Cuphead: Howling Aces Boss Guide - Doggone Dog Fight Strategy

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The Howling Aces in Cuphead.
July 2, 2022: We added links to our other Cuphead boss guides and detailed a secret third phase you can trigger to avoid the clumsy default one.

Eerily beneath the graveyard of DLC Isle is an aircraft hanger housing the aptly named Doggone Dog Fight in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course. This perilous pack of dogs (and one not-too-happy cat) are quite the challenge, but out Cuphead The Howling Aces boss guide should help make things easier.

If you're struggling with the battle, read on to find out how best to take them on. We'll tell you where to stand, which weapons to use, and how to effectively negate one of the more disorienting parts of the whole battle. We'll even share out loadout, which will make the whole strategy make a lot more sense.

For more, check out our Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course review. And if you're stuck against any other bosses, we have a matching Glumstone the Giant boss guide, Moonshine Mob guide, Esther Winchester boss guide, Mortimer Freeze boss guide, and even a guide to unlock a secret boss via the Cuphead Graveyard puzzle using the Cursed Relic.

Cuphead Howling Aces Boss Guide - How to Clear Doggone Dog Fight

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The Best Cuphead Howling Aces Loadout

Shot-A Shot-B Super Charm
PeashooterSpreadEnergy BeamHeart

The weapon options here should make the first two phases a doddle. The Super likely won't get used given how useful the single-shot specials from the two guns are throughout the phases, but the choice of Heart as a Charm will make the whole thing a little less punishing. The last phase can be a bit tricky.

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The Howling Aces phase 1 in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course.
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Phase One - Dogfight

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With the Howling Aces, you go up against the bull first. There are times this brute sits in his plane for a prolonged period, seemingly mulling his next move. That's your queue to lean your plane to position it directly below him, jumping up and down to maximize your Spread damage.

Outside of those rare moments, he'll barely spend a few seconds in the cockpit. Instead, he'll land on either side of the arena, either tossing three boomeranging bones (one of which you can parry - though it's rarely worth it) if he's alone, or three yarn balls from the mouth of a cat if he's holding one like a bagpipe.

The latter is a great time to duck and fire away, whereas the former should be dodged without putting much thought into dealing damage.

The only real thing to watch for here is a filled screen. With balls coming from above and fire hydrants closing in on you later one, use the Spread gun to knock the red aparatus down before they make dodging the bones and balls a real pain. It's a long phase, but the next one is easy.

The Howling Aces phase 2 in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course.
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Phase Two - Paw Patrol

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Here, you just have to put down four puppies circling your plane. The best approach is to switch to Spread and pump your eight-way special out early on. These bullets will obscure the dog's barky letters if you wait too long, so make emptying your special meter a priority.

After that, keep Spread on and just keep firing. Aiming doesn't matter when they rotate through your cloud of bullets. Just fire and focus on hopping over their letters. They don't take much damage, and the amount of letters tends to stay the same no matter how many doggies are left. Just swat them like flies.

How to Unlock the Secret Doggone Dog Fight Phase

If you want to avoid the tricky, default third phase mentioned below, shoot each of the dogs here until their planes start to smoke. If you can get all four like that without downing one, you'll move into an alternate final phase where you just have to finish them off from stationary positions.

The Howling Aces phase 3 in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course.
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Phase Three - Roll Over

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Here's where things get tricky. Sort of. The final phase of The Howling Aces starts with three laser attacks. Just look at the outlines coming from the weapons either side to dodge if they're firing down at you. If they're coming from across (usually the third set but not always) you want to jump and dash right before they come out.

After that, you'll be flipped 90 degrees counter-clockwise - which can really mess with your head. All you'll need to do here is jump over the blue bowls and stay grounded to dodge the red bowls. It's easier said than done on the rare chance they overlap, though.

Just focus on firing straight up with your Peashooter and spamming those specials and hopping (or not hopping) as the bowls come and go. Survive long enough and the laser phase will repeat - upside down, though.

Survive that and you'll tilt 90 degrees again, ended up on the right side of the screen. Follow the same advice and you'll just keep rotating 90 degrees until you knock out your target, alternating between laser and bowl phases with each turn.

If the controls are messing you up, tilting your head to match the orientation can work wonders. It's a pain, but it works. When you're upside down, though, it's generally worth just believing in yourself.

And, with that, you should send The Howling Aces tumbling to their doom. The doggies will be downed, and you'll get your next plain white flag on your list. If you're struggling against the cold wizard as well, our Cuphead Mortimer Freeze boss guide can help just like this.