The ending cutscene of Mario Super Sluggers. Essentially, the gang throws a party, with Mario and Donkey Kong hitting and pitching Bob-ombs into the air as fireworks. Suddenly, Wario and Waluigi appear, and load a Bullet Bill into the baseball machine. Mario, who is scared witless, is just standing there like a sitting duck. (A standing, sitting duck, mind you.) Donkey Kong can't reach him in time, so who comes to the rescue? Bowser. Some slo-mo shots of him and his bat later, he just bunts the Bullet, sends it flying straight back, where it picks Wario and Waluigi up by the shirts, sends them straight upwards, and then explodes into an AWESOME fireworks display! Link here, starting around 3:20.
That's nothing compared to the opening cutscene of the game. During a game, Donkey Kong hits a ball deep into the outfield. Wario and Waluigi use error items to impede Yoshi's progress of getting the ball back into the infield. Peach throws the ball to Mario, who throws it to Luigi, the third baseman, just as DK is barreling into third. DK sends Luigi flying into a wall. AND HE HANGS ON TO THE BALL FOR THE OUT!
Princess Peach gets one in Super Mario Bros. 2. Instead of being kidnapped, she is one of the main playable characters and kicks ass right alongside Mario and Luigi. Her second comes in Super Princess Peach, where she switches roles with the Mario Bros. and does the rescuing for once.
The cartoon Peach got hers when she gained the Starman power and rescued the Mario Bros. and Toad from Bowser's troops in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "The Trojan Koopa".
Worth noting that the plot of both of those games is that Mario's gone missing and it's up to Luigi to find and save him. Heck, even when he had his solo-moment in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, it was because Mario was sick! The one time where he had his own adventure without Mario being sick or kidnapped was in in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, but that was just pure text and his heroic accounts were contrasted with more embarrassing versions of the tale. However, there was a true Moment of Awesome in the fluff: Luigi stormed the castle of the Chestnut King to save Princess Eclair in spite of the terrifying description of both the place and the monster. But the epic battle is stopped by the Princess, who reveals that the Chestnut King is her bewitched lover. Turns out that the person who sent for help, Crepe, was an evil sorcerer that cursed the King to get Luigi to reassemble an ancient powerful artifact from a long-gone evil empire which he used to find the Princess. Although he beat the fiend, he didn't get the girl.
That doesn't really detract from how awesome it is, though. Luigi's Mansion is a great example. Since we see just how scared Luigi is the entire time he's trying to get through the mansion, it makes it even more awesome. Yeah, he's trying to save his brother, but that just crosses the Moment of Awesome over with a Heartwarming Moment. Particularly the ending, where he finally accomplishes said goal. D'aww.
As bad as Mario is Missing! is to play, it shows you just how stupid someone would have to be to mess with Mario when Luigi isn't scared half to death. He curb-stomped Bowser and his entire army, which is spread over the whole planet, without even getting hit. Oh, and he also took full advantage of traveling the world by collecting souvenir photos at his leisure...
The first time Mario takes flight in Super Mario Brothers 3. He eats a powerup called the Super Leaf, grows raccoon ears and a tail, and gains the power to fly.
In a few stages in Super Mario Bros. 3, the sun itself drops out of the sky and tries to kill you! When you first begin the level, the game fools you into thinking that the sun is just part of the background, then BAM!!! it starts trying to dive bomb you throughout the whole rest of the stage! It reappears near the end of the game, in, oddly enough, a level that takes place at night. The best part: if you take an invincibility star into the stage or pick up a Koopa shell, you can use it to kill the sun (which the strategy guide refers to as "forc[ing] an early sunset").
World 5-3 lets you ride around in Kuribo's Shoe, a giant boot that prevents you from taking damage from spikes and lets you kill any enemy in the game with a single stomp. Sadly, it only appears in one level, and hasn't appeared in any of the sequels.
"One night under heavy doses of narcotics, I was playing Super Mario Brothers 3 and one of my friends thought it would be funny to record what I was saying so I could hear myself later when I was coherent. Here is a transcription of the things I said:
Oh shit! I got the shoe! I'm so invincible! Oh! Eat it, you bitch! You don't understand! I got the damn SHOE! It's the shoe! And look at how cute I am with my stupid plumber head poking out of the wind up sock! I am the cutest invincible shoe rider ever! Mario! Mario! He's in the ULTRA green SHOOEEE!
This went on for about 10 more minutes as I kept bouncing back and forth on the level screaming nonsense about the damn shoe until the time ran out. We sent a copy to my mom. I heard she cried." —Seanbaby
Upon beating each of the Koopalings' fortresses, a humorous cutscene is shown of Mario destroying the fortress he's just spent hell getting through. Normally he just blows it up, but after beating Larry's fortress (the seventh and final fortress), Mario PICKS THE FORTRESS OUT OF THE GROUND AND DROP-KICKS IT. No wonder we didn't hear from the Koopalings for so long... note Actually, their last appearance would be in Yoshi's Safari, but that's another story...
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island has perhaps one of the ultimate Moments of Awesome in video games, in the form of its final boss. The whole game in general is Yoshi's MOA; it shows that Yoshi saved Mario as an infant, and so the main hero of the series actually owes everything to Yoshi, but the final boss is still the best part. When you first enter Bowser's castle, it's scary to go through the level, but when you fight Bowser, you find out that he's just an annoying, bratty little kid, whom you can easily defeat. Things looked so simple compared to other Mario games — and then Kamek comes and supersizes Bowser, the whole castle crumbling as he grows exponentially. The final battle takes place with Yoshi on the pile of rubble, and he is looking out into the background, where the now gigantic Bowser looms. The monstrosity tromps toward you Godzilla style, occasionally breathing fire and throwing boulders that further smash the rubble, with an epic heavy metal song (a rarity in the Mario series) rocking out as the showdown rages. When you finally do beat him, if you're a long-time Mario fan, you get an even greater bonus if you sit through the credits. The babies are returned to their parents, and you hear the classic flagpole theme of Mario games, trumpeted up, as you're treated to a picture of the baby Mario Bros. with the caption, "Our heroes are born!"
Mario gets another one in Super Mario 64, in the iconic Bowser fight. In order to beat him, you have to grab him by the tail, swing him around, and throw him into a bomb. The result? A HUGE explosion, and a pwned Bowser.
Even better with the final battle, as Mario has climbed far into the sky to fight him, and the battle is set to some epic background music. You have to blow Bowser up three times! Grabbing the star afterwards and flying into the sky with heroic music playing... perfect way to end the game.
There's an oasis in a corner of Shifting Sand Land. What's awesome is the fact that the developers were nice enough to put it there to refill your health at any time, since diving in water and then coming back out refills your health.
A meta-example, but managing to successfully translate a 2D platforming series into 3D, which had never been done before at the time. Super Mario 64 would go on to leave major marks on the video game industry.
You get to fight the toughest boss in the game, Culex, as a Bonus Boss. Fans of Final Fantasy may recognize FF4's boss music, as well as the four elemental crystals iconic to Final Fantasy. And after you're done beating that long hard battle, you know the standard victory fare isn't enough. BOOM, he turns into colorful sparks and your party does their victory pose, while you get a load of EXP and coins, and the epic Final Fantasy victory music is blaring out of the speakers.
There's a tiny one which doubles as a subtle Heartwarming Moment. When you first meet Mallow, his adoptive grandfather's coin's just been stolen, and, though he has been raised as a frog, he cannot jump. 6 stars' (and one recovered coin) worth of adventure later, Mallow's discovered that he's a prince, has found his true mother and father, and when he needs to jump onto the skybus taking the party to Bowser's Keep.... he does so. With aplomb.
Princess Peach, after being rescued early in the game, sneaks out of the castle to join you and fight alongside you. She starts out primarily as a healer, which is great in itself, but level her up and get her the right equipment and she'll also become an awesome Action Girl in her own right!
In the not-quite-Final Battle, Bowser has made himself invincible by using the Star Rod, but Mario undoes the invincibility by using the Star Beam, a power granted to him by the Star Spirits he rescued in the game. When Bowser's taken enough damage, he flees. In the final Final Battle with Bowser, you're on a special energy-booster platform — the platform's energy boost, combined with the Star Rod, makes the Star Beam fail to work! At this point, Princess Peach (along with just about everybody in the Kingdom) makes a wish for Mario to win, giving just enough power to the Star Spirits to help Mario take down Bowser once and for all.
Don't forget the Awesome Music that plays for that final final battle.
The opening of the game is a huge Crowning Moment for Bowser. He managed to storm the heavens, become invulnerable, kidnap an entire castle, and almost kill Mario. Holy wow.
The Sand Bird ride. You run around the Sand Bird, collecting Red Coins, while the Sand Bird wonderfully screeches like a hawk.
In Pianta Village, after getting all red coins, and when you're on the gigantic palm tree, you grab a piece of "fluff" (a giant dandelion seed), then it flies all the way to a cloud that has the Shine out in the middle of the sky.
Bowser Jr. managing to get Mario framed for polluting Isle Delfino; even though it was largely Bowser's idea,The Reveal of Shadow Mario's true identity really establishes how cunning Bowser Jr. can be when he puts his mind to stopping Mario.
The first appearance of Mecha-Bowser, combined with the Crowning Music of Awesome and the fact that he actually breathes fire at the screen
Cortez causes a few of them. Not only does he survive you beating him, and pretty much making fun of you for it, but he really brings down the house when his ship gets repowered, and he busts out of a wall calling Lord Crump a foolish mortal. Then, with the Ghost Ship that crashed anyone who got close to his island, he heads into an epic ship battle with the X-Nauts. After him making me feel so screwed several times, he's got a pretty nice exit (or entrance).
If you bring Vivian when you engage the Shadow Sirens for the last time, she says what many consider to be the best line in the game to her abusive sister Beldam.
Not only is the star itself absolute 8-bit awesome, but the Mega Koopa involves an enemy picking it up and becoming a gigantic 8-bit Koopa, and running you down.
Peach gets one in Super Paper Mario, where she kicks Mimi's behind. (Mimi insults her, she gets angry. Including a large-text 'Understood' that scares the crad out of Mario and Luigi.) She scared them so badly that not only do they say it's ok for Peach to fight Mimi alone, but they also walk away BACKWARDS to emphasize how scared they were.
You're talking to that nice old wizard, and suddenly, Dimentio, who at this point has begun to reveal what a Magnificent Bastard he is, shows up out of nowhere and SENDS YOU TO THE PG VERSION OF HELL. No battle, nothing. Just snaps his fingers and pretty much kills your whole party. What's more, he's relying on your ability to overcome that, and has in fact helped you out.
More of Super Paper Mario: The Bitlands (save the giant tree), Sammer's Kingdom, and the Brobot fight in space.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
Prince Peasley and Princess Peach thwarting Cackletta's initial plan before it even begins.
The Mario Bros. ambushing Cackletta and Fawful at the Woohoo Hooniversity. Fawful tries to get between the Bros. and Cackletta, but Luigi pounds him into the ground with one swing of his hammer, taking him completely out of the fight.
Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time
Mario and Luigi (and their baby counterparts) infiltrate a Shroob base only to get caught by the Shroobs. They are surrounded and appear to be completely screwed... then Kylie Koopa, disguised as a Shroob, proceeds to blast the beheezus out of all the Shroobs surrounding the heroes with a stolen Shroob blaster. Awesome.
Then, there's the fight against Bowser and Baby Bowser. It just feels so... right to defeat the duo.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
With all the little dialogue bits Bowser gets, it really shows the range of his newest VA, Kenny James. Seriously, who wouldn't destroy their throat doing those guttural growls? This guy's dedicated.
The plot is one Crowning Moment for Fawful, considering he went from a Dragon from the first to the Big Bad, holding true to his vow of vengeance in M&L2.
Not to mention the final battle is one for Bowser, who defeats a dark clone of himself by punching the everloving shit out of it. And the whole thing is playable.
Also, the clone happens to be the shape-changing Dark Star Fawful recently dug up, so basically, Bowser punches out the Artifact of Doom.
This is made especaially awesome if you consider the build up to the fight. The Dark Star stole DNA from Bowser's body, taking on his appearance and learning souped up versions of Bowser's techniques. Consider now that until you get rid of the Core with the Bros. it's essentially a Mirror Match, with Dark Bowser constantly getting back up no matter what you do. Essentially, this means Bowser had more strength within his body than the game's Artifact of Doom/resident Satan.
Let's talk about the whole punching scene. Bowser punches him FOUR times, then, charges up...and FALCON PUNCHES Dark Bowser. Possibly because of the epicness of the moment (it's actually slowed down), the clone EXPLODES. No joke.
Then there's the moment that happens just before that. Bowser is at a platform on top of Peach's castle, facing his Eviler Counterpart, who's really the Mushroom Kingdom's closest analogy to Satan, with the souls and/or bodies of everyone in the Mushroom Kingdom besides the Mario Bros., Starlow, and Peach swirling around him in a hurricane that threatens to destroy the entire kingdom, if not the entire world. His reaction to being told it is hopeless, and that the kingdom will soon vanish? Something very close to, if not exactly what, follows:
Bowser: GWAHAHA! Great dark hurricane! Seriously, perfect backdrop for an awesome Final Battle! You really sweat the details! (Pause) Listen up! You're saying the kingdom will vanish? NOT TODAY! THIS KINGDOM IS ALL MINE! SO YOU VANISH!"
And it's all accentuated by the fact that Bowser himself receives one of the best Final Boss songs in the Mario games.
Another, more subtle one, is when he is hit by the train. If you pay attention, you'll see that near the end of the track, he nearly stops the train, if it weren't for Rule of Funny putting that rock there. This is the true extent of his strength.
Broggy Bonker. Just the plain attack itself. It's already quite funny that the giant angry guard dog you fought and buy items from earlier in the game is beating up bosses, including Dark Bowser. It's freaking awesome when, if you get the attack perfect, about twenty Bitties attack the enemy after it in a line, possibly making the enemy confused. See for yourself at about 2:18 into this video.
Here's one that takes place during gameplay that's pretty easy not to notice when you're conditioned to hop around from platform to platform, but if you see someone else play, you'll notice just how badass the game can look sometimes. In some of the fortresses and castles, Mario jumps onto a wobbly tightrope with lava below, then jumps from that tightrope over a large gap onto another tightrope.
It's probably fair to say the final battle of New Super Mario Bros. Wii is one for several parties involved. At first glance, it appears to be a pretty standard "run under Bowser and hit the switch to drop him into the lava" fight. Then Kamek reveals himself to have taken Peach's place, and spreads magic around like he usually does. Except this time, it has the effect of making Bowser so large that he knocks Kamek out of the sky as he grows. Indeed, it's possible that this is the second-largest height to which Bowser has ever grown (the largest being his Giant Bowser battles in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story). True, most of the following battle is actually you running away from Bowser and surviving long enough to hit the switch at the end that defeats him for good — and it would be entirely unremarkable, if it wasn't one of the most intense platforming sequences in the game, filled with difficult and time-sensitive jumps and enemies prowling around every corner. Practically every obstacle is being thrown against you all at once, making it that much more satisfying when you finally hit that final switch. And if that doesn't sound good enough, imagine doing it alongside three friends. Now that'sNintendo Hard.
Before that, there's the entirety of level 8-7. You ride on a fast-paced undead dragon roller coaster, dodging geysers of lava while it periodically screeches. It's a favorite level in the series for many.
The Koopa Clown Car Corridor. A sequence in both the World 6 and World Star castles where you must cross a series of conveyor belts suspended over lava. While the Koopalings are flying around shooting petrifying eyelasers at you, giggling with each shot. Not only is it the most challenging sequence in the game up to that point, making it all the sweeter when you beat it, but after all these years, seeing the Koopalings all attack the Bros together in a game for the first time is immensely satisfying.
The opening sequence could be a moment for Bowser. Ever wondered how he and his kids seem to be able to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom and kidnap Princess Peach so easily despite Mario's presence? One word: BLITZKRIEG.note For those that don't know, a blitzkrieg (German for "lightning strike") is defined as 'a sudden, swift, large-scale offensive warfare intended to win a quick victory.' An attack of this scale had not been witnessed in any prior Mario games, and it was a good way to show the player the kind of action that was to come.
Another one for Bowser! Following this initial attack, he uses the power of the Grand Stars to get a foothold in almost every corner of the universe. Bowser nearly conquers the universe with little to no prep time. Mario's not just the ultimate hero, Bowser's the ultimate villain being able to accomplish that on the fly.
Third time's the charm! This game was the first time Bowser's new VA stepped up to bat, Mr. Kenny James. And good lord, did he make a first impression. It's no wonder he's been a mainstay since; he actually makes Bowser sound like a monster. For the game that takes the "Castle and Dragon" plot across the cosmos, fitting that Bowser sound more menacing than ever before.
The Freezeflame Galaxy's purple coin challenge is a particular highlight. You have to scour the entire area for coins, then make a slow danger-filled climb to the very top of the mountain to end up with... 98 coins. To get the final two coins, you have to jump off the top of the mountain onto a tiny little platform below. One of the most epic-feeling moments in the game.
What the toad captain says while you're up there adds to the awesome:
Toad Captain: The summit. It is always the pure essence of challenge that burns in an adventurer's heart. Leaping from here will take all the boldness you possess. You better make sure it's a long jump.
The final level. The final boss. The final blow. Mario faces off with Bowser in the center of the universe, and hits so hard with the final blow that he knocks Bowser into the sun. Even more amazing? Bowser somehow SURVIVES this.
And as a result of Mario's actions, the entire universe is destroyed and then recreated. That's right, Mario is the cause of the Spiral Nemesis!
This is only to cause more Moments of Awesome: All the Lumas try to stop the end of the universe, cause a new big bang, and reboot the cosmos, dumping everybody back in the Mushroom Kingdom.
The ending is one of the most epic in any Mario game, and the very end caps it off perfectly. After they wake up in the new galaxy, Mario raises his hands and joyfully cries out "Welcome! Welcome, new GALAXY!"
The moment Mario first used the Red Star.
You can laud the final battle of Galaxy all you want, but Buoy Base also deserves special mention. Having Mario fly into an enemy base and just... pummel everything with no hesitation really cements his status as a one man army.
Or how about what some of the LAUNCH STARS do? For example, blasting right through a BATTLESHIP, which then EXPLODES behind Mario; blasting up from the mouth of a volcano, which erupts as you fly away from it; and probably many more.
Rosalina deserves some mention here. After you retrieve enough power stars, she proceeds to transform her space station into comet mode and blasts though the armada surrounding the castle like the ships were nothing but cheap toys.
When you kill Squizzard in Super Mario Galaxy 2, he explodes, and the Power Star he had flies 50 feet straight up into the air.
Granted, it comes back down, but it's still pretty cool.
Bowser attempting to devour Rosalina's starship, with her being unable to stop him.
The final boss, even if it is a bit easy, is this. After defeating Bowser like the other two times you did (which includes knocking him into a bottomless pit), the Grand Star comes down on the platform you confronted Bowser at. Right before you touch it, Bowser pops back up and then eats the Grand Star, turning him huge again. Then he summons a black hole, and you fight free falling in it, landing on meteorites and then ground pounding them into Bowser. Once you knock the final meteorite into him, he falls into the black hole in slow motion, and it closes up. And all this is topped off by what is arguably the most epic music in Mario history. Holy crap that needed a lot of italics.
When this is over, Mario lands on a planetoid some ways away, and looks over at the black hole. Suddenly, Princess Peach bursts out of it riding the Grand Star, floating over to Mario in a way that says "I'd bet you'd almost forgotten me, huh?" which at this point, the player probably has. Just a little reminder that despite all the kidnappings, Peach is a Badass Princess when the opportunity arises.
Completing the final final level, The Grandmaster Galaxy: The Perfect Run, counts as a Moment Of Awesome for the player.
The intro is a crowning moment for Bowser. In most other Mario games, he just swipes Peach and Mario has to trek to the Koopa Kingdom to rescue her. But in this game, he thought differently. He decided to instead take Peach at her castle, then literally threw Mario and his friends out of the Mushroom Kingdom. And Bowser succeeds in taking over the Mushroom Kingdom until Mario inevitably shows up.
Mario Party DS has the mini game Bowser's Block Party. Bowser has a belt that turns himself into various forms using blocks, and one of them has his face on it. He mainly uses fire attacks throughout the battle. How do Mario and friends beat him? Nothing but kicks and punches (with star power), which is kind of awesome in a way for them.
Yoshi tripping Lena and allowing Daisy to escape.
Mario and Luigi freezing the tower to buy time, since reptiles are cold-blooded and it would slow them down.
The Mattress chase scene was definitely an awesome moment, especially with the music.
The Bob-Omb. To quote Destructoid's list of why the Mario movie is underappreciated:
Mario stands on a bridge, weaponless and defenseless. King Koopa stands across from him, armed with a flamethrower. What does Mario do? He takes out the small windup bomb given to him by the old, fungi-fied king and proceeds to wind it. Koopa squints, trying to see what he's doing. Suddenly, the realization hits him: "Bob-omb." At this point, everyone in the city sees what Mario has in his hands, and they proceed to FREAK THE FUCK OUT. Cars crash, people trample each other in an effort to run away, and chaos generally ensues. All based around a small black ball wearing plastic Reebok shoes (seriously, the Reebok logo is on the Bob-ombs shoes. I'm not posting a capture of it, you'll have to look for yourself). There isn't a kid alive who saw the movie and didn't want one of these.
The special effects. This film had to literally invent new technology to make much of its visual effects look as realistic as they do. Unfortunately, Jurassic Park's effects were a much more explicit focus, so it gets more attention for its influence on the industry.
Daisy appearing in the sand.
Yoshi. For an animatronic puppet, it looks like it just stepped out of a time portal to the Jurassic Era.
This also applies to a lesser extent the Goombas. All of them, including those only seen in the background, had multiple movements built into the heads.
The pan over the city towards Koopa's tower. This was done by one man over a period of six months and was deemed impossible beforehand.
The King turning back into a human.
Adaptations and Other Media
The Super Show's crowning moment has to be in King Mario of Cramalot, where Mario obtains Excalibur (which in this series is a plumber's snake), causing him to go into Super Mode. He then gets into a sword fight with Koopa, who is wielding the Golden Plunger from earlier, all while Bad is playing in the background.
Mario growing large and fighting Koopzilla in "Mario Meets Koopzilla".