Hot-Head Hop is the first volcanic level that Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong go through. There are many pits of lava, and the Kongs can only cross many of them by jumping from Krockheads, who make their debut in the level. One of the Animal Friends, Squitter the Spider, also debuts in the level. Squitter can create web platforms to help the Kongs cross lava pits or reach hidden areas. There are a few Klobbers, and they attempt to knock the Kongs into the lava. Other enemies in the level include Klampons (who also make their debut in this level), Neeks, Klobbers, Zingers and Krunchas.
The Kongs begin the level outside of a tunnel with a dark treasure chest, which contains a green Extra Life Balloon, on it. Another treasure chest is ahead of the tunnel that contains the letter K. After the heroes pass a Neek and a Klobber, they come up to a pit of lava with a few Krockheads in it, whom they can use as platform to cross. Once they reach the other side of the pit, they come up to a solid area of ground with a raised piece of land in the center of it. A DK Barrel sits in front of the raised platform, which a Klampon walks along. At the end of this area, the primates can find a Klobber and then a pit with three Krockheads in it. The last of the Krockheads can bounce the heroes high into the air so they can reach another solid piece of land with a treasure chest and a Klobber on it. Inside the treasure chest, they can find a Banana Coin, or, in the Game Boy Advance version of the game, a Golden Feather or a Banana Bunch. Two more Krockheads stick their heads out of a lava-filled pit ahead of here, and both of them fling the Kongs into the air when jumped on. They can send the heroes onto a high platform shooting out of the lava.
A wider pit of lava containing four Krockheads is ahead of here, and once it is crossed, the primates reach an area with a DK Barrel and a raised piece of land with two Klampons around it. One of the Klampons is in front of the raised piece of ground, and it guards a treasure chest with a kannonball in it. An additional Klampon marches on the raised platform, which the letter O floats above. The duo can find a lava pit ahead of here that they can cross with two Krockheads that fling them into the air when landed on. A small platform that holds a Klampon is on the other side of the pit, which is followed by an additional pit containing two more Krockheads that can fling them into the air. Another small platform is after this pit, and it holds another Klampon. There is a larger platform near here that supports a kannon and a Klobber. If the Kongs make their way to a pit east from here, they can find two Krockheads in it that can fling them to a nearby Star Barrel positioned high in the air.
After the primates cross this pit, they can find a DK Barrel and an animal crate containing Squitter ahead of them. Next to the crate, the heroes can find a formation of bananas that form the letter Y (or the letter B in the game's remake). Some Neeks march along the path ahead of here, and after they are passed, the group reaches another formation of bananas that create the letter A (or the letter R in the Game Boy Advance remake). A Banana Coin floats above the letter A, which is followed by a small pit with a single Krockhead in it. The letter N floats above this pit, and once it is crossed, the primates make their way up a few steep ledges with Klampons on them to reach the top of a large structure. At the top of this structure, they can find a trail of bananas leading them towards a pit the contains two Krockheads and a Zinger that flies between the two reptiles. The Krockheads can fling them over the Zinger and across the rest of the abyss, where they can find a flat pathway with a Klobber on it. In the Game Boy Advance version of the game, this Klobber is in possession of a photograph.
Once the heroes make it to the end of the flat pathway, they reach a pit of lava with two Krockheads in it and a single Zinger flying over it. The Krockheads, who are able to fling the Kongs in the air, can help them cross the pit, which is followed by a platform with a Kruncha on it and the letter G above it. A group of bananas and Banana Bunches are also above the letter G. The primates can find a long pit ahead of here; they can either cross it with a pair of Blast Barrels, or with Squitter's web platforms. If they use the spider to help them cross, they find a few Zingers in their path on the way. However, they can find many bananas and some Banana Coins in the area between the Zingers. Once the group crosses the pit, they reach an area of land with two Klampons on it. A Bonus Barrel is in view above these foes, who are followed by a No Animal Sign that makes Squitter disappear if he comes up to it (there are actually two, with an invisible one being underneath the real one in an attempt to block players from using Squitter's web platforms to crawl underneath the sign). If the Animal Friend is successfully led to the sign, the Kongs are also awarded with a red Extra Life Balloon. They can find a small pit of lava ahead of here with a Krockhead in it, who can bounce them onto a nearby End of Level Target located on the opposite side of the pit. Additionally, if they land on the target from the nearby Krockhead, they either win a banana, Banana Bunch, or a Banana Coin for a prize.
Items and objects
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Game Boy Advance
Names in other languages