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Awesome Bosses / Super Mario Bros.

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"If you go to space yourself someday, remember this battle, little Mario."

With dozens of video game appearances over the years and a starring role in some of the most enduringly popular games in the history of the medium, it's inevitable that the rotund Italian plumber has fought many awesome bosses in his time.

All spoilers are unmarked.

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    Platform games 
  • Super Mario Bros. 2:
    • Mouser is a giant, Cool Shades-wearing mouse that throws bombs, and is a great introduction to the different flavour of boss battles in the game.
    • Also Clawgrip. Giant Enemy Crab!! Dude, it's just awesome!
    • The Big Bad, Wart. Throwing vegetables into his mouth until he "croaks". Pretty awesome.
  • Super Mario World:
    • Ludwig von Koopa's boss pattern is completely unique. Where Iggy and Larry both face Mario on tilting platforms and lob fireballs at him, Morton and Roy both scale the walls and try to drop onto Mario, and Lemmy and Wendy both emerge from pipes along with two "practice dummy" copies, Ludwig stands apart by spewing fireballs at Mario, then spinning along the floor while targeting him before jumping over him and starting his attack anew.
    • Of course, this pales in comparison to the final battle against Bowser, on the roof of his castle, as he cruises about in his Koopa Clown Car. At first, he doesn't do much more than float back and forth and throw Mechakoopas down at you (which turn out to be his downfall; kick them up onto his head to damage him), but once you hit him a few times, he flies right into the camera. Game over, right? Nope, he starts raining fire down on your head, and as he swoops back in, Peach pops up from the Kar, screams for help, and throws you a mushroom... only for Bowser to shove her down and resume the fight, with a much more vicious attack pattern. This repeats itself, only for the Klown Kar itself to don a huge angry face and start smashing around on the roof of the castle. Added to this, the Awesome Music gets more awesome during each phase.
  • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins marks the grand debut of Wario, the greedy rival of Mario, and plays the role of Final Boss. And how does he confront the famed Italian hero? By using his own powerups against him. Even longtime archnemesis Bowser hadn't thought of that until much later in Super Mario 3D World.
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island:
    • Giant Baby Bowser is pretty awesome. Almost definitely the largest boss in any Mario game until Mario and Luigi: Dream Team. Somewhere in between the face-melting guitars in the background and the fact that the battle consists of balancing on narrow ruined parapets whilst exchanging artillery fire with what is, for all practical purposes, freakin' Godzilla charging toward the screen, you may be quite forgiven for just drowning in awesome.
    • Really, the game was chock-full of bosses that broke the conventions of what bosses in 2D platformers could be at the time. Occasionally it shattered your preconceptions, as seen in the image on the index page (pictured in it, Raphael Raven). It might not look like much, but that was genuinely groundbreaking back in 1995. And incredibly fun too, if you didn't get dizzy...
    • Tap-Tap the Red Nose. On the one hand he's a mid-boss, but he's the mid-boss of World 6 so he's still awesome. He's completely immune to everything in Yoshi's arsenal, pelt him with eggs all you like, he'll shrug it off. So how do you beat him? In a throwback to old-school Bowser fights, you smash the platform the fight is taking place on and knock him into the lava below.
    • Prince Froggy is one of the strangest bosses in the Mario franchise. It starts with Yoshi being shrunk by Kamek and swallowed by Froggy, forcing you to defeat him from inside his stomach.
    • Naval Piranha is noteworthy for the hilarious shortcut where you can defeat him before the boss fight even starts. Even when playing the boss normally, it can be quite fun to fight since you have to skip the eggs across water to attack its weak spot and defeat it.
    • The fight against Moltz the Very Goonie in Yoshi's Island DS is awesome. It's fought in free fall!
  • Bowser in Super Mario 64; the fact that he was in 3D for the first time makes this worthy enough for a mention, but Final Bowser especially made you feel like Superman after beating him.
  • Super Mario Sunshine:
    • You fight King Boo on a giant roulette wheel that randomly spawns different enemies and items! It's a lot of fun. Bonus points for currently being the only boss in the 3D games to require a decent amount of thought. Would using a pepper to light his tongue on fire and then hitting him with any fruit that isn't a pepper the first thing that comes to mind?
    • Or the Glooper Blooper. Pulling off its tentacles is oddly awesome. And you get to fight it three times.
    • The Wiggler fight is insanely tense as he starts dashing all around the level, requiring you to create sand barriers for him to run into. It's a fast-paced and very satisfying boss fight.
    • You fight Bowser and Bowser Jr. in a hot tub. Sounds lame? Wrong. Said hot tub is at the top of an active volcano and utterly massive. To further top off the awesomeness, Bower Jr. assists his father by captaining a missile cruiser.
  • New Super Mario Bros.:
    • The first battle where you knock Bowser into the lava old school original Super Mario Bros. style and he melts down to the bone!
    • Like most bosses, Monty Tank is pretty easy, but the way you beat him can be made pretty fun. He lets loose Bullet Bills on both sides, which you have to dodge and can Goomba Springboard off of to either a) stomp him, b) blast him with fireballs, or c) throw his Bob-ombs right back at him.
  • Super Mario Galaxy:
    • Megaleg. Scaling a giant death machine and dodging Bullet Bills left and right all to one of the more dramatic tunes in Super Mario Galaxy makes for a very memorable boss fight. This was also the first one. Almost makes you wish it was a bit more challenging...
    • Mecha Bowser requires you to climb up a giant robotic version of Bowser only to ground pound through its head to destroy its engine and defeat it.
    • Fiery Dino Piranha. It's basically the first boss of the game, but on FIRE! It's really cool seeing the Warm-Up Boss become a That One Boss as well.
    • While he's challenging, Bouldergeist is a really cool idea, and pretty fun to fight when not under Daredevil conditions.
    • Kamella is really fun to fight as well. Especially in Deep Dark Galaxy.
    • Kingfin is also a pretty cool boss fight, even though it's underwater.
    • The final battle with Bowser, backed up by some of the most epic music ever heard in a Mario game. And Mario finishes by punching Bowser into the center of the universe. More precisely, you punch him into a sun in the center of the universe. From the inside.
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii:
    • Iggy Koopa. For his Castle Battle, he rides on a Chain Chomp (which is something that nobody else does). He also laughs like a total maniac while doing so, firing magic out at you. In fact, he even shoots magic at you while you're going through his castle.
    • Kamek is quite fun, as well. The constantly scrolling/respawning blocks avert Boss Arena Urgency, but having your platforms steadily turned into Goombas and Bob-ombs (in a callback to the Magikoopas' attack in their first appearance in Super Mario World) sure keeps you on your toes!
    • This game more than tops the previous game in terms of final battles. It starts out similar to the DS version, complete with the old-school finish. But then who you thought was Peach turns out to be Kamek, who flies over the arena, revives Bowser, and turns him gigantic. Cue the most epic Advancing Boss of Doom battle ever as you haul ass through the rest of the castle as Giant Bowser smashes the scenery with his fireballs and his all-out rage as he comes after you. You defeat him by surviving all the way to the end and hitting the switch at the end under the real Peach, collapsing the floor under Giant Bowser and taking him down for good. Even better? You're prevented from getting more than a certain distance away from Bowser not by an arbitrarily scrolling screen, but by the fact that you need his fireballs to blow up the walls in your way.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 examples:
    • Gobblegut is pure awesome. Why? Because he's a giant dragon who's trying to eat you! And you fight him on a tiny little planet that he smashes through! Also, playing the Bugaboom fight the way it was meant to be was really sweet.
    • Digga-Leg. Any chance to use the drill power-up is very welcome; getting to fight a boss with it is pure fun.
    • As if skating in this series didn't improve the Slippy-Slidey Ice World enough, you get to use it Up to Eleven against Prince Pikante. He bombards the area with meteors which you have to gracefully dodge, then skillfully deflect his attacks at him. Really fun and satisfying.
    • Bowser's final stage may be short and very easy, but it is also jaw-droppingly epic. It's basically the Doomsday zone In a Mario game. After you take him down in the first segment, you're about to take the Grand Star, when he comes up out of nowhere and EATS IT. You then fight him in zero gravity in the center of a black hole. And the finishing blow? A meteorite to the face, which knocks him into the black hole. Made even more awesome by the fact that he survives.
    • Meggahammer is absolutely massive and turns into borderline Bullet Hell in the final stage where you have to shoot Bowser Jr. in the face.
    • Bowser Jr.'s Boom Bunker. Ascending Bowser Jr.'s tower with the Cloud Flower is truly epic. And then it starts moving...
  • Super Mario 3D Land has the Final Boss fight with Bowser. Much like New Super Mario Bros. Wii the fight involves getting through a crumbling castle with Bowser hellbent on stopping your progress by every means necessary. The first half involves you chasing Bowser up the crumbling remains of his castle while he, among other things, spits fireballs, throws spike balls, and at one point takes a page out of Donkey Kong by throwing barrels at you. The last part of the first half concludes with the usual switch press to send him down into the lava old-school style. Afterwards, you get to climb through the second half of his crumbling castle, but then, Bowser jumps back up and this time HE'S CHASING YOU! Managing to climb up to the top while avoiding his magical fireballs leads to a chase scene where you have to run to a second switch before he gets to smash you with his claws. All the while you get some kickass music playing! A great way to end the main story of this game.
  • Ludwig in New Super Mario Bros. 2. While most of the other bosses are simply a remix of their NSMB Wii fights, Ludwig gets a complete change. This time, he jumps up to three chains and you have to fire yourself out of a cannon to hit him, then jump on him to damage him. For the final hit, he starts swinging around on the middle chain, making the final hit harder to land.
  • New Super Mario Bros. U:
    • Iggy Koopa's fight is pretty cool, with Iggy using Warp Pipes to evade Mario and walk on the ceiling, conjuring Magmaarghs with his scepter while doing so. His difficult shell movement pattern and the savviness of using pipes really make it a fun fight. Doesn't hurt that the preceding level is incredibly easy when using the Flying Squirrel suit.
    • After two games in a row where the final boss is just evading giant Bowser, this time you actually get to fight him head-on, giant form and all. But what's the best part about actually getting to fight giant Bowser, you ask? It's the fact that you conk him on the head with Junior's own clown copter.
  • All of the bosses in Super Mario 3D World, especially Bowser. This time, Bowser gets creative and starts using powerups against you. He uses the Cat suit to chase you up the tower he built, breaking platforms, popping clouds, and bursting out of walls just to get at you. After a certain point, he starts using the Double Cherry, forcing you to avoid two Cat Bowsers, then three, then four and so on. The chase finally ends when you hit the giant POW block at the top, knocking all the Bowsers off the tower, and sending the original into a firework explosion shaped like his head.
  • Super Mario Odyssey:
    • Both Bowser's fights are an absolute thrill. The first one, in the Cloud Kingdomnote ]] with him jumping from platform to platform on the arena and throwing balls of rock at you (and occasionally burning golden shells). Mario stealing Bowser's hat and using the boxing gloves to wear down Bowser's offense and defense, before tossing him into the spiked cage. Bowser will also summon multiple false hats to home in on you as you try to hit the real one. The second fight, this time on the Moon Kingdom, is identical - only this time, Bowser blows a massive stream of flames in a circle. There is also a third Bowser fight which is unlocked after collecting all 880 Power Moons note , and in that fight does Bowser become faster, stronger, and more unpredictable than before, and is very difficult to beat at that point without a Life-Up Heart.
    • The Ruined Dragon, which is a giant lightning-breathing dragon that looks like it came from Skyrim.
    • Knucklotec is a surprisingly complex boss for a Mario game, requiring you to dodge numerous attacks before capturing one of his hands and blasting him in the face with it. It puts a new spin on Nintendo's many Eyerok-style boss fights.
    • Mechawiggler is probably the coolest-looking incarnation of Wiggler to date, but his boss fight is also quite fun, as you have to pilot a tank and shoot his segments. He crawls on walls, shoots energy blasts at you, and even teleports. Even crazier is his rematch, when you have to fight two of them!
  • The Super Mario Bros. ROM hack Extra Mario Bros. seems to be a pretty typical game for the NES, with a Metroidvania-style world and the typical Mario gameplay that fit right in with other NES titles and ROM hacks. Then, you get to the final boss room, and you face off against Bowser without an axe, forced to take him out with a Fire Flower. Easy enough, right? Then the game flashes to black. It looks to be over. Then, you show up in a level with no walls or ceiling, just ground. A GIANT Bowser sticks his head onscreen. You have to fight him as he shoots Podoboo-spawning lasers from his mouth. It may not necessarily be a hard fight, but it's certainly not expected from a hack of Super Mario Bros. 1.

    Role-playing games 
  • Super Mario RPG was the first Mario game to have some really bizarre boss battles.
    • The battle against Bundt is probably the most memorable. The awesomeness can be summarized as such: You are battling a two-tiered wedding cake, one that will probably destroy you with ridiculously powerful magic attacks the first few times you fight it. To defeat it, you have to blow out its candles (attack it around 8 times) while it can regenerate one candle with each attack, then battle the bottom tier (Raspberry). On top of all that, when you finally beat Bundt and Raspberry, Booster finishes it off by eating it; bonus points for the scene between he and the Snifits beforehand being a Funny Moment.
    • The final battle with Smithy was pretty dang epic as well. At first, it seems straightforward, with him attacking with his hammer and spawning minions. Then, you get to Stage 2 of the fight, he loses the Santa beard, and begins unleashing mighty attacks like Rain of Swords and Rain of Spears that are deadly as hell.
    • The optional fight with Culex is essentially Mario & Co. in a Final Fantasy game. It sounds a little ludicrous (and, okay, it is), but it was sweet. Added to this, Final Fantasy IV's boss battle music is playing, and once you beat Culex, the standard victory music doesn't play; instead, Final Fantasy's own iconic victory music plays, making the fight so much more satisfying.
    • The Final Battle of World 6; you've just taken on the Czar Dragon/Zombone, who's fairly tough already, only to find that he was a Disk-One Final Boss and the REAL fight is with the Axem Rangers, who not only look cool and offer up a very nice Team vs Team (as opposed to all the 3 vs 1 fights and the occasional 3 vs 2 Bosses), but offer a Funny Moment each when Red responds to their complaints as you knock them out. And, of course, the fact that they're a Shout-Out to Super Sentai and Power Rangers.
  • The battle against General Guy (and his army) in Paper Mario. General Guy is the leader of all of the Shy Guys under Bowser, and he's been assigned to guard one of the Star Spirits. So Mario blasts his way into General Guy's fort, and General Guy sends out his army to fight him. This army comes in a couple of waves, all of which consist entirely of totally unique enemies fought nowhere else, whose attacks are completely different from all the other Shy Guys you've fought. Mario beats them up, and General Guy drives out in a freaking tank. And starts shooting lasers and bombs at Mario. He's just hard enough to present a challenge without causing controller-biting rages. Also, he was completely unexpected. He basically comes out of nowhere.
  • The final battle against Bowser in Paper Mario. Bowser and Kammy manage to cancel out the Star Beam and power up Bowser significantly, but as all seems lost, Peach and Twink defeat Kammy and wish for Mario to succeed. Peach's wish powers up the Star Spirits and Twink, allowing Mario to cancel out Bowser's invulnerability and face him head-on. The music helps too.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga:
    • The final battle with Cackletta is simply epic. First off, the second battle with her has been hyped up throughout the latter part of the game. Then, there's the fact that she's easily one of the hardest final bosses in the Mario series, starting off the battle with a blitzkrieg of attacks while you have only 1 HP each. Even if you survive that, she has all kinds of powerful and hard-to-avoid attacks to use on you, and she keeps throwing in new ones as she gets closer to defeat. At the same time, she avoids Fake Difficulty: her attacks can all be avoided once you learn how she signals them. Basically, she is the definitive example of how to create a difficult yet fair Final Boss. Oh, yeah, and you also get Awesome Music for the whole thing.
    • The first battle against Cackletta is pretty awesome, too. She doesn't have many attacks - she just clones herself, shoots lightning at you, and has her clones split into bats if you hit them instead of the real Cackletta... oh, and at the start and end of the fight, she generates shadowy holes that she then launches at you, while putting on a Nightmare Face for good measure. Still, the fight is definitely worthy of the Climax Boss title, and it has some sweet music to boot.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door:
    • The battle against the Shadow Queen is just... awesome. First, there's the fact that the Shadow Queen is a bit more apocalyptic than other Mario villains, and powerful enough to banish the previous boss with a gesture. Plus the fact that she's possessing Princess Peach. Then, once you get her down to roughly half health, she regenerates it all! Finally, when things look their bleakest, and the Queen is demanding that you surrender, the voices of everyone you've helped throughout the entire game start cheering you on, and Princess Peach breaks through the Shadow Queen's control and heals you. Finally on even footing with the boss, pumped up from the cheers of Mario's friends, its time for a final showdown for the fate of the world. EPIC.
    • The end of Chapter 5. After beating Cortez, you free a massive number of captured Toads, go outside with them only to see Lord Crump leading a giant black and spiky pirate ship and is bombing the waters with cannonballs. You then go back and convince Cortez to let you use his ghost ship to fight it. It culminates with an army of X-Nauts fighting a mixed army of blue fire ghosts and Toads launching across at each other between ships in a storm of sprites and you fighting Lord Crump and an X-Naut army in the middle of it.
    • In the middle of Chapter 6, when you don't expect a Boss in a such a relaxing level, a giant monster appears and he takes the passengers away. You fight on the top of the train, while you see the terrified passengers inside Smorg. The music's pretty good, as well.
    • The entirety of Chapter 3. Beating Rawk Hawk to become champion is one of the sweetest feelings in the game.
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time:
    • Bowser accidentally falls into the past through a Time Hole. In the past, Baby Bowser has previously been heckling you and generally causing trouble — and when he meets his adult self, things quickly come to a head in a hilarious Dual Boss battle. Neither version of Bowser figures out the identity of the other.
    • You want a challenging Petey Piranha fight? Look no further; Petey Piranha is hard and rather fun. He can switch between a flying form that jumps off of blocks to fire boulders at you and a spiked form that can suck you in or swing a Piranha head at you. Not to mention the premise of the battle is that Petey ate Peach and Kylie, making him a Climax Boss as well.
    • How 'bout them Partners in Time final bosses, huh? You've made it through a difficult, labyrinthine, and freakish Shroobified version of Peach's castle just to meet with the Shroob Princess. She manages to survive falling out of the sky after the player destroys her mothership, and makes haste in attacking you with her shield-generating, laser-equipped throne, complete with an optional tripod attachment.
      • Then, after you knock the Shroob Princess out, you accidentally help revive her brutish older sister, who wastes no time in trying to destroy you. She's willing to use her considerable bulk against you and has the Shroobs' fleet of UFOs at her disposal, who assist her in everything from summoning her Shroob-ified Chain-Chomp to restoring her health. And you've got nowhere to run, as you're standing on a platform with the boss, in the middle of a thunderstorm. At least Peach helps you to take out some of those UFOs.
      • ...But the real kicker is the elder sister's second round. She transforms into a bigger, much less humanoid and much more alien entity, which causes Princess Peach to pass out. Not unlike the fight with Cackletta's soul, the player must cause considerable damage to parts of Elder's person before meaningful damage to the boss herself is even possible. Combine this with new attacks that require both quick reflexes and/or active memorization, and you've got yourself a boss that's very tricky to deal with. That's to say nothing of the darker atmosphere that this battle takes place in, established wonderfully by dire, yet supremely sublime battle music.
  • Super Paper Mario:
    • Fracktail is the first proper end-of-chapter boss in the game, and a high point in the boss selection in general. To start off, it's a robotic dragon that guards the first Pure Heart, and it also shows how serious the stakes are when Dimentio forces the poor creature to fight you. You have to fight him by using your 3D mode to pull a Wander and jump on the guardian's back, where you then throw its Frackles at its antenna to do damage to it. The word to describe this particular fight is epic.
    • Brobot. A shooter battle against the most HP-fueled boss in all the game. Controlled by Luigi. With a kick-ass music.
    • Brobot L-Type. It's a painfully easy fight, sure. However, it has been rebuilt so that it is basically a giant mecha Luigi, has even more kick-ass music, and to top it all off, you fight it in a world that no longer even exists.
    • The whopping two fights against Dimentio are this, but the second one is especially so. It's a Duel Boss where you fight Dimention as Luigi, without Pixls. It's a Moment of Awesome for the man in green on all counts.
    • Super Dimentio is the last boss of the game, and boy is it a doozy. After Dimentio reveals his intentions as The Starscream, he brainwashes Luigi and fuses the two of them with the Chaos Heart to form a nightmarish mishmash of Luigi and Dimentio's designs. What follows is an easy, yet epic fight against one of Mario's most dangerous adversaries, where he'll use a plethora of attacks to halt your games for good. The fact that "The Ultimate Show" is playing in the background certainly helps this boss's status.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story:
    • The final battle, in which Bowser squares off against a dark, monstrous version of himself. That gets bigger throughout the fight. Does Bowser lose? No. Does he run away? Hell no. How does he finish that fight? By punching the ever-living crap out of it. Finally a Moment of Awesome for Bowser, who was seriously derailed since Superstar Saga!
    • You don't need to get to the final boss to see a cool boss. How about Bowser's Memory ML? They are 'memory' versions of the Mario Bros. that use old-school references to attack (such as grabbing a Super Star to ram into them, getting a Super Mushroom and hitting blocks, Luigi being chased by a 'memory' Boo, and a couple of others); the best part is, they're used as an 'anti-virus' system for Bowser's brain. It doesn't get any cooler than this.
    • And then there's the time Bowser fights a train. A train that can merge with a hill to form a Humongous Mecha. And that's only halfway into the fight.
    • The battle with Bowser inside the clinic is quite entertaining, especially considering that you're essentially going up against a character you've been playing as for much of the game, and he's using your own special attacks against you. Having to grab onto Starlow to avoid his flames is a good example of how evading attacks has become more sophisticated in this game.
    • Bowser X, the final Bonus Boss of the Gauntlet, is well worthy of being the final challenge due to testing so many of the skills you've learned across the game. He forces you to master nearly every one of the Bros. Attacks rather than rely on spamming one constantly, requires careful planning of equipment and badges to avoid running out of turns, and has a wide variety of powerful, tricky to dodge attacks that constantly put pressure on the player, yet, with practice, can be overcome. To say nothing of the fact that you're fighting Bowser while you're inside Bowser's body.
    • There is nothing more kick-ass then the final Giant Bowser battle against Peach's castle-turned giant robot. First off is standard stuff: punch it, deflect attacks, etc. Then, "ACTIVATE BLACKHOLE ENDGAME". It fires a frickin' black hole behind Bowser which slowly gets closer as the battle rages. When it gets him, he's sucked in. Does he die? No. He forces himself out of the blackhole and uses himself as a projectile against the boss! Soon, another blackhole opens behind the boss, trapping it as well. With both trapped, Bowser finishes this up by repeatedly firing himself from his blackhole, forcing the boss into its own. Best. Boss. Ever.
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star (yes, even this game has them):
    • Gooper Blooper. He's a Dance Battler this time around and changes the background music as he changes his dance. And it gets better when you counter his poison with the Sponge, at which point the song turns into one of the best remixes of the original 1-1 theme out there and you get to mercilessly pound on him for four turns.
    • The Bowser Snow Statue/Mizzter Blizzard. Not for the battle, but for the great emotional punch after the fight that is a nice contrast to the other bosses.
    • The final boss with Bowser (shocker). He sends wave after wave at Mario, but the plumber beats them all, culminating in a One-Winged Angel that's absolutely perfect for a game about paper — giant, cardboard Bowser. The best part is when Kersti makes a Heroic Sacrifice, which gives Mario the ability to keep up with the boss and take them down, complete with Awesome Music.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team added new ways to dodge attacks, new features, and made the giant battles more complex. The result is a ton of great bosses:
    • The Elite Trio, made up of Private Goomp, Corporal Paraplonk, and Sergeant Guy. Yes, Those Three Guys from the previous game are fought in this game, and they are scarily competent fighters, using attacks that involve multiple people, with their ultimate attack being Paraplonk grabbing a giant Bob-Omb, giving it to Guy, and then try to throw it at Mario. Meanwhile, Goomp and his army of Goombas also have to run, with Goomp at the back trying to find a hole in his army to escape. When he tries to escape, you have to jump on him to knock him back, or else he'll escape. If you survive long enough, the bomb will explode damaging Guy, Paraplonk, and any Goomba who didn't escape. Oh, and you have to beat them all at once, or else one of them will revive anyone down with one HP.
    • In series tradition, a Wiggler is a boss. The catch? You fight him with Popple on your side. The fight consists of damaging the Wiggler while stopping Popple from trying to attack, which will simply enrage the Wiggler. After you beat the Wiggler, Popple immediately turns on you, and you get to give him an amazing Curb-Stomp Battle in response to his new level in jerkass. After Popple's done, the Wiggler chases him away, causing him to immediately leave Pi'illo Island.
    • The penultimate fight with Antasma, in which Mario enters the Dream World to fight him. He turns into a much more intimidating form, and shows off a barrage of powerful new attacks, including trapping Mario into a nightmare of his own, in which he runs through a long dark corridor, avoiding Antasma's attacks and jumping over pits along the way. And when he finally loses, his version of the boss explosion is amazing to behold. Oh, and his battle theme's not half bad, too.
    • The Final Boss: Dreamy Bowser. A reality-warping Bowser who's able to create giant hammers, summon entire armies to back him up, and spawn pieces of meat to heal himself on the fly. His boss theme is absolutely amazing, and his boss explosion is the best so far in the series.
    • Bowser Jr., the Bonus Boss at the end of the Battle Ring, is the best of them all, and it's one of the most complex fights in the game. First off, he brings his own Junior Clown Car with him, and alternates from jumping in and out of it. He brings lots of crazy attacks to the table, such as having the Bros jump over a circling Bob-omb while he breathes fireballs, or throwing a spiked ball that they need to keep hitting to each other to counterattack, which is all a front while Bowser Jr. charges at them.he's able to steal your Bros. Attacks. You can even pull off a very satisfying vehicular turnabout by jumping into the Clown Car while he's not in it, and chasing Jr. down while throwing everything you can at him. The fight is definitely the best in the game and possibly the entire Mario and Luigi series.
    • Most Giant Battles are kickass in their own right, but by far the most awesome is Giant Bowser. Chasing down the King of Evil on a lava platform, his army of minions, the gyroscope part where you have to "Repel The Shell!" and then... Kamek shows up and makes Giant Bowser even MORE giant. And then you have the Star Driver...
  • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam crosses both of Mario's RPG series in a single action-packed game with twice the Bowser and his army to deal with! This makes some surprisingly memorable battles, especially considering the fact that only standard Mario enemies and characters (from the platformers exclusively) are in the mix.
    • First there's Paper Petey Piranha. This may not sound all that impressive, considering how the "regular" version of him was already the first boss. That is, if he didn't start the battle by immediately stealing your copy block and making copies of himself! Now he has a barrage of tricky-to-dodge attacks to overwhelm you with. Not only that, but he will only die if you take down the original copy, which means that mindlessly attacking the stack isn't going to work out for you. Worse still, his copies never get destroyed; they just stop taking damage when they fall off the stack, then get revived and reshuffled with the rest of the lot. And no, in case you're wondering, there isn't a way to make him fall over and expose his weak spot. You are never going to see Petey Piranha as a basic boss fight after this battle.
    • Once again, we get a Wiggler battle. Except in this game, he's friendly and never has any intention of harming you. So why do you fight him? Because Paper Kamek corrupted him over with magic, making him huge and angry. All the time! He attacks you by creating barrages of shock waves, rearing to towering heights on his hind legs and chasing a random bro, who is now forced to run for his life while knocking out any monty moles and spear guys who get in the way before Paper Kamek himself charges at you. Knock him away, and he'll smack Wiggler on the head, knocking him over. And that's just one attack! Then, Paper Kamek can spawn a giant ball for Wiggler to balance on while chasing down the bros in an attempt to mow them down. Then, when Wiggler is finally taken care of, Paper Kamek comes down to get personal with the bros. If you don't take him out in a couple of turns, he'll revive the Wiggler for round two.
    • On your way to Bowser's Castle, you are cut off and thrown into a dungeon by an army of Chargin' Chucks. Once you make a spirited escape, you eventually run into them again, and they are not happy about your jailbreak. They take you on as a team of about fifty. That's right: you're pitted against fifty giant, pissed off football players. Granted, they only fight in a group of sixteen maximum. They do slowly replenish their numbers as you whittle down the team, however.
    • When you finally reach Bowser's castle, you find the Bowser Juniors. They take you on together from inside their respective clown cars while bombarding you with attacks that are nothing short of chaotic, from racing to see who can ram a bro first, to having a Paper Mario/Paper Bowser Jr. airplane flying contest where the loser gets a face full of spikeballs. It really shows the mischievous side of these guys while providing an excellent battle.
    • The bros. are forced to travel the haunted side of the woods and are nigh-instantaneously separated. Luigi manages to overcome his fears long enough to find Mario, and they both set out to find their paper friend. After finding him on an unsettling, large platform, something seems off. As it turns out, it's actually King Boo! The bros. discover his ruse fast enough, though. What really makes this fight memorable is when he pulls out the real Paper Mario and threatens the bros. with a hostage situation if they lay a finger on him. Just take care of the Boo with Paper Mario to get him back and get ready to kick some ghostly tail!
    • When reaching the summit of Mount Brrr, the bros. finally see just where all the paper stuff is coming from; Bowser set up launchers to spread paper terrain and enemies all over the kingdom. Just as they plan to shut it down, King Bob-omb drops in out of nowhere, initiates the countdown to his own detonation, and challenges the bros. The nerve-wracking sensation of that timer ticking closer and closer to destruction is sure to keep you on your toes as he occupies you with a ton of bombs and Bob-omb minions, and even trying to grab a bro and throw him into another bro as a nice call back to his first appearance.
    • Right before the final battle, you fight all the Koopalings in a tough, three-round endurance battle. The one that takes the cake is the last round, where you fight Morton, Iggy, and Lemmy. Lemmy starts off by leaving... and promptly returning with an impossibly large circus ball and attempting to mow you down with it. Hit him with the boomerang enough times to knock him off, stunning him. Iggy then follows that up by getting an enormous Chain Chomp to come tearing down the aisle... chasing him. He will then try to knock you towards the Chain Chomp. After doing likewise to him, Morton retaliates by grabbing the nearest thing, which just happens to be the massive Chain Chomp, and hurls it at the bros. After some masterful rebounding, the Chain Chomp leaves everyone completely debilitated, ready to receive a massive pummeling.
    • Everyone and their second cousin knew that the Bowsers would team up for the final battle. Though, during the first phase, it becomes clear that they are competing against each other to see who's better, which is essentially two equal forces seeing who could outdo the other. They do this by breathing metric tons of fire, and hurling dozens of giant spike balls at you. The chaos is disorienting enough, but remember this is just the first phase. After they take enough damage, Paper Bowser uses some untold power to absorb most of his army in a gigantic paper mesh. Then Bowser jumps into the mess. The result is a giant Bowser wearing Giant Shiny Cardboard Bowser as armor, named Shiny RoboBowser. The armor is essentially a giant shapeshifting papercraft. It can launch massive energy balls via arm cannons, grind you to mush as an Advancing Boss of Doom, bombard you from the skies and even spawn its own trio move to overpower your own! Bowser himself is no slouch either. He breathes just as much, if not more fire than before and punches hard enough to send a bro flying. To win the battle, you have to grind through the armor to get to the main body. He will restore his armor every now and then, and his rage mode is easily the scariest of them all. Oh, and he's a fully animated 3D model. And the music, oh, God, the music! It just goes to show that you don't fuck with Bowser... especially not two of them!
    • As a tradition to the series, there is a secret, ultra-powerful boss at the end of the battle ring. In this game, it's Dry Bowser. He attacks by throwing bones in extremely tricky-to-dodge patterns (including his own head!), summoning the koopalings to assist him (two at a time), attempting to inhale you while you desperately attempt to knock away oncoming debris which would otherwise knock you into his hungry maw, allowing him to chew you up while recovering HP, and summoning thwomps to crush the bros. one after the other while preparing to follow that up by drowning them in fire breath. The fight itself is hectic beyond belief, and you'll need to make use of each and every trick you can muster to get out of this one alive. Good luck getting the S-ranking on the boss medley.
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash is controversial due to using the gameplay of Sticker Star; the fact most of the bosses are considered great should say something.
    • Petey Piranha (or rather Petea Piranha) is one of the few bosses to not use the Thing Weakness system. The strategy to defeat him changes depending on his battle stance; if he is standing jump attacks are countered, blocking his spin attack makes him dizzy and attacking him when he is dizzy knocks him over, leaving him vulnerable to Jump attacks.
    • Ludwig Von Koopa marks the moment the Thing Weakness system becomes more about blocking a One-Hit KO or making a boss vulnerable instead of actually attacking them, thus fixing a major problem with Sticker Star and it's battle system. The battle itself comes in three phases. For the first phase, a Tail card is needed to hit Ludwig's attacks back at him with precision, the second is the moment the Balloon Thing is needed to make him vulnerable and is followed by the third phase where you attack his sub and then defeat him. Also, he is the only boss who can be defeated without taking damage and getting a perfect bonus.
    • Wendy is a rhythm based boss set to one of the best boss themes in the game.
    • Larry may be That One Boss but in a game criticised for being easy, this is a breath of fresh air for some. He is a Flunky Boss where every one of the mooks he summons needs to be defeated to let the Toad helping you to make it to the engine room of the train he is fought atop. This stops Larry healing all his HP every turn. Then comes the moment to use the Cork Thing so he can't blind you. This is the moment the battle against Larry actually starts. That's right; the Thing does not mark the end of the battle, but the beginning and he really puts up a fight with a very unpredictable attack pattern.
    • Lemmy is the Breather Boss after Larry but what he lacks in difficulty he makes up for in sheer fun. He summons mooks to help, uses some clever tricks to mess with your cards and the Things needed to defeat him (the Disco Ball and Ice Pick) are both cleverly hinted at and really clever. All this set to a brilliant theme.
    • Roy steals your paint and fires it at you. Not only does this mean you need to think about what attacks you use but the paint has various different effects to mess with you (including changing the timing of attacks and making it so you can only use certain attacks) making for a fight that can be challenging but fair. Also, he uses the Black Paint to blind you, requiring the Washing Machine Thing in one of the only times a Things attack animation is used as the method to make a boss vulnerable.
    • Bowser, the Final Boss. Similar to the Shadow Queen he is fought in a small battle where you weaken him until he becomes a Hopeless Boss Fight and then attack him until you get to the moment he is made vulnerable. Like Sticker Star, this moment is the Exposition Fairy becoming an attack to use; unlike with Kersti though, Huey actually participates in the battle. Blocking an attack with Huey out absorbs the Black Paint Bowser throws at you and prevents him from healing. The more Bowser is attacked in one turn the more paint is knocked off and the more powerful the attack. It is also a Time-Limit Boss as Huey can not survive forever. In addition, this battle needs no Things at all, just good old fashioned attacking.

  • The final boss of Donkey Kong '94, which is a giant Donkey Kong. Mario is only slightly taller than Giant Donkey Kong's eye.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon had its entire finale, which was three bosses and a Multi-Mook Melee, cement both Luigi and King Boo as sheer badasses who can respectively surpass Mario and Bowser.
    • It starts with King Boo setting a surprise trap by presenting the supposed boss stage of the final mansion as if it were a final mansion, only to send a Big Boo to your location. The fight is a much improved and incredibly satisfying version of Boolossus in which you split the Big Boo up with a drill on a toy train and knock each of the Boos in a train car. After that, King Boo uses the time to unleash an army of ghosts with the intent of ripping apart the fabric of space and time. What does cowardly Luigi do? Go throughout the mansion and capture each and every ghost, one by one, resulting in a battle with an army of ghosts on a balcony.
    • Next, Luigi goes after King Boo through the interdimensional vortex he made, where he must deal with the final Possessor ghost, the Tough Possessor, instead of King Boo. The Tough Possessor can create clones of himself and possesses the suits of armor nearby and ultimately possesses a massive suit of armor to stomp, stab, and drop debris on Luigi, though Luigi manages to beat him and get the final Dark Moon piece and is teleported back to the Bunker.
    • However, King Boo intercepts him on the way back and proceeds to give him the scare of a lifetime, lurking in floating windows and taunting him with the Mario painting. He then gives a chilling speech on how he plans to take Luigi, Gadd, and everyone they know and love and stick them all in paintings, with sheer malice in his voice. The resulting fight... well, in the first game, King Boo had to rely on a Bowser costume. Here, he fights with his own strength as he drops spike balls, rain lightning to change the arena, and grow giant to chase Luigi through hallways, with the music and dimension growing more and more unstable as King Boo is weakened. Also, King Boo can now resist the Poltergust and pull himself out. And what does Luigi do? Stand up to King Boo and persevere until King Boo finally gives up. Yeah, didn't expect that from the sequel to a spin-off, huh?
  • Mario Party, after having only Bowser as the Final Boss in most games (and there are some that don't have any bosses at all), finally starts introducing main bosses in DS and 9. A few examples stand out:
    • Kamek in DS is one of the finest, as before you even get to directly confront him, you have to survive through a course where plenty of enchanted books can crush at you. While you're flying with a magical book yourself, no less. And then there's the actual fight, where you have an epic shoot-em-up paintball match against him as you try to cover his face with ink before he squashes you with his books.
    • King Boo is a clever and amazing Puzzle Boss who can only be harmed by making combinations of images as in Bejeweled. But of course that would be too easy without King Boo summoning Boos to try to jinx you. There's also the many Mini-Boss fights against Bowser Jr., who alone has a whole category of minigames so you and a partner can kick him out as many times as you want!
    • Kamek has another great shoot-em-up boss fight in Mario Party 10, where you have to collect and shoot rockets at him while dodging tons of bullet bills, along with your own opponents. By the end of the fight, it basically veers into straight-up bullet hell.
    • Mister Blizzard's boss fight in Mario Party: Island Tour is one of the most fun in the series, as it has you rolling down a giant mountain in a large snowball, hitting boost pads and launching yourself into the giant snowman.
  • Even some of the final boss fights in Mario Party are great:
    • The final boss of Mario Party 3 is one of the few final bosses in the series where you don't face Bowser. Instead, you fight the Millennium Star. The fight consists of dodging the many shooting stars that he creates, and throwing them back at him.
    • The final battle of Mario Party 4 is so amazing that they recreated it for The Top 100. It takes place on a giant Mario Galaxy-style cube, where you have to go through several puzzles and platforming challenges to reach Bowser. The final fight itself involves ground-pound on special switches to electrocute Bowser.
    • Frightmare from Mario Party 5 is even crazier! Similarly to the previous game's final boss, Bowser subjects you to a few challenges before you fight him. Once you do, the fight plays out very similarly to that of Super Mario Bros 3, where you have to get him to break the floor so he can fall through. However, the fight continues as he grows larger, falls through the floor, and tries to attack you by throwing energy balls at you. It's pretty crazy.

Alternative Title(s): Bosses Super Mario Brothers Series


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