Wally is a red-headed, blue-feathered bird of unknown species who wears a cuckoo clock that hides most of his body save for his legs, wings, and head. His legs are disguised as a pendulum before the battle with him begins. He has red and blue feathers and an orange beak and feet. Inside the clock resides his son.
Judging by how aggressive he appears and his son's death screen line, Wally acts as the brawn of the Warbles family. He appears to be a protective father to his son, having a cuckoo clock for him to be kept safe in while Wally deals with his own enemies. Wally is even determined enough to fight until the end, no matter what happens to him in the process, as evident by the fact that he continues the battle featherless and on a stretcher. He also seems to have a boastful side, as suggested by the death screens from phases 1 and 3.
At the beginning of the battle, Wally acts like a cuckoo clock, then he bursts his head out of the clock's face and the cuckoo disappears. He then screeches loudly at Cuphead and Mugman.
"I own the air -- I fly where eagles dare!"
—Wally Warbles, Phase 1 Death Screen
Hitpoints (before whistling) = 1000/600/700
At the beginning of the fight, Wally Warbles will use two different attacks:
- Wally will start shooting eggs out of his mouth in a straight line that break apart upon contact with the edge of the screen. The egg fragments burst outwards in a spread shot of 3 bullets. In Simple mode, it only bursts into two fragments vertically. In Expert mode, the eggs will burst into five fragments, with both the Simple and Regular spread combined.
- Wally will stay in place and turning his head into a hand with three fingers after a short delay, shooting three large bullets in a spread formation at the player(s) in an attempt to damage them. In Simple Mode, the delay is slightly longer and the bullets travel slower, ensuring a wider spread. In Expert Mode, the delay is slightly shorter and the bullets travel faster, ensuring a tighter spread.
Hitpoints (after whistling) = 500/552/700
After taking enough damage, Wally will turn his head into a factory steam whistle and sound it in rage. He will only use one attack in this sub-phase:
- He will start flapping his wings furiously and firing constant radial bursts of eight feathers outwards. Eventually, he will tire himself out and temporarily rest before recovering and attacking again. In Simple mode, he will take longer to recover and the rate of each burst is slower. In Expert mode, each burst lasts shorter, but he will take less time to recover and the rate of each burst is faster. During this process, what appears to be Grandfather Clock Gong noises can be heard in the background.
Throughout the first phase, he is accompanied by rows of four birds, each with a nail tied to them. The first three will be yellow, while the last one is always pink and able to be parried, it also fly across more steadily than the yellow counterpart. They will fly at two specific heights, which are near the top or near the bottom. In Simple mode, there will just be three at each row and they stop appearing after Wally steams in rage. In Expert mode, they appear as soon as the battle begins rather than after a short time and they will fly faster across the screen at the same height as the player(s) when they spawn. Hitpoints = 8/8/8
After Wally has taken enough damage, he will lose all of his feathers and fall out of his birdhouse, after which it explodes, revealing his son, Willy Warbles, flying on a small birds nest.
- Main article: Willy Warbles
"My dad's the brawn and I'm all brains! Together, we bring the pain."
—Willy Warbles, Phase 3 Death Screen
Hitpoints = 500/552/532
In the next phase, Willy floats around the screen. In Simple mode, he moves slightly slower. In Expert mode, he moves faster. He is accompanied by five spiky eggs that block bullets and revolve around him. The eggs periodically expand and contract around him, damaging the player(s) if they made contact. In Simple mode, there will only be four eggs and they move slower. In Expert mode, there will be six eggs and they revolve around quicker when expanding, and slower it when contracting.
Apart from the eggs, he can fire a single electric bullet at the player's direct location, which can always be parried.
Once he has taken enough damage, Willy will cry out for help and disappear, after which Wally appears for a final fight. If in Simple mode, his cry for help won't be enough, as the battle just ends.
"Even without my feathers, you're in for stormy weather!"
—Wally Warbles, Final Phase Death Screen
Hitpoints = 696/868
In this final phase, Wally is seen lying on a stretcher, wounded and naked from the last fight and being carried by two blue birds in paramedic uniforms. In Expert mode, the stretcher moves back and forth faster. He has two primary attacks to damage the player(s):
- His head will turn into a trash can which will spew out objects towards the player. These objects are a fish skeleton, one of your mini bombs, an apple core, and a magnet. Occasionally, pink boots will be spewed out, which can be parried. In Expert mode, he spits objects for a longer time.
- He will occasionally stomp his chest with his legs to shoot his heart upwards, which then shoots three bullets in a spread formation before returning down. In Expert mode, the heart will shoot two bursts of bullets with the same spread. He can only be damaged during this attack if the player aims at the heart.
The two blue birds periodically shoot pills up from their beak during Wally's attacks. After a short pause, the pill splits apart with one end targeting the player's location. Occasionally, the pill will be pink, signaling its ability to be parried. In Expert mode, the paramedic birds attack more often.
The only vulnerable segment of the boss is Wally himself as the paramedics blocks the bullets from the side. When he shoots his heart out, the heart will be the only part that can be damaged, not even his body counts. Bombs are nearly required for this stage to damage him from above, however, the player can damage Wally from the bottom of the stretcher, as long as the stretcher is not on the left side of the stage.
Once Wally has taken enough damage, he is defeated and left dizzy. The two blue birds, without hesitation, prepare to make a meal out of his corpse by wildly sprinkling him with salt and pepper, with their medic hats being replaced by chef hats.
|Wally spitting out an egg projectile.|
|Wally whistling in frustration.|
|Wally attacking with his feathers.|
|Wally trying to catch his breath.|
|Wally trash talking.|
|Wally Warbles defeated.|
A turret bird minion is in the code for this fight but got cut for unknown reasons, most likely due to being way too similar to Hilda Berg's Zeppeling. Based on the code, it would have probably moved up and down the side of the screen, like Warble's early phases. At the start of the fight two will come out immediately and they will aim and shoot at wherever the player(s) is. Hitpoints = 8
The unused projectile was the original bullet Wally uses in phase 1 for his finger gun attack.
|Normal Mode||Expert Mode|
- Wally is one of the few bosses that are not seen at the ending, the others are Goopy Le Grande, Ribby from the Ribby and Croaks fight, Dr. Kahl’s Robot, King Dice and The Devil, this could implying that he was eaten by his two cannibalistic medics, who shake salt and pepper on him after his defeat. But his animator, Jake Clark, confirmed that Wally is still alive.
- He is one of the two bosses that is potentially implied to be truly dead, the other being Goopy Le Grande. Although Goopy has also been confirmed by Jake Clark to still be alive as well.
- Alternatively, his absence from the ending can be explained by the fact that he couldn't get there, as, without his feathers, he can't fly.
- Wally could also be present, but he could be off screen.
- His old line was "I'd say that was more of a crash landing."
- It's possible that Wally's cuckoo clock form is more than just a disguise as when he does his three-fingers attack or start firing his feathers, cuckoo clock sounds can be heard.
- A prototype of his track was used as a placeholder for Captain Brineybeard's battle in the 2015 demo.
- Early footage of Cuphead implies that Wally was supposed to be fought in Inkwell Isle One.
- Despite art assets and a pattern code that would have supported the use of an additional feather type, a pink parryable one, the blue feathers are hard-coded to be the only ones that appear.
- In early development, the stage was titled "A Fowl Afoul".
- This most likely could have been scrapped because Wally Warbles does not resemble a Fowl, which is a species of Hen. Rather, he seems to resemble a type of Woodpecker.
Inspirations and Similarities
Animator Jake Clark took Wally's bird-in-house through a number of conceptual possibilities and the team used characters like the giant roc in Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor and Woody Woodpecker to refine Wally's expressions and form. Wally got his name by finding the best W.W. name the team could master as a homage to the aforementioned Woody Woodpecker.
- Wally's name may be a reference to Walter Lantz, founder of Walter Lantz Productions and creator of Woody Woodpecker.
- Wally looks similar to the buzzards from the 1931 Silly Symphony cartoon The Cat's Out.
- The pills that Wally's medics spit out seem to resemble the Megavitamins from Dr. Mario.
- His last name is a play on words on "warbler."
- Wally might reference Cuckoo Condor from Wario Land 4, as both are birds hidden inside cuckoo clocks. (Wooden Clock for Wally and Mechanical Clock for Cuckoo Condor.)
- Wally might also be a reference to Stu from Donkey Kong Country Returns, as both are birds whose body's are hidden by an object with only the head, legs, and wings being visible. (Cuckoo clock for Wally and Cauldron for Stu.)
- The intro and end of Wally's first phase are also similar to Stu's intro and death animations.
- His eggs look similar to Yoshi eggs from the Super Mario franchise.
- His method of attacking via spitting eggs might be a reference to Kazooie from Banjo-Kazooie series who is also a bird that can spit eggs as one of the methods of attack.
- The vehicle that his son uses has a similar appearance and model to Bowser Junior's clown car.
- The quote "I fly where eagles dare!" is a possible reference to the songs written by Iron Maiden or The Misfits, or to the film "Where Eagles Dare" from 1943.
- His intro scream sounds similar to Ernie the Chicken from Family Guy.
- Wally also resembles and could be related to a woodpecker enemy in the Isle One level Treetop Trouble, as both are hostile woodpeckers.
- The beginning of his theme, Aviary Action!, bears some resemblance to the theme of the 1969 cartoon, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
- "Ride of the Valkyries", a composition by Richard Wagner, plays for a brief moment during the theme as well.
- The Art of Cuphead, Wally Warbles, page 111