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Video Game: Super Mario Bros. 3
"So I give you... SUPER! MARIO BROTHERS! THREE!!!"
The Video Armageddon announcer, The Wizard

Super Mario Bros. 3 is the third installment in the Super Mario Bros. series by Nintendo. Having saved the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario must now liberate the surrounding kingdoms from Bowser, who, in the vein of Bonaparte, has divvied them up between his seven kreepy Koopa kids. Mario must first trounce the Koopalings, steal back the scepters they stole from the rightful rulers, and restore the Kings to human form before he's allowed to tackle Bowser.

The final installment in the 8-bit trilogy, it featured several new power-ups and features, in addition to a much larger selection of levels, enemies, and so forth. It was a huge commercial success, rivaling the original Super Mario Bros. 1 game. Super Mario Bros. 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.

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

Notable ROM hacks include:

Tropes present:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The GBA remake has an intro cutscene explaining how the Koopalings transformed the Kings and took over the Kingdom.
  • Airborne Mook: In addition to the paratroopers, now there are paragoombas, parabeetles, and boos.
  • 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.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The seven kings who get changed into animals (or, in the remake, enemies from other Mario games).
  • Big Bad: Bowser.
  • 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. 1 game.
    • Also, the melody to make the Wandering Hammer Bros. fall asleep is the Super Mario Bros. theme.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: The final fight with Bowser is won by dodging him as he butt-smashes his way through the floor (which is made entirely of breakable blocks), until he inevitably falls to his death.
  • Bubbly Clouds: The second half of World 5, Sky Land/The Sky.
  • 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. The GBA remake bumps this up to 999.
  • Check Point Starvation: None of the levels in this game have checkpoints, a rarity for a Mario game. This may be because the stages are shorter than ones in most other Mario games.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The final stage, Bowser's Castle, is constructed out of distinctive red bricks not seen in the game's other castles and fortresses. During the Final Boss fight, the most well known way to defeat Bowser is to trick him into smashing his way through these same bricks and down into a Bottomless Pit.
  • Children in Tow: The Blooper Nanny.
  • 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).
  • Continuing Is Painful: Zigzagged. Getting a game over and continuing results being thrown back to the start of the world's map plus all action levels that you cleared get reset and have to be completed again. However, mini-fortresses and battleship levels in World 8 that were cleared previously remain as such, which also means any shortcuts you opened beforehand also remain open so you can bypass a few levels. On the plus side, all mini-games and item houses you used will regenerate upon restarting.
  • 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! Also, in the remakes, all Hand Trap levels have the bottom half of the background glowing red.
  • 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.
  • Covers Always Lie: A screenshot from one of the Dummied Out levels is pictured on the back of the NES game box.
  • 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.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You can kill the sun. And it's just as awesome as it sounds.
  • Difficulty By Region: In the original Famicom 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. This revision would also apply to ALL subsequent remakes of the game, both in Japan and internationally. (The GBA version was planned to include an e-Reader switch that would bring back the original damage behavior, but it was never made, not even in Japan.)
  • 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.
  • Disney Villain Death: Happens to Bowser if he is defeated the normal way by tricking him into smashing through the floor. Even if he is defeated by the Fire Flower or Hammer Suit, he falls off the screen anyway.
  • The Dragon: Ludwig is described in the North American instruction booklet as being Bowser's second-in-command.
    • Contrast with Super Mario World, in which Larry apparently assumes this role. Ludwig is still important there as he guards the castle at the end of the bridge that connects the western and eastern continents.
  • Drought Level of Doom: In World 6 and 7, Mushroom Houses are slim in comparison to earlier areas. If you use all your items in these worlds without restocking (via Game Over and farming), then you'll be in for a rude awakening for World 8, which has some of the hardest stages in the game and no Mushroom Houses at all.
    • You can save a P-Wing to use for those levels. That is, unless you deem them Too Awesome to Use or just run out of the rare things.
  • Dub Induced Plothole: 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 is Kuribo's Shoe, the other is Jugem's Cloud.
  • Dungeon Bypass: You can complete a level normally or you can say screw it and use Jugem's Cloud to skip a level or mini-fortress. However, if you lose a life after skipping a level, you'll be thrown back and you'll have to beat the level you skipped (assuming you didn't clear another level after skipping the level before it).
  • Dummied Out:
    • There are fifteen (mostly) incomplete levels hiding in the coding.
    • Worlds 4-5 and 5-1 have dummied-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.
    • There are only 3 Warp Whistles in the whole game. There was apparently a 4th one, too, but only in the Japanese version of the game.
  • Easter Egg: Complete the airships as Tanooki, Hammer, or Frog Mario/Luigi and the king will give a different message.
    • If a Chain Chomp tugs on its Chain 49 times, or if the clock hits 160 seconds, the Chain Chomp and all others in the level will break their chains and run off the level.
    • Selecting a previously finished level in 2-player will allow both to play an updated version of the Mario Bros. arcade game.
    • Press Select on the map screen to choose any item for use (including a warp whistle). This only works in some versions of the game.
  • 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.
  • Evil Overlord: Bowser. He has it all here; a vast army of Mooks, airships, and a kingdom that resembles Hell itself.
  • 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. Notably, some of them are hanging from wires.
  • 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: Emerging 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.
    • If two sets of Hammer Brothers, or a Hammer Brother and a card matching game get on top of each other on the world map, it's possible for them to get stuck together and perpetually wander around the map, with control never being given back to the player. World 4 tends to be particularly vulnerable to this glitch, as it has three sets of Hammer Brothers all in the same area.
  • Giant Mook: Almost every enemy in World 4.
  • Graceful in Their Element: The Frog Suit underwater.
  • Green Hill Zone: World 1, Grass Land, and the first half of World 5.
  • 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 an NES game, the only way to learn how to find these secrets was by word of mouth. In the case of the white mushroom houses, the coin collection requirements basically boil down to "all the coins in the autoscrolling levels" which made getting them considerably easier once you figured it out.
    • 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 or 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Bowser will try to flatten Mario by jumping down on him from above. But each time, he bores a hole into the floor, going deeper and deeper, until he falls right through.
  • 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.
  • 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 (e.g., World 4-5), three Dry Bones in the same vicinity, or a Koopa close to a Bullet Bill cannon (see the image at the 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.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Hammer Suit. Not only it can already kill anything that the fireballs from the Fire Flower can, the hammers can also eliminate Boos and Thwomps, which normally can't be killed unless you use a Starman. Ducking in the Hammer Suit makes Mario curl up and grant him immunity to fireballs as well. Naturally, the Hammer Suit is extremely rare and for many players, it's just Too Awesome to Use.
  • Kaizo Trap: After Bowser is defeated, you still remain in control of your character. If you must do a Victory Dance, care not to fall into the same pit Bowser fell into... on the other hand, this trope is averted if you defeated him with the Fire Flower or Hammer Suit as there's no hole to fall into in those cases.
    • Some levels have enemies at the very end where the level goal is, serving to trip up players who bum rush blindly when they see the background change.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Toad isn't the only one here. The Koopalings, introduced in the game, bring some kid-of-heel technicality to the Mario franchise. Of course, Koopalings are cruel.
  • 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.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Bowser. While not as extreme as Super Mario 64 and the Super Mario Galaxy games, his letter with him gloating about kidnapping Peach again causes a Mood Whiplash and after reading it it instantly cuts to Mario arriving in Bowser's kingdom, which resembles Hell. You don't see Bowser himself until the very end of his castle, in which he just jumps right into the final battle.
  • Law of 100: 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. Oftentimes, 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.
  • Marathon Level: World 6 has ten levels, along with three mini-fortress levels. Luckily, you don't have to complete all the normal levels to beat the world, but if you want 100% Completion in the GBA remake, you'll have to do it all.
  • Macro Zone: World 4, Giant Land/Big Island
  • 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.
  • Mini-Dungeon: This is the first Mario game to introduce the Fortresses, who serve this purpose. The status they used to have as end-of-world levels in the previous games was downgraded to a middle-point stage whose completion merely opens locked gates to create shortcuts that help the player skip levels if all lives are lost.
  • Mission Control: Princess Peach sends you telegrams at the end of each World, along with an item. The final letter is from Bowser, gloating about kidnapping the Princess again.
  • Mordor: World 8, Dark Land/Bowser's Castle
  • Musical Theme Naming: Most of the Koopalings are all named after famous musicians: Ludwig von Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Iggy Koopa, Larry Koopa, and Wendy O. Koopa.
    • The semi-exception is Morton Koopa, Jr., named after Morton Downey, Jr., who had little success as a musician but much more as a obnoxious talk show host.
      • The Boo enemy, which debuted in this game, is here called Boo Diddley.
  • New Game+: Clearing the game loads your inventory with P-Wings, but the feature was not carried over to the updated ports.
  • Nintendo Hard: Not as unforgivably difficult as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, but still rather hard. The difficulty really peaks in World 7. (World 8, by contrast, tends to look harder than it is.)
  • No Name Given: The Koopalings in the Famicom version. Their names were established during the U.S. localization of the game, and were named after talk show hosts and musicians.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Palmtree Panic: World 3, Water Land/Sea Side; overlaps with Under the Sea.
  • Pipe Maze: World 7, Pipe Land/Pipe Maze.
  • Player Tic: One of the most well known ones. Players tend to jump to grab the wand in mid-air after defeating a Koopaling.
  • 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 GBA version added the Cape Feather from Super Mario World, as well as 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.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Koopalings debut here.
  • Remilitarised Zone: The airship levels, and half of 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 Wii 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. The Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console versions even allows you to save an actual save state that can be reloaded at any time.
  • 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.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: There's two slightly different Boss Rooms in Bowser's Castle, with both having a holding cell behind them. No matter which one you go to, you'll always face Bowser there and find Princess Peach in the room behind.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Compared to The Lost Levels. Granted, this game isn't very easy either.
  • Shifting Sand Land: World 2, Desert Land/Desert Hill. A few levels in World 7 are also desert-themed.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: World 8 is the only world in the game in which neither Toad Houses nor Toad Casinos appear. Also, in the two outdoor field levels, the game's cave music is used.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Use the game's Warp Whistle, and you'll hear the warp tune from The Legend of Zelda I. Mario will also be swept away in a tornado, much like Link in the same game.
    • The Koopalings are named after famous musicians & talk show hosts.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: World 6, Ice/Iced Land.
  • Speed Run: This legendary 11-minute speedrun of the game, probably the most famous tool-assisted speedrun on the Internet, though it has since been surpassed... while controlling three other Super Mario Bros. games with the same "controller" simultaneously.
  • Spiritual Successors: There's two of them.
  • Sprint Meter: Inverted with the game's P-Meter, in which you run at full speed whenever it's full.
  • Tanuki: The Tanooki suit allows Mario or Luigi to temporarily turn into a statue.
  • 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.
  • Timed Mission
  • 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... (The Frog Suit is similar in terms of rarity, but only useful in underwater areas.)
  • Tremor Trampoline: If Mario or Luigi is stunned by a Ground Pound from a Sledge Bros. or from some of the Koopalings, they'll bounce up and down in place for a few moments. After defeating Bowser, the resulting impact from down below will also bounce Mario or Luigi high into the air if they're standing on the ground.
  • Turtle Power: Koopas and Bowser yet again, along with the introduction of the Koopalings.
  • Unique Enemy: Goombas in their shoes, Para-Beetles, Spiny Cheep-Cheeps, and homing Missile Bills all turn up in exactly one level apiece. Also, a single fire-breathing Nipper appears in World 7-8.
  • 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.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: While Larry Koopa and Morton Koopa, Jr. aren't really any more difficult than the Boom-Booms (save for adding some easily avoidable projectile attacks), Wendy O. Koopa ramps up the difficulty by throwing rings which bounce around the room and make it much harder to safely hit her. All of the subsequent bosses do something to make the battle that little bit trickier.
  • Warp Whistle: Trope Namer; there are three of them which take you to a Warp Zone.
  • Weaponized Offspring: Yellow Paragoombas attack by releasing Microgoombas from the air.
  • Wham Episode: Peach is just fine up until the end of World 7, at which point Bowser comes back and kidnaps her!
  • When All Else Fails, Go Right: Averted in World 5-3, but otherwise played straight.
  • 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: Referenced by the princess herself, except in the Japanese and GBA versions.

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alternative title(s): Super Mario Bros3; Super Mario Brothers 3
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