Top Ten DKU Fearbringer(s) Return(s)

This is Halloween, this is Halloween, Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Apparently!

In honor of our favorite holiday, and in an effort to connect the new(er) staff with old fans, we've revived (FROM THE DEAD) this classic feature!

There's been eight HORRIFIC years of DKU DREAD since the last time this list was thrown up, and because of this long gap we've decided to wipe it clean and make one that's GHOULISHLY fresh enough for today's FIENDISH audience. Nothing that's ever been on previous ZOMBIFIED lists is on ours, and you'll also find no ports or remakes. FROM HELL. Plus, because our list literally covers as long a span of time as all five previous DKU Fearbringers, we've decided to include a short list of HORROR-able Mentions; things that we thought weren't worth the top ten, but deserved some sort or GRUESOME recognition. Read on! IF YOU DARE!

HORROR-able Mentions

DK: King of Swing's Ship of Souls: this gem introduced us to Paon's ghost enemy, and featured the rather unique setting of a haunted ship deck, with full moon to boot. If it doesn't give you goosebumps it's probably because you're some sort of VAMPIRE.

Mario Striker's Charged's Thunder Island: we'll let Jay Ferguson explain it:
"Until one day when the sky turned dark
And the winds grew wild
Caught by the rain and blinded by the lightnin'
We rode the storm out there on Thunder Island..."
Thanks, Jay!

Grabbed by the Ghoulies' Jessie & Clyde: this two-for-the-price-of-one ghouly is literally two freaks attached to each other. Jessie is skinny with light green hair, while Clyde is a fat, bald Cyclops. They share a red dress. Aroused? Of course you are!

Right, anyway, now we've got those out of our collective systems, it's time for us to do this thing all PROPER 'n' stuff. It's been a scary decade (or so we're told), and so without further ado (or adon't), here's the god damn list! Don't forget your urine bag!

It's Mr. Pants

Hag in Pants

Even less intimidating up close. The same cannot be said of my genitals.

Look at the picture to your right. Are you afraid? Are you?

Okay, probably not, but cut us some slack. After all, nobody scrapes a barrel more enthusiastically than a DK Vine staffer!

It's Mr. Pants took the DKU in its most bizarrely incomprehensible direction to date; to Pantsland, where the Pants family and their weirdo friends reside in a kind of badly-drawn Utopia. Anyway, we're given a travelogue of Mr. Pants' remarkable adventures across time and space, to the desert, to the moon, to, for some reason, France, to--oh my god!--Transylvania?

Hey, Mr. Pants has NO FEAR. He also has NO TROUSERS, go figure. But who's this? It's awful! It's an abomination! Well, it's a deformy-faced witch, anyway. Hey, it's about as scary as Mr. Pants' world can ever get! And to be fair, it works best along with that twinkly-twonkly music that plays, check out this audacious audio! FEAR HER.

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Download Halloween Harmony MP3

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis

Pauline (specifically, her big face)

This scene was definitely in the game, definitely. Don't you remember it?

And speaking of deformy-faced witches, nothing on this earth can compare with the uncanny inhuman horror that is Mario's big-faced ex. Glare into the eyes of eternity. Feel your very soul slip away and shatter in the void. BEG for mercy. BEG for her to look away. BEG for Nintendo to stop making Mario vs. Donkey Kong games.

Clingy old Mario can't be blamed for his mid-life crisis-driven repeated invitations to this old flame. "Come and open another factory with me!" "Take a look at this doll I've made of you!" "Please, Pauline, just one handjob for old time's sake?"

Mario had no idea what he was doing. Some old flames were never meant to be. Some old flames are best left to die out. Especially when this particular old flame BURNS WITH THE ETERNITY OF HELLFIRE.

Grabbed by the Ghoulies

The Reaper

For some reason, I'm beginning to think you might be FUCKED.

In Ghoulies, you're occasionally presented with a task with an added challenge: doing something wrong (like not meeting a time limit) will summon this creep. Upon spawning, he'll play a guitar riff (clearly a reference to Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey), and then proceed to chase you with an extended glowing finger of death. If you touch it, well, you die.

Although The Reaper himself isn't all that scary per se (his musical antics are actually pretty funny), he does add a serious degree of anxiety to the situation whenever he's around. You have to complete the challenge while he looms around eerily, killing literally everything in his path including other enemies. That's just how unforgiving he is.

Now play this shit! And no, it's not Blue Oyster Cult. Actually, it's got nothing much to do with the Reaper, we just like this song.

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Download Ballroom Disco MP3

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Melon Kingdom
Banshee Swamp

This is a post-modern caption.

The Melon Kingdom starts off with what is essentially the climax and finale to Hoofer's arc of the game in which you finally wreck the Iguanogon's shit. So going into Banshee Swamp, you're already somewhat on the edge of your seat. Once you get there, you find a dark landscape with ominous music. The brow of DK's foreground model is shadowed and disturbing. There are blue-glowing meteors floating around and trekking right through your path; they occasionally light up leafless tree silhouettes in the background and appear to spawn from a river of blue fire. Eventually, you make your way into a mossy decrepit castle-like structure in which you'll encounter two new enemies: a black, fire-breathing breed of Hawg, and a ghostly white variety of those creepy-faced floating balls. Jungle Beat has its share of unintentionally scary things, but this level tries its best to create a legitimately eerie atmosphere; the toothy grin helps of course.

Now, accompany yourself with this WICKEDNESS:

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Download Banshee Swamp MP3

DK: Jungle Climber

Ghost Island
Spooky Woods

They're ghosts, right, and they're being all ghostly 'n' stuff, right, and this is a caption explaining this fact, right.

Initially, Spooky Woods is completely engulfed in fog and DK can't see where any pegs or enemies are. Luckily, Diddy has a map, and so you're forced to coordinate between a map on the lower screen and a foggy upper screen in order to navigate the level. But the main part of the level comes afterwards. It appears to be your standard haunted forest affair, with scraggly looking trees and spooky music. There's nothing special here, until you encounter the level's signature enemy: the ghost enemy from King of Swing returns- with a twist! Now, the only way to avoid them is to stand still. This makes them fade into the background and they won't hurt you. But the first time you collide with them while moving, they'll grow huge and scary and send you falling- occasionally to your death.

Though not actually that frightening at face value, it's the fact that King of Swing veterans never see it coming that makes it so high up on the list.

Oh, and here's their little tune. Play it! Play it!

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Download Spooky Woods MP3

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Terrarium of Terror
Unidentifiably Fashioned Object

Boggy looks on in horror as Rare explains to him that he will be running the Saucer of Peril Returns mission.

Quite literally rounding out the Top Five is the ever lovable Boggy, debuting his Spring line of "Utterly Terrifying Eyewear". It seems Boggy took the Terror part of Terrarium of Terror and ran with it, decking himself out to the nines with a fresh coat of paint, a hat(?), and a pair of bifocals that would make Ben Franklin weep. The whole getup actually is rather disturbing (seriously, that scarf with that shirt?), and the fact that he shows up twice in Act Two guarantees you won't escape his forest-green wrath.

And now, some suitable MOOD MUSIC!

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Download Terrarium of Terror MP3

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Stormy Shore


So you're playing Donkey Kong Country Returns, and you've just finished pulling every last one of your hairs out on Cannon Cluster. You're ready for something relaxing; and, at first, with its peaceful music and lack of giant sea monster, Stormy Shore seems to be just that. But it is all a ruse! Then you come face to face with Squiddicus, a giant octopus who rips entire ships apart with his bare tentacles because he has nothing better to do. Well, maybe bare tentacles isn't the best description; they are covered in instant death spikes that pierce your very soul (ask a marine biologist, we checked!). And, if you take too long, Squiddicus destroys the final Rocket Barrel used to finish the level. The bastard! His other hobbies include burning American flags and designing Mario vs. Donkey Kong games.

Here's his music. Whistle it in the bath! Pretending you're a massive cephalopod!

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Download Stormy Shore MP3

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

That Music

Banjo drives off a cliff in an attempt to rid himself of the music. But in Nuts and Bolts, there is no death. And there is no escape.

If Gruntilda borrowed a death machine from Satan, taught it to play xylophone, and dropped it in front of a microphone, you would get this little ditty. It already has that unsettling mixture of "horror" and "children's song" going for it by combining light percussion notes with machines crashing together and brass players losing their sheet music and deciding to play Grunty's Lair from memory. But then you get three minutes in, and you don't even realize it. You're busy looking for Jinjos to sumo wrestle with, and all of a sudden the singing starts. That terrible, horrible, mesmerizing singing that uses autotune in a much more frightening way than even today's most street smart rappers. Sometimes you don't notice it until the song has looped three times and it suddenly slaps you in the face with fear. And the song calls you stupid. I mean, that's just uncalled for.

Here! See (hear) for yourself!

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Download LOGBOX 720 MP3

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Muncher Marathon

Flesh-eating killer spiders! It could happen to YOU.

Jus' platformin' through them lovely tree trunks of Donkey Kong Country Returns' forest world, minding your own business, all of a sudden, holy buggerin' Christ, it's a massive gang of killer spiders and they've got a taste for APE FLESH. Bloody typical!

Really though, this is perhaps the most creative use of the "imminent death owing to gradual destruction of the level" model of platforming we've come across in some time; an insane invasion force of freshly-hatched face-eating death-spiders munching their way, en masse, through trees, rocks, birds, other spiders, cars...

Genuinely catches you off-guard, too. Never mind that the level's already a spike-ridden death trap full of blocked-up walls, this is one of the DK series' finest moments of "well, basically, you're fucked". 'Cause they're never far behind. You're never truly safe. No matter how fast you think you're going, no matter how much ground you cover, no matter how much you wank your Wiimote into a rolling frenzy, the spiders are coming. The spiders are coming, and they want YOU.

Now, run! And listen to this, while you're at it!

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Download Muncher Marathon MP3

Grabbed by the Ghoulies

Chapter 1
Trophy Room

And if you think that's scary, you should see the Wall of Severed Penises in the next room.

About six minutes into Grabbed by the Ghoulies, immediately after Chapter 1 begins, is the most frightening DKU moment in the past eight years.

The trophy room is a long hallway lined with the severed heads of beasts which Baron Von Ghoul has apparently hunted. You travel the room in first person view during a tense, slow moving cinematic, and you look around at the most vile and nightmare inducing creatures that Rare could think of. But that's not all. As you traverse this hallway-from-hell, several of the creatures' heads will begin growling and attacking at you, causing you to go into a SUPER SCARY SHOCKTM. Pressing the incorrect button sequence will cause Cooper to get physically hurt by his fear (though doing it correctly will return the beasts back to their cold, lifeless position).

To make matters worse, two of the heads on the walls are BANJO AND KAZOOIE THEMSELVES. The implication that the Baron hunted and killed our beloved heroes and then hung their severed heads on the wall is horrifying to say the least. Horrifyingly horrifying to say the most.

Here's some vaguely relevant music. And by "vaguely relevant" we mean "not even remotely relevant but it's good".

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Download Creepy Cacophony MP3

Alright, that's your lot! If you're not quivering in your boots, having already sprayed your surroundings wall-to-wall with terror-induced urine, I guess you must be made of stronger stuff.

Either that, or you DIED.