Dead Head Fred Review

From the minute D3 let me play Dead Head Fred for a couple of hours at E3 to beating it moments ago, I’ve loved the game. There’s just something undeniable about the charm a game which revolves around swapping your head to gain special powers exudes. I mean, really! Would you rather swap spells, or swap your head? It’s a no brainer.

The game revolves around once-detective-with-a-head Fred Neuman. Right away, the game starts off running as Fred wakes up after a surgery which essentially brings his decapitated dead body back to life via a brain and some eyes in a jar of liquid where his head should be.

Right here, I would be doing you, myself, and John McGinley a disservice if I didn’t mention just how great he does as the voice actor for Fred. Known primarily for his role as Dr. Cox on Scrubs, McGinley absolutely tears it up in this game. Swearing, sarcasm, insults, more swearing, random one-liners… It’s great to see an actor of his caliber take a game like this seriously, and it really makes it just that much better.

Anyway, back to the game. You see, the reason Fred lost his head is because of a corrupt businessman/evil guy in the city he once lived in (but still sorta-lives in). Seems that he didn’t appreciate Fred investigating anything behind the scenes, so next thing Fred knows, he’s waking up without his head being told that the very man he was investigating killed him, stole his head, and threw his body in a sludge pile. The game then revolves around Dead Head Fred (get it?) trying to find where his head is.

The story itself is a very unique and refreshing one, and the voice actors make it seem like a very high budget PS2 game as opposed to a PSP title. What certainly doesn’t hurt the case, then, is that the game is really, really fun.

Dead Head Fred and a Big Head Axe!

Each of 9 heads you collect thorughout Fred’s adventure grants different abilities, all of which will be needed in a variety of puzzles to move on to the next areas and solve this case. Whether it’s the corpse head which can suck in water and gas or the shrunken head which allows you to…well, shrink, the variety is nice, and everyone’s sure to have a favorite.

The combat obviously would have been better with a dual-analog controller allowing you to move the camera, but for a PSP title, it certainly suffices. With two-button attacks, counters, and finishing moves, the game will keep you on your toes as you fight random mutated citizens and other baddies. It is easily the weakest aspect of Dead Head Fred, but when even your weakest element is better than most other titles… Well, that’s saying something.

Clocking in anywhere from 10 to 15 hours, Dead Head Fred is a long title for the genre (especially for a handheld). The good news? The entire game is fun, and it really doesn’t wear down too fast; if you enjoy it at the beginning, you’ll enjoy it at the end.

Dead Head Fred combines everything that makes a game good — a unique story, great voice acting, memorable characters, and fun gameplay — into one tiny UMD-based package. There is absolutely no reason any PSP owner shouldn’t pick this game up… Unless you hate fun, that is. It’s easily one of the better games to come out on the PSP, and this along with Puzzle Quest cements D3 as my favorite current handheld publisher. It’s not perfect in every way, but it’s an incredibly fun experience filled with memorable moments, and isn’t that why we all want to play games, anyway?


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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