Super Mario Bros. 3

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Main cast scene SMB3.jpg
"So I give you... SUPER! MARIO BROTHERS! THREE!!!"
The Video Armageddon announcer, The Wizard (film)

Super Mario Bros. 3 is the third installment in the Super Mario Bros series by Nintendo. The final installment in the trilogy, it featured several new power-ups and features, in addition to a much larger selection of levels, enemies, and so forth (including Bowser's kids). It was a huge commercial success, rivaling the original Super Mario game. SMB 3 was also the first Mario game to have a specific cartoon Spin-Off, in the form of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. It also received advance publicity from an otherwise non-notable movie called The Wizard (film).

A remake of Super Mario Bros. 3 was later included in the Super Mario All-Stars Compilation Rerelease, and that remake was updated again as a standalone game with e-Reader support as Super Mario Advance 4.

Notable ROM hacks include:


Tropes used in Super Mario Bros. 3 include:
  • Animated Adaptation: The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Several. Many of them are notoriously difficult due to the many obstacles that must be traversed while keeping up with the screen.
  • Big Bad: Bowser as Mario tradition dictates, as well as his seven children.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The treasure ships have "treasure" written on their masts in kanji.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Underground levels use a remix of the underground theme from the first Super Mario Bros. game.
    • Also the melody to make the Wandering Hammer Bros. to fall asleep is the Super Mario Bros. theme.
  • Bubbly Clouds: The second half of World 5, and the numerous Coin Heavens.
  • The Cameo: In the SNES remakes, instead of animals, the Kings of the different worlds are changed by the Koopalings into different enemies from past games. Here are the changes:
    • World 1: Grass Land: Dog -> Cobrat
    • World 2: Desert Hill: Spider -> Hoopster
    • World 3: Sea Side: Kappa -> Dino Rhino
    • World 4: Big Island: Dinosaur -> Donkey Kong Jr.
    • World 5: The Sky: Vulture -> Albatoss
    • World 6: Iced Land: Sea lion -> Monty Mole
    • World 7: Pipe Maze: Piranha Plant -> Yoshi!
      • The last transformation example also serves as an Early-Bird Cameo as well since the sprite for that transformation would later become Yoshi's main sprite in Yoshi's Island.
  • Cap: Mario and Luigi can only have 99 lives.
  • Check Point Starvation: None of the levels in this game have Check Points, a rarity for a Mario game.
  • Children in Tow: The Blooper Nanny has several Baby Bloopers following her. She's able to send out her babies in a circular loop for an attack.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Played straight in the original (where Luigi is just a Palette Swap), but averted in the remakes (where he's a separate sprite with unique proportions).
  • Convection, Schmonvection: In addition to the typical application of this trope (being able to stand JUST above lava without getting fried), there's also the fact that in the leftmost Hand Trap level in World 8, Cheep-Cheeps fly out of lava to attack you! (This is one of only two Mario games to feature this, and in the other, Super Mario Sunshine, they at least had the decency to make the Cheep-Cheeps in Corona Mountain charred black and on fire.) Also, in the remakes, all Hand Trap levels have the bottom half of the background glowing red.
    • The castle in the sky portion of World 5 has Mario traveling between two layers of lava, one on the ceiling (it's very hard to see in the original NES version), and convection STILL doesn't affect him.
      • Oddly enough, if Mario touches the lava ceiling, he doesn't get hurt.
    • However, the Angry Sun averts this trope. He isn't really the sun, obviously.
    • World 8's Koopa Navy level is also a subversion: that red stuff ISN'T lava. It's red water. You can swim in it.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: The "Progress in Turns" variation. In the GBA version, you can exchange extra lives between Mario and Luigi when they occupy the same space, while in the other versions, they enter a minigame styled after Mario Bros.. where they compete for the next turn in the main game and steal each other's goal cards while they're at it. The SNES version included a battle mode completely dedicated to this minigame.
  • Cranium Ride: Parabeetles.
  • Dem Bones: Dry Bones, which are actually Koopa skeletons.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Stomping on chains of enemies without touching the ground nets increasing points, and then 1-Ups. However, you can't do this with the P-Wing; all enemies are at 100 then.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You can kill the sun. And it's just as awesome as it sounds. OK OK, it's not really the sun, but it's still pretty kickass.
  • Difficulty by Region: In the Japanese version, Mario reverts all the way back to small Mario when hit even if he's fully powered-up (Fire, Raccoon, etc). In the international versions, he reverts back to Super Mario, meaning he's able to take an extra hit.
  • Difficulty Spike: World 3 is significantly harder than either of the two previous worlds, partially because water levels tend to be harder to begin with, and also due to Boss Bass. The difficulty evens out somewhat in World 4, but then starts rising again in World 5 and never really lets up.
  • Down the Drain: Most of World 3, especially the levels with rising/sinking tides; also present in 4-2. World 7-4 is an underwater level, too.
  • The Dragon: Ludwig is described in the instruction booklet as being his father's second-in-command.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: There are items that had enemies' names in their names that the game and instruction manual forgot to localize accordingly, but this was fixed in subsequent versions. One should be obvious if you read around here, the other is Jugem's Lakitu's Cloud.
  • Dummied Out:
    • There are fifteen (mostly) incomplete levels hiding in the coding.
      • Covers Always Lie: A screenshot from one of said levels is pictured on the back of the NES game box.
    • Worlds 4-5 and 5-1 have dummed-out exits. The latter is the result of localization; a glitch in the Japanese version involving the original exit led to the US version having an alternate exit for this level, although the first one was never taken out.
    • There are even two dummied-out enemies: gold Cheep-Cheeps and green Parabeetles, both of which move faster than their red brethren.
    • Two whole sets of E-Reader cards didn't make it to the U.S., and perhaps as a result, all of the e-Reader content was Dummied Out in the PAL releases for Super Mario Advance 4.
  • Easter Egg: Complete the airships as Tanooki, Hammer or Frog Mario/Luigi and the king will give a different message.
  • Electric Jellyfish / Invincible Minor Minion: Jelectros, which can't be killed even with Starman. Or even the Hammer suit, which can kill almost anything else. These guys are pretty much obstacles with eyes.
  • Evil Overlord: Bowser. He has it all here, a vast army of Mooks, airships, and a kingdom that resembles Hell itself.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The world where you go into the sky is simply called The Sky.
  • Expansion Pack: Literally "pack" - The Super Mario Advance 4 remake was compatible with Nintendo's e-Reader, and several packs of cards were sold to add new levels and give you items at any time.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: The Giant Mooks in World 4 are no harder to kill than their normal-sized counterparts, despite their towering over Mario.
  • Floating Platforms: Many levels.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Much like the first game, this one has flying Cheep-Cheeps that jump out of the water. Some levels also have a Boss Bass do the same thing.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Emerge from the statues of Bowser that litter his castle.
  • Game Breaking Bug:
    • In world 3-9, it's possible to go behind the water in the underwater bottom half of the level, which makes it impossible to go up the pipe leading to the exit.
    • World 5 consists of two separate halves: the ground and a Bubbly Clouds upper half. It's possible for the airship to fly down from the clouds to the ground, but once you go back down to the ground, it's gone. Hope you have a warp whistle. This glitch was fixed in remakes.
  • Giant Mook: Quite a few of these guys live in World 4, which is fittingly known as Big Island. They consist of giant Goombas, giant Koopa Troopas and Paratroopas, giant Piranha Plants, and Sledge Bros which are basically humongous heavy green Hammer Bros. There are also Boss Bass and Big Berthas which can be found in some aquatic levels which are basically giant Cheep Cheeps that can eat Mario or Luigi whole.
  • Green Hill Zone: World 1, Grass Land, has no particular theme besides plains. The first third of world 5, Sky Land, likewise.
  • Guide Dang It: The coin ship and white mushroom house. The former requires the tens digit of the player's score to match both digits of his or her coin count, and the latter requires you to collect an unspecified number of coins in an unspecified level. Of course, being the NES era, the only way to learn how to find these secrets was by word of mouth.
    • Also, several stages have numerous Starman power-ups hidden in blocks, and can allow the player to be invincible through the entire stage. However, you have to find the actual Starman at the beginning of the level, or use one from your inventory before entering the stage, or else no Starmen will appear at all. Qualifies as a bit of Unstable Equilibrium. This gimmick is re-used several times in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
  • Hey, You: Due the possibility to finish the game as Mario or Luigi without any gameplay nor story changes, like many other classic games for that matter, any character refering and talking to Mario or Luigi will not address them by name, it will aways be "you" or any other impersonal pronoun instead.
  • I Fell for Hours: World 5-2 starts the player at the top of a very long abyss. Mario or Luigi can be steered while falling downward, gathering coins in the process.
    • However, if you're good, you can get to that pipe over there and avert this trope.
  • Infinite 1-Ups: Any level with a long chain of respawning enemies (such as the pipe in 1-2 which spits out Goombas), several Bullet Bill cannons near each other, three Dry Bones in the same vicinity, or a Koopa close to a Bullet Bill cannon (see the image at the One Up Sampo article), to say nothing of the goal cards. Even a not-so-great player can easily hit the Cap of 99 (or 999 on GBA) lives.
    • While not necessarily INFINITE, the Fortress in the Pipe Maze area involves a room with a P-Block, and positively massive amounts of bricks. In one punch of the P Block, you can get a large amount of 1 Ups in the time taken, and even more if you have a leaf equipped. Die, rinse, repeat.
  • Kill It with Fire: Unlike in Super Mario World, the Fire Flower is still a primo power-up, and works against many otherwise intimidating baddies.
  • Law of One Hundred: Gathering 100 coins still nets you a 1-up, just like in the first SMB.
  • Levels Take Flight: All of the airship stages are presented as auto-scrolling, obstacle course, style levels above the clouds. Often times, players have to cross bottomless pits using bolt lifts, which require you to jump repeatedly to move them forward.
  • Lighter and Softer: A relatively mild example, but the 16-bit versions of World 8 had a considerably lighter color palette. The 8-bit version by comparison had a much darker palette and a bleaker overall feel.
  • Macro Zone: World 4, Giant Land.
  • Meaningless Lives: The GBA remake plays with this trope; it allows you to donate some of your lives to the other player, and vice versa.
  • Mordor: World 8, Dark Land.
  • Musical Theme Naming: Most of Bowser's kids are all named after famous musicians: Ludwig von Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Iggy Koopa, and Wendy O. Koopa.
    • The exceptions are Morton Koopa, Jr. (obviously named after Morton Downey, Jr., who had little success as a musician but much more as an obnoxious talk show host), and Larry.
      • The Boo enemy, which debuted in this game, is here called Boo Diddley
  • New Game+: Clearing the game loads your inventory with P-Wings.
  • Nintendo Hard: Not as unforgivably difficult as The Lost Levels but still rather hard. The difficulty gets really nasty in World 7 and doesn't let up with World 8.
  • No Name Given: The Koopalings in the Famicom version. Their names were actually established during the U.S. localization of the game and then used in Super Mario World.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The first fortress in World 7 has no enemies except for the boss; in their place are the empty holders for Rotodiscs and Hot Foots. It also has no obvious way out.
  • One-Hit Kill: Aside from the usual (lava, pits, etc.), there is also Boss Bass. Appearing in two levels in World 3, it jumps out of the water trying to engulf you, and if he does, you instantly lose a life, even if you were powered-up. This results in 3-3 and 3-8 being That One Level to many players.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The best power-up ever, Kuribo's Shoe. It only appears in one level, and has yet to appear in any subsequent games in the series.
  • 1-Up: Just like in the first Super Mario game, green mushrooms give 1-ups, and one is awarded every 100 coins. There are also goal cards at the end. Any combination of three grants a 1-up, and gathering all mushrooms, all flowers or all stars grants 2-, 3- and 5-ups, respectively. In addition, the spade games offers 2-, 3- or 5-ups for matching up a picture.
    • The Game Boy Advance version kicks those spade games up a notch by giving you a heart game once you clear the spade, in which the Star is replaced with a Leaf that'll give you seven lives. Clear that, and you get to play a club game where the Leaf is replaced with a big "3" that'll give you 10 lives. Clear THAT for a diamond game, where the slots are all rigged with one symbol. After playing the diamond game, it reverts back to a spade.
  • Palette Swap: Mario and Luigi in the NES version, and most of the enemies in all versions. Also, Larry and Iggy are head swaps of each other in this game, as are Morton and Roy.
  • Pipe Maze: World 7, which is named "Pipe Maze" in the Famicom release, and the first print of the NES game.
  • Player Tic: One of the most well known ones. Players tend to jump to grab the wand mid-air after defeating a koopaling for some strange reason.
  • Power Equals Rarity: The Tanooki Suit's down special (Statue) is overpowered. So are the Hammer Bros. Suit's hammers. Thus they appear only a handful of times in the game.
  • Power-Up: This game has several powerups unique to itself, including the Hammer Suit and Tanooki Suit, the latter of which is like a souped-up raccoon tail. There's also the Frog Suit, which allows for easier control underwater but lessened control on land, and Kuribo's shoe, available only in world 5-3. The Fire Flower and Mushroom from the first SMB are present as well, and the Raccoon leaf was introduced with the game.
    • The Super Mario Advance 4 version added the Cape Feather from Super Mario World, and a brand new item: a blue boomerang that you can toss around not unlike the Boomerang Bros. These were only available via e-Reader cards, however, and due to the No Export for You treatment of later card sets, the boomerang is only found very late in the level it's found in in the ones that did get a North American release, making it all but useless (except for messing around with) in that level.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Koopalings debut here, though the only truly quirky ones are Lemmy and mayyybe Wendy as far as fighting styles go.
  • Remilitarised Zone: The airship levels and World 8.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: In one of the bonus games, Toad says "Miss twice and your out." It was later changed to "You can only miss twice," because there wasn't any room in the text box for an apostrophe. The Super NES version brought back the original message, and the GBA version corrected it.
  • Save Game Limits: Even though this game is exceptionally long by prior games' standards, there is no save feature. The remakes thankfully correct this by allowing you to save at any time (though you have to start over from the beginning of the current world when you reload). Also, the Virtual Console rerelease can suspend the game at any point if you return to the Wii menu and then reload the exact same state when you load up the game again.
    • This can be remedied in the original game with the fact that you can get two Warp Whistles halfway through World 1, and one in World 2 (one at the end of 1-3, another in the fortress, and the third in a hidden Fire Bros. battle behind a suspiciously placed rock at the far top-right of the Map in World 2) with minimal effort if you know where they are. With three whistles, you can pretty much go to any world you want, allowing you to resume your progress in that manner (excluding any items you had stashed away of course).
  • Save the Princess: A Double Subversion. The main plot of the game is to rescue the kings of the various kingdoms. For most of the game, the princess is safe at home in the Mushroom Kingdom, sending you letters and gifts. It isn't until you beat World 7 where your usual letter is instead from Bowser proudly claiming that he has kidnapped the princess while you were away (which was his plan all along, kings or Peach.). Only the Game Boy Advance version decides to fill you in on this plot development even if you skipped World 7 by warping.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Compared to The Lost Levels. Granted, this game isn't very easy either.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Most of World 2 (except 2-2) and Worlds 7-2 and 7-9.
    • Worlds 2-2 and 8-2 are subversions, at least in the remakes: They both use World 1-2's foreground and background, with the BG going unchanged (except in 8-2, where there's a night sky full of stars) and the foreground being Palette Swapped to look like sand. The Angry Sun's level in World 2 also uses this foreground despite it playing this trope straight with the background.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: World 8, Dark Land, is the only world in the game in which neither Toad Houses nor Toad Casinos appear.
  • Shout-Out: Use the game's Warp Whistle, and you'll hear the warp tune from The Legend of Zelda. Mario will also be swept away in a tornado, much like Link in the same game.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: The Koopalings are named after actors and musicians.
  • Sleep Mode Size: Mario becomes smaller when his Super Mushroom powers are temporarily drained.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: World 6, Ice Land.
  • Speed Run: Notably the legendary 11-minute Super Mario 3 speedrun, probably the most famous tool-assisted speedrun on the Internet. It has been surpassed by more than 30 seconds now.
  • Tanuki: The Tanooki suit allows Mario or Luigi to temporarily turn into a statue. Enemies pass through you. If you drop on a rotodisc while turned into statue you'll destroy it.
  • The Spiny: Not just the Trope Namer type, but also a second, bouncing type. Neither can be stomped on, but both can be killed with fireballs or tail-whips.
  • Totally Radical: Bowser opens his letter to Mario with "Yo!"
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Tanooki suit and the Hammer Brothers suit. You can waste other powerups willy nilly even if you die because mushrooms, fire flowers, and leaves are a dime a dozen. But Tanooki Suits and Hammer Suits can be counted on one hand each...
  • Turtle Power: Koopas, Bowser, his kids...
  • Under the Sea: Most of World 3, overlap with Palmtree Panic.
  • Unique Enemy: Goombas in their shoes, Para-Beetles, Spiny Cheep-Cheeps, and homing Missile Bills all turn up in exactly one level apiece.
    • A single fire-breathing Nipper appears in World 7-8, and can really catch an unsuspecting player off guard.
    • Fire Bros are incredibly, incredibly rare, with only three appearing in the whole game: two are in the one secret roaming Fire Bro fight in World 2, the other one is in one of Dark Land's hand levels.
  • Unlockable Content: Super Mario Advance 4 enters full-on New Game+ mode once a perfect clear is achieved in each world. Additionally, there are certain game features that only come to effect if certain e-Reader cards were swiped. These range from gameplay features from other Mario games, to different kinds of Mercy Modes, to making the game harder.
  • Warp Whistle: Trope Namer; there are three of them which take you to a Warp Zone.
  • When All Else Fails Go Right: ... except for one level where the pathway goes to the left and downward - although the last section of the level goes to the right. It's also the only level with the Kuribo Shoe. World 5, Area 3. It's such a rarity as to be noteworthy.
  • Wrap Around: There are certain vertically-oriented levels (mostly in world 7) that have left/right wraparound and are only one screen wide.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Just kidding!
    • This was restored to the Japanese version's (translated) A Winner Is You message in Super Mario Advance 4.