1930's Time To Shine Once Again – "Cuphead: Don't Deal With The Devil"

Maya Crawford, Graphics Editor

There’s a new game taking over the gaming community, with more than two million copies already sold to Windows and Xbox. It’s called “Cuphead: Don’t Deal With The Devil.” The new creative game is a ‘Run and Gun’ slide-scroll platform, which are fast action reflex games where the screen moves with you as you as you progress, with graphics and art inspired from the old cartoons from the 1930’s.

Cuphead and Mugman duo battle Hilda Burg from the boss level “Threatenin’ Zepplin”

“Cuphead” is a interactive gameplay fighting game, created by StudioMDHR, about two carefree brothers named Cuphead and Mugman. One day, the two wander too far from their home and find themselves at the Devil’s Casino and go right in, despite the warnings from their guardian, Elder Kettle.
They end up scoring wins left and right, which grabs the attention of the Devil himself. He wagers that if they win one more game, they can keep all the winnings in the casino, but if they lose, the Devil will capture their souls.
The brothers end up losing and beg for their lives. The Devil makes a deal with them that if the brothers can round up all the souls of his previous debtors by midnight the next day, he might let them free. The brothers race home and receive a potion from Elder Kettle that allows them to blast lasers from their fingertips, which is the first weapon in the game. This is where the manual gameplay begins.
Cuphead takes a shot at Baroness von Bon Bon from the boss fight “Sugarland Shimmy”

Originally, the character used is Cuphead, but if you bring a friend to play,  Mugman joins the fight. There are special moves and attacks you can purchase with coins you win from the Run and Guns, like Parry, Peashooter, Chaser and more. These attacks help immensely with the boss fights, which occur regularly between the Run and Guns.
“Cuphead” is overall rated to be incredibly difficult by the many let’s players, which are people that record themselves playing, and bloggers that have played it. There are so many things in the level happening on the screen at once that you lose focus on even progressing to the end. There’s boss after boss and obstacle after obstacle. Even if you usually have a level temper, it’s nearly guaranteed that you’ll rage while playing “Cuphead”. The fact that you only have three HP, or health points, probably doesn’t help, since you can only take three hits before you die and have to start over.
Cuphead and Mugman watch each other’s backs in the “Clip Joint Calamity” boss fight

As far as art goes, it’s very original and creative. The aesthetic is really different from most games of 2017, and the style really brings it all together. Each movement and scene was hand drawn by Chad Moldenhauer and animated by Hanna Abi-Hanna, two staff members from StudioMDHR. The two really took the “rubber hose” animation and the disregard for physics right from the 30’s, which gives it that bouncy, fun style.
“Cuphead” also has fun names for the levels like “Threatenin’ Zeppelin” and uses 1930’s slang, as if it was really a game straight from the past. Even the screen breaks and statics ever so slightly just like the TV’s from the old days.
Obviously a lot of work went into this game, as it took nearly five years to be released, and it really paid off. As hard as the gameplay is and as time consuming as getting past just the first Run and Gun is, it really is a fun game to play. There’s different paths in the plot that you can take, and it introduces tons of new characters, which are great to be exposed to. No level is the same and “Cuphead” always keeps you on your toes, which is a component that every good game should have.
Cuphead uses the “Spread” powerup to shoot at the stubborn grave of Goopy la Grande in the boss fight “Ruse of an Ooze”

Norrix junior Calvin Selvidge played “Cuphead” for himself and agrees that the art style is very creative. He chose the “Good Path,” freeing the souls of the Devil’s debtors that he’d collected during progressing in the game. This decision allows you to continue and fight the Devil himself.
I did the good path because I feel that I have a moral obligation to do so,” Calvin said. “I wanted to play more, and I believe that having a ‘game over’ button steals the feeling that someone gets from beating the game.”
After a collective seven and a half hours of work to beat the bosses, excluding the restarts and fails, having a sudden game over before the ‘finale’ would definitely seem disappointing. As hard and frustrating as it can be, many reviewers agree the sense of accomplishment at finally completing this extravagant game is worth it.
“My favorite part of the game is the Baroness von Bon Bon boss fight. It combines strategy with chaos and makes the boss fight play well. I didn’t like Cala Maria because there’s stuff flying everywhere and it’s easy to lose where you are,” Calvin explained after being asked about his favorite and least favorite battles of “Cuphead”.
Overall, just play it for yourself. “Cuphead” is difficult, yes, but also very rewarding when each level is finally completed and the game is very addicting. There’s a new experience around every corner and the scenery makes up for the difficulty 100 percent. It’s available on Steam, Microsoft Store and Gamestop for only $20.00. There’s a lot of great input and storyline and it’s worth every penny.