A shoot ’em up indie video game, Cuphead features a cute and whimsical animation style straight from the 1930s. Don’t be fooled though, as this game makes even pro gamers squirm from frustration due to its high difficulty. We rank the hardest of its bosses, so take a look to know what to expect if you haven’t played the game yet.
The first true hard boss you’ll encounter in the game and the first one you’ll fight riding on a plane, Hilda Berg can be a pain in the butt even for seasoned players. While she is relatively easy to deal with in her first phase, things get wackier once she transforms into any of her three transformations. Each version has an attack pattern of its own, so remembering all those is your key to victory.
Beppi the Clown really isn’t much of threat himself: It’s the stage where you play at that makes things more difficult. You have to consistently pay attention to the background to avoid getting hit by the roller coaster and such. Of course, if you focus too much on the background, you’ll risk getting hit by Beppi’s projectiles. So make sure to keep an eye both to finish the stage.
With four phases, Sally Stageplay isn’t someone you can easily dismiss at (like any other actress, of course). While two of her phases aren’t much of a challenge, her other two phases are quite the trouble. Her final phase is arguably the hardest where the audience and her parasol will be the ones to do the attacking. Using the smoke bomb charm can ease the fight though, so use it if you want to quickly end the battle.
Wally Warbles is your typical spammer-type boss: He’ll just throw rows of dozens of projectiles, and you have to dodge them all to survive. And oh, you have to deal with that overwhelming firepower for three difficult phases. To top it all off, his final form involves him taking up a huge chunk of space at the bottom of the screen. That means you can’t damage him with your machine gun, so you have to rely on bombing the heck out of him, which you also have to manually aim while dodging his attacks. Good luck with that.
Falling barrels, octopus gun attacks, cannonballs and various summoned sea creates: those are the things that you have to juggle in your mind if you want to survive this boss battle. Sounds hard, right? Imagine actually playing it. If you somehow manage to get to the final phase, you’ll be in for more trouble: a huge laser cannon attack that can easily wipe off two of your hearts. So how can you win? Try and try and die and die until you succeed!
The queen bee of her hive, Rumor Honeybottoms is an annoying two-phase boss (or three, if you include her henchman, the police bee) that can attack from different directions. What makes her more troublesome than the last bosses though is that you have to fight her upstream. You have to constantly jump upwards onto platforms or get damaged by the rising boiling honey below. Her final form also involves shooting swirling missiles that’s nearly impossible to dodge the first time.
The second-to-the-last boss, King Dice himself isn’t much of a trouble himself: it’s the number of mini-bosses you have to fight that puts him high up in this list. More like of an endurance test than a test of skills, King Dice can have you fight as much as nine monsters (and a minimum of three) through dice rolls before eventually letting you face him. There’s also a small chance that you hit the worst option, and go back from scratch. If you can perfectly time your parry though, then there’s not much to worry about. Okay, maybe you have to worry some more.
Landing in top three is The Devil, himself: the last boss and the root of the problem. He may not look as scary in this cartoony version as in other media, but make no mistake: he is as notorious as he ever is. In his first phase, The Devil uses three transformations to attack, and fires three types of projectile attacks in between his transformations. During this phase, his demons will also attack from either side. All of these require great timing and reflexes to overcome. In his final phase, you will be warped into a different dimension and get greeted by an overgrown head of The Devil. There will be only five floating platforms wherein you can jump on, while he fires two types of projectiles as flaming poker chips drop down one of the platforms. And oh, he also summons some demons.
So what’s worse than a demon? A dragon, that’s what. While Grim Matchstick is under The Devil in the story, he can actually be harder to deal with than the latter. This higher difficulty can be primarily attributed to the fact that you have to fight this boss as you jump through moving clouds and avoid his attacks. And it just gets harder in his last form as Grim grows two more heads and fires several clustered fireballs. Shooting these projectiles will release four smaller fireballs in a plus formation, so better avoid them when you can. His middle head also changes into a flamethrower and fires away in a large area for a good few moments. And yes, you still have to jump through clouds all through this.
What tops this list and ranks past demons and dragons is no divine entity but a mad man and a mere machine designed to frustrate you to your wit’s end. In their first phase, the robot can simultaneously use three attacks that each have their respective weak points. Destroying these weak points will prompt the robot to use new attacks in place of the old ones. Then as you progress to the second phase, the robot will fly its head back and forth on and off the screen. What makes it even more frustrating is that it brings with it a homing missile whenever it comes back, which can easily overlap with each other, making it all harder. In their final form, the mad scientist finally shows himself riding the robot as he launches a radial burst of bolts all the while activating electrified walls that will surface from either top or bottom of the screen. These walls keep on moving upwards or downwards, and can corner you into your death if you ignore them even just for a second.
Our final thoughts
As frustrating the game may seem due to its high difficulty, it’s pretty much fun to play thanks to its peculiar art style paired with lively jazz music. Amazingly, this game sold a million copies in the first two weeks of its release, which is more than spectacular considering that no big names are attached to this title. So take note of these hard-to-kill bosses. Or die trying to defeat them without any upfront knowledge.