If you’ve been tuning in to my Mixer channel over the last week or so, you know that I’ve been playing this game called Cuphead. It’s a cute little game about two tea-cups who have a gambling problem, so they have to kill all these people so they can sell their souls to Satan. Yea. Cute. I was immediately drawn to this game when it was shown at E3 2015 because of the beautiful hand-drawn 1930’s cartoon art style, and the awesome jazzy soundtrack. I actually bought Cuphead on it’s initial release date in 2017, but it got buried under the other games released that fall. So, I decided to pick it back up and oh boy, did I have a time.
I’m no stranger to difficult video games. I’ve beaten Dark Souls 1-2, played through most of Dark Souls 3, and started Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. While I enjoy the relaxing nature of more casual games, I’m always open to a challenge. However, I’ve never been as discouraged and disheartened in my entire gaming career as I was playing through Cuphead. The margin for error is so small, so minute, that one mishap can ruin an entire attempt. My Xbox tells me that it took me about 15 hours to beat the game on regular difficulty. In that playthrough, here are the moments where I about lost all hope that I would ever beat this game:
When Tyrion bit my foot and I BARELY lost
For some, Baroness Von Bon Bon isn’t a hard boss. But for me, she was absolutely fucking brutal. It all boils down to which mini-bosses you have to fight. The gumball machine and cupcake were easy, but the candy corn and the gobstopper just threw me for a loop every time. Regardless, by the time I’d reached this clip I’d been fighting her for about 45 minutes and I’d figured out her floating head’s movement pattern. Then, my fucking puppy missed his chew toy and bit me in the foot and threw me completely off. Just to be clear, she only had one, maybe two hit points left and she would have been dead. But nope, I lost and had to fight her for another 10-15 minutes. Fuck you Tyrion.
The bombs from Dr. Kahl’s Robot
I can tolerate bullet hell. I’ve done it many times over. For me, the 3rd phase of this fight really wasn’t too bad. But what I could not handle was all the absolute bullshit in the first two stages of Dr. Kahl’s Robot. I mean first, you have 3 tiny ass hitboxes you have to shoot while 3 different attacks are thrown at you. After you break one of the robot parts, it throws a different attack at you until you finish the other two. And the worst of all of them is this giant black homing missile with an obnoxiously big explosion radius. After you finish the first phase, the robot head starts flying at you while more black homing missiles are launched at you. The problem is you can only shoot forward, so you have to manage 2-3 missiles and dodging the robot head all while trying to deal damage to the head. It’s maddeningly difficult, as you can see above.
Hitting the “start over” on King Dice during a flawless attempt
Oh. My. God.
King Dice is just an absolutely brutal grind of a boss. First, you have to parry this dice in the middle to move across the game board in the center of the screen. And guys, parrying the dice is not that easy. As you move across the board, you have to fight all these mini-bosses. The mini-bosses really aren’t too bad and they’re short, but the overall length of the entire fight can wear you down quickly. This clip was about an hour into my fight against King Dice, and I was in the middle of my best run yet. Then…I hit that stupid fucking two. Hey MDHR, you suck dick for putting a START OVER tile on an already ridiculously hard game.
My 3+ hour fight against The Devil
Immediately after this attempt, someone that just entered my chat typed “calm down, I suck too”. And I almost cried.
There were so many times last night that I seriously thought about just shutting the stream down and trying again another day. I’ve read from some people that the final fight against The Devil is actually not that bad, and to those people, I say: ARE YOU FUCKING HIGH? I shit you not, I played that boss fight for 3 hours straight before I finally beat him. And this moment above is just one of many. My brain had been turned to complete mush. My will had been completely broken. I don’t even think I was actively engaged in the fight anymore. I was depending entirely on muscle memory and throwing my body against the boss over and over until I finally triumphed. And let me tell you, when I did, I was happier than I’d ever been.
That’s what these challenging games bring you that nothing else can: an immense feeling of accomplishment. Sure, the game is absolutely brutal, but it’s also fair. You can’t cheat your way through any of the bosses, and in turn, they don’t throw anything at you that can be beaten with practice. But the good news is that I have finally beaten Cuphead and I can rest eas-…..wait….what?…there’s DLC coming?….fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.