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Instant-death brambles. Invincible enemies. Gusting wind. Have fun.
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Admittedly, Donkey Kong games have never been too generous regarding difficulty, but these levels take the banana cake.

    Donkey Kong Country 
  • Mine Cart Carnage is the first of these, with a hard-to-master mechanic introduced, as well as several timed jumps that are easy to miss and will likely cost you a few lives.
  • Snow Barrel Blast combines poor visibility with barrel-shooting sequences requiring perfect timing, and a single miss resulting in instant death. Like Carnival Night Zone Act 2, this level had its own entry on the Automated Help Line — and a shortcut which allowed most of the difficult sections to be easily skipped. If you're going for 100% Completion? Good luck.
  • Oil Drum Alley has a part where you need to time jumps on a lot of tires and flaming oil drums. It doesn't help that the flames change their pattern of ignition halfway through the level. And if you're going for 100% Completion, there's an excellent chance you're going to miss one of the bonus rooms in the level, as the sadistic designers hid one inside another bonus room, which is the only time this happens in all of DKC.
  • Platform Perils is just long and brutal, complete with impregnable Krushas and collapsing platforms. Thankfully, it is the very last regular level in the game before the boss of the world followed by King K. Rool.
  • There's a reason that Blackout Basement earned its title as a trope namer. Mainly because the lights constantly flicker on and off, and if they're off you can't see anything except your playable characters. Not the enemies, not the platforms above the bottomless pit, absolutely nothing. There's a reason why most people automatically remember this level when this game is brought up.
  • Tanked Up Trouble. This level requires you to grab pretty hard-to-reach fuel tanks before the platform you're riding on collapses. Missing even one barrel can result in death, if those freakin' Zingers don't kill you first!
  • Stop and Go Station. Rock Krocs cannot be killed, move insanely fast in a constant back-and-forth motion, and you can only get past them by changing the lights from green (GO) to red (STOP). These switches never last long even at the beginning of the level, but by the end of it, they switch back on literally the same second you turn them off. And the end of the level is a gauntlet of at least half a dozen rockkrocs and switch barrels, maybe closer to 8-9. You are almost guaranteed to lose one of your Kongs before you finally dive into the exit. Thank all that is holy that rockkrocs only appear in this level. And this is in the second world of the game. Fortunately, there's an easy way to skip almost the entire level: Turn around and head back "out" the same way you came in.
  • Loopy Lights. Take the limited visibility of Blackout Basement, combine it with the switch barrel gimmick from Stop and Go Station, and you already have a frustrating level. Now throw in annoyingly-placed Klaptraps that jump whenever you jump and are infuriatingly good at catching you off-guard. Have fun.

    Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest 
  • The bonus level Animal Antics is almost certainly the most difficult level in the game (even more than Toxic Tower), thanks to a specific part. You must transform into each of the various animal companions in the game. At one point, you turn into Squawks the Parrot, and must navigate a thorn-lined maze. There is no platform to sit and stop for a breather; you constantly have to keep flapping your wings to maintain altitude in a narrow space, as well as avoid deadly Zingers. Unfortunately, you also have to deal with gusting wind that will blow the parrot into the thorns, forcing you to constantly hold the opposite direction on the control pad. To say it's frustrating is an understatement, considering the rest of the level is a cakewalk. Oh, and the wind constantly shifts the direction it's going, forcing you to constantly adjust the direction you're flying to compensate. The GBA remake made Animal Antics slightly less frustrating by moving the Continue barrel further in the level (past Squitter's area, which was probably the easiest of that level) so you don't have to redo quite as much if you lose a life later.
  • To elaborate on Toxic Tower, it's a level where poison keeps on rising at all times and you have to escape, taking the forms of the different animal buddies. The first part has you playing as Rattly the Snake, doing jumps that kill you if you miss them. The second part has you flying away as Squawks the Parrot, shooting Zingers that block your way and navigating through a dungeon labyrinth. The bonus area requires using Squitter to shoot web platforms up a long curving bramble-lined passageway to get the Kremkoin, and you don't have a lot of time to do it in. If the webs are not a skill you have thoroughly mastered by now, you're going to be in for some major headaches trying to get that magical 102% completion.
  • Screech's Sprint. Just take that infamous Animal Antics Squawks part and replace the gusts of wind with a RACE THROUGH A MAZE OF THORNS AND ZINGERS! At least you can glitch the level by taking damage to skip the race, if you mess that up though...
  • Another one is Klobber Karnage. The second part of the map is entirely composed of parts where you are put in a rotating barrel and required to shoot yourself through Zinger-barriers, requiring the exact freaking timing. Missing just slightly will lose you a hit, which you only have two to spend in one part. Even worse, this level is glitched if you play it on ZSNES — the barrels you control on your own are supposed to stop when you let go, but on ZSNES, a glitch makes them rotate indefinitely no matter what. Thankfully other emulators like higan and Snes9x don't have this problem.
  • If there's any level from the "Gloomy Gulch" world that deserves to be on this list, it's DEFINITELY "Haunted Hall". The level has you riding for your life away from ghosts that kill you if you touch them and bombards you with awful placing of plus and minus barrels. Oh, by the way, if you touch even ONE of the Minus Barrels while the ghosts are chasing you, then you are going to DIE and go back to square one. It's the first level of the game this troper actually died in, and considering how mind-boggingly difficult the levels "Slime Climb" and "Rambi Rumble" were, that's really saying something.
  • Web Woods also qualifies. In addition to having to rely on Squitter's webs to traverse most of the level (a potentially frustrating feat in itself; see Toxic Tower above), the fact that the level's DK Coin is only available from the end-of-level roulette is capable of causing untold exasperation in itself: it's only shown for a brief moment, and your timing being even slightly off in hitting the target results in completely missing it and having to start the entire level over if you want to attempt to go back and get it.
  • "Castle Crush" definitely deserves a mention for how irritatingly quick it is. You need to have cat-like reflexes if you want to make it through this level alive, and if you don't, get ready to throw your controller out the window.
  • Bramble Scramble. Between the massive number of invincible Zingers and other crap rushing at you while you flop around riding Squawks, it's just pure insanity. The invincible Red Zingers are gone in DKL2, but the level still manages to throw you off with how long it is and it's still a maze. With the lesser screen visibility, it makes it almost as hard as it was in the SNES/GBA version.
  • Glimmer's Galleon. Seemingly long stage, entirely underwater with no Enguarde (which means no way to attack enemies) save for the very end, and very dark save for your animal buddy Glimmer providing a cone of light, which, in the SNES version, makes the screen flash entirely white whenever you turn to face the other direction and so does he.
  • Slime Climb. You must avoid falling into the rising water, and not because of the water being damaging. Rather, it's because of Snapjaw homing onto your Kong's movements. If you fall into the water and he catches you, kiss one of your Kongs goodbye because he will lunge and attack. (and no, he can't be killed. Good luck!) In addition, in Donkey Kong Land 2, because they couldn't implement Snapjaw, the water instantly damages you. And the level is harder than Toxic Tower in either game.
  • Also in DKL2, it makes a level late in the game more frustrating - Clapper's Cavern. In a ridiculous example of damaging water, the water you just swam in Arctic Abyss, now hurts you for no apparent reason. Like in the Super NES version, you have to use Clapper to freeze the water to traverse over the icy waters, and master the slide to avoid getting hit by Zingers.
  • Bramble Blast. Just. Bramble. Blast. Let's put a very confusing maze of thorns (that hurt the Kongs if they touch them), shooting barrels that seemingly lead to an endless loop, goddamned Zingers and an awesome soundtrack in the same level. The DK coin is also in an obscure place.
  • For the players looking for 100% Completion, there's the Fiery Furnace Bonus Barrel. You have to get to the very end of the stage to even reach the barrel, and then, if you don't have both Kongs so you can do a team throw, you have to rely on a Cat-O-Nine-Tails to decide to throw you in the right direction to enter it. The bonus stage itself involves riding a directional barrel through a narrow bramble maze lined with Zingers, and you fail if a single pixel of the barrel touches an obstacle, or if the extremely short timer runs out. Finally, the exit drops you into a Barrel Cannon pointed directly at the level goal; that's right, you only get one chance to collect the DK Coin per level playthrough!

    Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble 
  • Barrel Drop Bounce definitely deserves a mention. Basically, the level has barrels falling from a water fall way too fast for the player to keep up with. Needless to say, you're going to spend hours in this frustrating level.
  • Lightning Look-Out. If you find constantly running from deadly and extremely annoying lightning bolts that not only track where you are but anticipate where you will be to be fun, then you will have a masochistic blast with this level. It's even worse the first time you play it because the lightning strike warnings look like nothing more than background effects. And just to mock you, it blocks your way to the next save point!
  • Poisonous Pipeline, to an insane degree considering the the fact that it's a very long swimming level with tons of enemies in it. That wasn't the "best" part about this level, oh no, not by a long shot. The "greatest" feature in this level is that the controls are reversed, so have fun getting through a tough level, with incredibly tough bonus stages with reversed controls. It probably didn't help that if you were jumping out of the water (to get the DK coin, the level goal, etc.), your controls would quickly transition from reversed to normal, resulting in the Kong plunging back into the water instead of landing onto the platform. It's no wonder that this is the last level before the K. Rool boss fight.
  • Ripsaw Rage, the tree-styled level where a giant saw rises up to kill you and you have to out run it. So they put in sections where you have to move laterally while the saw moves up. More frustrating than hard.
  • Kong-Fused Cliffs is even worse. This time it's a burning rope with Buzzes and other crap coming down from above that are nigh-impossible to anticipate. Good thing there are quite a few DK barrels along the way as well.
  • Low-G Labyrinth. The level's main gimmick is, obviously, low gravity. Dodging the onslaught of Buzzes is very tough considering you move slower than usual, and the moving ones aren't slowed down one bit. Then you have to navigate the place with the purple parrot, and that gets... tricky.
  • Koindozer Klamber contains pink versions of Koin, an enemy which you get one of the Plot Coupons from. The only problem? You have to land exactly on top of them- if you land any other direction on them other than the top, they'll bump you to off a ledge to your doom. Dixie's gliding ability makes this a bit easier, but if you lose her, you'd better be good with Kiddy!
  • Tyrant Twin Tussle contains extremely muscular enemies who come in pairs, Kuff n' Klout. They'll jump in a certain pattern, then sometimes run. If you don't know how to get Squitter, who is the only one that can kill them, good luck! And you lose him halfway. Oh, then there's the bonus game behind the flagpole! Here, you must collect 15 randomly-appearing green bananas while a set of the twins jump super-fast. At least you spawn right before the flagpole once leaving (meaning you can keep trying again immediately until you succeed), and have 50 seconds during the challenge.
  • Honorable mention goes to the final bonus mission in the Krematoa level Stampede Sprint. To even get there, you have to keep Parry the parallel bird safe through the level, and it's the only one in the game that doesn't have a midway point. He flies high above you, waiting to run into Buzzes, and you can't stop! Once you get to the end, he turns into the bonus barrel. And there is where the trouble starts. It's a "collect 15 green bananas" mission. You have the bird in the bonus level, and a Red Buzz hovers above. Some of the bananas appear above the Buzz, which means you're going to need a running start to collect them safely. Hit the Buzz (and you will), and you have to retry the level to try again. At least this bonus got substantially toned down in the GBA remake by moving the Buzz down to where you no longer need to make a running jump to collect bananas above it. Though the remake also added a couple more annoying bonus rooms, including one where you have to collect 20 bananas around a rope with a very fast enemy on it. And this is all without even mentioning the reflexes one needs to not screw up with so many obstacles and hazards littered throughout the stage (with some of them in question charging straight at you).
  • Riverside Race is—as its name suggests—a race against the clock while an invincible swarm of bees are hounding you throughout the vast majority of the level unless you're underwater making backtracking a huge pain in the ass (and to get a prize from a Brother Bear you have to beat his time on the course).
  • Demolition Drain-Pipe and Tearaway Tobbogin (and Surf's Up in the GBA remake) are both annoying due to the wonky controls of the sled the Kongs ride in and loads of hazards that can easily make you lose one of them.
  • Rocket Rush, the final non-boss level and the toughest level to get into (all 85 Bonus Coins in the SNES version, 98 in the GBA version). It's a descent down and rapid ascent to the top of a canyon in a rocket, the only time you use the rocket in the game, and the controls could be politely described as "wretched". The ascent is brutal to where screwing up two or three times at most means you won't make it out the other side, and you likely will screw up in the ascent since it pretty much requires you to know the course ahead of time. The GBA version makes this second half more lenient, but it makes up for it by making the first half a good deal worse; unlike before, the Buzzes actually damage you if you ram the bottom of the rocket barrel into them, and the checkpoint barrel is removed. The Japanese version makes it obvious how hard this level is: The title of the level is instead Ponkotsu Rocket de Go (Go by Piece-of-Junk Rocket).
  • Fish Food Frenzy is a major pain of a level. In that level, a Nibbla follows your every move. He'll protect you by eating the fish in your way, but if he eats too many Lurchins (spiked enemies) in a row, which usually means two, he'll turn on your Kongs instead. Even if he doesn't attack you right away then, you probably won't be able to get to a fish before he does. And the level is crawling with Lurchins. He'll also take a bite out of your Kongs if he goes too long without eating a regular fish, which is difficult because they're less common than the Lurchins, and getting him close enough to one without touching the fish yourself can be quite a pain; Lurchins, on the other hand, he'll eat even if he's not particularly close to.
  • Swoopy Salvo. You spend the entire level going up and down and in and out of tree trunks while being constantly besieged by dive-bombing hummingbird enemies called Swoopies. Part of the time you're Squawks trying to fly through the lines of Swoopies, and part of the time you're the Kongs, having to either dodge them while you climb ropes or dodging them laterally while you go through openings on the sides of the trees. And to make it extra painful, there are certain sections you have to enter while going directly through a line of Swoopy traffic in the opposite direction, and in other places, you have to bounce off the dive-bombing enemies to reach higher ledges.
  • Ripcurl Reef in the GBA version. You know the aforementioned Animal Antics with its windy, bramble-filled torture chamber? Well... how about a WHOLE LEVEL with such a gimmick? This level has you swimming underwater rather than being in the air with Squawks, and instead of brambles, you have lots of palette-swapped Lurchins to get around. The current here does not change directions constantly as the wind does in Animal Antics, which is a double-edged sword: you don't have to worry about keeping track of which way you're being blown, but on the other hand, you don't have a consistent pattern to keep track of. Unless you've memorized the level, you have no way of knowing whether the current will be blowing left, right, or not at all.
  • Speaking of the GBA version, it actually added a number of minigames that weren't in the original. Now, these could practically be here as a whole (or at least under Scrappy Mechanic), because all of them are annoying, and you need to complete them to get 103% and the secret ending, but Funky's fourth challenge deserves special mention. It's a racing minigame where you must use the Turbo Ski to beat four Kremlings on a 3-lap race around a river. Getting into first place isn't that hard, but you also have to avoid hitting the Kremlings or any of the walls, because taking too many hits causes you to fail automatically, even if you were a mile ahead of the pack. And the vehicle's controls are iffy at best, especially at full speed, which isn't much of an issue when using it on the world map but becomes very noticeable when not being quite accurate enough with your steering has actual negative consequences.
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    Donkey Kong Land 
  • Sky High Caper. If you didn't already hate Track Attack enough, this one will make you break your Game Boy in half. It's somewhat like Tanked Up Trouble in Country ...except, imagine being stuck on an incredibly slow moving platform that is barely any wider than your player character, AND the controls are incredibly slippery and imprecise, AND the platform rotates ninety degrees clockwise every time you jump on it. Then, throw in random Hogwashes that force you to jump off the platform and risk plummeting to your doom, and make the level ungodly long, and you have one of the most annoying levels to ever grace the series. And the worst part? It's only in the third world! (of four)

    Donkey Kong 64 
  • Frantic Factory. Not only is it a very long and difficult level in its own right, it also has That One Boss, unevenly difficult minigames (this is the first appearance of the dreaded Beaver Bother bonus game), and the original Donkey Kong arcade game. The trouble is, this version of the classic arcade game practically embodies Nintendo Hard; you only have one life to complete all four levels (though you get one extra life if your score hits 10,000), barrels come from everywhere, and you can't skip the cutscenes. Oh, and that's not the worst part. When you beat it, you get a Golden Banana, but then in comes Squawks who challenges you to play the game again for a unique prize. And the worst part isn't that when you go for that prize, you have to beat it on Level 2 difficulty; the worst part is that the prize in question, the Nintendo Coin, is crucial to opening the way to the final boss, meaning that you have to beat the game twice.
  • Fungi Forest is perhaps the most annoying level in the game, even if not necessarily the hardest. It all comes down to the day/night gimmick that restricts the player from entering certain areas unless it's the appropriate period, which can only be changed near the level's entrance. This only serves to add another layer of complex backtracking to a game that already suffers quite a lot from it, no thanks to the Tag Barrel being a Scrappy Mechanic of its own.
  • On the surface, Crystal Caves seems merely annoying at worst. Its dense dark-brown and cyan color palette makes it rather irksome to navigate, and unless you manage to find a secret area and kill a certain mook, from the second you enter the main cavern, you'll be bombarded with falling stalactites constantly. What really makes it qualify, however, are a few of its challenge rooms, which are easily some of the hardest in the game:
    • The Beetle race in the ice castle (which is the second Beetle race in the game) is a flat-out nasty thing. You have to do the entire thing with Lanky doing his Orangstand Sprint, which doesn't help on the hairpin turns and narrow walkways that the Beetle himself has no trouble running. The fact that you'll get nothing if you don't collect a minimum number of coins again, even if you win, makes it even worse.
    • While the igloo and cabin Golden Bananas involving all the Kongs can all be difficult, it's Donkey Kong's Golden Banana in the igloo that's truly heinous. The Golden Banana sits in the middle of the room, and is guarded by a spiral-shaped maze of ice. The shard-covered walls of this maze deal absurd amounts of damage if DK touches it; namely one whole melon, a third of your maximum health, per hit! This maze is difficult enough to navigate, especially considering how much damage the maze's walls do, but then it moves. It rotates clockwise, pauses, then rotates counterclockwise, pauses again, and then repeats. It's possible to make the maze not move, which is the only easy way to get this Golden Banana without extreme frustration.
    • While not nearly as bad as Donkey Kong's rotating death maze, Diddy's cabin room is particularly frustrating, being a timed Multi-Mook Melee atop several platforms that are too high to jump up to directly, forcing you to fly up there with the rocket barrel. The catch? You get all of fifty seconds, each platform is occupied by at least one enemy (with the middle having four on it) and more than half of the enemies in the room cannot be killed unless you lob orange grenades at them from another platform, including the aforementioned four barrel mooks on the center platform. Thus, you have to hope that one of your grenades manages to kill two of them at once if you hope to succeed. Fell off the platform by accident? You may as well just make a beeline for the door, as Kracshot Kroc will have his sights set on you under a 10-second timer should you run out of time and fail.
  • Creepy Castle is a nightmare (no pun intended) for 100% Completion, as even just the outside segment is by far the biggest level in the game, with an absurd number of caves, catacombs, and rooms to check out, making it extremely easy to get lost or miss something. It also houses not one, but two racing minigames (a rematch between Tiny and a car character first seen in Frantic Factory's own racing game, and a difficult minecart ride for Donkey Kong that differs from the others in that it's divided in two phases; and once again there's a requirement of DK coins to claim true victory). On top of all that, this level has the hardest version of the Beaver Bother minigame, and you need to complete it twice.

    Donkey Kong Country Returns 
  • Crowded Cavern, 4-5. It's a rocket barrel level filled to the brim with literal Goddamned Bats. Most of the time is spent dodging bats and various rocks, and one hit and you're dead. The end is the worst, as you have to dodge a giant bat's sound wave weapons that it'll aim at you horizontally; sometimes he'll even try to anticipate where you'll be. And if you don't move out of the way at the end? You have to do the giant bat's area again!
  • World 4, the Cave, could very well be one as a whole. All of its levels have minecarts and rocket barrels, are full of Trial-and-Error Gameplay, and it's home to the aforementioned Crowded Cavern. Oh yeah, and a difficult boss (The Mole Train) is at the end.
  • Many of the Temple levels become this for different reasons:
    • Level 1-K, Platform Panic. Aside from being the first bonus level, meaning the largest difficulty spike in the game if you like to beat all the levels before moving on, you get no Diddy, you have to know exactly when to jump (or not) or you lose one of your valuable hearts or just outright die.
    • If you liked 1-K, you'll love 2-K, Tumblin' Temple. It has whole platforming sections coming down and sinking into the lava, and they don't start coming until the previous one is just about to be completely submerged. There's even one covered with spikes that you have to let sink and wait for another, and one that comes down behind you. Oh, and Ledge Bats. You do get a Diddy this time, though.
    • Level 4-K, Jagged Jewels. Either you're dealing with invincible enemies, spike platforms that are very difficult to determine whether it's safe to pass, gyroscopic bladed rings, or tilting logs with more spike rings. It's so difficult that you get Diddy for it - most temple levels don't give him to you.
    • Level 5-K, Blast and Bounce. There is no solid ground for the entire level, and it's either spent waiting for the perfect opportunity to go through or jumping on enemies and hoping you bounce off of them due to the tiny window of time the jump button registers as a "bounce".
    • Level 6-K, Perilous Passage. It's a Rise to the Challenge level with many chances to die, and about halfway through you're chased by invincible electric bees. To make things worse, there's no checkpoint, as with all Key Temples.
    • 7-K, Treacherous Tracks. Let's take Tanked Up Trouble from the first game, replace the fuel barrels with switches that put retracted pieces of track back in place, make the platform faster, and remove the checkpoints. This means that if you miss even one switch, it's goodbye platform.
  • 5-8, Muncher Marathon. A level with an Advancing Wall Of Baby Spiders constantly after you throughout the level, only one checkpoint (and by the time you reach it, the level is practically over; the rest is easy), lots of places to make mistakes and get behind, collectibles that are easy to find but range from mildly tricky to nearly impossible to get and still make it through...it may be one of the shortest levels in the game (the "Marathon" in the level's name refers to your constant running while keeping the Added Alliterative Appeal, not the length) but it's definitely one of the most annoying.
  • Gear Getaway (7-4). It's another rocket barrel level that forces you to maneuver around an array of machinery with exact precision. Checkpoints are also inconveniently placed before the most difficult flying segments, assuring that you will drop a ludicrous amount of lives before finally getting to the end.
  • 8-2, Hot Rocket. Volcanic rock slabs that crack and move inward or just drop off entirely, fireballs coming in from the left side, fiery dragon-like creatures going in circles with little room to maneuver around, and only one checkpoint. Trying to get all the collectibles? Have fun with that puzzle piece which requires you to grab an entire line of bananas while skimming the surface of the lava. It might be easier to just say that all of the rocket barrel levels, at least the first or second time through the game, belong in this category.
  • 8-3, Roasting Rails. By itself, it's your usual mine cart shenanigans, which you're probably used to by this point. However, the level is infamous for being home to a very frustrating puzzle piece: There's one point where you jump to a particular mine cart, and the second you land in it, you have to immediately jump out into another mine cart above you. The two tracks are placed so that your timing has to be absolutely spot-on or you won't make it. If you don't know about this one in advance, you'll always jump too late. And if you do know about it in advance, you'll almost certainly jump too soon.
  • 2-7, Tidal Terror, the main gimmick in this level is a huge tsunami in the background which comes at you very fast. The walls you can hide behind are either small, weak, or need to be pulled out of the ground. Oh, and if you want 100%? You need to even faster because the wave will wash away anything on screen if not picked up in time. Also, if you couldn't tell from the numbers, this is from world 2!
  • The Golden Temple (9-1 in the original Wii version and 9-9 in the 3DS version). It's only unlocked after beating all 8 other Brutal Bonus Levels, and has tiny platforms everywhere, some of which explode, sink, or are nearly impossible to judge when they're safe to jump on; Invincible enemies which lead their shots incredibly well and appear in groups and flying enemies only killed by the bombs they throw, and all of this without any checkpoints. Good luck on Mirror Mode.

    Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze 

  • The Key Temple levels in this game do not slouch. The actual level design tends to be slightly more lenient than it was in Returns, but to make up for that and then some, they are longer and still lack checkpoints.
  • On the non-temple side of things, there's 4-B, Shoal Atoll. What's worse than an underwater level with an Oxygen Meter and noticeably sparse air bubbles, a Fetch Quest maze, or a level with no checkpoints (the only one not to have any that isn't a bonus level or boss)? How about all three at once?!
  • 4-4 (Irate Eight). How do you turn an incredibly long level that has Rise to the Challenge segments with little room for error from difficult to heinous? Put it all underwater.
  • 5-4 (Panicky Paddles) is one of those where just playing through the level is challenging but pretty reasonable, but getting all the collectibles is a huge exercise in patience. The level has a secret exit that requires Dixie to get into, and the G also requires Dixie unless you're really good at roll-jumping. The problem? The level is one of the longest in the game, the secret exit and G are at the very end of the level, and the only buddy barrel you get in the entire level is near the beginning. If you lose Dixie to a poorly-timed jump over spikes or that obnoxious underwater segment right after the last checkpoint (while we're at it, the N is in this section and is no picnic to get either), you're doing the entire long level over from the beginning. And considering getting both exits already requires playing through almost the entire level twice, it can easily overstay its welcome.
  • 6-4 (Blurry Flurry). All the levels in the sixth world are icy versions of the previous worlds of Donkey Kong Country Returns, so you'd probably expect the one based on the Cave world to be a Rocket Barrel level. And you'd be correct. The level is full of suddenly-appearing obstacles, sharp turns in corridors only slightly larger than the Rocket Barrel, puzzle pieces that require collecting bananas on a twisting trail during said obstacles (it's all one-way, by the way), and is capped with a trial-and-error segment in a giant rolling snowball. Your one relief is that the Rocket Barrel has two hit points this time.
  • World 7 (Secret Seclusion) in general. The world has only three levels, but all of them are longer and more difficult than the temple levels. And, of course, no checkpoints.

    Rom Hacks 
  • Asshole Donkey Kong Country as a whole is a hard game, but the absolute peak of its difficulty has to be stage 5-5, which can rival any Kaizo Mario World level in hair pulling insanity despite its short length. When you start the level, theres an unavoidable enemy that will kill you off the bat unless you have Diddy with you as an extra hit point. But thats just the beginning—through the rest of the level, you have two Kremlings on minecarts riding directly above and below you. Due to the way the minecart tracks are arranged combined with the games hit detection, you need to have both very careful jumping reflexes and frame perfect timing to dodge them—there is absolutely no room for error. Oh, and the level has a Kaizo Trap at the end to rub salt in the wound—if you miss the barrel that takes you to the real exit, youll just go offscreen and lose a life, forcing you to start the whole level again. Check out this playthrough of it to get an idea of how hard it is.
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