Skowl, the Startling is the second boss of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. He is the leader of the Hootzes, which are a faction of the Snowmads, and the boss of Autumn Heights, fought in the boss level Mountaintop Tussle.
Skowl is a large, gray Hootz with a thick, braided beard and a brown chest plate. He has thick, white eyebrows, and small, luminescent amber eyes. His talons and beak share a brownish color. Skowl wears a helmet with antler-like horns and the Snowmad insignia in the middle. Like Hootzes, Skowl has a noticeably larger head compared to the rest of his body.
Skowl's wing feathers are grayish-white. During the boss battle, the tips of Skowl's feathers gain a red coloration that progresses in brightness upon him taking a third and a sixth hit, respectively.
When the Kongs enter inside the summit of Autumn Heights, they see a group of Hootzes gather around Skowl, who is hidden in the shadows. After a Hootz throws a banana on a stone slab, Skowl smashes it with his hammer. The Kongs react by yelling in shock, which gains the attention of Skowl and the Hootzes. Skowl reveals himself and angrily hoots at the Kongs. The Kongs jump onto the arena and smash the slab as the Hootz fly away, thus triggering the start of the boss fight.
Initially, Skowl's attacks are limited to shooting a wide fan of feather missiles and summoning eggs down onto the arena. These eggs damage the Kongs if they land on them. Some of these eggs contain Hootzes, which can be jumped on and used as projectiles against Skowl. Skowl also turns his wings to ice and sends out spiked chunks of ice to the opposite end of the platform. The chunk of ice continues to roll in a direction until falling off the platform. At some points of the battle, Skowl will descend from the air from one side of the arena and try to ram into the Kongs.
In the later phases of the battle, each in a different area of the boss level, Skowl uses more attacks. This includes creating a windstorm by flapping his wings, shooting sets of feather projectiles and calling in fleets of Hootzes wearing horned helmets to swoop onto the platform at the Kongs while still using some of his previous attacks. Near the end of the battle, Skowl sends large eggs from the sky onto the arena, each one containing three Hootzes, and Skowl appearing inside the fifth large egg.
To attack Skowl, the Kongs must jump on a summoned Hootz to flip it over and pick it up. They must then throw it at Skowl to damage him, especially before he attempts his ramming attack. To hit Skowl an eighth time, the Kongs must wait until Skowl falls out of one of the falling eggs. Skowl will then lose his helmet and be temporarily stunned, which will allow the Kongs to jump on his head and damage him. Skowl is defeated after taking nine hits in total.
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