Cala Maria is one of the bosses on Inkwell Isle Three on the boss level, "High Seas Hi-Jinx!"
"You are a cutie...I am not sure if I should catch and release!"
—Cala Maria, Phase 1 Death Screen
In this first attack, Cala has a wide of range of attacks that she can combine to corner the players and damage them. Because of this, her first phase is often hard to beat for many players. Cala has two main attacks:
- When Cala sinks into the sea and pulls out a giant fish to attack, she will get either a yellow fish that spits out an electrified dolphin homing onto the players, or a red fish that spits out jellyfish in 6-way spread formation. These fish, once they escape Cala's grasp, will damage the players if they inadvertently run into them.
- Cala can summons three ghost pirates by spewing them from her mouth. These ghosts will charge at players once the players are in sight, and they are harder to dodge if accompanied with puffer fish or other sea creatures.
Cala can supplement these attacks with sea creatures that she summons to aid her and corner the players as she executes her other attacks:
- Seahorse: A literal sea horse appears that will drink from the sea and spit out water upwards at the players, while moving around. While the water stream can not damage them, it will constantly push them up making it hard to avoid Cala's upcoming attacks.
- Turtle: A turtle appears that has a cannon installed within its shell and travels to the left screen. The cannon on its back shoots out bombs that will explode and release bullets in all eight directions. The turtle itself can be disposed of by shooting at it, which it will raise white flag in defeat.
- Puffer fish: Waves of these puffer fish will float from bellow in a random pattern as players frantically avoid them, while also avoiding Cala's attacks. Some of these puffer fish can be parried which makes it easier to dodge.
After taking enough damage, two electric eels appear and bite Cala Maria, electrocuting her in the progress. While being electrocuted, her octopus tentacles turns into "snakes", her skin turns to a greenish tint, her seashell bra turns into one made of grass, and her eyes become yellow with slit pupils, making her resemble Medusa. This transformation commences the second phase of the battle.
"You dare to gaze?! How 'bout stone boots so you can swim with the fishes!"
—Cala Maria, Phase 2 Death Screen
In this phase, Cala Maria will not attack the players, but instead, the electric eels will attack for her. These electric eels constantly appear around her and shoot five-way split bullets at players. If players don't destroy them fast enough, it will become a bullet hell situation as more eels surface and fire.
While the eels are attacking the players, Cala will occasionally shoot a gaze at them turning them to stone. Players can escape by tapping the directional buttons, but they have to be fast because they will be an easy target for the eels to hit.
After taking enough damage, her body turns to stone and crumbles as her head floats into a cavern commencing the final phase.
In Simple Mode, her entire body including the head will turn to stone, ending the battle without entering the cavern.
"Holy mackerel! Is that your best effort?"
—Cala Maria, Final Phase Death Screen
In this phase, players traverse through a cavern filled with corals as they avoid getting hurt by them and the spike columns that randomly appear. The snakes will spit out bubbles with skulls inside moving up and down and Cala retains her stone gaze as means to freeze them and damage them by the bubbles, corals or the spikes.
Once taking enough damage, Cala is defeated as she looks away in sorrow while one snake sadly plays the violin.
- Cala Maria was first teased at the E3 2015 trailer. Since then, no gameplay of the boss battle was shown, it is just a .gif where we can see the creation process of her idle animation.
- In the E3 2015 demo, the music for Botanic Panic was the same as Cala Maria's battle music in the final version.
- Cala Maria and Captain Brineybeard are the only nautical bosses in the game.
- Her name is a pun on "calamari", a type of cooked squid, as well as "calamaria," a genus of dwarf burrowing snakes. This foreshadows her transformation into a Gorgon for the second and third phases of the battle.
- Her second death screen mentions "stone boots so you can swim with the fishes". This is a reference to cement shoes, an method of execution that criminals, especially the mafia, used to kill somebody by weighing them down with cement and throwing them into water.
- She is based on Eliza, the first boss from Gokujou Parodius. In her early design sketches, Cala Maria wore a ship on her head much like Eliza, however this was scrapped due to being difficult to animate.
- Her floating head form in the final phase is a reference to Medusa being decapitated by Perseus in Greek mythology, which has also been referenced in other video games featuring Medusa, such as the Medusa Head, a recurring enemy and boss in the Castlevania series.
- In the ending, her size is roughly equal to Cuphead and Mugman, which is odd, considering she is huge during her boss fight.
- When transforming into her third phase, her body turns to stone and her arms fall off, making her resemble the famous statue, the Venus de Milo.
- Her final phase death screen mentions mackerel, which relates to many different kinds of fish, mainly from the Scombridae family.
- During her first phase, when the ghosts are released, Cala will make a sound very reminiscent of a fog horn.
- The animation she uses to fire the ghosts appears to be her old, unused intro animation.