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Dr. Kahl's Robot, known as the Automaton, is a boss in Cuphead comprised of the titular mad scientist along his giant robot. They appear in Inkwell Isle Three, in Junkyard Jive!.

Description

Appearance

Automaton

The Automaton is a grayish, giant humanoid robot. It has a hatch on its head which leads to a cockpit from where Dr. Kahl controls it. An antenna springs out of its forehead, which can fire substantially large lasers. There are two slots in its torso, at the height of the abdomen and the heart, from where the majority of the explosives within the robot is shot. It has glimmering yellow eyes and bears many automatic lights of the same color through its body, such as in its shoulders and knuckles, around its forehead and torso sides, and even in its antenna. Although not shown in-game, the Automaton's lower half is comprised of squarish, boxlike hips and rubbery legs similar to its arms. It also has nostrils.

Dr. Kahl

The doctor himself sports the appearance of a generic mad scientist. He bears some dull purple hair on his near-bald head, as well as on his mustache and goatee, and wears white lab coat and gloves, along his large, round, bright green-stemmed glasses. Dr. Kahl also has an inordinately large head in comparison to the rest of his body.

Personality

Automaton

The Automaton is capable of expressing emotion, as it is confident prior to fighting Cuphead and Mugman, gets annoyed when its antenna is destroyed, and becomes harried the moment its head ejects itself from the scrapped body. It does seem to enjoy chewing gum somehow.

Dr. Kahl

Dr. Kahl seems to be a crazed person, as he cackles at the Cup brothers while his robot attacks them. He is also an incredibly skilled inventor, as he was able to build the Automaton out of junkyard scraps.

Battle

Intro

Before the battle, Dr. Kahl wiggles his eyebrows repeatedly before heading back into his robot, who blows a piece of bubblegum as it turns on.

Phase 1

KahlIcon1.png

"OBJECTIVE COMPLETE. TARGET SCRAPPED."
Automaton, Phase 1 Death Screen

In this phase, the Automaton unleashes three primary attacks that it can use simultaneously to corner and/or damage players. These attacks are located on three different parts of it:

  • Head: A tracer laser will target Cuphead/Mugman that then expands drastically after a short moment. The laser will destroy any attacks that cross its path aside from the EX missile attack. In Simple and Expert mode, it will not fire from the start for a very long time.
    Hitpoints = 250/150/180
  • Chest: A pink cylindrical bot is released out of the chest that fires a laser vertically across the screen. The attack is unavoidable, and players need to parry the bot to cancel it. In Simple mode, the bot moves slower and has a slower spawning rate. In Expert mode, it moves faster and has a faster spawning rate.
    Hitpoints = 250/150/180
  • Abdomen: Four small U-shaped light bulb drones fly out of the Automaton's abdomen, which progress from top to bottom in a zigzag pattern. These can be destroyed easily. In Simple mode, it just spawns two drones with a large interval between them. In Expert mode, they move faster. Hitpoints = 15/15/15

Each of the part has its own separate pool of health. Hitpoints = 250/150/180

By destroying the places those attacks come from, the Automaton will gain new attacks depending on which place was destroyed:

  • Head: After destroying the antenna, the Automaton becomes angry, and tilts the upper portion of its head back to expose his cannon, which fires nuts and bolts in a spread shot of five or six scraps. In Simple mode, the scraps travel slower and only comes in fours and fives. In Expert mode, they are fired more frequently at a greater velocity.
  • Chest: After destroying the robot's chest, the Automaton will hold its hands up and and shake them in fear, then begin to use its arms for attacking. It can either hold up a magnet in the lower left portion of the screen that pulls the players towards it, or it can send its twisting arms through the middle of the screen, which fire out bullets vertically upon retracting. In Simple mode, only the magnet will appear. In Expert mode, the magnet pulls the players towards it with more force.
  • Abdomen: After the abdomen of the Automaton is destroyed, homing bombs are periodically released from the damaged abdomen, chasing the players until their time run out, they are destroyed or they collide with another bomb. The bombs explode in a large radius showing a skull and the silhouette of Dr. Kahl's head that has its hurtbox lingers for a short while, long enough to potentially throw off players. In Simple mode, the speed of the bomb is slightly decreased, health is also increased to make accidental detonation less likely to happen. In Expert mode, the speed of the bomb is increased dramatically. Hitpoints = 20/16/16

After destroying all 3 parts, its heart will be revealed, extending out of the its chest. When the heart loses half of its health, a black smudge partially covers it. When it is destroyed, the Automaton launches its head as the rest of its superstructure collapses, while the second phase commences. In Simple mode, the ejection mechanism malfunctions and the battle ends there. Hitpoints = 500/225/300

Phase 2

KahlIcon2.png

"MALFUNCTION. MALFUNCTION."
Automaton, Phase 2 Death Screen

In this phase, the Automaton's head continuously charges back and forth from off screen to damage the player(s) if they inadvertently fly into it. Each time it passes on the screen, it will spawn a homing bomb from the prior phase, alternating between the side of the screen, to damage the players; the bomb's health remain unchanged. In Expert mode, the speed of the head and bombs increases.

After taking enough hits, the Automaton will move to the bottom-right off-screen, comes back up and open its eyes, as Dr. Kahl reveals himself and begins the final phase of the battle. Hitpoints = 280/360

Phase 3

"I have the perfect equation to hinder yer evasion!"
Dr. Kahl, Phase 3 Death Screen

KahlIcon3.png

In the final phase, Dr. Kahl's primary attack is pulling out either a red or blue gem from his robot's mouth, which fires radial bursts in a counterclockwise rotation. The blue gem will fire in a burst of six and the red one will fire eight. In Expert mode, the bursts are fired at a higher rate, the blue gem will fire in a burst of five and the red one will still fire eight but with a more irregular pattern.

Not only do the players have to dodge Dr. Kahl's attack, but also a set of four electrified walls occasionally appear, moving in from the top or bottom of the screen, moving down or up respectively, eventually they will completely close off and leave the player no chance to escape. They also block normal bullets. The mini-plane is very useful for this phase, as switching in and out of it can help dodge the attacks. In Expert mode, these walls appear more often and are faster.

Once players pull enough damage, the Automaton sneezes and fires a jet of air out of its top, blowing off Dr. Kahl's clothes and leaving him dazed, while the Automaton appears exhausted. Hitpoints = 1120/1440

Sound Effects

Description Audio
Overworld
Dr. Kahl and his robot's introduction.
The Automaton laughing.
The Automaton's antenna breaks.
The Automaton's lower chest breaks.
The Automaton's upper chest breaks.
The Automaton's heart springs out.
The Automaton's heart breaks.
Dr. Kahl popping out from his robot's mobile head.
Dr. Kahl using the diamond.

Gallery

Walkthrough

Regular Mode Expert Mode

Trivia

  • In the graphic novel Cuphead Volume 1's fifth story entitled « Cuphead in “Scrapyard Scrap!” », Dr. Kahl refers to his robot as Automaton.
    • This is the sole instance in which this character is nominally acknowledged as an entity apart from its inventor.
  • Neither the doctor nor his robot appear in the good ending.
  • Dr. Kahl's Robot is one of the only bosses that loses two phases instead of just one phase in Simple mode. The other one is the Moonshine Mob.
  • This boss has the shortest second phase and the longest third phase in the entire game on the death screen progress bar.
  • There is a glitch where if the Mini-Bomb EX attack is used on the Automaton in Phase 1, the battle will not continue to Phase 2 and 3 for the remainder of the battle, although the Automaton can still be defeated to eventually finish the fight.
  • Before update 1.2, the Phase 3 death screen erroneously depicted Dr. Kahl's glasses as yellow instead of green.
  • His level's theme is a remixed version of the E3 2014 trailer's theme.
  • The Automaton does not have visible nostrils, but once its antenna is destroyed it will lift its head up to hiss in anger and two nostrils will be visible.
  • There used to be a glitch when dying at the first phase which caused the progress bar not to move, upsetting most players. This got fixed in a newer patch with a longer progress line for the first phase for players to actually see their progress.
  • Before version 1.1.3 of the game, the gems fired in Phase 3 could not be parried. This was probably done to make the fight easier.
  • Dr. Kahl's Robot is one of two boss fights that is not shown in any trailer for Cuphead, the other being The Devil.
  • Dr. Kahl's Robot is one of the only boss in the game which is oversized in the 30s perspective but not in modern perspective
  • A crib toy resembling the Automaton can appear after triggering the secret phase in the battle against Djimmi The Great.

Inspirations and Similarities

  • The Automaton's design references robots from various other media. The first phase appears similar to the Iron Giant from The Iron Giant and its original design in Ted Hughes' The Iron Man, Bender from Futurama, the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz or the titular machines from the Superman short The Mechanical Monsters. Dr. Kahl's mode of transportation in the final phase is reminiscent of Bowser's Koopa Clown Car from the Super Mario series, Dr. Eggman’s Egg Mobile from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, or possibly Dr. Wily's Wily Capsule from the Mega Man series.
    • The first phase of the fight seems to bear a strong resemblance to the battle with N. Gin from Crash Bandicoot: Warped.
    • The battle seems to take inspiration from the cover of the book The Iron Man.
  • The Laser Bots that the Automaton sends have a similar design to the Tellys from the Mega Man games.
  • Dr. Kahl himself seems to draw inspiration from other mad scientists in other platforming game franchises, such as Dr. Wily from Mega Man, Dr. Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog, or Dr. Neo Cortex from Crash Bandicoot.
    • For Dr. Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog, the gem, which is the primary attack of Dr. Kahl, references the Chaos Emerald.
    • At the start of the battle, he'll wiggle his eyebrows taunting Cuphead and Mugman, like Dr. Wily to the player in almost every Mega Man game, notably before entering Dr. Wily's Fortress.
    • Dr. Kahl's facial hair is a mixture of Dr. Wily's mustache and Dr. Neo Cortex's beard surrounding his mouth.
  • In terms of other media, Dr. Kahl seems to draw inspiration from the Professor from Felix the Cat and the titular Mad Doctor from the 1933 Mickey Mouse cartoon The Mad Doctor who also appeared in the Epic Mickey games.
  • The explosion of the homing bombs are almost identical to the player's bombs in the game Truxton.
  • The doctor's name is a reference to Milt Kahl, a famous Disney animator, and one of the Nine Old Men.
  • Being an old man and inventor, he may be a reference to Grampy, who was another old inventor, like in the Betty Boop short House Cleaning Blues.
  • The Automaton, though large, bears an uncanny resemblance to Champ, a much smaller human sized Boxing robot from the 1933 Mickey Mouse cartoon Mickey's Mechanical Man.
  • The Automaton resembles a real life robot named Elektro in facial features and the fact both have blowing abilities.
  • When close to the level icon in the board map, sounds of robotic sounding maniacal laughter can be heard. These sounds were taken directly from the PSX game Pac-Man World, during the final boss fight, due to the fact that said boss makes the same laughing noises.
Bosses
Inkwell Isle One
The Root Pack (Sal SpudderOllie BulbHorace RadicheChauncey Chantenay)
Goopy Le GrandeHilda BergCagney CarnationRibby and Croaks
Inkwell Isle Two
Baroness Von Bon Bon (Lord Gob PackerKernel Von Pop
Muffsky ChernikovSargent Gumbo GumbullSir Waffington III)
Beppi The ClownDjimmi The Great
(Cuppet) Grim MatchstickWally Warbles (Willy Warbles)
Inkwell Isle Three
Rumor Honeybottoms (Security Bee) Captain BrineybeardSally Stageplay (Sally's Husband)
Werner Werman
(Katzenwagen) Dr. Kahl's RobotCala Maria
Phantom Express
(Blind SpecterConductorLollipop GhoulsHead of the Train)
Inkwell Hell
King Dice (Tipsy TroopChips BettiganMr. WheezyPip and Dot
Hopus PocusPhear LapPiroulettaMangosteenMr. Chimes) The Devil
Inkwell Isle Four
Glumstone The GiantMoonshine Mob (Spider MobsterLight BugAnteaterAnnouncer Snail)
The Howling Aces
(Pilot BulldogYankee YippersPilot Saluki) Mortimer FreezeEsther Winchester
Chef SaltbakerAngel and Demon
The King's Leap
The PawnsThe KnightThe BishopThe RookThe Queen
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