Cuphead’s Cursed Relic challenge is a fun struggle

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC Cursed Relic screenshot

A not-so-horrible night to have a curse

One of the tricky optional goals in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course is to “obtain great power,” and it’s tied to a mysterious Cursed Relic that puts a tough new spin on the boss-battling format. While I struggled a bunch with this challenge, in the end, it ended up being one of the highlights of the DLC, and really, the entire base game. It makes you work.

Before I go into too many specifics, it’s worth taking a broader approach for anyone who’s intrigued but will ultimately still want to figure things out on their own. I’ll ease you in.

Cuphead DLC island model
It’s neat to see this island model again after finishing the DLC.

The cursed challenge

With an item called the Cursed Relic, you’ll only have one HP when you enter a boss fight, and your weapons are randomized, so you have to be adaptable. Your goal is to beat a certain number of bosses — either from the DLC, the base game, or both — to upgrade the item into something with less… drawbacks. It’s a trip. A frustrating, satisfying trip.

Much like how Ms. Chalice is a fun (arguably overpowered) excuse to revisit the original Cuphead content, the Cursed Relic is a fittingly hard shake-up for seasoned players.

It’s one thing to return to Isle I and make a fool out of the Root Pack and Goopy Le Grande, and if you’ve earned S ranks in Cuphead before, you know that no-hit runs are within your reach. But when you can’t rely on your ideal loadout, the pressure is on — and it builds.

Despite having random weapons with the Cursed Relic, you’ll have some control — you can let go of the “fire” button to cycle through the list. So long as you keep shooting, your weapon will stay the same; but if you ever let go, for any reason, including a dash, the shot type will shift to something else. With this setup, I often frantically tapped the button until I landed on the homing Crackshot, my one true savior, and then refused to let go.

Beppi the Clown boss
Beppi’s horseshoes always mess me up.

How well do you know these bosses?

To lift the curse, you’ll have to take out more than just the beginner bosses — the bigger the threat, the more behind-the-scenes points you’ll earn.

As you progress, the eye icon for the Cursed Relic will change, and it’ll get some new perks, including a faster Super meter charge, more consistent Smoke Bomb dashes, and (oh thank goodness!) an easier time regenerating some HP by parrying. A safety net!

(The wiki has a breakdown of how many curse-lifting points each boss is worth, and how the Cursed Relic tiers vary, if you’re curious. Do not play on Simple mode. It won’t count.)

Beating the Howling Aces in Cuphead
I wouldn’t recommend fighting the DLC bosses with the Cursed Relic unless you’re feeling bold.

The payoff for the Paladin achievement

In the end, after clearing a handful of bosses, the Cursed Relic will become the Divine Relic. I had to wipe out most of the Isle I and Isle II bosses on Regular difficulty.

The Divine Relic is the same concept — randomized shot types that you can cycle through mid-fight— but it keeps your health pool at a much more comfortable 3 HP.

It’s not exactly something I’ll use by choice, but in the right hands, it can be very powerful and versatile. More than anything, I valued this journey more than the destination.

Cuphead Divine Relic
The eye is fully open.

Getting started with the Cursed Relic

You can access the Broken Relic early into the Cuphead DLC — it only costs one coin at the shop. It’s best saved until you’re sufficiently warmed up. With this item equipped, you’ll solve a puzzle in a cemetery, conjuring a fierce secret boss fight. If you beat it, the Broken Relic will morph into a Cursed Relic. And that’s where the true fun begins.

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course is just great. It not only has fantastic bosses — some of my favorites yet — but it also freshens up the original crew with new charms.

Even if this sounds like a pain in the ass, I’d encourage you to give it a shot. As dicey as things got with the Cursed Relic, it was a wonderful final challenge to end Cuphead on.

I’m sure I’ll be back, but I’m so excited to see what’s next for Studio MDHR.

[Header image credit: packattack04082]

Jordan Devore
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random.