Cuphead Boss Guide: Inkwell Island I

Cuphead's notorious difficulty makes it a Max Fleischer-flavored hellscape. The bosses are furious and fierce, and without some guidance, can be a really bitter tea to swallow. Allow us at Gamepedia to help! With these tips, the first collection of baddies will seem far less frustrating. You'll be collecting those contracts in no time!

Goopy Le Grande

In my estimation, Goopy Le Grande is the easiest boss you'll face on the first Inkwell Island. He's easy to telegraph, relatively slow moving, and is a pretty big target to hit. Keep moving and keep your eyes peeled, and you shouldn't have too much trouble with this big blue blob. For this fight, your Peashooter will do the trick, but if you have a the Charge attack, that would be a strong choice here, as well.

 

First Phase

In his smallest form, Goopy hops steadily, alternating between small jumps and big jumps depending on your distance. Every once in awhile, he will stop, take a breath, and lunge his body at you in the shape of a giant balloon or boxing glove. When he stops for longer than a second, that's your cue to back away. Waiting on either side of the screen and dashing under him when he leaps for the edge is a good way to keep him at bay.

 

Second Phase

Goopy almost doubles his size, but his attack pattern is more or less the same. He jumps farther this time, and his big body makes him harder to dash under, but the same strategy that got you here will get you past this. He trades his lunging headbutt for a full on straight punch in this form, complete with an actual boxing glove. As this attack has a longer range, it also has a longer start up, and it's a bit easier to get the jump on because of it.

 

Third Phase

Goopy dies, but his tombstone lives to fight another day. It moves in the background, sliding back and forth and falling forward onto you when it feels it has you dead to rights. This is its only attack and its pretty easy to escape with well timed dashes. The catch is that the best angle to shoot Goopy is pointing up while standing directly in front of him. It shouldn't take too much more work to put poor Goopy back in the grave.

 

 

The Root Pack

This trio of garden growth are mostly pretty tame, though each one of them presents a more difficult challenge. But at this stage, it's nothing you can't handle. Peashooter and Spread/Charge shot are good choices here.

 

First Phase

First up is the Potato, who is very easy. He doesn't move, only props himself up in the right corner of the screen and spits a series of dirtballs at you. His projectiles come in fours, and the last attack is a pink worm that you can absolutely parry. This is his only attack, but he shoots it in three speeds on a loop - slow, medium, and fast. 

 

Second Phase

Next is the Onion, who digs itself out of the center of the arena, and starts to cry. The tears rain down on both sides of him, so there's no way to avoid them all together. Just be diligent and stay in motion while shooting at the Onion, and look out for pink droplets that are parriable. After sustained fire and deft dodging, the Onion will wilt.

 

Third Phase

The final round is with the Carrot, who is clearly the baddest of the bunch. Like the Onion, he plops himself in the middle of the screen, but he's in the background, so you can run under him. His weakness is his face, so direct all fire there, but be warned, he's not going down like his brethren. He has two attacks, the first involving summoning smaller, homing carrot missiles that are slow moving but relentless.

 

The second is opening his psychic third eye, and firing psybeams at you. The beams track your location, but don't follow you around the screen, so keep moving to make them miss. Not that I have to tell you that, considering baby carrot missiles are trying to impale you as this happens. He cycles through them regularly, so stay diligent in knocking down those carrot missiles to make shooting him and dodging the psybeams that much easier. Keep focusing on his face, and you'll steam the carrot quickly.

 

Ribby & Croak

These two martial arts amphibians are the games first stiff fight. These two are dangerous and will inundate you with offense before you can say "ribbit." Spread and Chaser were my choices here, but Charge and Rebound aren't terrible choices, either.

 

First Phase

The two frogs will take turns shooting you with various projectiles. The tall one spits out flaming flies in pairs, which only move once every second or so, but always towards you. So when they appear, deal with them ASAP or risk being swarmed. The short one launches fist-shaped fire balls in rapid succession, as well as alternating elevations. In every three attack flurry, one of the balls will be able to be parried. When you've done enough damage, the short frog will roll towards you. Jump over him, and now they'll surround you.

Second Phase

Things really heat up this phase. The short frog on the left will bounce bombs at you while clapping. Jump, duck under, and dodge the projectiles until they bounce harmlessly to the other side. Which sounds easy until you realize the tall frog on the right is spinning his arms and body like a giant fan, blowing you towards his partner (and the bombs)! You'll constantly be fighting against his wind, which makes dodging the bouncing bombs that much more obnoxious. He will stop for a short time periodically, so take advantage of that reprieve. When the short frog rolls back to the other side of the screen, you know your going the right direction.

 

Third Phase

Alright, so the big frog ate the little frog and now they're a slot machine? Anyway, they will pelt coins at your until the slot lever lowers. You'll notice that the knob is pink, meaning its slappable. You know what to do.

 

When you do it, the reels will spin and match to one of three faces, the Frog, the Tiger, or the Devil. The Frog shoots out floor discs quickly that can be hopped on top of safely, just don't fall off of them. The Tiger shoots out similar discs, but this time, those discs shoot balls straight up out of them. You'll have to time jumping over the disc while also jumping under the ball it's juggling. The Devil shoots floating discs that shoot pillars of fire either up or down. Looking for the hole will determine whether you should jump over or under it. Another wrinkle: you can only hurt them when they're attacking you. This is where something like Chaser could come in handy. You just hold the shoot button down and focus on dodging, and eventually that ribbit racket will be closed for business.

 

Cagney Carnation

Cagney is probably the most cantankerous looking flower you've ever seen, and though quite dangerous, he's not to hard to wrangle down. I like Chaser and Charge here, weapon wise.

 

First Phase

Cagney has a great deal of attacks to get familiar with, and though they're usually easy to spot in advance, its when they overlap each other that he becomes a real tyrant. First up, he has a mighty face lunge that hits full screen either above or below the row of platforms. He telegraphs this attack pretty well, though, sucking his petals into his face and either standing tall or crouching down. Be where his head isn't.

 

Secondly, he will close his hands in front of him, and when he opens them, one of two things will be there. Either a big helicopter seed which will sweep across both levels of the area, or a set of three small seeds that will dart at your position from different angles. Both are easy enough to dodge.

 

Lastly, Cagney's head will become a crank, and after winding it, will spray seeds into the air, that will rain slowly down upon the field. Avoiding them as they fall is important, but once they hit the dirt, they will grow into new and dangerous plants that want you dead in various ways. Shoot them down quickly, especially the flying brain plants, which can be the biggest pain of that bunch.

 

Second Phase

Once Cagney as seen enough, roots and bramble with extend from the right side as he plants himself. You'll notice that every so often, vines will grow around two of the three platforms. Get to the non-vined one quickly, as Cagney send spears of thorns through the other two. While you dance around this, he will also rapidly spit pollen clouds at you to throw you off your game. Stay quick on your feet and you'll pluck that weed in due time.

 

Hilde Berg

Probably the hardest boss on the first island, Hilde Berg is an airplane fight. This means your weapons and most of your charms have no affect here. It's just your plane's default weapons, her, and the sky.

 

First Phase

At first glance, you'll catch yourself wondering why someone who can fly needs to also ride a unicycle. That will pass quickly when she begins to barrage you will attacks. On top of the purple mini blimp minions who skate into the scene and shoot at you, her own laugh is mighty. A literal "HA!" leaves her lips and will strip you of a life if you don't dodge it.

 

Second Phase

In this phase, Hilde will fly off screen and a constellation will appear. When she comes back, she will poof into the form of a big, cloudy Taurus bull. In concert with the blimp minions, she will also launch a full-screen head butt attack that is quick and has a fast start up, so stay on your toes here. Shoot her enough and she'll revert back to her blimp form.

 

Third Phase

Her third phase is a lot like her first phase, with the key differences being a new blimp minion and a new attack. The new minions are green, and fire a fan of projectiles instead of just the single targeted one. Hilde herself now will throw a tornado at you, on top of her other assortment of attacks. The Tiny Plane mode will be key here.

 

Fourth Phase

Similarly to her second phase, Hilde will fly off screen to take a new form. This time, though, the form she can take is random. If she takes the form of Gemini, she will transform into a pair of twins who twirl around one another, throwing shiny balls that fires bullets in a circle. If she takes the form of Cupid, she will shoot arrows that break up into three little stars that follow you around and will hit you if you don't shake them. Rumor has it that she can take one of these forms in Phase Two as well, but it's rare.

 

Fifth Phase

Hilde goes all out in her last form, turning into a giant crescent moon, who's face fires projectiles at you. Stars will fly towards you too, but they are easy to dodge. Harder to dodge are the pair of UFOs that will appear above you. The red ones fire vertical beams when you fly under them, so Tiny Plane past them quickly. Green UFOs pulse their beams to over several seconds, so wait for your window and pass under them. Easiest way to work around the UFOs is to wait for them at the left most edge of the screen, to give yourself maximum real estate. If there's anything good about this form, it's that Hilde is huge in it, and very easy to hit. So concentrate fire, and send this zeppelin burning to the ground.

 

Need more tips to survive your deal with the devil? Be sure to read up on these general tips here, and check out the Cuphead wiki for even more information.

 

 Jarrett Green 

@jarrettjawn

Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.

 


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