After initially being announced back in 2019, then being delayed all the way to 2022, Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course is finally here. Cuphead, Mugman, and new character Ms. Chalice take on a gang of new enemies in a far away land to try and gather ingredients for a very special recipe.
Not only is Cuphead a fantastic game, but the developers are big time fighting game fans and littered some boss fights in the original game with clear references to Street Fighter and other classic titles. It seems like the Moldenhauer brothers may have added some more fighting game references into the new expansion, and now that we’ve got some time in with the latest DLC here are some of the potential ones we’ve spotted so far. Spoilers ahead.
Ken’s Street Fighter 3 Third Strike taunt
This time around, it did not feel as though there were as many clear fighting game references added into the various boss battles. Naturally, there are likely others that are hidden within the game’s different fights, but so far, most of what I spotted seemed to be within the horse knight boss fight in the King’s Leap.
Essentially, King’s Leap is a set of challenges that put you against sort of mini-bosses where you can not use any of your traditional weapons to combat them. Instead, you are restricted to only relying on parries to take them down.
The horse knight comes equipped with a sword and shield and throws several different kinds of attacks at you. Throughout the match, the knight will take a couple of seconds to taunt you, and during this taunt he stands straight up and hits you with the “bring it on” hand gesture.
Now, we know that Ken’s Street Fighter 3 Third Strike taunt was clearly referenced in the Ribby and Croaks boss battle in the base Cuphead game (and the Moldenhauer brothers confirmed as much), but every time the knight did it I could not help but be reminded of the classic taunt – especially considering he does it as much as you’d see a competitive Third Strike Ken player do it in an actual match.
Admittedly, the left arm position does not match up fully here, but it still feels like a bit of a call back.
Sabrewulf’s Eclipse uppercut in Killer Instinct (2013)
Another move I just could not get out of my head when fighting the knight was Sabrewulf’s Eclipse from Killer Instinct. The horse’s sweeping upward attack could likely be compared to several fighting game moves – Leona’s uppercut in King of Fighters or Decapre’s in Ultra Street Fighter 4 – but the animation and body pose here looks damn near identical to Sabrewulf’s.
Nash’s crouching medium punch in Street Fighter 5
This was a strange one and although I do not know if the move is prominent enough to inspire an attack in Cuphead, you can not deny how similar these two look.
Every time the horse knight performed this upward strike, I kept telling myself that I’ve seen that normal in Street Fighter before … I personally hate fighting Nash in Street Fighter 5, and that’s probably why his crouching medium punch is burned into my brain.
These two moves definitely look like they match up very well, with the horse knight’s pose being very close to what Nash does for his attack. Horse Knight’s normal is a much better anti-air, though.
Hsien-Ko’s Chireitou from Darkstalkers
This is one I spotted from the gameplay demo we saw during the Summer Game Fest. In the launch version of the DLC, it looks exactly the same and very much like Hsien-Ko’s Chireitou.
In Cuphead, the large snowman boss hits a ground pound and makes large swords spring up from the ground. They pop up in the same way and pattern that Hsien-Ko’s do, and the blades themselves even look very similar in shape and color.
Funny enough, the snowman’s ground pound animation actually looks similar to one of Victor’s attacks, who also happens to be a character in Darkstalkers.
The last reference here is clear as day, and you’ll see it as soon as you hop into the Doggone Dogfight boss battle on DLC island. The first of the canine enemies you’ll face here is a pilot who is totally dressed like Final Fight / Street Fighter Alpha’s Rolento.
He’s got the same outfit that dons the same colors as the classic fighting game character, and some of the attacks that appear on screen might even be references to his kunai and grenade moves as we see three crossbones at a time fly at you and another smaller dog drop three tennis balls at a time.
Have you spotted any other potential fighting game references in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course? Let us know in the comments below!