: Slammer Head, which does twice as much damage per hit as the regular head.
  • Recurring Boss: Trouble Bruin, a bear (although he looks more like a cat, really) who also has a detachable head but instead uses it to control a wide variety of strange attack vehicles, Eggman-style. He is The Dragon to Big Bad Dark Demon.
  • Rise to the Challenge:
    • Hangman's first appearance in stage 2-1, is a vertical Auto-Scrolling Level where Headdy must make extensive use of Hangman in order to reach the top.
    • Scene 5-2 is another Auto-Scrolling Level located on the outside of a rotating tower, where Headdy must defeat Trouble Bruin while the latter is removing pieces of the tower along the way.
    • Finally, Scene 9-1 takes place on a rising elevator with Trouble Bruin following behind with his latest machine, the Super Finagler. Headdy must navigate the elevator shaft without getting crushed by any of the obstacles along the way, all the while avoiding Trouble Bruin's attacks.
  • Robot Clown: The Puppeteer boss is a clown puppet. While all the characters are puppets, this character looks particularly robotic because he has a propeller where his waist and legs should be.
  • Schmuck Bait: DON'T SHOOT, though one of them is a Secret Bonus Point. If you're standing on the ground, you can only see the "SHOOT" part of the block (but you still see the DON'T upon jumping, so it's certainly not obvious).
  • Schrödinger's Question: Played with by the PIN pad at the end of the game. Tool Assisted Speedrunners have determined that you can't guess the randomly-generated number; if you haven't collected all four numbers, you will always be wrong no matter what you punch in.
  • Scoring Points: The game has both regular points and Secret Bonus Points. Both do absolutely nothing and are only displayed at the end of an Act, so it's easy to forget they exist, save for the "500" point pickups that appear in some levels and the announcement when an SBP is earned.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If Headdy gets a Game Over without any continues or if "Give Up" is selected on the continue screen, a sign reading "Bye Bye" is dropped onto Headdy and he'll make a break for the exit.
  • Sequel Escalation: Parodied during the Boss Banter before the Bonus Boss in the Japanese version. Headdy will have none of it.
    "Gwahaha! That scene was a huge success! Regrettably, we haven't prepared the next scenario yet, but it'll be even more spectacular... ...maybe something like completely blowing up the puppet world!! Heady, my boy... I'll have you desperately fighting for your life again next time! Gahaha!"
  • Shoulders of Doom: Dark Demon has what appear to be green statues sprouting from the shoulders of his costume. Animated green statues.
  • Shout-Out: In addition to the many Sci-Fi-related puns the international version gave to level names (e.g. "Mad Mechs", "Terminate Her Too", etc.), the bosses are called Keymasters, and one of them as seen below is the Gatekeeper. Who ya gonna call?
  • Smart Bomb: Bomb Head, which doesn't harm you unless you're still wearing it when it goes off but does colossal damage to every enemy on the screen.
  • Sound Test: This and a button configuration are all there is in the options menu. Useful for players of the international version who want to hear the full versions of songs that only play during cutscenes and are cut short without the Japanese version's dialogue.
  • Spread Shot: Lotsa Heads fires three heads instead of one. Air Head is the approximate equivalent for Act 6, firing bullets in three directions at once. Air Head is also the only shmup head that allows you to face backwards.
  • Sprint Shoes: Super Head doubles Headdy's speed, as well as doubling his jump height and head-firing radius.
  • The Stinger:
  • Stock Animal Name: Bruin is Dutch for brown, and a lot of bears in Dutch fiction are named after their brown coloring. This is somewhat weird because Trouble Bruin was originally colored purple and had a different name.
  • Take That!: The Japanese version has a secret ending that lashes out against Sequel Stagnation and Cash Cow Franchise: Headdy meets the creators of the game, who say they can't wait to make a sequel so they'll get more money by destroying Headdy's world even more! Headdy beats the crap out of them to ensure that there will never be a sequel and thus his world will be eternally safe. This is also a bit of a meta-reference, since Treasure are notoriously averse to sequels.
  • Theme Naming: Headdy has a detachable head. Heather has detachable fingers.
  • This Cannot Be!: "I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!" (said by Dark Demon after beating most Keymasters)
  • Time Stands Still: The Ticker Head freezes everything except Headdy for about eight seconds.
  • Toy Time: Due to the nature of the game's setting, all areas have a little bit of this, if only in the enemies (the Keymasters are so named because they are giant wind-up toys, and plenty of Mooks have smaller keys), but the toy theme is especially strong in Act 2.
  • Trick Boss: The Gatekeeper seems like an unusually easy boss for her place in the game, as she only has two, fairly telegraphed attacks and you don't even have to attack her yourself. After defeating her at first and revealing the ominous castle in the background, though, the Nasty Gatekeeper shows up and continues the battle.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: Act 6 is a flying level with a space shooter feel.
  • The Unfought: Heather beats one of the bosses for you; you never get to fight or even see her. Trouble Bruin also has a machine that you never fight because a Keymaster falls on it.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • If you're on the top-right corner of the screen after Baby Face, and you skip the tally screens as fast as possible, Headdy will not have enough time to go to his spot, and will stop midway, locking the game. You can also kill Clothes Encounters off-screen by landing the final blow with the Super Head. This would almost make the game unwinnable, if it weren't for the fact that, around 4 minutes later, everything returns to normal. Videos here: [1] [2]
    • In the level Toyz N' the Hood, you have to catch a nearby platform to be able to climb a wall. As seen here, if you bring the platform too far away from the ledge or the other platform, you won't be able to continue. You can't move the platform again, and, provided you killed the only enemy around, you can't kill yourself, forcing you to reset the game.
  • Use Your Head: For combat, picking up objects, grabbing ledges, climbing walls, operating machinery, flying... pretty much everything that's not walking and jumping, really.
  • Unique Enemy: When you see one, there's a high chance you get a Secret Bonus Point for killing it.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: The Nasty Gatekeeper will unleash an unavoidable attack against Headdy if you hurt Heather during the battle.
  • Visual Pun: The Bonus Boss if you get the complete code is indeed a boss, but now it's a corporate boss.
  • Warmup Boss: The first fight with Trouble Bruin, especially in the Japanese version where the balls of light don't do damage, though he's not a danger in the international version either given he has 2 HP and you will have at least 14. Mad Dog, the boss of Act 2, probably counts as well; she has more health and a variety of attacks, but compared to the rest of the game, still a cakewalk, especially with all the goodies Headcase brings to the fight.
  • Wall Crawl: Spike Head grabs onto any surface as if it is Hangman and pulls Headdy's body along with it. The body doesn't stay there, though; it falls back down once it's been pulled. Repeated shots allow you to climb walls or cling to ceilings.
  • Weapons That Suck: The Vacuum Head sucks in any items and enemies on the screen. It cannot be fired, though.
  • Wingding Eyes: Headdy's eyes become hearts whenever Heather blows a kiss in his direction.
  • Your Head A-Splode: What happens when you die. Also used to your advantage with Bomb Head.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: You can't lose to the last stage of Baby Face, the old man. If he does catch you... he dies of old age without doing any damage at all to you, and you win the fight. The only reason to try to avoid the hand is to earn the Secret Bonus Point that appears if you deal enough damage to the old man head.


Video Example(s):


Dynamite Headdy

The true final boss and his lackeys chuck money at Headdy in their attempts to kill him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / MoneyMauling

Media sources: