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Dead Head Fred (Pre-E3 2006)

Developer: Vicious Cycle | Publisher: D3
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Action

Release Date: 08/28/07

Although the PSP has been lacking a large number of good, new games, it looks like E3 2006 is the start of that changing. But don’t lose your head in the excitement of this news. If so, you may just have had an encounter with Dead Head Fred. Set for release in January of 2007 by D3Publisher of America, this Vicious Cycle Developed title looks to take action, platforming, and puzzle elements in a dark adventure that looks like it will be a complete blast to play.

Players control Fred, a Private Investigator that dies by decapitation. Upon coming back to life, he loses his memory of who has done this to him and must go around looking for his head, and his brain, so he can regain all of his memories. Along the way, he will pick up nine different types of heads from enemies, save the town of Hope Falls, and put an end to the evil Mob Boss Pitt.

The game plays out in the Third Person and the early build that has been released shows a world that is a lot of fun. For this build only four of the nine heads were shown. The ones in the level were needed to be used to solve some sort of puzzle in the environment. For example, a stone-idol head is heavy and is used as a battering ram. The default head is the jar head. This one has a brain and green fluid in it. While this default head does not have very many skills, it does allow you to move quicker than some of the other heads and you can regenerate your health while it is equipped. Another head, the corpse head, looks very gross and has rotting flesh all over it. Hey, what else do you expect from the head of a corpse? The nice thing about this head is that once it is upgraded (more on this later) you can use it as a flamethrower with gasoline and fire! The last head shown in this build is the shrunken head that allows you to shrink. Heads not included in the demo include a scarecrow head that allows you to summon crows. Just think how much easier Dorothy would have had it if the Scarecrow could have used that trick in the Wizard of Oz!

Gaining new heads is very simple. When players push the Triangle button, thee random icons will appear on the screen. If they are pressed in the correct order, the head of the enemy is ripped off. The heads can then be assigned to different buttons for each access. Acquiring and switching heads has never been this fun or simple.

As I mentioned above, players can upgrade the skills of each nine heads. To do this you must collect worms. Worms have a dual purpose in Dead Head Fred. Not only are they slimy and gross, they allow you to regain your health and are the objects used as money. Why anyone would want to trade out skills for worms is a mystery to me but to each their own. I personally will stick to dollars.

As you progress through the game, you will be given the choice as to which level to travel to next via a HUB. Certain levels will be impossible to defeat until you have gained specific heads and abilities. Other levels will have to be replayed once you have unlocked new heads and abilities. While some may hate traveling back to a previously completed level, it really does add a great deal of replay value to the game.

As players go through the game, bosses will have to be defeated. There won’t be a boss on each level but we are told that there will be plenty of them to keep the player occupied.

Dead Head Fred looks like it will be a great title for the PSP. Although I am a bit bummed it will miss the holiday season, it could be one of the first games we recommend you picking up in 2007. Also, due to all the head-ripping violence and dark humor, we expect this game to be rated M. The game is already looking great so lets hope that the next several months will improve upon it even more.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 05/08/06
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Strong Language
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Screenshots for Dead Head Fred (Pre-E3 2006)

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