[Gamers' Day 2007] Feeling Like A Neuman

Dead Head Fred continues our belief that maybe it's better to be high when thinking up game concepts.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: May 17, 2007
Between Dead Head Fred and CRUSH, we seriously want to know how awesome the pot is in the games development community. Vicious Cycle, who surprised everyone with their conversion of Infinite Interactive's Puzzle Quest, apparently went off the deep end some time a few years ago and came back with the idea of a noir-style detective story starring a guy who is killed, then revived with the ability to take the heads of his enemies in a quest for redemption and revenge.

If it sounds cool in concept, it's even cooler in practice. We managed to finally get some hands-on time with a build of the game that was fairly far along compared to the initial E3 showing. Though it was far too loud at the event for us to tell if John C. McGinley (yes, Dr. Cox from Scrubs) had his voice work for leading man Fred Neuman implemented yet, to be honest it didn't really matter too much, as we were plenty engaged with just being handed the PSP after the cheats for all the heads were flicked on.

We don't want to give too much away just yet, since part of the fun was just seeing how insane some of the heads actually were, but if we may venture a couple of options. A skull that spits teeth. A giant fire-spitting tiki mask. Fred's own "normal" brain-in-a-vat that gives him the power to turn invisible and deal a high-damage melee attack from behind. A zombie-lookin' head that also gave Fred claws so he could climb up walls. All of these heads can be accessed by simply holding a shoulder button and moving the analog nub, so even in heated fights, you can switch things out.

And they will get heated. The warped, mutated down of Hope Falls isn't really staying true to its name. Zombies and mutants shuffle through the green-hued shanty down streets and Fred, by way of fists and feet, is more than capable of taking them out should he need to. Of course, the heads help, but they also offer specific special attacks, and even Fred's normal form allows for some extra oomph, all accomplished through the use of rage, which builds as you deal or take damage. In fact, there's even something of a mini-game where you can grab an enemy and beat on 'em for a while for a nice bit o' rage boost.

It's actually a shame that we couldn't play more of the game, but hopefully we'll get the chance soon in more quiet setting and then we can really dig into things.