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Muncher Marathon is the thirty-sixth level in Donkey Kong Country Returns as well as the eighth level in the Forest (Donkey Kong Country Returns). The level begins just like any other level. However, once the Kongs (Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong) break some cracked wooden objects piled on top of each other, Munchers come out of their eggs and begin to chase them. The Kongs must run away from the enemies, avoiding enemies, being crushed by rectangular pillars (they do not take out the Kongs in one hit; if the apes get crushed by a rectangular pillar in this level, they will only lose a Heart) and the Munchers behind. If the apes get caught in the large pile of Munchers behind them, they will instantly die and lose an Extra Life Balloon. After the Kongs pass the Tutorial Pig who hosts the first and only checkpoint in the level, the apes have to move up to reach the Slot Machine Barrel by using many Auto-Fire Barrels while the Munchers in their giant pile chase them from below. Munchers cannot be defeated at all, making the level a little more difficult. Enemies other than Munchers found in this level are purple Skittlers, Frogoons and Hopgoons. In Time Attack mode, a time of 1:32:00 is needed to get a gold medal, a time of 1:34:00 to earn a silver medal, and a time of 1:51:00 for a bronze medal.
Attention: all readers reading this overview and following along in the game, follow along with EXTREME SPEED because the Munchers behind can kill you if you act too slowly. If anything pause the game, read and perform the action on the overview.
The level begins with the Kongs landing on a floor with a large tree behind them. Another large tree can be seen ahead with a huge opening in its trunk. The Kongs can go through this hole. Here, they will bump into a red wooden gate. Now, you must be wondering how to get this gate out of the way. Just like with the red, metal gates in Mast Blast, the Kongs should roll into this gate twice to bust it open. Almost immediately after the red wooden gate, two propeller-like plants from the Jungle (Donkey Kong Country Returns) are found, which can be blown on for a collectible, most likely. Shortly after these two plants, a Hopgoon nears the Kongs. When the Kongs pass the Hopgoon, they will soon bump into a rectangular pillar with a design of a spider carved into it (all rectangular pillars in Muncher Marathon have designs of a spider carved into them, so there is no difference). Another rectangular pillar can be seen on a higher part of floor. These rectangular pillars act like any other pillar in videogames; slam onto the ground and rise back up again, then repeat over and over again. Hey, just like Thwomps and Super Thwomps attack! However, unlike Thwomps, everytime a rectangular pillar slams the ground, it drops a Banana, Banana Coin or Banana Bunch. Anyway, these rectangular pillars aren't something to mess around with. Even though they cannot kill the apes in one crush, the apes lose a Heart for each crush. So, if you don't have Diddy Kong, you have to be extra careful. Anyway, the Kongs should pass the first pillar with caution. After they pass the first pillar, the apes should wait for the second pillar to rise, and jump on its slamming point (the high part of floor). A floor can be seen below that holds a DK Barrel and a Hopgoon on it. The heroes should quickly drop to the floor before the rectangular pillar crushes them. Shortly after passing/defeating the Hopgoon, the heroes will reach what looks like a giant white bag of humongous oranges. Another "giant white bag of humongous oranges" is found here. Now, these really aren't giant oranges, but giant Muncher eggs!!! Here, however, the apes can see a curved trail of Bananas that ends with a Banana Bunch over the Muncher eggs. Also, a Puzzle Piece can be seen high in the air to the left of the second giant nest of Muncher eggs. Really in truth, these Muncher eggs are very bouncy, and can bounce the Kongs high in the air. If the heroes bounce on the first egg onto the second egg, they can hover to the Puzzle Piece. Anyway, on the second nest of Muncher eggs, the apes can see some eggs with two cracked wooden objects over them. The apes should bounce themselves and move right to fall here. They will collect a Banana Bunch along the way. Anyway, the Kongs should now give both cracked wooden objects a good pounding (one will break before the Kongs move to the other). Anyway, as soon as the apes break the first cracked wooden object, Munchers start popping out of the eggs in the nest, which the apes just come from. OH SHOOT, OH SHOOT, OH SHOOOOOOTTTT!!!!!! Wow, anyway, the apes should now start moving with some EXTREME SPEED to avoid being hurt and killed by the Munchers. So, quickly, the apes should destroy the second cracked wooden object. They should land on a floor. The floor leads into an area where two raised part of floors and three similar platforms in the air can be found. One raised part of floor and all three platforms in midair hold a single Banana on them, while the second raised part of floor, which is bigger, holds two Bananas on it. Anyway, the apes can try to get lucky and collect some Bananas but they must remember to be quick, because this is where you must rush like Lightning McQueen: I am Speed. Anyway, after the apes pass this area, they will enter a small part where three Skittlers lower themselves on their webs to attack. The apes should just try to jump over the enemies, or bounce on one and hover out of there. After this, the heroes reach an area similar to the one before the small part with the three Skittlers. Here, there are five (the fifth cannot be seen from the entrance) raised part of floors and one platform in midair. Each raised part of floor holds a Banana, with the exception of the fourth one which holds a Heart and the fifth raised part of floor, which holds nothing. The platform also holds a Banana and an Extra Life Balloon rises into the air next to the fourth raised part of floor. To reach the Extra Life Balloon, the apes should quickly jump atop the platform with the help of jumping off the second raised part of floor, and then jump into the Extra Life Balloon. Also to mention, the main difference between this area and the first is that there are spikes between each raised part of floor. Anyway, a large fungi platform that holds two Bananas and a Banana Bunch is above the fifth raised part of floor. The fungi platform can help the Kongs cross a small gap between the fifth raised part of floor and the next floor. Anyway, after the Kongs jump to the next floor, the first thing they bump into is a rectangular pillar. Oh no, EVEN MORE MUNCHERS are coming out of the gap the heroes just crossed!!! Anyway, a Skittler can be seen on its web behind the pillar. Anyway, when the pillar rises upward, the apes should head under it. Right beside the Skittler is another rectangular pillar that slams onto a higher part of floor and rises back up again repeatedly. When this pillar rises up again, the heroes should jump its slamming point (higher part of floor) and quickly drop to a slightly lower floor. Another high part of floor can be seen, with a lower floor that has another rectangular pillar in the view. The apes should jump on the high part of floor and drop to the lower floor. They should wait for the rectangular pillar. When it rises high enough, the duo should quickly move past it. Here, they will enter a room with three fungi platforms, the center one being the highest, as well as a small gap in the floor. Even though the center fungi platform is the highest, it is not the largest, for the fungi platform on the right is the largest. However, the center fungi platform holds two Bananas with the letter K of the K-O-N-G Letters on the top (they are in a vertical position), while the fungi platform on the right holds three Bananas and is connected to a raised part of floor. The letter K is fairly easy to collect, for all the apes must do is jump on the first (left) fungi platform and jump to the center fungi platform. Now, they can just jump up to collect the letter K, however, they must watch out for the TREMENDOUS black pile of Munchers behind them. Yep, that is what kills the heroes with one touch, the apes should know the look and avoid it. Anyway, the heroes can now jump on the right fungi platform and land on the high part of floor connected to it. Here, they can find a fungi platform with a Banana Bunch right above the high part of floor the apes are on, a large fungi platform, the same size as the one connected to the high part of floor the Kongs are on, which holds two Bananas and two Skittlers on their webs, a floor with a row of Bananas on it, which is underneath the large fungi platform that holds the two Bananas and two Skittlers, and last but not least, another fungi platform with a Banana Bunch on it above the large fungi platform. Once the apes pass this area, they will realize it is only half of the area they are in, and it seems like a small, red mushroom is the dividing point here! Anyway, the mushroom is there for another purpose. It can help the apes reach three more fungi platforms. One large one holds three Bananas, another one is above this large fungi platform, and a third is just to the right of this fungi platform above the large fungi platform. The third fungi platform holds a large strange plant, which is from the Jungle (Donkey Kong Country Returns), that can be pounded on for another Puzzle Piece. The apes can afford to burst open the large strange plant with a pound to get the Puzzle Piece, however, they must watch out for the Munchers who are chasing them. Anyway, a red, wooden gate is almost directly below the third fungi platform with the large strange plant. The heroes should roll into this gate twice to destroy it. They will enter an area with grassy turf on the ceiling, two fungi platforms in midair, a large platform with spikes on it that is between the two fungi platforms in midair (it is also in midair), a medium-sized gap underneath the large platform with the spikes on it, and a third Puzzle Piece underneath the large platform with the spikes (it is over the gap). Now the apes have two routes to take. Even though the grassy turf route is safer, you most likely want that Puzzle Piece. So, the apes can either climb the fungi platforms, jump and cling onto the grassy turf, and land on the other side of the floor they were just on, ore instead roll-jump into the gap, collect the Puzzle Piece and jump out of there. Either way, they will find themselves on the other side of the floor they were just on, as long as they have not died yet. Anyway, here, three long rows of Bananas fall and move in a wavy motion. They lead down to a floor with another DK Barrel and three rectangular pillars. Okay, these pillars are actually broken in half and they only move up and down, they never slam onto the ground. So, using the large holes between these pillars, the apes should jump or roll (rolling is faster) through the three pillars. After the third pillar, the Kongs will land on a floor with a small gap on it. On the other side of the floor, another rectangular pillar can be seen behaving the previous three, and a Frogoon moves up and down, thanks to its sac. The apes should jump over the gap and onto the first pillar's hole. Now, being aware of the Frogoon there (an easy way is to just jump when it moves up, for it will hit you and be defeated), the apes should jump to another rectangular pillar behaving like the previous three pillars the apes just passed. Two more pillars that behave just the same can be seen from this pillar the apes are on, which follows the Frogoon. The space between the pillar the apes are on and the next pillar is slightly bigger than the previous, so the apes should jump and hover to the next rectangular pillar's opening. The apes can then drop down/jump to the next rectangular pillar's opening. After going through its opening, the first thing the apes bump into is a Skittler on its web swinging back and forth (side to side). Anyway, there is a trail of Bananas leading to a nearby giant nest of bouncy Muncher eggs, with grassy turf on the ceiling above the apes. The letter O can be found almost touching the grassy turf, and it is placed on top of three Bananas. Now how on earth do you reach that? Here's the trick. If the apes pound the ground directly beneath the letter O, a small, red Mushroom pops out of the ground to aid the Kongs in reaching it. The heroes should bounce on the small, red mushroom to reach it. After the letter O is collected with speed, due to the Munchers behind, the next thing for the apes to bounce is the nest full of Muncher eggs to grip hold of the grassy turf on the ceiling (even though if you do grab the grassy turf while collecting the letter O, that is fine). The grassy turf helps the Kongs climb over the floor, which is now covered in deadly spikes. There are three groups of Bananas, each that have two Bananas and end with a Banana Bunch, which the primates will collect on the way. Soon after the third group of Bananas, the grassy turf ends. There is a small floor with a purple (well, all Skittlers in this level are purple) walking on it beneath the apes. The apes should drop here and defeat the Skittler with two jumps (it is not needed to, but the Skittler can become a nuisance as you perform the next action). At the end of the small floor, there is a gap that splits it and a slightly lower floor apart from each other. The apes should jump over the gap and onto the slightly lower floor. Another bouncy giant nest of Muncher eggs is here, and it can be used to reach a rectangular pillar that slams down on a fairly high (it is higher than normal ones) raised part of floor and rises back up again repeatedly. On this high part of floor, the apes can see a Frogoon moving up and down with the help of its sac in a safe area and another rectangular pillar slamming onto a smaller high part of floor following it. Now before the apes get crushed by the rectangular pillar, they should jump onto the Frogoon to defeat it, so it won't be a nuisance. Now, the apes should be in the safe area. They should now wait for the second pillar to rise up, and then jump onto the high part of floor it slams onto. Here, a Frogoon can be seen moving up and down in a safe area with the help of its sac, and an odd-looking rectangular pillar that seems to have lost a lot of its upper part follows the Frogoon. There is a rectangular hole, however, at the very top of lost, brown-colored upper area in this pillar that holds the letter N. So, to collect the letter N, the apes should ignore the floor it slams onto, and jump into its badly damaged space. Here, they should jump into the space in the lost upper area (or badly damaged space, whatever you want to call it) and collect the letter N. However, the Kongs should be aware of the Munchers chasing them. Anyway, after passing this odd-looking pillar, the floor ends with another giant nest of Muncher eggs that the Kongs can bounce on to jump on top of a large raised part of floor, that seems to have bushy-like leaves covering its bottom and middle. Ahead, there is a Skittler on its web nearby, a small platform in midair, and a fungi platform below the small platform in midair to the right, which is also in midair. There is also a lower floor that the apes can fall to. On the floor, if the apes head left, and into the bushy-like leaves that are covering more than half of the raised part of floor (it is best to defeat the Skittler first), the leaves move away, revealing an alcove with a Puzzle Piece that the apes can jump to. The heroes should be quick because of those deadly Munchers. If only they could be defeated!!! Anyway, after this, the apes can continue on, where they will soon bump into a small, red mushroom next to a tall, thin raised part of floor. Using either the fungi platform or the small, red mushroom to get atop here (bounce on the small, red mushroom). Now, the apes can find a fungi platform in the air next to a wall (there's nothing there so ignore it) and a small gap below, with a floor on the other side of it. Carefully, the apes should drop down and hover onto the floor. Here, the apes will find a small raised part of floor, a platform in midair, a platform beneath the platform in midair, some spikes on the sides of platform beneath the platform in midair, and two Frogoons who move up and down above the spikes (which is also on the sides of the platform in midair) with the help of their sacs. Now, the apes should jump atop the platform in midair. Here, they can see a floor going up a small slope. The apes should jump to this floor. The apes will now come to an area with two fungi platforms on both sides of a red, wooden gate, which is placed between the two larger, lower fungi platforms, and a floor beneath all the fungi platforms, whose center (which is also beneath the red, wooden gate) is covered in bushy-like leaves. These fungi platforms in this area are covered in Bananas, just so you know. Anyway, the heroes have two routes to choose. They can either drop down to the second, larger, lower platform on the left of red wooden gate and roll into the gate twice to break it, then jump up the fungi platforms and move onto a raised part of floor connected to them, or they can drop down onto the floor and run into the leaves, revealing a Puzzle Piece they can collect, and then climbing up the fungi platforms onto the higher part of floor connected to them. Anyway, once the heroes reach the higher part of floor, they can drop down to a floor with two Skittlers on their webs which are next to four rectangular pillars following them, which are so close to each other, that they look like if they have been glued to each other. Also, their pattern is different. When the first pillar falls, the second one falls, then the third one falls, then the fourth one falls, and when the first one rises, the second one rises, then the third one rises, then the fourth one rises. Using this fairly weird pattern, the apes should safely get past this to reach a giant nest of Muncher eggs next to a wall with an Auto-Fire Barrel beneath it. Yep, you guessed it. The heroes should jump on the bouncy Muncher eggs to enter the Auto-Fire Barrel. Once the Auto-Fire Barrel automatically fires the apes, the Bananas and the DK logo take over the screen , just like they would when the heroes enter a Bonus Room, however, the apes find themselves busting through a large log and landing right into the Tutorial Pig who hosts the first and only checkpoint in the level on a floor. After the checkpoint, another giant nest of Muncher eggs can be found, and it can help the Kongs reach an Auto-Fire Barrel above the nest to the right. The objective for the apes is to fire the apes to the next Auto-Fire Barrel, which is above them to the left. Once the apes do this, Munchers, once again, come out of their eggs and chase the Kongs, this time from below. NOOO, NOT AGAIN!!!! Anyway, in this second Auto-Fire Barrel the apes must now fire to a third Auto-Fire Barrel by moving left when it fires them. Now, inside this third Auto-Fire Barrel, the apes can either fire into the letter G above them slightly to the left and then to the next Auto-Fire Barrel, which is above them to the right. To collect the letter G, when the apes enter this third Auto-Fire Barrel, they should move a little to the left to collect it, and then try to land back inside the Auto-Fire Barrel. Now, when the Auto-Fire Barrel fires them, they should, this time, move to the right to enter the next Auto-Fire Barrel. Now, in this Auto-Fire Barrel, they should move to the right to enter the next Auto-Fire Barrel. Here, there is another Auto-Fire Barrel above them to the left, once again. The apes should move left when they are being fired to enter this Auto-Fire Barrel. In this next Auto-Fire Barrel, another Auto-Fire Barrel can be found to the left above the heroes. Once again, the apes should move left to enter this Auto-Fire Barrel. Now, this time, the next Auto-Fire Barrel is directly above this Auto-Fire Barrel the heroes are inside. So, with that being said, they should not move at all when they are being fired. The next Auto-Fire Barrel will catch them and aim at a skull Barrel Cannon (skull Barrel Cannons/Auto-Fire Barrels destroy themselves/explode, whatever you want to call it, after firing the Kongs). It then fires the apes to this skull Barrel Cannon, which then aims at the Slot Machine Barrel. When, the apes fire into the Slot Machine Barrel before they get killed by the Munchers below, the level is complete!
- K: The letter K is immediately after the set of three slamming and rising pillars near the beginning of the level. It can be found in an area with three fungi platforms, the center one being the highest. The center one holds the letter K, and all the apes must do is use the other fungi platforms to reach the center fungi platform, then jump.
- O: The letter O is shortly after the third Puzzle Piece under a ceiling of grassy turf. The heroes can reach it if they pound the ground directly underneath the letter to cause a small, red mushroom to appear. They can then bounce on the mushroom to reach the letter O.
- N: In the area with many slamming and rising pillars, there is an odd-looking pillar at the very end that seems to have lost a lot of its upper area. In this lost upper area is a hole that holds the letter N. If the apes jump into the pillar's lost upper area, they can then jump to reach the letter N.
- G: After the checkpoint, the third Auto-Fire Barrel in this area has the letter G above it, slightly to the left. So, instead of moving right when the heroes are fired to enter the next Auto-Fire Barrel, the heroes should move a little to the left to collect the letter G and land back in the third Auto-Fire Barrel safely.
- At the very beginning of the level, there are two giant, bouncy nests of Muncher eggs, the second one being higher than the first. The Puzzle Piece is to the left of the second Muncher egg, high in the air. If the apes bounce on the second Muncher egg and hover left, they can grab the Puzzle Piece.
- Just before the second red wooden gate in the level, there are three platforms in midair, the third one, which touches a wall holds a large strange plant. If the Kongs use the other platforms to jump to this third platform with the large strange plant, they can pound the plant to force it to spit out the second Puzzle Piece.
- Almost immediately after the second Puzzle Piece, and after passing the red, wooden gate, which would be gone now, there is a gap with a Puzzle Piece in it and a floor ahead, as well as some grassy turf on a ceiling and some platforms in between the grassy turf and the gap. To reach the Puzzle Piece, the apes must roll-jump into the gap and then jump out of the gap to land on the floor.
- After the heroes climb over the raised part of floor after the N, they should head left at the bottom of the area, and head into some leaves covering the raised part of floor to find a hidden alcove with a Puzzle Piece in it.
- The Kongs will reach an area with two fungi platforms on one side of a red, wooden gate, and two fungi platforms on the other side of the red, wooden gate. There is a floor beneath all of this here. If the Kongs head onto the floor, they can head into some leaves to find a Puzzle Piece that was once covered by the leaves.
- This level is one of the few levels without a Bonus Room, some others include the later Lift-off Launch, the temple levels, and some other levels.
- Even though this is my, Smashbro8's own opinion, it is best to roll and roll-jump through the entire level since Munchers are fast at chasing the heroes.
- This is also my, Smashbro8's opinion, it is best to collect the Puzzle Pieces and die, so that when you repeat the level, you no longer have to bother with collecting them, for they have been collected. The player can then complete the level as usual, however, if you die with collected K-O-N-G Letters, you must collect them all over again. Only if you die after passing a checkpoint will collected K-O-N-G Letters not have to be recollected.