Super Mario Bros. 3

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It has been requested that this article be rewritten and expanded to include more information.

This article is about the NES game. For information about the game watch, see here. For the animated series, see here. For the microgame from WarioWare: Twisted!, see here.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Developer Nintendo EAD
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) Famicom/NES, Super Famicom/Super Nintendo, Game Boy Advance, Virtual Console
Release date October 23, 1988
Genre 2D Platformer
ESRB: - Everyone
PEGI: - Three years and older
CERO: - All ages
ACB: - General
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Media 3-megabit cartridge
Wii Remote (Sideways)
Nintendo 3DS:

Super Mario Bros. 3 is a platform adventure game for the Famicom and NES and is the third installment in the Super Mario Bros. series (fourth in Japan) It was released in Japan on October 23, 1988; in North America on February 9, 1990; and in Europe on August 29, 1991. It was later released in the US on the Wii's Virtual Console on November 5, 2007 and 3DS' Virtual Console in January 1, 2013. It is the sequel to the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2, although outside of Japan, it is considered the sequel to the international Super Mario Bros. 2.

It has been considered as one of the greatest games of all time. Its complexity and challenging levels made it a huge success. In addition to new power ups, it features new moves, items, and enemies. It also features special non-level parts of each world, including Toad Houses, where items can be obtained, and Spade Panels, where lives can be obtained, as well as some secret parts, such as the White Toad House and the Treasure Ship.

Shortly after the release of the game, a cartoon named The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 was made. The cartoon was based on the game but with a different plot. In the cartoons, King Koopa and the Koopalings tried to take over the real world as well, and not only the Mushroom Kingdom. The cartoon series is produced by DIC Entertainment Productions in association with Nintendo.


Bowser has returned to the Mushroom Kingdom and now with the help of the seven Koopalings, he tries to conquer it again. He sends his Koopalings (Larry, Roy, Lemmy, Wendy, Iggy, Morton, and Ludwig) into seven parts of the Mushroom World to steal the Mushroom Kings' magic wands, and with the wands, transform the Kings into various creatures. Princess Toadstool sends Mario and Luigi to go and stop the Koopalings, and turn the kings back into their normal form. At the end of each world, Mario and Luigi fight one of the Koopalings, and after the match is over, retrieve the wand from the Koopaling to turn the king back to normal. While the brothers are out in their adventure, Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool and takes her to his lair in Dark Land. The brothers go to Dark Land and fight Bowser. After defeating Bowser, they save Princess Toadstool and they all return to the Mushroom Kingdom.


World 1: Grass Land (Larry Koopa)

Raccoon Mario in Grass Land.

Grass Land is the first world of the game that was attacked by Larry Koopa, who stole the wand of the Grass Land King and turned him into a dog (or a Cobrat from Super Mario Bros. 2 in the remake). The landscape itself is mainly composed of plains, surrounded by hills and even some cliffs in the south. A fortress can be found in the middle of Grass Land, and the king's palace lies to the southeast, surrounded by a circular moat. The enemies Mario encounters here are regular ones, like Goombas, Koopa Troopas and Piranha Plants. The world features a Spade Panel, two Toad Houses and six levels, of which four have to be cleared to reach the king's palace.

World 2: Desert Hill (Morton Koopa Jr.)

Fire Mario in Desert Hill.

Desert Hill (also known as Desert Land or the Koopahari Desert) is the second world of the game. It is a region within a vast desert, filled with sand, palm trees and some pyramids. A fortress is located in the west part of the desert, and a quicksand field can also be found, as well as a great pyramid that the player needs to traverse in order to reach the kings palace. The king was attacked by Morton Koopa Jr., who turned him into a spider (or a Hoopstar from Super Mario Bros. 2 in the remake). The world features two Spade Panels and three Toad Houses, of which one lies in a secret area behind a rock, that needs to be crushed by a Hammer.The boulder also hides two Fire Bros. which stole the last Warp Whistle. Four of the five levels need to be cleared to get to the great pyramid and the palace. Desert Hill houses many desert-related creatures like Fire Snakes and the extremely rare Angry Sun.

World 3: Ocean Side (Wendy O. Koopa)

Frog Mario and some creatures of Sea Side.

Also referred to as Water Land or Sea Side, Ocean Side is a water-themed region that was raided by Wendy O. Koopa. While some levels take place on solid ground, most of the levels and even one of the worlds two fortresses involve water in a certain way. At the northern part of the world map, Mario will encounter drawbridges that open and close in a set pattern. The world's palace is located far to the east on a small remote island that is only accessible through a Warp Pipe. The king of Ocean Side was turned into a Spike (or a Dino-Rhino from Super Mario World in the remake) during Wendy's attack. A boat can be unlocked by using a Hammer on a rock in the south. Through it, the player can reach some bonus Spade Panels and Toad Houses. Ocean Side contains nine levels in total, of which one can be skipped if a certain drawbridge is closed, and houses several water creatures like Bloopers, Cheep Cheeps, and Big Berthas. The world also introduces a very rare Boo known as a Stretch.

World 4: Big Island (Iggy Koopa)

Mario encountering Gargantua Koopas in Big Island.

This world, which is also known as Giant Land, is mainly composed of an island in the vague shape of a Koopa. It is a relatively green island with plants growing on it that resemble Fire Flowers. The castle at the west coast of the island was attacked by Iggy Koopa who transformed the Big Island King into an orange dinosaur (or Donkey Kong Jr. in the remake). The world has two fortresses, one on the east side and one on a small island in a lake in the world's center. The most prominent feature of Big Island, which gives this world its name, is the fact that many enlarged versions of regular enemies, blocks, and environmental features can be found here. The world features four Toad Houses, two Spade Panels and six levels, of which five need to be cleared to reach the king's palace.

World 5: The Sky (Roy Koopa)

Raccoon Mario (with P-Wing) in The Sky.

The area also known as Sky Land is the world that has been conquered by Roy Koopa, who has turned its king into a condor (Albatoss in the remake). It is divided into two parts: a ground part and a sky part. The player begins on the ground. The most notable feature of this area is the possibility to gain the Kuribo's Shoe, an item that can be obtained in level 5-3. After clearing the levels on the ground, the player can reach a spiraling tower that reaches up to the sky. The main part of the level is located here, and there are also some creatures exclusively to this realm, namely the Para-Beetle. After clearing the tower that serves as a link between the two areas, the player can go back to the ground, but they will have to clear the tower again on their way up. If Roy Koopa isn't defeated at the first try, his Airship will be able to move freely between sky and ground. There are nine levels in total, three Spade Panels, three Toad Houses and two Fortresses. The palace is on the southwest part of the sky part.

World 6: Iced Land (Lemmy Koopa)

Tanooki Mario in Iced Land.

Sometimes referred to as Ice Land, Iced Land is an area covered in snow and ice. The palace of Iced Land was attacked by Lemmy Koopa - who has turned its king into a fur seal (Monty Mole in the remake) and Mario has to venture there and reclaim the magic wand just like in the previous worlds. Before he can reach the palace however, the player has to navigate Mario through the levels of Iced Land. These levels feature frozen ground which makes movement more difficult, as Mario has poor footing on them and is likely to slip off into a bottomless pit. In some levels, the player can find ice blocks that contain coins or enemies. These blocks can only be melted with one of Fire Mario's fireballs. There are ten levels in total, three Spade Panels, two Toad Houses, and three Fortresses. The Palace is far to the east near the sea.

World 7: Pipe Maze (Ludwig von Koopa)

Hammer Mario in Pipe Maze.

Also known as Pipe Land, Pipe Maze is a series of small islands in a network of confusing pipes. The fourth stage is an underwater level with spiked Cheep Cheeps, some Big Berthas and three Blooper Nannies. Prince Ludwig von Koopa attacked the Pipe Maze king and turned him into a goldenrod Venus Fire Trap (Yoshi in the remakes.) The country itself consists of nine levels, three Spade Panels, two Fortresses, two Nipper Plant Levels and three Toad Houses. The palace is located in southeastern Pipe Maze by the sea. If not defeated, Ludwig's airship will fly from one island to another, since the anchor is required to stop it.

World 8/Final World: Bowser's Castle (Bowser)

Bowser approaches Raccoon Mario in one of his tanks.

This eighth and final world (also known as Dark Land) is ruled by King Bowser. The levels in this world are primarily tank brigades and airships. There are also Hand Traps found in the second area of the world, which unexpectedly grab Mario or Luigi and take them to a short obstacle course which has a chest containing a Super Leaf at the end. The third area has two normal levels and a Fortress, and the final level has the last tank level and Bowser's Castle, where Mario or Luigi must finally battle Bowser.

World 9: Warp Zone

World 9 is only accessible by a Warp Whistle. In it, the player can choose to go to any other world in the game. The selection of worlds the player can choose from changes depending on the world they used the Warp Whistle in. If the player uses another Warp Whistle in the Warp Zone, it will take them to the pipe leading to World 8.


The map of World-e.

World-e is an e-Reader-based world, and it is exclusive to Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3. It can be reached right at the very beginning of the game. Players can use two Game Boy Advance, one with the game and the other with the e-Reader in order to scan level cards, demo cards, and power-up cards.



While in a Level

  • +Control Pad: Move
  • A Button/A Button: Jump
  • B Button/B Button: Dash/interact
  • Start Button/Start Button: Pause

On the World Map

  • +Control Pad: Move Mario Around the Map.
  • A Button/A Button: Select level/item
  • B Button/B Button: Open the item menu


Small Mario Mario's weakest form used when a new game begins. If Mario touches an enemy while in this form, he loses a life.
Super Mario The form Mario turns into after obtaining a Super Mushroom in small form. Mario gains the ability to break Brick Blocks in this state. If Mario touches an enemy while in this form, he shrinks back to his small form.
Fire Mario After utilizing a Fire Flower, Mario will turn into Fire Mario, giving him the ability to defeat enemies by shooting fireballs at them.
Raccoon Mario After using the Super Leaf, Mario will transform into Raccoon Mario. In this state, Mario can spin his tail to attack most enemies, and he can also fly for a short period of time after gaining enough speed.
Tanooki Mario After obtaining the Tanooki Suit, Mario transforms into Tanooki Mario. Along with the abilities to fly and attack with his tail, Mario can turn into a statue to confuse his enemies for a short period of time.
P-Wing The P-Wing looks and behaves similarly to the Raccoon Suit, but includes a large "P" on Mario's chest and allows for indefinite flight. After a level is cleared with this form, Mario will transform back into Raccoon Mario.
Frog Mario Mario will turn into Frog Mario after retrieving the Frog Suit. The Frog Suit allows Mario to swim much easier, but impedes his movement on land drastically.
Hammer Mario Upon obtaining the Hammer Suit, Mario will turn into Hammer Mario. In this state, Mario can defeat enemies by throwing hammers, and can shield himself from fireballs by using his shell, but cannot slide down hills.
Invincible Mario After getting a Starman, Mario will become invincible, and cannot be harmed by any enemies or obstacles. Along with the bonus of invincibility, Mario can also defeat most enemies without jumping on or throwing projectiles at them. This will only last for a short period of time, and Mario will still lose a life if he falls into an abyss or in a pool of lava.
Shoe Mario Only obtainable in World 5-3 of the game, the Goomba's Shoe allows Mario to safely hop across dangerous objects and jump on spiky enemies, such as Piranha Plants and Spinies. It is obtained from attacking a Goomba hopping in the shoe from below. It is only found in this game and its remakes.

In international releases, after players obtain a power-up that is greater than a Super Mushroom, any injury will turn them back to their super form, like in every platformer Mario game after Super Mario World. In the original Japanese NES release, any hit reduces the player back to small form, like in Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels and Super Mario World.


Battle Mode
Piranha Plants
Hammer Brothers



In two-player mode, player one is Mario, and player two is Luigi. After one brother completes a level/loses a life, the other brother plays. Also, if one brother picks a level that the other brother completed, they enter versus mode in their small forms.

Some versus mode stages are similar to Mario Bros. The player that defeats three of five enemies or survives wins. Enemies to defeat are Spinies, Sidesteppers, and Fighter Flies but defeating a Fireball does not count. Players can indirectly kill each other by forcing the rival to collide with an enemy to gain victory. Players can also steal Roulette Box cards from each other by bumping from below. One stage involves grabbing three of five coins.

There is also a stage that has a vertical pipe that shoots out Fireballs and coins. The player that collects three coins or survive wins. Another stage has the players climbing ladders to retrieve coins under boxes, some of which are empty. The first to obtain three wins.

Any deaths incurred in the versus mode will not affect the player's lives in the main game. Super Mario All-Stars also includes a similar Battle Game in the main menu for Super Mario Bros 3.


Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto hard at work with Super Mario Bros. 3.

The hard part of creating a video game with old characters is making the old characters seem fresh and new. In many ways, Super Mario Bros. 3 revived the series and brought many new young and old fans back to the adventures of the Mario Bros..

Remakes and Ports

Main article: Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 was ported to the Game Boy Advance handheld system as the fourth and final installation in the Super Mario Advance series series, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3. It used the same graphics and sounds as the Super Mario All-Stars version, and also incorporated the use of the e-Reader: by scanning in certain cards, players could unlock new items and levels, including content originally from the other classic Mario platformers.

Beta elements

Main article: List of Super Mario Bros. 3 beta elements


Main article: List of glitches in Super Mario Bros. 3


For this subject's image gallery, see Super Mario Bros. 3/gallery.


  • "The Tanooki Suit turns into a statue! Even though I knew it wouldn't make sense to some non-Japanese players...I was so excited about it that I left it in." - Shigeru Miyamoto, Super Mario History 1985-2010 booklet
  • "We were helped by many people when developing this game. But even with a larger team, I was still the worst gamer of the bunch." - Takashi Tezuka, Super Mario History 1985-2010 booklet
  • "This time around, I added a lot of percussion and was able to create tracks that sounded like there were three or more sounds playing at once, resulting in much richer-sounding music." - Koji Kondo, Super Mario History 1985-2010 booklet


  • This marked the first appearance of important characters or species, such as the Koopalings, Boos, Paragoombas, Dry Bones, Thwomps, Venus Fire Traps and Chain Chomps.
  • The Nintendo Entertainment System version of the game was released twice in English. In the re-release, the names of the worlds were changed to (theme of world) Land, while the first English version used the original Japanese names. Other changes include a slightly different set of instructions from Toad's N-Spade game and a slight rewrite in one of Toadstool's letters, changing "Kuribo's Shoe" to "Goomba's Shoe".
  • Defeating a boss while in the Frog, Hammer or Tanooki suit results in an alternate message from the newly transformed king.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records 2008, Super Mario Bros. 3 was the world's best-selling video game, which is false.
    • The image used in the book was of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, the remake, which made the same mistake on the back of its box.
  • Fire Mario's cap and shirt were orange in both the official illustration of Desert Hill and in the original NES version of the game; however, later versions of Super Mario Bros. 3 changed the orange to white.
  • The game was first shown in the 1989 movie The Wizard as a way to advertise it; this also marked the first time that a Mario game was advertised in a movie.
  • In the NES version of the game, the sprite for Fire Mario and Fire Luigi is nearly identical to the sprite seen when Mario and Luigi are powered up by the Starman in the original Super Mario Bros. game and when they power up shortly after obtaining a Fire Flower. In Super Mario Bros., that sprite wears a red hat, an orange shirt, red pants and orange shoes, while in Super Mario Bros. 3, the sprite retains the same clothing except it wears an orange hat instead of a red one.

External links

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