The Cadaver’s Cranium shambles into the game during Scream Fortress 2010. It is based on the popular portrayal of the Frankenstein’s monster, and is an extra half a head rather crudely stapled onto the Heavy’s head, with thin black hair covering the extra scalp. Last I check, hair transplant isn’t supposed to include a large chunk of the skull with it.
The Cadaver’s Cranium is a hat that holds a special place in my heart, as mine was a gift from a stranger when I was still very, very new. Years ago, a young, fresh-faced and newly premium’ed Warlock decided to hop into a trade_minecraft server. I didn’t have much hats at that time, nor did I trade at all. The only reason I did that is because I really, really like Minecraft. I am serious.
The server was owned by a teen around my age and his friend, and on that day only the three of us were present. Somehow, we ended up chatting and started to get along. Because of that, I logged in and hop into the server daily. One day, he asked my to Spycrab. Being unfamiliar with it at the time, I asked him what is it. He then explained the age-old TF2 hat gambling tradition to me.
“OK,” I said, “But I don’t have much hats.” The server owner then gave me the Cadaver’s Cranium. It was the first hat I received that wasn’t an achievement or promotional hat, and it came from a complete stranger. We then proceeded to gamble and I lost. My only other tradeable hat at the time was a Genuine Wilson Weave, which was what I offered to give up for losing. They both rejected it and we then logged off, since it was school day tomorrow. That was the last time I saw the two of them, since the server disappeared off the face of the earth the next time I logged on into TF2, leaving nothing behind except the Cadaver’s Cranium in my inventory.
When we talk about the Cadaver’s Cranium, we should probably also talk about the FrankenHeavy set, which was introduced during the Halloween update in 2011, the year after the Cranium enters TF2. Despite both being based on Frankenstein’s monster, the FrankenHeavy set differs quite significantly from the Cranium. Aside from being three separate items instead of one, the Can Opener, which is the headpiece of the set, is a head with the top cut off and flapping about, revealing the brain. The full FrankenHeavy set allows Heavy to do the FrankenHeavy taunt, which will be a major disappointment to the tauntkill fans when instead of killing him with finger guns, they just roared at an oblivious Sniper like a furious bear trying to scare away an unaware tree stump.
To me, these two cosmetics (Can Opener and Cadaver’s Cranium) signifies a level of care in designing cosmetics that are disappearing nowadays. I suppose it is inevitable with the number of cosmetics we have now (1304 according to the TF2 Wiki at the time of writing), but cosmetics aren’t as unique from each other as before. For an extreme case, look at the picture below.
The Crown of the Old Kingdom is an all-class Egyptian headdress that is rather similar to the Teutonkahmun, a Medic-only cosmetic that is Halloween-restricted. The appearance of the CofOK pretty much made the Teutonkahmun obsolete as a cosmetic. The two cosmetics are similar and the CotOK has far, far less restrictions on it. The only plus to the Teutonkahmun is that it’s more flamboyant than the CotOK, and even that is dependent on personal taste. Looking at cosmetics like the Patriot Peak (Team Captain), and the variety of caps and beanies available, I have a feeling that the release of cosmetics similar to older ones might become more and more frequent, and the situation where one cosmetic renders another irrelevant might occur again. Sure, the Can Opener is Halloween-restricted, but it allows access to a new taunt as a set bonus with other two cosmetics, which is what the Cadaver’s Cranium can’t do. The two of them still have their respective places. The Teutonkahmun is now almost a waste of inventory space for being almost completely inferior to the CotOK.
Right, so after all these yapping around with topics tangentially related to Cadaver’s Cranium, what should you wear with it? The Cadaver’s Cranium has one theme: body mutilation/modification. Admittedly that is more of Pyro’s and Engineer’s thing, but Heavy still has the Big Steel Jaw of Summer Fun, Purity Fist and the Brimstone if you want to add some demonic influence into the mix. If we consider Halloween-restricted cosmetics, we do get more choices, but then those will not show up until Full Moon or Halloween. Or you can be a goofy Frankenstein’s monster by wearing two themed cosmetics and this. Personally, I’ll pick Heavy Tourism and Aqua Flops for a beach party man-made monster look.