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The Phantom Express is a boss in Cuphead that appears in Inkwell Isle Three.

It resides in the level Railroad Wrath and consists of the Blind Specter, T-Bone, the Blaze Brothers, and the Head of the Train.

Description

Appearance

The Phantom Express is a train for the dead. The Blind Specter is a light blue ghost with one large empty eye socket on his head, and his eyes coming out of his palms.

T-Bone is a very large skeleton, with his most notable feature being the conductor hat he wears. He also appears to be missing a tooth.

The Blaze Brothers look similar to the pistons of a train. They have large round heads being held on very thin tubes. They also have knives as teeth set.

The Head of the Train is a steam locomotive with a blue face and greyish-purple body, with his heart inside of his boiler. He is always seen with his teeth showing. After uncoupling from the rest of the train, he looks similar to a horse, with his body raised above his wheels by four legs and a tail that ends in a light-bulb.

Personality

Everyone on the train seems to take enjoyment in poking fun at the brothers dying. The Blind Specter says that Cuphead and Mugman shall count the worms that go through their corpses, T-Bone says the train's next destination is their funeral, the Blaze Brothers state that the train is exclusive to dead people, but now that the brothers are dead, they can ride the train, and the Head of the Train states that he has enjoyed the battle and "bringing the fright".

Intro

Before the battle, Blind Specter stretches out of the caboose of the train and cackles maniacally in an attempt to scare Cuphead and Mugman.

Battle

150619392039076-9

Blind Specter ready to fight.

"I can see...into the future. You...will be...counting worms."
Blind Specter, Death Screen

Throughout the entirety of the battle, a platform will follow the train in one of three places, and will only move if the vaults on either end are parried or hit by certain objects, which can also be parried.

The first phase takes place at the back of the train with Blind Specter, a ghost with eyes on his hands. He attacks by bouncing eyeballs towards the players. These eyeballs can be destroyed by shooting at them. Hitpoints = 3.5/3.5/3.5

Meanwhile, Pumpkimps, (jack-o'-lanterns with wings,) come from either side, and drop a pink ingot onto the vaults of the cart to move it closer to the Blind Specter, so he can damage the player(s). The Pumpkimps can be killed by shooting at them, and the ingot can only be destroyed by parrying. The Pumpkimps will appear in this phase and T-Bone's phase. In Simple mode, they never appear. Hitpoints = 4/4

After enough damage, Blind Specter screams in defeat and retreats back inside the caboose and the player(s) move forward to the next part of the train. Hitpoints = 400/425/425

150619392039076-10

T-Bone with his Skeletal Slam!

"All aboard!! Next stop -- your funeral."
T-Bone, Death Screen

In the second phase, perhaps the easiest, T-Bone, a giant skeleton, who seems to take on the role of the conductor, pops out of the cars along with his massive skeletal arms.

T-Bone primarily attacks by slamming his hands onto two spots that players can be on, before popping in and out another car and repeating his attack; players need to move the platform to the area beneath his head to avoid damage from the arms, or they can stand on either edge of the platform as the slam lands on the middle of the platform. Which cars he will appear next is usually middle, right, left, and repeat.

After T-Bone takes enough damage, he will cry in pain and lower himself back inside the train, the player(s) moves on to the next part of the train. Hitpoints = 320/325/325

150619392039076-11

The Blaze Brothers attacking Cuphead.

"Sorry! This train is only for the dead...but we can help you with that."
Blaze Brothers, Death Screen

The next phase is the Blaze Brothers. Similar to Ribby and Croaks, both are fought simultaneously, but this time both must be killed separately. Their only attack is each raining down lightning from their mouth and moving closer to players until to the edge of the platform on either side.

Instead of Pumpkimps, Spooks come out of the smokestacks of the middle car and home onto players. When they are killed, a pink skull will drop that has a chance to move the cart, which can be parried. Hitpoints = 5/5/5

After enough damage to the both of them, they will melt, and the player(s) can move on to the front of the train. In Simple mode, the battle will simply end when the brothers melted without travel forward again. Hitpoints = 180/200/200 each

150619392039076-12

The Head of the Train preparing for battle.

"What a glorious night for me to bring the fright!"
Head of the Train, Death Screen

In this last phase, the head of the train dislodges from his cab and the rest of the train to fight the players. Rings of bones shoot out from his nose will move across the screen if parallel to the players.

To damage him, players must parry the pink light-bulb tail to open the boiler door. Once that is done, his heart will be exposed, and players must shoot at the heart to damage him, fireballs raining down onto players, which come from the furnace. After a while, the door will be closed again.

Once the heart has taken enough damage, the train goes crying in defeat with his heart now extinguished and broken in half, his light-bulb on his tail is broken, losing a tooth on the upper row and wearing a bandage. Hitpoints = 200/200

In Expert mode, the Pumpkimps will return, dropping ingots on the cart.

Sounds

Description Audio
The Blind Specter appearing in a spooky manner.
Sfx train blindspecter intro
The Blind Specter attacking.
Sfx train blindspecter attack 01
Sfx train blindspecter attack 02
Sfx train blindspecter attack 03
Sfx train blindspecter attack 04
Sfx train blindspecter attack 05
The Blind Specter defeated.
Sfx train blindspecter death
T-Bone appearing.
Sfx train skeleton head intro
T-Bone defeated.
Sfx train skeleton head death
The Blaze Brothers pop out.
Sfx train lollypop ghoul intro
One of the Blaze Brothers attacking.
Sfx train lollypop ghoul attack start 01
Sfx train lollypop ghoul attack start 02
Sfx train lollypop ghoul attack start 03
Sfx train lollypop ghoul attack start 04
The Blaze Brothers defeated.
Sfx train lollypop ghoul die 01
Sfx train lollypop ghoul die 02
The Head of the Train steaming with rage as Cuphead and Mugman pass by.
Sfx train engine car rage loop
The Head of the Train beginning to give chase.
Sfx train engine boss run start
The Head of the Train defeated.
Sfx train engine boss die

Walkthrough

Normal Mode Expert Mode
Phantom Train

Phantom Train

Train

Train

Gallery

Inspirations

  • The Blind Specter is most likely based off Eye Five, a villain from Skylanders Trap Team.
  • The Phantom Express itself may be a reference to the Swing You Sinners! ghosts.
    • It may also be a reference to the Phantom Train from Final Fantasy VI.
  • The faces of the Blaze Brothers look like a character in the 1930 cartoon Swing You Sinners!.
  • The background for this fight is inspired by the 1929 cartoon The Skeleton Dance.
  • The Pumpkimps may be a reference to a pumpkin with wings from the 1933 Betty Boop cartoon Betty Boop's Hallowe'en Party.
  • If one looks closely at the Head of the Train, shortly before he dislodges himself from the carriages, the number "4561" can be seen on the carriage behind him which may be a reference to the LEGO System train set.
  • The Head of the Train nearly resembles the Demon Train from Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.

Trivia

  • Using P-Sugar will conveniently move your cart once you jump on it, making it extremely convenient for this boss fight and for parryable skulls and ingots that get close to the platform's dials.
  • Inside the Head of the Train is his heart-shaped engine; at first, it can be assumed that it is made of some sort of metal, as it glows red, like metal does when it's hot. However, when he is defeated, it appears the engine is clear and can crack, like glass. It is possible the heart is made of glass and just has a light inside.
    • It's possible the heart is a lightbulb as on closer inspection, it has a wavy line inside which could possible be the tungsten of it.
  • When going through the different phases, perpetually-smiling passengers can be seen on the train.
  • While fighting T-Bone, the Pumpkimps that drop the pink ingots on the cart will be in front of T-Bone, but the objects themselves will be behind T-Bone.
  • The Phantom Express is the sixth boss to have individual characters throughout the battle, with the others being the The Root Pack, Baroness Von Bon Bon, Wally Warbles, Rumor Honeybottoms, and Captain Brineybeard.
  • Out of all the individuals of the Phantom Express, only Blind Specter is seen in the good ending.
  • Due to the Phantom Express blocking Inkwell Hell from the rest of Inkwell Isle III, as well as it being on train tracks, Cuphead and Mugman literally ended up on the "wrong side of the tracks" in the opening.
  • At the beginning of the song in this battle, the song is made to sound like a train, while creating a good sounding melody, making Railroad Wrath a popular song among fans. (Snare drums sound like the train going over tracks, and several horns together make the sound of a train whistle)
  • The Head of the Train was going to have a part of the cart stick with the engine and uses skeleton legs (presumably T-Bone's), it breathes fire, shoot meteors or steam beam from the chimney and transform the chimney into a hammer. The concept art was posted by the boss designer Jake Clark.
Bosses
Inkwell Isle One
The Root Pack (Moe TatoWeepyPsycarrot) • Goopy Le GrandeHilda BergCagney CarnationRibby and Croaks
Inkwell Isle Two
Baroness Von Bon Bon (Lord Gob PackerKernel Von PopMuffsky ChernikovSargent Gumbo GumbullSir Waffington III) • Beppi The ClownDjimmi The GreatGrim MatchstickWally Warbles (Wally's Son)
Inkwell Isle Three
Rumor Honeybottoms (Policeman Bee) • Captain BrineybeardSally StageplayWerner WermanDr. Kahl's RobotCala MariaPhantom Express (Blind SpecterT-BoneBlaze BrothersHead of the Train)
Inkwell Hell
King Dice (Tipsy TroopChips BettiganMr. WheezyPip and DotHopus PocusPhear LapPiroulettaMangosteenMr. Chimes) • The Devil
Scrapped/Unused
ToastBetty BeetRadishJelly The OctopusGiant SpiderPachi-PachiThe LightCardDemon Bat