The hard part about Delicious Last Course was getting it to work with Cuphead.

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At the end of June, Studio MDHR will no longer be haunted.

That’s when the studio finally released its Cuphead DLC expansion, Delicious Last Course. First announced in 2018, the DLC started out as a series of ideas that didn’t make it into the original game; things like homages to classic games and cartoons, or inspirations like the ghostly Cuphead character known as Legendary Chalice. As studio head and executive producer Maja Moldenhauer explained, these were ideas the developers simply couldn’t pass up, even if it would eventually take five years to realize.

Jugando ahora: Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course Ms. Chalice Gameplay

“En realidad, no había nada en el piso de la sala de montaje. [when Cuphead was completed]Moldenhauer said of the DLC, in an interview with GameSpot at Summer Game Fest. “When we made the main game, every sheet of paper [used for animation] he made it. They were things that were in the back of our minds [that made up the DLC]like homages to cartoons we love or moves we love, whether it’s like an abominable snowman or a cowgirl or something, we thought, ‘We’d love a boss like that.'”

“It was all in our heads and haunting us,” he said. “I don’t think we could have closed this chapter without publishing them. The ideas were too good to pass up and move on.”

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We spent some time testing those ideas during Summer Game Fest, where Studio MDHR had one of the DLC’s boss fights available to play, using Ms. Chalice, the living version of the ghost from Legendary Chalice, and the new character from Delicious Last Course. . However, playing as Ms. Chalice feels very different from the original Cuphead and Mugman characters.

Where the original characters only have one jump, but can get more air by using a parry ability on certain types of projectiles, Ms. Chalice comes with a double jump from the, uh, jump. Her Parry ability is a Horizontal Dash, which is perhaps more reliable than Jump Parry, but doesn’t give you any additional moves as a reward for executing it.

Moldenhauer said that Ms. Chalice was an element the team wanted to do more with in the main game, and in a very real way, Studio MDHR realized that ambition, thanks to the fact that you can play all of Cuphead with Ms. Chalice. However, with the new mechanics, the idea wasn’t to create a character that was easier to use than Cuphead and Mugman, Moldenhauer said.

“What we were doing was just trying to make it complementary,” he explained. “So if someone doesn’t have a good fast twitch double jump to stop time, they have this stop run. Vice versa, though, I like to play with Ms. Chalice, but that’s one component I don’t like.” I don’t like the after effect when you quick parry and what happens with it, I’m not very good at it. So I’d rather play a heavy parry level with Cuphead.”

In practice, playing Ms. Chalice requires something of a rewiring from the way you think of a Cuphead boss fight. Ms. Chalice’s double jump makes her a bit easier to use in terms of dodging large enemy attacks that required careful timing with Cuphead and Mugman. Parrying is a big part of a Cuphead fight, though: not only does it allow you to instantly disable an enemy attack, clearing up some screen real estate that you sometimes need, but it also helps you charge up special abilities and EX attacks that allow you to deal massive damage to enemies. While nailing a parry with Cuphead was traditionally enough to put you out of harm’s way for a moment, thanks to the way the jump parry propels you into the air, Ms. Chalice’s parry works as if you absorb the attack completely. That can often leave him out in the open and means she may ignore more parrying opportunities or find them more dangerous than with Cuphead or Mugman.

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Ms. Chalice has a couple of other character-specific features that can give you an advantage, but require trade-offs. To access Ms. Chalice, you need to equip a specific amulet, one of the special items you can earn in Cuphead that grants your character useful buffs. The Charm you get in the DLC swaps the place of Cuphead or Mugman with Ms. Chalice: she comes to life while one of them turns into a ghost. So using Ms. Chalice costs you that charm slot when you’re playing. However, in addition to Ms. Chalice’s other gameplay tweaks, the result is that while Cuphead and Mugman have three hit points, Ms. Chalice has four, making using her a bit more forgiving.

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She also has a dodge roll ability that is unique among characters, giving you a brief window of invincibility when you use it. The movement can be very useful in the right circumstances to prevent damage in a pinch, but it also depends a lot on the situation. In close fights without much maneuverability or that require precise placement of your character, like the boss fight we played, dodging wasn’t as useful. Like all of Ms. Chalice’s abilities, she will suit some battles in the game and not others.

Our hands-on session gave us the chance to fight a boss named Mortimer Freeze in the Snow Cult Scuffle level, which GameSpot previously saw as part of a hands-off preview for Delicious Last Course. Mortimer the wizard begins to float around the boss arena, harassing you with deadly tarot cards and drops of living water that march behind you like soldiers. If you damage him enough, he transforms into a giant abominable snowman, which also transforms into a fridge, throwing angry popsicles at you like flying monkeys, and blasting you with exploding ice cube mortars. Finally, you climb above the arena to stand on some rotating platforms, where you fight Mortimer in the form of a giant, magical snowflake. The snowflake form spits snow cones at you and likes to gouge out its own eye, which flies around, shooting lightning bolts across the battlefield. It’s actually kind of gross.

Like the other Cuphead battles, Mortimer Freeze isn’t easy: there are three total stages you have to fight through, each with its own set of mechanics. Staying alive in the fight is often a matter of careful positioning, such as when the snowman summons icy swords from the ground beneath your feet, or when his ice cubes hit the ground and break into smaller cubes that form a bow over your head. It took me a while to get used to playing Ms. Chalice and she feels significantly different from the base game characters. She excels in some areas, like jumping over the snowman when she transforms into a giant snowball and hurtles towards you, but isn’t necessarily perfectly suited to the fight thanks to her elusive parry. Playing as the character suggests that you may want to switch back and forth between Ms. Chalice and the original characters depending on the battle, though playing as her throughout the main game will definitely offer a new challenge.

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Moldenhauer said that creating that new challenge with Ms. Chalice was also the hardest part of developing Delicious Last Course.

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“It was easier to develop her with the new bosses coming out because we hadn’t defined what the game would look like yet, rather than having her retroactively fit and work with the existing bosses, because we didn’t want to touch them. These are all the same, and so is she.” had to work with them,” Moldenhauer said. “That was definitely one of the most challenging components of all of this. Defining and creating different concepts and different bosses and boss fights and things like that, that’s very natural because there are so many homages of gameplay that we want to play, or reference the art that We’re seeing”.

There are also some new references that influence what you’ll see in Delicious Last Course, though Moldenhauer said the team made sure the DLC doesn’t look drastically different from the base game, even though it’s based on some new sources. . Influences still come from 1930s animation, though Moldenhauer said Studio MDHR drew on work that came out in the latter part of the decade, such as Fantasia, as well as the cartoons that inspired the base game. Because the two parts were so closely linked from their inception, they are still very visually similar to each other.

With Delicious Last Course closing the book on this Cuphead chapter, Studio MDHR may well be looking to the future, but Moldenhauer didn’t let much slip on what the developers are thinking of doing next.

“There’s no shortage of ideas in our heads. We’re full of wacky, wacky things that we ultimately want to get to,” he said. “We love 2D animation, we love pen and paper and the magic that the digital age brings, so you can definitely expect that from us. We’re very open to different game genres. This was the first out of the gate, and We’ll have to see where it goes.”

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