Rumor Honeybottoms is a boss in Cuphead, making her lair in Honeycomb Herald. She resides in Inkwell Isle Three. Cuphead fights her in a vertical autoscroll level that is constantly filling with boiling honey and resembles a cross between a workplace and a beehive.
Rumor is a very large queen bee. She has red lipstick, a round yellow nose and a yellow and peach colored muzzle.
Her primary outfit consists of a black and yellow striped bell-shaped dress with a white trim at the end of it, a black ribbon belt around the waist, and long, black sleeves with yellow cuffs. She also wears a pair of generic white gloves, and despite her full body not being shown in-game (even in the good ending) she has yellow legs and wears a pair of black high heeled shoes.
Being the queen, she wears a bronze crown and wields a large bronze honey dipper that acts as both a scepter and a magic wand. Despite her size, her wings are quite small but still able to hold her body at the top of the screen for the entirety of the second phase.
During the third phase, Rumor uses a magic spell and turns herself into a yellow and black stripped airplane with a peach colored cockpit alongside a crown design on the back. She has yellow wings with black rings and white tips (with the white tips being her hands), as well as jet engines that act like rocket launchers with small white wheels and the same stripes as the rest of the plane. The honey dipper is now on the top of the airplane and acts as a propeller. She is also depicted with shark-like teeth.
Rumor is one of the more clever bosses, using Security Bee as cannon fodder to test the abilities of her enemies. She seemingly fights Cuphead and Mugman mainly to keep her own honey protected, rather than preserve her own soul as hinted in the death scene in Phases 1 and 2. She may also be an amateur in transformations, as she uses a guidebook to help her transform. It may also be that she was confident that she would be able to beat any intruder and ran out of attacks to use. She also seems to be partially mindful of what's above her, as evident by the pained groans from when she tosses the spellbook aside.
Rumor is seen with a knife, fork, and a napkin bib, hungrily looking at Cuphead and Mugman while licking her lips, and then snapping her fingers to call Security Bee, who is promptly heard blowing a whistle in the distance off screen before flying in, as if on cue. Then, she retreats off the top.
"Doggone! We've got ourselves a good old fashioned honey heist!"
—Security Bee, Phase 1 Death Screen
- Main article: Security Bee
In this phase, Rumor sends Security Bee after the players. Security Bee will pull bee bombs from his pocket and then drop them. These bombs explode after a 5-second delay and their detonation releases 6 spikes, 3 of which can be parried. In Simple and Expert mode, the bomb releases 8 spikes, 4 of which can be parried.
Meanwhile, worker bees with suitcases fly across the screen, looking very tired form work. They can be defeated. Hitpoints = 8/8/8
Throughout the whole fight, the bubbling honey at the bottom of the screen is continuously rising upwards, and players have to jump up hurriedly to avoid the honey by using the platforms. The honey appears in the first phase and the second phase only, as Rumor forces the players to ascend in the third. In Simple mode, the scrolling section is significantly slower. In Expert mode, it is slightly faster.
After taking enough damage, Security Bee will suffer an injury to his shoulder and a plaster will appear in that region. He then departs, rubbing his shoulder and moaning "Owww..." in pain, flying off the screen to the left as Rumor intervenes to continue the battle. This commences phase 2. Hitpoints = 250/264/336
"Hey sugar, this honey is off limits. Now scram."
—Rumor Honeybottoms, Phase 2 Death Screen
In this phase, the worker bees will stop coming out and Rumor will appear on either of the screen and use her honey wand to cast two projectiles of the following spells:
- A purple tetrahedron that gets spikier when shooting off three little pink equilateral triangles from the tips three times that can be parried. There is an audio cue of maracas shaking for this spell until she goes off-screen again. In Simple mode, it only shoots out small triangles twice. In Expert mode, the tetrahedron moves faster and it's fire rate is increased to shoot out all the triangles faster. This spell will spawn in a random location and drift toward to player(s) in a straight line, until it is off-screen.
- A stripy pink sphere that follows the players slowly, which the players can parry continuously. It will drift straight off the screen in after some time. In Simple mode, the sphere travels slower. In Expert mode, it travels faster.
In Simple and Expert mode, she only casts each spell one time.
Occasionally, she shows up in the middle dropping her head down to the bottom screen, which is connected by a chain to her body. She chews and spits out six bee missiles on both sides that cover the entire arena in an 'S' like pattern. When the missile is turning around occasionally it can make a drifting car sound. In Simple mode, she spit them out at a much slower rate, they move slower but their turn is tighter. In Expert mode, she always shoot out four missiles.
In Simple mode, she starts with only casting her spells and can cast them randomly, and the worker bees are still appearing during this sub-phase. After taking enough damage, the worker bees will stop appearing and she uses the "Bee missile" attack until she is knocked out, as she closes her eyes still with her head being lowered with the chain.
In Regular mode, she can start randomly with all three of her attacks, but the cycle is always bee missile, sphere spell, tetrahedron spell and repeats.
In Expert mode, the pattern is always bee missile, cast a random spell, bee missile, cast the other spell and repeats. With her only casting one spell each time, she is trying to stay off-screen often and change up her attacks often while letting player deal with the the platforming as well.
After taking enough damage, Rumor will flip her magic book to supposedly find a new spell after which she chants the spell with her eyes glowing and transforms into a fighter plane. She then flies downwards off-screen and reappears at the bottom screen, which commences the final phase of the battle. Hitpoints = 750/432/490
"Dominate and bombinate -- that's how I bee!"
—Rumor Honeybottoms, Phase 3 Death Screen
In the final phase, players now fight Rumor in her airplane morph spell on the bottom screen. She will move back and forth and attack by firing off fist missiles that has a weird set path, it move in a swirling motion to throw off the player(s). In Expert mode, she can fire two simultaneously.
Occasionally she will lean to either side and turn that side's wing into a buzzsaw to slice up the players if they are above her, which is telegraphed by her leaning to the sides of the stages and the sound of the buzz saw revving up. In Expert mode, she can chain two of these attack together. She would take a brief moment of staying on the same side not moving then start revving up the buzz saw again to swing bad to the other side.
After taking enough hits, Rumor is defeated as her airplane form malfunctions, swinging her wings and spinning her bright red head with crossed eyes and sticking out her tongue. Hitpoints = 504/574
|Rumor Honeybottoms snickers before dropping below.|
|Rumor tosses her spellbook aside as she starts her transformation into a plane.|
|Rumor flies downward as an airplane.|
|Rumor uses her buzzsaw to attack.|
|Rumor is defeated.|
An attack called "BlackHole" is identified alongside the sphere and tetrahedron spells. This spell seems to be similar to the tetrahedron, it would have shot projectiles on the axis it turns in the recreation video or alternating between up/down and left/right, rather than the corners like the tetrahedron. The movement could be going perpendicular to the axis for the most coverage of the spell's shots. Both the spell and its projectile can be parried.
As the name of the spell suggests, the attack may pull the player towards the cube. It may have been too chaotic when two cubes are cast to limit the player's action when the battlefield is always scrolling, pulling them to the bottom-screen honey.
|Regular Mode||Expert Mode|
- There are two unused laughs for Rumor Honeybottoms in the game files. It is unknown what they were going to be used for.
- Rumor's level is the only level to have vertical scrolling while some of the others are horizontal scrolling. She is also one of the few bosses who is fought in a moving stage that doesn't have an airplane.
- Sometimes, the spheres from Rumor's second phase can be seen on the sides of the level during the third phase.
- A glitch is found where the final phase can be skipped. If dealt enough damage before last phase, Rumor can be defeated during the transition. It can be seen here. This glitch is due to how Rumor does not have a damage gate for transitioning to her third phase. If she is currently performing a second phase attack, she won't stop until the attack is scripted to finish even if her health already passed the threshold to change phases. Since the transition also has a long animation, this allows the player(s) to inflict massive amount damage, potentially killing her before she completes her transformation.
- In early versions of the game, the shape spells can be destroyed by weapons and they have no hitbox so player(s) can pass through them.
- Seemingly, all the shape spells would have been able to take damage and be destroyed; The value that controls the ability to be damaged from the unused cube attack is left on for debugging purposes, and for the tetrahedron and sphere, the damage controller is turned off. This also explains why Chaser would home in on them. This could also mean they can be made to be able to block attacks as they are nearly indestructible while the other way around of making them easily destroyed like the demo would feel wrong as this boss does not have much attacks already. Hitpoints = 99999
- A baby can vaguely be heard crying when Rumor Honeybottoms tosses her book away during her transition to Phase 3.
Inspirations and similarities
Rumor Honeybottoms was inspired by strong guiding toons from cartoons including Fleischer Studios' Ants in the Pants and well as their 1941 animated feature Mr. Bug Goes to Town. Her design was a reference to Honey Woman, an unused boss character from Capcom's Mega Man 9. Her intro is a nod to Q-Bee, another Capcom favorite of the team, Darkstalkers 3. Some of her characterization was influenced from the Fleischer cartoon, Cobweb Hotel.
- Rumor's crown is similar to a crown worn by two queen ants, one in the 1940 cartoon Ants in the Plants, the other in the 1934 cartoon The Grasshopper and the Ants.
- Rumor is a bee character that turns into a plane and shoots out bullets. This is actually a pun in reference to the V-1 "buzz bomb". Another attack of hers is also using the same pun when she uses a buzz saw to attack. It could also be seen as a play on the B-52 Stratofortress bomber plane ("Bee" versus "B").
- The bee missiles that Rumor can summon in the second phase bear a striking resemblance to the Banzai Bills from the Super Mario franchise. When her head drops with a chain attached, she herself bears a slight resemblance to the Chain Chomp also from the aforementioned franchise. This may also be a pun on how she is at the top of the Chain of Command.
- I think this picture may help you out!
- The Art of Cuphead, Rumor Honeybottoms, page 141