From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
Ropes, or phantom ropes, are long vine apparitions that appear in Gloomy Gulch of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and its pseudo-sequel, Donkey Kong Land 2. While ghostly ropes act as normal ropes, their main discerning is their ability to vanish and reappear every few seconds. In Donkey Kong Country 2, ropes make their first and only appearance in Ghostly Grove. They also appear in the level counterpart of Donkey Kong Land 2, and at the very start of its Web Woods counterpart.
In both games, Diddy and Dixie Kong must utilize them as normal ropes, specifically to safely cross over pitfalls or reach higher areas. They must often hop between ropes since they momentarily vanish. When a rope is about to vanish, it flashes as an indicator for the Kongs to get off, otherwise they lose grip and fall down. Some ropes have a quicker cycle of vanishing and reappearing, which is mostly evident when the Kongs must use two of them that vanish and reappear quickly to reach a Bonus Barrel.
While these ropes have not reappeared since, a similar enemy appears in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! named Boo Barrels, which also have a cycle of vanishing momentarily.
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