Rare Scares: The Spooky Mumbo Portrait in Mad Monster Mansion

For October of 2018, we’re going to be focusing on Rare Scares, a delightfully spooky series that’s all about the scarier moments in Rareware games.  To start out the Duck’s own posts on the topic, I thought it was only fitting to discuss something that has haunted me since ducklinghood.  It’s creepy and just a tad mysterious.  It’s…

Mumbo’s portrait in Mad Monster Mansion.  That’s right, this portrait of Mumbo Jumbo, the boney shaman from Banjo-Kazooie, has always really creeped me out about as much as it confused me.  For one thing, there was always something really odd about it.  This mansion, which appears to be owned by Gruntilda herself, features portraits of the witch, her sister Brentilda, her cauldron Dingpot, and even her broom.  So why, I must ask, would Mumbo make an appearance alongside Grunty’s relatives and…living inanimate objects?  It just has to make you wonder whether or not our supposed ally has some unsavory connection to the witch that he would prefer we never discover.  He certainly switches sides during the game over screen once Grunty manages to steal Tooty’s good looks!

Conspiracy theory aside, there was always something very unsettling about that portrait.  Maybe it’s just me, but due to the picture’s poor quality, Mumbo looked very distorted, and what I saw in my child’s mind was a rather evil looking creature, with a cleft chin and frightening toothy grimace as the shaman sat semi-slumped in his chair.  Frankly, this creepy image of someone I had assumed was a friend terrified me as a child and made me wonder just what sordid secrets ol’ Mumbo was hiding from bear and bird.

Ironically enough, I was very disappointed when I later played the XBox Live Arcade version of the game and discovered that Mumbo’s portrait now looked totally normal.  Now that the resolution had been improved, any and all distortion that had made Mumbo appear so very frightening on the original N64 release had been corrected.  In fact, I had been recording the game when said discovery was made, leading me to admit that there was no longer anything scary whatsoever about this once-creepy portrait.

Nevertheless, it appears my fears were not that unfounded because I recently found another Youtuber who was equally as freaked out by this disturbing portrait of Mumbo as I was.  If you are feeling brave and want to see this terrifying monstrosity yourself, please skip to 2:15 of the video below….

Video by Youtube User: TheCartoonGamer8000