Rare Scares: King Zing Sting

Rare Scares is in full swing here at Virtual Bastion, and we’re leaving no stone unturned as we look at all the ways Rare has managed to startle, spook, or outright scare us over the years. Most of the time the scares come from the obvious horror-themed zones like Haunted Hall, but there are time where they’ll come right out of left field so fast that you barely have any time to react. King Zing’s first appearance in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest belongs to the latter category. It’s not horrifying or spooky per se, but it’s still downright scary if you’re not expecting it!

In DKC2, players have a few opportunities to see what the inside of a Zinger hive looks like. It’s about what one would imagine: a giant hive filled with giant bees, honey, and larva. The thought of being inside a giant beehive might be unsettling by itself, but these levels aren’t really scary. It’s just your normal Donkey Kong level with the added mechanic of sticky walls and floors. It pretty much like this for all the hive levels except for the tail-end of Rambi Rumble; it’s much more “run for your life” than it is “stroll along and take in the sights.”

Upon transforming into Rambi and making their way into the final section of the level, players are immediately hit with a drastic change in music. In an instant, we go from the pleasant ambiance of the hive to the most frantic tune in the game, and accompanying that tune is an absolutely massive Zinger: King Zing. Damaging him as Rambi is impossible, so all one can do is run like their live depend on it. The chase isn’t particularly difficult to clear, but the near-panic inspired by the sudden change in events can definitely throw one off if they didn’t see it coming.

In my younger days, this would get me every time I’d run through the game. I’d always forget the chase there, I’d always get startled by it, and it would then take me 3-4 attempts to get the run right. I have gotten much better at the game since then, but King Zing remains my least favorite boss to this very day. Not because he’s difficult to fight, but because of how startling his first appearance is. Stupid bee is probably the biggest start Rare has ever given me. Ah well, I suppose a boss that leaves an impression is all the better for it right? I may dislike King Zing, but I’ve obviously remembered him and I guess that’s a good thing overall.

What about you? Anything managed to startle you while playing a Rare game?