Rumor is a very large queen bee. She wears a black and yellow dress with black sleeves with yellow cuffs and white gloves, and despite her full body wasn't 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 crown and wields a large honey wand. Despite her size, her wings are quite small but still able to hold herself at the top of the screen for the entirety of the second phase. She also appears to be wearing red lipstick.
Rumor is one of the more clever bosses, using Bob the 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 Bob the Bee, who is promptly heard blowing a whistle in the distance off screen before flying in, as if on cue, before warning the duo to step away from the honey. Then, she retreats off the top.
"Doggone! We've got ourselves a good old fashioned honey heist!"
—Policeman Bee, Phase 1 Death Screen
- Main article: Policeman Bee
Hitpoints = 250/264/336
In this phase, Rumor sends Bob the Bee after the players. Bob 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 fly across the screen. These are harmless on their own, but the player may take damage if they collide into them. 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 in the final phase, Rumor replaces the honey in her airplane form. In Simple mode, the scrolling section is slower. In Expert mode, it is faster.
After taking enough damage, Bob 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.
Using Spread or Lobber in this phase is recommended as the Policeman Bee's hitbox is very big and he moves relatively slow.
"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:
Hitpoints = 750/432/490
- A spiky purple tetrahedron that shoots off three little pink equilateral triangles from the tips three times that can be parried. In Simple mode, it only shoots out small triangles twice. In Expert mode, the tetrahedron moves faster and it's fire rate is increased. These will eventually drift off the screen in random directions after some time.
- A stripy pink sphere that follows the players slowly, which the players can parry continuously. It will drift off the screen in a random direction after some time. In Simple mode, the sphere travels slower. In Expert mode, it travels faster.
In Simple and Expert mode, she only casts one projectile of each spell.
Occasionally, she shows up in the middle dropping her head down to the bottom screen, which is connected by a chain to her body and spits out bee missiles on both sides that cover the entire arena in an 'S' like pattern.
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 an airplane. She then flies downwards off-screen and reappears at the bottom screen, which commences the final phase of the battle. In Simple mode, Rumor's attacks are set in a pattern: initially, she only uses the "Spell" attack, 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 endlessly until she is knocked out, ending the battle without her transforming into an airplane.
It is recommended to use Spread or Lobber in this phase as well, as Rumor's hitbox is also very huge, Chaser is discouraged as this phase is easy to hit and the spells will also be a focus for the shot and drag away damage from Rumor.
"Dominate and bombinate -- that's how I bee!"
—Rumor Honeybottoms, Final Phase 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 homing fist missiles that move in a swirling motion to damage the players. In Expert mode, she can fire two fist missiles at the same time. 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.
Hitpoints = 504/574
After taking enough hits, Rumor is defeated as her airplane form malfunctions, swinging her wings and spinning her head with crossed eyes and sticking out her tongue.
It is recommended to use Lobber, Roundabout or Chaser in this fight, as they have a easy time to hit her body by aiming up for Lobber and Roundabout or everywhere for Chaser. Charge, Peashooter and Spread are harder to use as they need to be aimed down.
|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.|
|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.
- Sometimes, the circles 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 defeated without taking damage. If dealt enough damage before last phase, Rumor can be defeated during the transition to last phase (Rumor using magic to turn herself into a plane). It can be seen here. This glitch is due to how Rumor does not transition to her third phase if she is currently performing a second phase attack, instead stop the attack immediately and then transitioning, allowing for the player to infict massive damage.
- In early versions of the game, the shape is shown to be able to receive damage when being shot and destroy and the shape itself has no hitbox so players can pass through them, unlike the final game.
- Seemingly all the shape spells would have been able to damage the main entity (10000 HP) and the projectiles (1 HP), the value that controls the ability to damage the unused cube attack is left on for debugging purposes, and the tetrahedron and sphere damage controller is turned off. This also explains why Chaser would home in on them, they used to be able to be destroyed by weapon shots and still has a health value.
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 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-themed 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 ("Bee" versus "B").
- The bee missiles in the second phase bear a striking resemblance to the Banzai Bills from the Super Mario franchise. Rumor herself when her head drops with a chain attached 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.
- An attack called "BlackHole" is identified alongside the sphere and tetrahedron attacks, this attack seems to be similar to the tetrahedron, using the cube sprites found within Rumor's assets, it would have shot projectiles, alternating between up/down and left/right, rather than the corners. As the name of the spell suggests, the attack would 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.