Cuphead fans have been waiting five long years for the game to expand, The Delicious Last Course, and it’s finally almost here. The supplement will be released in June on all platforms. One of the new bosses of expansion, Mortimer Freeze, brings new challenges and new gaming systems Cuphead‘s style of fun run and shoot, and Polygon recently spent most of the hour trying to bring it down at a hands-on event.
Mortimer Freeze is a three-phase boss that we briefly saw in his first form Cuphead A trailer announcing the release date of the DLC at the end of 2022. We saw the boss’s second and third phases during the Summer Games Fest 2022 live. At the Summer Game Fest Play Day event in Los Angeles, I decided to fight the boss until I beat him, which took dozens of attempts over about 45 minutes.
For the fight, I controlled Mrs. Chalice, Cuphead‘s new DLC character. It brings several new abilities to the table compared to Cuphead and Mugman: It has an extra HP point, an inherent double jump that is independent of parrying, and dodging, plus its dash can act as parrying when connected to a pink object. These abilities give her an advantage over the original characters in the game, which makes it easier to fight strong enemies.
However, playing like Ms. Chalice is not a button to win automatically; its abilities will take time to master – a special avoidance turn, which requires pressing a button on the instrument panel while holding down the joystick. It’s not so easy to report in the heat of battle, but the framework of invincibility it provides will make it worth working on your repertoire.
Mortimer Freeze’s fight seemed to be designed to show how Ms. Chalice eludes rotation and parrying. In his first form, Mortimer flew over her head like a wizard, throwing Tarot cards, dropping ice servants and hitting the ground with a big fish from above. The small ice creatures he sent were especially difficult to avoid, because their trajectory was unpredictable. Trying to jump out of their way, he killed me several times until I learned to use Mrs. Chalice’s evasion to avoid harm from them. Meanwhile, using her parrying to earn Super Art energy from slow-moving pink tarot cards was satisfying.
In the second phase, Mortimer takes the form of a disgusting Snowman-style creature with a bucket on his head. It rolls from one side of the screen to the other, sometimes stopping after one roll, sometimes down three together, often launching into the air for the last roll. As a result, trying to skip it proved unwise, as it was difficult to predict when it would fly into the air instead of rolling on the ground.
The snowman shape has several other deadly attacks. When transformed into a refrigerator, it throws out ice cubes that break into pieces and bounce off after hitting the ground, creating more projectiles to avoid. It also releases flying ice creams that fall on you from the sky during subsequent attacks, adding to the already significant chaos in the fight. And the boss occasionally summons more sharp blades that erupt from the snow. When they arrived at the same time as I was avoiding flying ice cream, I often got hit or two.
It took me dozens of attempts to get to the third phase, and when I finally did that, I discovered that it was the most challenging form so far. Mortimer became a giant flying snowflake and the arena moved up into the sky, and the ground fell under Mrs. Chalis. I had to quickly jump to a series of floating platforms that quickly turned in a circle, making only the battlefield treacherous and deadly.
In the shape of a snowflake, the boss throws buckets from one side of the screen to the other. When they hit the wall, they spill small crescents that bounce around the arena. Mortimer also sends an electric eyeball flying around the room, moving towards the floating platforms. The eye fires multiple vertical bursts of energy before returning to the boss, making it extremely difficult to avoid damage. The shape of the snowflake also evokes sharp ice cream cones that form a circle around your platforms before moving towards the center and meeting in the middle of the screen.
Fortunately, Ms. Chalice’s other abilities made dealing with this shape a little easier. Switching to her alternate Chaser Gun, which fires green stars focused on the boss no matter which direction I faced, made it easier to focus on avoiding his unpredictable missiles as he jumped around fast-moving snow platforms. (This attack is not new to the DLC.) In addition, I have developed the habit of preserving Ms. Chalice’s Super Art, a very harmful vertical beam of light that extends above and below it, for the third and most difficult phase of Mortimer Frieze.
After a dozen attempts, I conceded defeat and failed to defeat the boss despite our best efforts. That was the case, until the very end of the event, when I was spying Cuphead station empty and unattended. Looking around, I sat down and decided to keep trying until the cab or security officers kicked us out. After several dozen more attempts, including one defeat that was so close that I screamed out loud, I finally sent Mortimer Frieze to pack. Predictably, it was the most deserving thing I did all day.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course comes on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC (via Steam and GOG) and Xbox One for $ 7.99.
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