- ― Bowser, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
King Bowser Koopa (大魔王クッパ , lit.“Great Demon King Koopa”?) in English also Lord Bowser, King Koopa commonly in other media) is the primary antagonist of Nintendo's Mario franchise and is the archenemy of Mario. Bowser most commonly kidnaps Princess Peach, because he wants to marry her and make her his fair and beloved queen. He is the leader of the Koopa race. Although Bowser has joined forces with Mario in a few games, he has never ceased to kidnap Princess Peach and attempt to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom since his first appearance in Super Mario Bros..
As the central villain of one of the world’s most popular video game franchises, Bowser is easily one of the most recognizable video game villains ever, though he has comic-relief roles in most of the RPGs. Though their origins are unknown, Bowser has a son called Bowser Jr.
- 1 Physical description
- 2 Personality traits
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Super Mario bros 3
- 6.1 Super Mario World
- 6.2 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
- 6.3 Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS
- 6.4 Super Mario Sunshine
- 6.5 Super Princess Peach
- 6.6 New Super Mario Bros.
- 6.7 Yoshi's Island DS
- 6.8 Luigi's Mansion
- 6.9 Super Mario Galaxy
- 6.10 New Super Mario Bros. Wii
- 6.11 Super Mario Galaxy 2
- 7 Super Mario 3D Land
- 8 In Paper Mario series
- 9 In Mario & Sonic series
- 10 In Super Smash Bros. series
- 11 Mario & Luigi series
- 12 Mario Party Games
- 13 Mario Kart series
- 14 Non-canonical appearances
- 15 Gallery
- 16 Trivia
- 17 Navigation
Bowser differs greatly from the rest of the Koopas, who appear mainly as bipedal tortoises. His iconic features include a large, spiked shell, horns, razor-sharp teeth, and a shock of red hair. In addition, while most Koopas appear to be herbivorous and prefer fruits and vegetables as their diet, Bowser, due to his sharp teeth, prefers meat, particularly from victims he hunts down and captures (with his carnivorous side confirmed in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story), though he has, on occasion, consumed vegetation, as well. He is physically powerful, can breathe fire, and is said to have skills in black magic, as he teleports off the Bowser's Star Reactor battle place when beaten.
Bowser's physical size tends to vary from game to game. In most games, he is very large, but there are exceptions. In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, he is barely bigger than Mario.
When Bowser was created, he was a typical villain without much personality beyond simply wanting to take over the Mushroom Kingdom and the world. Later games started showing various different aspects of Bowser's character, depending on the nature of the plot. While his platformer role continues to be that of a simple antagonist, his Mario Party antics typically depict him being more angry, childish, and mischievous than dangerous, and his portrayals in the RPGs ranging from a threatening, yet humorous (a part that diminishes in more recent installments of the Mario & Luigi series) villain to a playable anti-hero. Even when Bowser is acting as a protagonist in a game, however, he continues to insist he is an evil, malevolent character, and his reasons for helping Mario are typically for his own selfish agendas. Before a battle, Bowser often releases a loud, full-throated roar as intimidation. Like Wario, Bowser is usually thought of as unintelligent, but can be cunning and deceptive as well.
Bowser's personality is explored most extensively in the various RPGs, starting with the first one, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, in which Bowser loses his castle to another villain. As well as the grief he expresses over his castle, Bowser is shown to be as sad as the other playable characters about Geno's body breaking down, and at one point, his boasting takes the form of a haiku. He was also shown to be very concerned about his self-image, as he was shown to be very reluctant to divulge exactly what he meant by having "bigger fish to fry" than kidnapping Princess Toadstool, even considering lying about "taking a vacation" to avoid the humiliation of admitting to his being forced outside of his own castle. As in later RPGs, however, most of Bowser's actions in the game are self-centered, with his motivation for working with the protagonists ranging to reclaiming his stolen castle, kidnapping Peach himself, or preventing another villain from taking over the world, which he himself desires. This last reasoning is also behind Bowser's alliance with Mario and the others in Super Paper Mario, after the somewhat oblivious Koopa is reminded that he cannot conquer anything if Count Bleck's genocidal plan on all worlds comes to fruition. While Bowser is shown to take pride in his villainy and boasts of being a quality "final boss" throughout the adventure, he seemingly sacrifices himself to save Mario and the others, and even argues with his rival O'Chunks to save himself while Bowser held the crumbling roof above them (although it is later revealed that they both survived). He is also shown to be as horrified as the rest of the party when witnessing Sammer's Kingdom's destruction (deeming such an evil act as "overkill"), and when learning of King Olly's true aim of wishing genocide upon Toads, Bowser expressed disgust at the goal and made clear that, while he has done his fair share of evil and nasty stuff, even he would never attempt to outright exterminate Toads; a sharp contrast to his attitude in the Super Mario Galaxy games, where he is willing to create his own galaxy at the expense of the universe, as well as in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, where he threatens to destroy the paper world.
As in Super Mario Galaxy, most other platformers leave Bowser as a typical villain, as does the RPG Paper Mario: Sticker Star. The original Paper Mario also casts Bowser as the main antagonist; however, like Super Mario RPG that came before it, this portrayal is more well-rounded, introducing a humorous side to Bowser alongside his evilness, and revealing that he has a crush on Peach. Bowser's affection for the princess is later showcased in Super Paper Mario, with the two being forcibly wed in the game by Count Bleck; while the princess disavows the ceremony, Bowser happily and persistently acts as if they are indeed spouses. Bowser's relationship with Peach also comes into play in Super Mario Sunshine, in which Bowser's son apparently believes her to be his mother, although at the end of the game, Bowser sadly admits that he had lied to his child about his parentage. Aside from this, Bowser has never shown remorse for his troublesome actions and the havoc they often cause, but he is often saddened by his own losses. In Super Mario Galaxy, his only regret is his failure to create his own realm, and in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, he is dismayed at having to damage his own captured castle while trying to reclaim it from Fawful. By contrast, in Mario Party 4, Bowser grudgingly gives the player a present and wishing them a happy birthday as he leaves in shame, moving one of the Koopa Kids to wonder if there might be more to Bowser than he leads others to believe, as Bowser claimed to be somewhat happy.
Unlike the platformers and the other Paper Mario titles, Bowser's role is reduced to a dim-witted, bumbling comic relief villain in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, where he encounters frequent comical failures in his attempts to collect the Crystal Stars before Mario. The first two Mario & Luigi titles also cast Bowser as a comical recurring villain, with Partners in Time having him team up with Baby Bowser, whom he did not even recognize as being his infant self. Despite being the central character of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the third Mario & Luigi game reveals nothing new about Bowser's character, but it does provide an overview of his personality to date. His reasons for saving the world from Fawful and the Dark Star involve pride, selfishness, and possessiveness toward Peach, as well as a stated interest in taking over Fawful's plans for himself. He is extremely conceited and boastful about himself and his accomplishments, and he resents having to ask nicely for help from Starlow. He acts as a leader to his troops, and even forgives three of them for defecting to Fawful and allows them back in the Koopa Troop. In the remake, it also elaborates on Bowser's crashing the emergency meeting, revealing that he did so because his kingdom also was affected by the Blorbs outbreak. Bowser's usual rashness and his penchant for destruction and violence come to a head when he flies into a rage upon discovering that Mario and Luigi had been aiding him inside his body the entire time (believing they were partying around inside him) and attacks them, only to be promptly defeated, mere moments after the three of them had worked together to save the world.
In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, while retaining much of his personality from the previous game, he was given more competence and made into more of a serious threat; he has Kamek disguise himself as Princess Peach to drop the Mario Bros.' guard, presuming they would try to pursue Peach, and later backstabbed Antasma, anticipating the latter would try to the same on him in turn. He later implied similar designs with his Paper self, and vice-versa, in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. However, he surprisingly was willing to work under Master Hand and have an equal partnership with Dr. Eggman. In Paper Mario: Color Splash, Bowser, owing to his being possessed by the black paint for most of the game, was given a far darker personality, namely making clear his intention of "painting the world black", and even going as far as to drain Peach's color and hang her colorless form up for display; when Mario and Huey arrived to fight him in his chambers, he even cracked a dark joke about Peach claiming she was "framed" when he caught her sending messages to Mario. It was also revealed that he deliberately sent a drained Toad via mail to Peach and Mario in order to lure them, and specifically Peach, over to Prism Island so he could abduct her. However, after Mario weakened the black paint's hold on Bowser enough for the latter's usual self to surface, Bowser is deeply and understandably confused as to Mario's presence, clearly unaware of what he was doing all this time.
Bowser can be quite amiable sometimes, with his harsh and raging demeanor softening up towards his minions, and is even capable of being civil to foes in some degrees. He shows genuine affection and pride for his son; both he and his paper self were vehemently angry at Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario for defeating Bowser Jr. and Paper Bowser Jr. in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. In Super Mario Odyssey, along with planning his forced wedding with Peach extensively (wearing a tuxedo, having his mane groomed, and having her wear the stolen Lochlady Dress), he even comments on Mario's costume before their final battle. Depending on the clothes worn, this could prompt anything from a humorously scared response (as seen with the Skeleton Suit, Zombie Outfit, and even costumes like the Clown Outfit and Boxer Shorts) to a genuine compliment on his dress sense, though he will always note that Mario wasn't invited regardless. In Super Mario Party, he participates in the party with no malicious tricks or intents (not even having Kamek, who he put as a judge, tip the scales in his favor) and congratulates the player who becomes the Superstar in a rare form of good sportsmanship. In Paper Mario: The Origami King, Bowser expresses disgust at the way the Folded Soldiers treat him and his minions, to the extent where he pleads them to put down his minions and set him free.
While his range of emotions varies from game to game, it is his nearsightedness, frustration, anger, arrogance, and contempt that typifies Bowser in all his appearances, whether he is a reluctant protagonist or a straightforward villain who cares only about conquering lands and destroying his opposition.
Powers and abilities
Bowser has many powers from dark magic that include teleporting, causing shockwaves to come out of his jumps, fire breath, charging, and transforming victims.
In Super Mario Bros., his first appearance, Bowser appears at the end of each of the eight worlds (Level X-4). These areas are "dungeon stages" and are characterized by white brick platforms, ample lava and spinning sticks of fire that can burn Mario/Luigi. Bowser waits at the end, on a bridge over a pool of lava. By grabbing the axe at the right end of the bridge, Mario/Luigi can cut the rope at the end, making the bridge collapse and sending Bowser into the pit of lava below. Alternatively, Bowser can also be defeated by repeatedly shooting him with fireballs. Due to graphic limitations, the in-game Bowser does not seem to have hair, although the official artwork for the game, as well as the remake in Super Mario All-Stars, depicted him with hair. Bowser throws hammers in Super Mario Bros., similar to the Hammer Bros., but this ability has largely been dropped; exceptions being throwing hammers with magic in Super Princess Peach, and he also threw hammers at the beginning of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and uses them as his primary attack in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga when he is teaming up with Popple, while Dry Bowser (his skeletal form) in New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii throws bones in a similar manner.
Though Bowser appears in the Japanese sequel to Super Mario Bros. (a title known outside Japan as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels), he appears and behaves identically to his original incarnation. Only in Super Mario Bros. 3 did Bowser return with a new plot and a new look. For the first time in the games, players saw Bowser with a mane of red hair, a look that has remained with Bowser ever since. This time, Bowser only appears at the end of the final level: his castle at the end of World 8, where Mario and Luigi have to trick him into crashing through his floor in order to defeat him (although he could also be defeated with several fireballs or hammers.) This game also introduces Bowser's first seven children, the Koopalings. Despite the presence of offspring, no mate of Bowser has appeared in any story, and his only known relationship is his marriage to a reluctant Princess Peach in Super Paper Mario.
Super Mario Bros.
Release-wise, Bowser first appears in Super Mario Bros.. Bowser and his army invade and conquer the Mushroom Kingdom, using a spell to transform the citizens into inanimate objects as well as kidnapping the only one capable of undoing the curse, Princess Toadstool. Bowser's attack pattern is similar to that of his impostors; he sits on the bridge spitting fireballs and tossing hammers, as well as leaping into the air. Hitting him with five fireballs or grabbing the axe on the other side of the bridge causes him to fall into the lava, defeating him and saving Princess Toadstool.
In addition to the original game, Bowser appears in all the game's variations, including Super Mario Bros. Special, All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros., VS. Super Mario Bros., Super Mario All-Stars, and Super Mario Bros. Deluxe.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
Bowser repeats his plan in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, using black magic to transform the kingdom's inhabitants and kidnapping Princess Toadstool. He holds her in his own castle while the Mushroom Retainers are held by his impostors in the other castles. Bowser again resides in the eighth castle, with the same attacks as the original: throwing hammers and breathing fireballs at Mario and Luigi. The arena, however, is aesthetically different, having two pillars of blocks on the ceiling, the second having a Fire Bar on the end. Also in this final castle is a mysterious dark-shaded look-alike of Bowser, sometimes identified as his brother. Grabbing the ax at the end of the bridge once again causes Bowser to fall into the pit of lava, allowing Mario to rescue the princess. In the SNES All-Stars remake, Bowser is later found in the castle located in World D, and the same strategy is used to defeat him (the original FDS version instead had a fake Bowser being fought).
Super Mario bros 3
Bowser returns, along with newcomers such as Boom Boom and the Koopalings, in Super Mario Bros. 3. While the Mario Bros. are scrambling to save the Mushroom World from the Koopalings, Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool and takes her to his homeworld, Dark Land. He will inform Mario and Luigi of this via personal letter if the player frees Pipe Land from Ludwig, but they can also warp directly to Dark Land and skip this. Upon reaching the final room of Bowser's Castle, Bowser falls in to start the battle. His attack pattern involves breathing two fireballs at Mario, then leaping into the air and attempting to Ground Pound him. Whenever Bowser ground pounds a pair of blocks, they are destroyed, and after destroying an entire column of blocks, Bowser plummets to the massive pit and hits the ground. Another method is to hit him with 35 fireballs or at least three hammers.
In the remake Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, Bowser's appearance in the main game is largely the same as the original, although he will also send a letter revealing he kidnapped Princess Peach if the player managed to warp to Dark Land as if the player had already beaten Pipe Maze. Besides the main game, he also appears in the World-e levels, with his first appearance being the twenty-seventh level, Bowser's Last Stand. This level is a compilation of obstacles from the previous Bowser's Castles, ending with the Super Mario Bros. 3 Bowser fight; however, a set of blocks that Bowser can break through are placed in the air. The description for the card implies that he was guarding a secret treasure room from intruders. He also appears in the thirtieth and final e-Reader level, Bowser's Airship 2, where he is fought again at the end. This time, however, the entire room is composed of the blocks seen in the original room, as well as blocks that he cannot break. Although he does not appear in the preceding level, Bowser's Airship 1, he is mentioned in the level, and the card's commentary has him alluding to his Airship's size not being the only thing that made it impressive. For obvious reasons, he features as the key art for the three cards. He also was in the Mario Bros. remake that's included in the game.
Super Mario World
Bowser's next appearance in a standard 2-D platform adventure was Super Mario World. There, he once again appears as the final boss in the Valley of Bowser. Bowser's children, the Koopalings, again make an appearance. Here, Nintendo introduces something that would continue to be associated with Bowser through the rest of his video game appearances to date: Bowser riding the Koopa Clown Car. Fireballs now proved to be useless, and the player had to defeat him by stunning his Mechakoopas and tossing them back at Bowser.
Bowser starts the battle by just moving his Koopa Clown Car right and left. After he is hit by two Mechakoopas he throws fireballs and after Princess Peach throws a Super Mushroom to Mario, Bowser starts to follow Mario and will rotate his Koopa Clown Car for a large ball to come out and move in Mario's direction. Mario can spin jump on these or simply just avoid them. After Mario throws two Mechakoopas at Bowser, his Koopa Clown Car will get angry (but will still smile) and will jump on the ground following Mario. After throwing two more Mechakoopas, Bowser will be defeated and Mario would have rescued Princess Peach. Prior to fighting him, he also briefly appears in the Valley of Bowser Map's background flying around in his Koopa Clown Car, although only his eyes can be seen in the darkness, and only a silhouette appears during the occasional thunderclap. In the GBA remake, he is absent entirely after his level is cleared.
While his art is similar to his normal appearance, his in-game sprite appears differently, making him primarily green in color with two large fangs. The Super Mario Advance 2 sprite corrects this, making his arms their normal color. In a 2017 interview, the game's graphic designer, Shigefumi Hino, confessed that Bowser's green skin color here was merely a design oversight. Additionally, an unused full-body sprite found in prototype source code shows him with the proper amount of fingers.
Aside from his role in the game, he also was in the Mario Bros. remake included in the GBA remake Super Mario Advance 2.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
For the first time ever, in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Bowser becomes a full-fledged ally to Mario. After being thrown out of his castle (called a keep in this game) by the Smithy Gang (the antagonists of the game), he reluctantly joins Mario on his quest to recover the star pieces and repair the mystical Star Road, thus defeating Smithy and returning Bowser's castle to Bowser. Following traditional RPG class archetypes, Bowser fills the role of the power tank, with his only diminishing flaws being lowest turn speed and magic power.
Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS
In Super Mario 64 and its remake, Super Mario 64 DS, Bowser invaded Princess Peach's Castle and stole the Power Stars. He used them to create worlds inside many of the paintings and walls of the castle. Peach and many of her Toads were also trapped in the paintings of the castle and could only be freed by Mario regaining all of the Power Stars.
To ensure that Mario did not disrupt his plans again, Bowser sealed off the doors in the castle with the stars and even created doors that would only open with his keys. Unfortunately for Bowser, he did not lock one door, leading to his undoing as Mario was able to collect stars from the painting beyond that door, and then open other doors and systematically sweep through the castle towards Bowser.
In these games, Bowser was battled three times: once in the Dark World, once in the Fire Sea and once in the Sky. Every single time, Mario defeats Bowser by grabbing his tail and throwing him into one of several bombs surrounding the battle arena. In the DS version, during the Fire Sea battle, Bowser also warps from one section of the platform to another, and pounds the platform to make it go off balance. In the third and final battle, Mario had to throw Bowser into a bomb three times before he was defeated. Bowser even managed to double Mario's load by breaking apart the vast platform they were on into the shape of a star, making tossing him a difficult venture. He also attacked Mario by chasing him. Bowser was able to escape, but Mario saved Princess Peach and restored peace to the castle with the power of the stars.
In Super Mario 64, Bowser was solely defeated by the efforts of Mario. However, the remake Super Mario 64 DS differed in that the player was required to be both Yoshi and Mario to prove victorious. Luigi and Wario were available to be unlocked in Big Boo's Haunt and Chief Chilly Challenge respectively. But, keeping true to his rivalry with the red-clad plumber, Bowser would not accept any challengers but Mario himself for the final battle (although a glitch allowed him to be fought by anyone).
Super Mario Sunshine
- "Mario!! How dare you disrupt our family vacation!!"
- ― Bowser
In Super Mario Sunshine, Bowser's child, Bowser Jr., was introduced. Bowser told his son that Peach was his mother and that Mario kidnapped her. Bowser Jr. took on the disguise of Shadow Mario and vandalized Isle Delfino with Graffiti, framing Mario as a graffiti criminal. Mario, determined to prove his innocence, cleaned the mess with the aid of F.L.U.D.D. Bowser Jr. kidnapped Peach during this time and was pursued by Mario. Bowser Jr. revealed his true identity, but Mecha Bowser allowed Bowser Jr. to get away to Corona Mountain.
Mario reached Bowser and his son at the end of the volcano in a floating, sun-shaped, slime-filled bathtub just above the peak of Corona Mountain. Bowser tried to kill Mario by breathing enormous gusts of flame and splashing slime at him, while Bowser Jr. assaulted him with Bullet Bills. Mario used F.L.U.D.D's Rocket Nozzle to produce a few massive Ground Pounds that tipped the bowl over, sending the Koopas to fall into a miniature island adjacent to Isle Delfino. Bowser confessed to his son that he had used him as a pawn, but Bowser Jr. then revealed to his father that he knew all along that Peach was not his mother, and that he was eager to challenge Mario again some time in the future, when he would be bigger, which filled Bowser with pride. They then decided to continue their vacation together.
Super Princess Peach
In Super Princess Peach, Bowser, after hearing about a mysterious and powerful artifact hidden on Vibe Island, decides to search for said artifact, and he consequently also builds his summer villa there. Eventually, Bowser finds the artifact, the Vibe Scepter, which is capable of controlling and manipulating the emotions of others. Bowser proceeded to entrust a Goomba with the Vibe Scepter and then orders this Goomba to lead a brigade of Hammer Bros. to attack Princess Peach's Castle. Bowser's raiding party succeeds in capturing Mario, Luigi and several Toads. Unfortunately for Bowser, his Goomba minion proved incapable of handling the Vibe Scepter's power and ended-up casting a spell over Vibe Island, unleashing chaos throughout. After all of the Toads and Luigi are rescued, Princess Peach and her umbrella ally, Perry, can face Bowser whom, with the Vibe Scepter, can increase his power; regardless, Bowser is still defeated and Mario is freed by the princess.
New Super Mario Bros.
In New Super Mario Bros., Bowser is the first boss. He is fought the same way as in the original Super Mario Bros. (except the axe is replaced with a generic switch which performs the same function), but this time, the lava he falls in disfigures him into a Dry Bones-like skeleton. The reanimated Bowser skeleton, named Dry Bowser or Skeleton Bowser, is later fought in the first World 8 castle, before Bowser Jr. resurrects his father in a potion-filled cauldron just in time for the game's final showdown. In this showdown, Bowser is a bit smarter and much bigger, and will attempt to lunge at the player when the player gets behind him.
Yoshi's Island DS
Bowser also appeared in the Nintendo DS game Yoshi's Island DS as the game's main antagonist. In this game, Bowser travels back in time in search of seven legendary stars that can apparently give him the power to rule the universe. The search for these stars lead Bowser to kidnap babies all across the planet thinking that the stars are located in the hearts of certain babies. Bowser appears as the game's final boss, right after his younger self.
In Luigi's Mansion, Madame Clairvoya tells Luigi that Bowser has been "soundly defeated" by Mario, and speculates that King Boo might have revived him, suggesting that Bowser was presumed destroyed following his latest clash with Mario. His demise is an unconfirmed event however (a red herring on Madame Clairvoya's part, no less), as the Bowser-like entity of Luigi's Mansion is never identified, and is merely piloted as a huge robotic mech by King Boo, who is the final boss and ultimate villain of the game. Interestingly enough, at the end of the game, the Bowser-like spirit is also trapped in the painting with King Boo.
Super Mario Galaxy
"Bowser is the great fire-breathing villain of the Mushroom Kingdom, a dastardly creature bent on capturing Princess Peach and taking control of the kingdom for his own nefarious means. He commands a vast army of Goombas, Koopas, and other nasties that do his bidding without question. Mario always manages to save Princess Peach from Bowser and stop his schemes, but the brute never learns. Perhaps if Mario finally corners Bowser in the heart of the cosmos, he can pound a little sense into the scoundrel."- (Super Mario Galaxy Description of Bowser)
Prior to the events of Super Mario Galaxy, Bowser attacked Rosalina's observatory and stole all the Power Stars and the Seven Grand Stars that powered the observatory. Bowser used these incredible stars to bring his entire fleet to the cosmos and take over many galaxies, planning to construct a galaxy reactor powered by the Grand Stars that would make all the galaxies collapse upon themselves. This would give birth to a new cosmos in which he would use to rule and control the whole universe as a Galactic Empire that would last forever with Peach as Bowser's empress. He then kidnapped Peach during the events of the Star Festival, and held her at the center of the universe where he was overseeing the construction of his reactor. During this time, Bowser Jr. led most of the Koopa Troop to conquer several galaxies.
Mario, helped by Rosalina, collected many Grand and Power Stars and destroyed much of the Koopa Troop, encountering and defeating Bowser twice in his attempt to rescue Peach. Regardless of these drawbacks, Bowser remained confident of his victory and the follow-through of his main goal to construct his own galaxy.
Mario eventually battles Bowser at the almost-completed galaxy reactor. During the final battle, Bowser Jr. held Peach captive while Mario fought Bowser on multiple planets. Despite his efforts, Mario defeated Bowser and sent him into the magma of his own sun. The final Grand Star was released from the galaxy reactor, which exploded and formed a large black hole that began to suck up the cosmos. The Lumas used their powers to reverse the black hole, creating a new Big Bang and reforming the cosmos. Rosalina then appears to Mario in a vision, explaining to him that the nature and fabric of the universe is always unpredictable and always uses different patterns to sustain itself. Bowser tried to control this force for his own nefarious means, and for that he almost paid the ultimate price; he nearly sacrificed his own life. Mario, Peach, Bowser, and Bowser Jr. are then shown back at a restored Toad Town. Relieved to be alive, Bowser left to plan further schemes.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Bowser appeared, and was again the final boss in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Here, he appeared together with his eight minions, the Koopalings and his son, Bowser Jr.. In the last castle of World 8, Bowser was found in the last chamber, sending out fireballs toward Mario, similarly to his appearance in the original Super Mario Bros. When Mario began the battle, Bowser was fought in the same manner as in Super Mario Bros., as well as in the first castle in the original New Super Mario Bros. After Mario pressed the switch that caused the bridge to collapse beneath Bowser, sending him falling into a pit once again, a victory fanfare played and Mario rejoiced, believing to have won. However, upon inspecting Princess Peach up above, it turned out that it was, in fact, Kamek, disguised as Peach. Kamek then cast a spell over the chasm that Bowser had fallen down. As a rumbling noise began, Kamek paused to see if the spell had actually worked. To his surprise, Bowser appeared, now at a gigantic size, knocking Kamek off his broom, and proceeded to chase after Mario. Mario rushed through the area beyond the boss room, luring Bowser into launching fireballs at walls so that they were destroyed and he could proceed. After a long and grueling chase, Mario heard Peach's voice, and saw her in a cage up ahead, over a large switch. Jumping on the switches (only if you have more than 1) Mario opened a humongous chasm, right underneath Bowser, that drained the lava from the room and took the Koopa King with it, defeating him for good. He was later seen being helped by his children, having survived the drop and returned to his normal size, but then crushed by his own Castle.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Bowser appears again in Super Mario Galaxy 2, once again as the primary antagonist. He invades the Mushroom Kingdom again, along with his son, Bowser Jr., but at a gigantic size, due to the power of the Power Stars that he stole. He kidnaps Princess Peach and flees into space again, claiming that he'll build a galactic empire to suit his new sizes , and put it in the center of the universe.
Additionally, he attacked and destroyed Lubba's starship prior to the game, causing the Lumas to rebuild it in Mario's image when they team up with him. Using Starship Mario to pursue Bowser, Mario has to collect the Power Stars and save Princess Peach as he has done before. Bowser also orders a Magikoopa to get rid of Yoshi as he does not want Mario teaming up with his dinosaur friend.
Mario faces Bowser three times in this game. The fights take place on a spherical planetoid, where Bowser, in his gigantic size, attempts to crush Mario with his fists, and by sending meteors crashing down upon him. When using his fists, Bowser's hand does get stuck in the planetoid briefly, and any meteors on the battlefield will rise and turn yellow. Mario has to ground pound on the meteors, so that they hit Bowser. He'll also use his fire breath to try and fry Mario.
The final battle at Bowser's Galaxy Generator has two phases, with the second phase requiring Mario to send yellow meteors at Bowser before he gets close enough to punch him.
During the ending, Bowser is shown to be tiny, which may likely be a side effect for using the Grand Stars to make himself huge.
Super Mario 3D Land
Bowser appears once again as the main antagonist of Super Mario 3D Land. On one day, a storm blows all the Super Leaves off the Tail Tree. When Mario and three Toads check on the tree, they find an envelope containing a picture showing Peach being captured by Bowser.
It is revealed through the letters found after each world that Peach tries to escape, but Bowser's forces eventually overpower her. Bowser then holds her in a cage and keeps her next to his throne. At Bowser's Castle, Mario faces the actual Bowser, though in the same manner as the Tail Bowsers. However, Bowser had planned ahead; he set up a wooden cutout of Peach on the top of a tower. After Mario discovers this, Bowser appears from above, holding the real Princess Peach, and heads to his second castle. Inside Bowser's quarters in the second castle, Mario discovers the princess bound to the flagpole and tries to rescue her. However, Bowser falls out of the sky and attempts to ground pound him from above, which causes the floor beneath them to fall.
During the second battle, Bowser attacks Mario with spiked balls at the beginning, with fireballs for the second portion of the area, and with barrels near the end as he makes his way along. On the bridge before the switch, Bowser's attack pattern is the same as in previous battles. After the switch that collapses the bridge is pressed, however, Bowser reemerges from below. While progressing through a second obstacle course-like area, Bowser leaps across to various platforms, shooting massive pink fireballs at Mario. Bowser then chases him again upon reaching a second bridge. When the switch at the end is pressed, Bowser plummets into the lava below, being hit by falling debris. After defeating Bowser, Peach is returned to her castle with the help of Tanooki Mario and three Tanooki Toads. The credits show Bowser trying to reach Mario with the help of a massive Goomba Tower, but failing.
After completing all the special worlds, it is revealed that Bowser has once again captured Peach, and must be beaten again at his castle.
In Paper Mario series
Bowser appears as the main antagonist of Paper Mario. He stole the Star Rod and captured the seven Star Spirits and gives them each to a certain character to keep watch over it. Bowser then lifts Princess Peach's Castle into the sky and defeats Mario with his enhanced strength. Bowser then knocks Mario off of the castle and orders Kammy Koopa to keep Peach locked up in her room. Throughout the game, Bowser is usually seen in scenes everytime Mario defeats one of his followers. It is even revealed that Bowser keeps a diary that he writes in. Once Mario saves the last Star Spirit, Bowser orders everyone to prepare for an attack as Mario first enters his castle. Once Mario has made it to the very same room Bowser has defeated him in, Bowser challenges Mario to a final duel. Bowser is soon defeated but has a different plan and takes Peach to a platform that resembles his Koopa Clown Car. Kammy Koopa then powers up Bowser where even the Star Beam cannot match the Star Rod. However, the wishes from Peach allow Mario to power up the Star Beam into the Peach Beam and Bowser is defeated by Mario. His power up platform soon explodes and sends him and Kammy Koopa falling out of space. Bowser is seen again during the parade where he is riding in his Koopa Clown Car. However, Jr. Troopa and Kammy Koopa are having a spell fight where they accidentally blast the Koopa Clown Car burning Bowser. Bowser then burns the two and the parade cuts to night.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Although he is not the main antagonist, Bowser still plays a major role in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. This is Bowser's first time being a playable character in a Paper Mario game. Bowser is always played after one completes a Chapter and completes the Peach scene. During certain points in the game, Bowser will complete in a style similar to Super Mario Bros.. Bowser is also only fought twice in this game: in Glitzville and in the Palace of Shadow. During the fight in the Palace of Shadow, Bowser is fought alongside Kammy Koopa.
After the events of Chapter 1, Bowser is seen at his castle demanding to know where Kammy Koopa is. When Bowser reaches his throne, Kammy Koopa appears and informs Bowser that Princess Peach has been kidnapped. Bowser is furious that someone is doing his thing but settles down after hearing about the Crystal Stars. Bowser is determined to get the Crystal Stars and Peach after hearing Mario is after them as well and takes off in his Koopa Clown Car.
After the events of Chapter 2, Bowser and Kammy Koopa arrive in Petalburg. The citizens run away at Bowser's presence and Bowser begins his search. Bowser believes he has found Peach but it is revealed to be just a poster. Kammy Koopa tries to confront Bowser but Bowser is depressed calling himself "The Guy Who Talks To Posters." During the events of Chapter 3, Bowser invades the Glitz Pit and challenges Mario. However, he is quickly defeated.
After the events of Chapter 3, Bowser and Kammy Koopa arrive at The Great Tree. Bowser tries to look for a Crystal Star but is having no success at the scared Punis. However, Bowser is caught off guard by the Puni Elder who tells him that Mario already has it. Kammy Koopa and the Puni Elder get into an arguement and the player has a choice for what Bowser can say. Afterwards, Bowser decides to leave to continue his search.
After the events of Chapter 4, Bowser is at Rogueport and heard that there is a Crystal Star at Glitzville. Kammy Koopa suggests taking the blimp but Bowser says he has gotten into Glitzville before and takes off in his Koopa Clown Car. However, his ride breaks down in midair and Bowser is forced to go through an underwater level to get back onto shore. Bowser manages to make it back and ends up at the port of Rougeport. Kammy Koopa arrives and, judging her appearance, has had a great time at Glitzville. As Kammy Koopa continues saying how much fun she had, Bowser angrily burns her saying he swallowed a blooper while he was underwater.
After the events of Chapter 5, Bowser and Kammy Koopa end up in Twilight Town. They notice Lord Crump walking around and Bowser wonders what he is looking for. Lord Crump eventually finds what he is looking for: the Super Bombomb that Vivian dropped earlier. Bowser asks what Lord Crump has found and Crump, not wanting to feel intimated by Bowser's appearance, orders up a horde of X-Nauts. Bowser and Kammy Koopa do the same by ordering up the Koopa Troop. Lord Crump is determined to take them down and throws the Super Bombomb at Bowser. However, it doesn't blow up and Bowser comments saying he'll show Crump some "real fire power". Bowser breathes fire at the Super Bombomb but it activates it and results in a massive explosion taking down both sides.
After the events of Chapter 6, Bowser is still worn out after what happened at Twilight Town. However, his spirits are lifted after Kammy Koopa informs him that their troops found an underground passageway that may lead to a Crystal Star. Bowser must endure an underground level where he will end up in some sort of training room. Kammy Koopa then spots the Crystal Star on the wall on a belt and Bowser is about to take it. However, Rawk Hawk, the champion, enters and demands Bowser to get out. However, Bowser isn't intimated by Rawk Hawk even mocking him on his size. Furious, Rawk Hawk attempts to attack Bowser, but Bowser easily crushes him. The force from the slam causes the belt to fall off and the star to break much to the shock of Bowser and Kammy Koopa. Kammy Koopa confirms that Crystal Star was a fake and Rawk Hawk says that "The Great Gonzales" has it. Bowser is furious that another guy other than Mario is after the Crystal Stars as well.
After the events of Chapter 7, Bowser and Kammy Koopa arrive at the luxrious Poshley Heights. Bowser comes across the Poshley Sanctum and manages to get the lock to come off it by simply yelling at it. Bowsre then enters the Sanctum and he and Kammy Koopa finally believe they claimed a Crystal Star. However, Pennington soon arrives but is intimated by Bowser's appearance. Soon, Bowser drops the Crystal Star and, that too, is a fake. Pennigton then says that "Luigi" already has it and Bowser is even more upset that Mario's younger brother is after the Crystal Stars as well.
During the events of Chapter 8, Bowser and Kammy Koopa enter the Palace of Shadow and work their way around. Eventually, Bowser falls through from a higher area and lands on top of the recently defeated Sir Grodus. Bowser comments his weight but soon spots the appearance of Mario and engages him in battle (with Kammy Koopa assisting). However, Bowser and Kammy Koopa are defeated and lie defeated on the ground. It is unknown what happened to Bowser after the defeat of the Shadow Queen but it can be assumed he went back to his castle.
During the first battle, Bowser fights in a similar matter from the previous Paper Mario game. However, instead of a poison claw attack, he now uses a poison bite attack. He can also use the stomp attack that can take away an action command and breathe fire. During the second fight, Bowser is much more tougher as he has more HP and attack power, Kammy Koopa is assisting him in battle, and the battle is fought right after the Grodus fight. Bowser retains most of his moves from the Glitzville battle, but he now fights alongside Kammy Koopa who can heal and power up Bowser. During this fight, it is recommended to take down Kammy Koopa first especially since her HP is lower.
Super Paper Mario
- "Will I marry Peach? Are you kidding?! The answer's YES!!!"
- ― BowserBowser made an appearance in the Wii game Super Paper Mario. Princess Peach is forced to marry him by the mysterious Count Bleck and Nastasia. However, the union between them reveals the Chaos Heart, which would produce The Void that would threaten all of existence. He reluctantly joins up with Mario and Peach (as well as Luigi, who joins later on) to stop the evil Count Bleck and his minions. Following his high power role in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Bowser has exactly twice the attacking strength of his human allies and can decimate almost any enemy with his fire breath. His destructive strength is offset by his slow movement, clumsy jumping, the inability to climb ladders or vines and being a bigger target for enemy attacks.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Bowser finally appears as the main antagonist of Paper Mario: Sticker Star since the original Paper Mario game. Bowser touches the Sticker Comet which causes it to split into six Royal Stickers which he keeps one for himself. Bowser is then only seen again in the very last level Bowser's Sky Castle where he fights Mario in many phases. He eventually turns big but Mario uses Kersti to power up and defeat him. Bowser is seen again trying to touch the Sticker Comet put Kersti stops him. Once Kersti remarks how she needs to change her career, Bowser shares a laugh with Mario and Peach. Unlike all the rest of the Paper Mario games, Bowser has no word of dialogue at all in this game.
In Mario & Sonic series
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games
Bowser makes an appearance in the official game of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is classed as a 'Power' type and has a lot of Power and Stamina. He is very good at the Hammer Throw, but not so good at 100m.
In Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros.
- Super Smash Bros Melee, Super Smash Bros Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In Brawl, he uses his final smash by turning into Giga Bowser. Giga Bowser is a form of Bowser that first appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a boss at the end of adventure mode if the character going through this campaign completed it in around 20 or less minutes overall. Giga Bowser reappears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as the final smash of Bowser. Like all final smashes, this final smash is temporary, but can still be deadly, especially on a smaller stage. Bowser is also a playable character in
In Adventure Mode, Bowser plays as one of the main antagonists along with Ganondorf. Bowser first attacks Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong and manages to turn Donkey Kong into a trophy. Bowser will continue to cause trouble until he is betrayed by Ganondorf.
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
Bowser appears as a major character and actually an ally (thought not exactly himself most times) in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. He is first seen trying to capture Peach but Mario soon stops and defeats him. However, Peach suddenly starts speaking in explosive letters that leaves even the Koopa King standing back. It was soon revealed that Peach's voice was stolen. Bowser, not wanting to capture an explosive letter, speaking Peach, unwillingly teams up with Mario and Luigi and flies the duo to the Beanbean Kingdom. However, Fawful soon shows up and destroys his Koopa Cruiser sending Bowser, Mario, Luigi, and the rest of the Koopa Clan down to Stardust Fields. Bowser finds himself stuck in a cannon and the leader of Stardust Fields, Tolstar, demands Beanbean coins for payment. Mario and Luigi done so but Tolstar lied about freeing Bowser and gets into a fight with Mario and Luigi. The Mario Bros. defeat Tolstar and Bowser still wants to be freed from the cannon. Suddenly, one of the Starshade Bros. shows up and lights the cannon with Bowser's last words to Mario and Luigi being for them to retrieve Peach's voice and is blasted from Stardust Fields. Bowser is seen again at the Chateau de Chucklehuck where he is working for a thief named Popple under the name "Rookie". It is soon learned that Bowser has gotten amnesia from being blasted out of the cannon at Stardust Fields and now obeys the Shadow Thief. Bowser is defeated along with Popple and the duo make for Chucklehuck Woods where they go to find the Chuckhuck Reserve. They attempt to get the reserve but they are soon blasted away by Bubbles and his Chuckolator. Bowser is seen again with Popple at the basement of Woohoo Hooniversity attempting to get the Beanstar. Mario and Luigi defeat them in another battle but soon, a Peach Bot lands beside the Beanstar and sings the tainted voice which causes the Beanstar to go on a rampage. Bowser, Popple, and the Mario Bros. all grab onto the Beanstar and crashes through the ceiling. Before they all fall off, Bowser regains his memory but soon falls down to Stardust Field badly damage. Soon, Fawful expels the spirit of Cackletta into Bowser and is soon transformed into Bowletta. Bowser stays this way until Mario and Luigi defeat Cackletta's Soul and Bowser is turned back to normal. Minutes later, Bowser wakes up wondering what happened but his castle is soon blown up and Bowser, literally, crashes at the screen. Bowser can be seen briefly during the end credits where he is dropped off at his crashed castle along with his troops.
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Bowser plays a somewhat a minor role in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Bowser soon enters the time hole heading back to the past. Bowser is then seen again, this time, teaming up with his younger self attempting to defeat Mario, Luigi, Baby Mario, and Baby Luigi. However, Bowser and Prince Bowser are soon defeated and Bowser heads back to the present. Near the end of the game, Bowser is fed the mushroom of Princess Shroob and transforms into Shrowser. Bowser attempts to use this new power to defeat Mario's group but fails yet again and unwillingly aids in the defeat of Princess Shroob once and for all.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Bowser now plays as (for the first time in the Mario franchise) the main character in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, with the Mario Bros. in a supporting, but still playable role. At the beginning of the game, Bowser barges into the Conference Hall to once again kidnap Peach, partly out of not being invited to the emergency blorbs conference beforehand, but Mario stands in his way. During the resulting battle, Bowser only attacks by spitting small fireballs at Mario. After he is defeated, Bowser is flung to Dimble Woods by Princess Peach and Starlow. After he recovers and explores the woods, he finds a stand owned by a cloaked person that gives him a "Lucky Mushroom," claiming it will allow him to defeat Mario. Bowser carelessly eats the mushroom, which causes him to start inhaling his surroundings and places him under Fawful's control. Returning to the castle, he inhales the occupants of the conference room before passing out and being dragged to Cavi Cape Cave, where he is awakened by Mario and Luigi. After leaving and fighting Midbus, Bowser learns that Fawful has set out to take over his castle, with Bowser's main focus being to return and undo what Fawful has done. He attempts to find a Banzai Bill to breach the castle's defenses, although in the process of searching for an adequate substitute via the Giga-carrot, he is ultimately forced by a Wiggler to eat the whole thing in a minute when he was caught trying to uproot it, ultimately forcing the Wiggler upon beating it to hand over his Banzai Bill. He then fires it at the castle, only for it to start flying to him (thanks to Midbus and Fawful's modifications to the castle) and squish him. Thanks to help, however, he survives and becomes giant, doing enough damage to his castle to force a retreat by Midbus. He then arrives at the castle, or rather, the Fawful Theater and beats Midbus. Unfortunately, his victory is short lived when the boos fattened him up with a victory feast, with Fawful then extracting Peach from him and then left him to literally burn off the excess fat via a treadmill and setting off the castle's Bob-omb caches in the process.
After Bowser is blown out of his castle and ends up in the Tunnel, he helps the Monty Bros. dig a tunnel to Toad Town Caves; however, when he explores this area he triggers a security system that electrocutes him, knocking him unconscious. Bowser later awakens and heads to Dr. Toadley's clinic, where he fights Mario and Luigi. Bowser uses the same attacks as when the player battles with him: punching, breathing fire, Goomba Storm, and Shy Guy Squad, though he does not use the second special move until later in the battle. His punch can be dodged by jumping, and if Bowser huffs before, he instead slips, flying over his target. The fire can be avoided by grabbing onto Starlow while he is charging the attack. Goomba Storm can be avoided by jumping over them and hammering the ones he burns back at Bowser, damaging him. Finally, Shy Guy Squad is stopped by deflecting Bowser with the hammer as he approaches one of the brothers. After defeating him, they learn that they need to find the three Star Cures to cure the blorbs and access Peach's Castle. Hearing the first cure is in Dimble Woods, Bowser rushes off. During the quest for the Star Cures, Bowser manages to find only one, which is in a safe in his treasure room, but is locked inside by Sergeant Guy, Private Goomp, and Corporal Paraplonk, who have betrayed him for Fawful.
After Bowser is freed from the safe in Junker's rampage, he makes his way to Fawful and Midbus and faces Midbus as Blizzard Midbus. After beating him the Dark Star awakens and Fawful attempts to claim its power, but is knocked aside by Bowser before he can absorb too much, the energy he did absorb turning him into Dark Fawful. The Dark Star then flies down Bowser's throat, where it absorbs some of his DNA and transforms into Dark Bowser, which heads after Fawful with Bowser following it. After Bowser defeats Dark Fawful, he escapes in the form of a mass of Dark Energy, which is inhaled by Dark Bowser, completing his transformation. Chasing Dark Bowser to a tower above the castle, Bowser witnesses as his dark clone spreads his darkness around the kingdom, threatening to destroy the kingdom. Engaging in battle with Dark Bowser, he is able to inhale Fawful after forcing him out of Dark Bowser, allowing Mario and Luigi to defeat him, which in turn allows Bowser to defeat Dark Bowser. Defeating him destroys the Dark Star, although Fawful is still alive in the end, and he self-destructs to destroy Mario and Luigi; this instead causes everyone inside Bowser's body to return to the outside world. Angered by the fact that the Mario Bros. were dancing around in his body, he fights them, but is defeated and carried home by his minions. Bedridden after the defeat, Bowser receives a gift from Princess Peach, which turns out to be a cake.
- “Keep an eye on Junior, will ya?”
- —Bowser, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey
He largely retains his role in the game's remake, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey, with it also being implied that he accidentally released Beef when he set off the Bob-omb storage depot due to literally "burning off fat" earlier. In addition, he has a bit of a role in the alternate game mode Bowser Jr.'s Journey, where he has Kamek and the Koopalings look after Bowser Jr. The mode also reveals that not only were Bowser's minions also victims of the blorb infection (thus explaining his anger at Peach and the other members of the Mushroom Kingdom in the main story for not being invited to the conference), but it is also implied that Fawful was the reason why he never received an invitation. His Super Bowser form is also briefly witnessed by Bowser Jr. while he fought the Tower of Yikk, which caused chaos for Junior and the Koopalings. He also appears in the ending where he is brought back to the castle wounded thanks to his earlier defeat from fighting the Mario Bros., and Bowser Jr. attempts with no success to tell Bowser about his journey (as Bowser was still resting from his injuries). He eventually is supplied by Bowser Jr. with the Skeletone Formula:D formula they had recovered to cure the kingdom of the blorbs, with Bowser Jr. even offering some to Bowser to have him slim down, with Bowser agreeing largely because, thanks to some side-effects from the Vacuum Shroom, he was slightly bloated. However, despite his son's attempts at warning him, he ended up ingesting the entire container rather than just one of the pills, causing him to lose far too much of his mass, causing him to angrily demand to know whether Bowser Jr. pranked him again, only for his son to insist that he did not and point out that he if anything tried to warn him against taking too much of the medicine beforehand before promptly chasing his son. In the post-game, Bowser, learning from Ludwig the full events of Bowser Jr.'s earlier adventure, has him invite his son over so the two can personally duel each other, eventually coming across as even (and their fights becoming violent enough that most of the repairs on the castle were undone).
During the game, Bowser's gameplay is mapped to the and buttons. His normal battle system is mostly the same as Mario and Luigi's; his fire breath and punch are his equivalent of the Mario Bros. hammer and jump attacks, respectively. Bowser's special attacks involve various Koopa Troop soldiers coming to his aid. Bowser also has the Vacuum Block, which allows Bowser to inhale small enemies, items and parts of enemies, and sometimes Blitties. Any enemies that are inhaled are fought by Mario and Luigi. When being attacked, Bowser has two forms of defense: He can curl into his shell with , or he can counterattack by punching with . However, while on the overworld, he can run into smaller enemies to instantly defeat them. Stat wise, Bowser holds superior HP, Attack and Defense compared to Mario and Luigi, but has mediocre speed.
Bowser also has a unique form of battle in that the player can fight while he is giant. During these battles, the player must hold the DS on its side. His health is also represented by a bar rather than a number. Bowser only has two attacks: punching, achieved by swiping the stylus across the Touch Screen, and breathing fire, achieved by the player blowing into the microphone. Occasionally, Mushrooms also appear during battle, which can be used to heal him. When counterattacking, Bowser can punch in the same way, or breathe fireballs by tapping the desired direction on the Touch Screen; however, the more fireballs spit, the smaller they are.
Bowser's out-of-battle gameplay is also similar to the bros. Pressing causes him to punch, allowing him to break objects such as large rocks as well as hitting blocks, and later while moving allows him to perform a sliding punch. Holding down causes him to breathe fire in a continuous stream, letting him burn flammable objects, but doing so for a prolonged time causes him to tire. At Bubble Lake, Bowser can go underwater, and the switches functions to allow Bowser to swim. As the game progresses, Bowser gains two more abilities, giving these buttons alternative functions; by pressing , allows Bowser to perform the body slam, and allows him to use the spike ball move. Bowser may also use special portals called Chakroads, which are used to teleport him to any location with a Chakroad that has been discovered.
Bowser's ranking system is also different. It starts at Bronze Boss as the default and in the original game changes to Silver Boss at level 10, Gold Boss at level 20, and Final Boss at level 40. In the remake, his rank changes to Silver Boss at level 8, Gold Boss at level 16, Master Boss at level 24, and Final Boss at level 32.
Additionally, in the Flab Zone, the brothers occasionally encounter Nutsoglobins, who are not mandatory, but can help in navigating the area. Nutsglobins ask the player trivia questions about Bowser, but, before they so, they allow them to ask Bowser questions, with the Nutsoglobin being the mediator; each question asked costs five coins. They then ask the player the questions, which are based upon what Bowser says in response to the possible question they ask him. Whenever a Nutsoglobin talks to Bowser from inside his body, Bowser does not know who it is that is speaking.
In the Bowser Jr.'s Journey mode, Bowser is fought in the level Bowser and...Bowser? as the captain in the last two rounds. He is first fought as a Ranged type with his Special Skill being Piercing Projectile. In the following round, he is fought as a Melee type with his Special Skill being Spin to Win. After completing the level, Bowser in his Melee form is recruited as an ally. A dark version of Bowser under the effects of Malatone Formula:X is also fought as the final boss in Beat the Minions!. His troops are dark Koopalings (also Malatone-infected), and is a Melee type.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Bowser plays as the main antagonist of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team where he teamed up with Antasma for the thrill of power, but later betrays Antasma and reveals that he's just been using Antasma so he can take it all, making Bowser the true main villain.
Mario Party Games
Bowser appeared in all the Mario Party games as the villain. In Mario Party 2, Bowser got his own space. If a character lands on his space something bad happens. Sometimes he'll force the players to play one of his dreaded mini-games like Rain of Fire, Treasure Dome!, Fruits of Doom, and more.
Mario Party 8
In Mario Party 8, Bowser attacked the winner of the Star Battle Arena tournament, stealing the Star Rod. He challenges the champion to a duel against one of his minions: either Hammer Bro or Blooper in Bowser's Warped Orbit. Upon defeating the minion, Bowser challenged the champion to his minigame, Superstar Showdown. If the champion won, Bowser would claim defeat and Star Rod was won.
Mario Party DS
Bowser once again meddled with Mario and friends when he invited Mario to his castle for an apology party. When Mario arrived the King of Koopas blasted Mario with the minimizer a shrinking device.
Mario Party 9
In Mario Party 9, Bowser comes up with his latest plan in this Mario Party where he steals all the mini stars to decorate his castle. He does this by using a machine which he has on his secret base known as Bowser Station to suck them all in. However Mario and friends see the mini stars disappering and set off to thwart Bowsers plans again. But Bowser has other ideas and sends Shy Guy and Kamek after them, and if that's not enough he uses some of the mini stars to create not 1 but 2 bosses per board. But when the player reaches the Bowser Station Bowser takes matters into his own hands and is the final boss which the player must defeat to complete Bowser Station.
Mario Party 10
In Mario Party 10, Bowser appears as a playable character in the new Bowser Party mode and amiibo mode. He is controlled by using the Wii U GamePad, and his goal is to deplete the health of the other characters, who move together in a vehicle like in Mario Party 9, via Bowser Minigames before they can reach the end of the board. Bowser is able to move by rolling multiple dice (the number depending on the number of other players), and if he catches up to the other players they must play a Bowser Minigame.
In the normal mode Bowser also returns with the same role as in previous games. Unlike in previous games, however, Bowser is locked behind a cage with six locks, corresponding to the numbers on the die. Rolling all six numbers results in Bowser being freed, the player who rolled the last number losing half of their Mini Stars, and several Bowser Spaces are created ahead. However, he will remain trapped for the rest of the game if he is not freed by the time the characters in the car reach the Almost There! event.
Bowser also appears as the boss at the end of the Chaos Castle board, facing the players in the minigame Bowser's Tank Terror. Bowser controls a large tank that the other players must shoot at in their own tanks, and attacks by firing spiked bombs from the main cannon and jets of fire from the other cannons. When his health is depleted enough he starts charging, and once he reaches half his health Bowser's tank explodes and he falls into the lava, only to emerge as Dry Bowser.
He is finally the character played as in the Bowser Challenge minigame mode, in which the player must play through every Bowser Minigame depleting as many of the opponents' hearts as he can.
Mario Kart series
Bowser is always a default-unlocked heavyweight character in the Mario Kart games. He also always has his own course, aptly named Bowser's Castle.
In Super Mario Kart, he and Donkey Kong Jr. have the heaviest weight and highest speed, but at the same time suffer from poor acceleration and steering. If controlled by a computer, Bowser can toss fireballs onto the track. In the Japanese release of the game, every character's awards ceremony victory animation involves a bottle of champagne, but part of Bowser's involves drinking it. This is changed in English releases, in which Bowser simply waves the bottle above his head.
In Mario Kart 64, Bowser and the other heavyweight characters have poor speed, acceleration, and steering, but high weight, allowing them to ram lighter racers out of their way.
In Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Bowser has the highest weight and speed, but also the lowest acceleration in the game.
In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Bowser's default partner is Bowser Jr. Their shared Special Item is the Bowser Shell, and his kart is the Koopa King.
In Mario Kart DS, Bowser's Koopa Clown Car appears as his unlockable kart, the Hurricane. His default karts are a standard kart (Standard BW), like the other racers, and the Tyrant. Once the game is beaten, Bowser can drive any of the thirty-six karts in the game. He also appears as the ghost on Airship Fortress with a time of 2:07:748 on the Hurricane, on Bowser Castle on the Hurricane with a time of 2:19:661, and on GBA Bowser Castle 2 with a time of 1:52:258 on the Standard BW. In Missions Mode, Bowser is the character played as for missions 3-2, 4-5, 5-4, 6-1, 6-8, and 7-7. In addition, he also appears as the opponent to be raced against for mission 7-2. He and R.O.B. are the heaviest characters.
In Mario Kart Wii, Bowser has the highest weight bonus for his class size, which makes vehicles like the Offroader and Piranha Prowler heavier than normal. He also offers decent speed and drift bonuses, which make the Jetsetter and Shooting Star faster and easier to control. The Staff Ghosts that use Bowser are Nin*YABUKI at Bowser's Castle in the Piranha Prowler, with a time of 3:04:836 with no Wii Wheel and manual drift. The expert staff ghost is Nin*Masa with the same settings, except this time, Bowser is on the Flame Runner with a time of 2:42:098.
In Mario Kart 7, Bowser returns as a heavy racer. He has one of the best speed and weight boosts in the game. His Koopa Clown Car also has an appearance as the Koopa Clown, an unlockable kart body. The staff ghosts using Bowser are Ret*Matt M on Bowser's Castle, with the standard kart body, Monster tires, and the Super Glider with a time of 02:34.815; the expert staff ghost also uses Bowser in the Blue Seven with Red Monster tires and the Beast Glider, the time being 02:15.244. He is also both ghosts on GBA Bowser Castle 1; the normal ghost, Nin*Hayata, uses the Pipe Frame with Standard tires and the Beast Glider and has a time of 01:31.030, while the expert, Nin*hokwai, uses the Koopa Clown with the Roller tires and the Super Glider, and has a time of 01:22.221. If using a glider with a stem (Super Glider, Flower Glider etc.) while playing as Bowser, the stem of the glider is bent to go around his shell; for the other characters it is straight.
Bowser is a playable character in Mario Kart 8. He is one of the heaviest racers in the game, having the exact same stats as Wario, Morton Koopa Jr., Dry Bowser, and the large Mii, while rivaling the weight of Metal Mario and Pink Gold Peach. In the Nintendo Switch port Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Bowser instead shares stats with only Morton and large Miis. He also runs an oil company called Bowser Oil, which appears as a sponsor in this game, and also has a racing team called Lord Bowser.
Bowser makes an appearance in Mario Kart Tour as an unlockable Super-rarity driver, available since launch. Like in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, his special item is Bowser's Shell. The 2020 Winter Tour introduced a variant of Bowser disguised as Santa Claus with Christmas lights on his shell, called Bowser (Santa), who is a High-End-rarity driver that utilizes the Coin Box as his special item.
Bowser also makes an appearance in the three Mario Kart Arcade GP games; Mario Kart Arcade GP has no weight stat to classify characters by, but Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 classifies him as a power racer, and Mario Kart Arcade GP DX places him in the heavyweight category. The second game also gives him a personal kart in addition to a standard kart; Bowser's resembles his shell, with spikes lining the sides and on the tires. In the first two games, Bowser has four special items: Bowser Shell, the same item from Double Dash!!; Shell Body, which makes him invincible; Flaming Tender, which damages any rival that hits it; and Thwomp, which squishes any driver that drives under it. Bowser also receives his own two-course cup in the first two games, both of which consists of Bowser's Castle and Castle Wall, which takes place on the wall surrounding his castle. In the first game, beating the Bowser Cup allows the player to face Bowser in a battle as the challenge stage. The player must leap over the streams of fire Bowser spits at them while tossing shells at the supports for his platform. If the player is playing as Bowser for this challenge, they instead face Mecha-Bowser. In Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, the Bowser Cup consists of Bowser Factory and Bowser Castle.
- "Cursed crocodiles, it's that Parmasan Plumber! and he's as big as me!"
- ― King Koopa
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
In The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Bowser would often take on various aliases and costumes and try to scheme a dastardly plot of some sort, most commonly trying to conquer a kingdom or steal an ancient treasure and/or artifact; aiding Bowser in these plots were his Koopa Troop and also a sidekick of sorts, most commonly Mouser. Along with Mouser, many Super Mario Bros. 2 bosses like Fryguy and Tryclyde appear as well.
In several episodes, Bowser would capture Princess Toadstool and attempt to blackmail her into giving him the Mushroom Kingdom, although some other episodes implied he already had some measure of control over the kingdom.
Bowser appears in the Disney Animated film Wreck-It-Ralph as a cameo along with other video game villains in a villains support group, Bad-Anon: One Game at a Time. They make a personal bad guy credo after the seminar is over.
- Although Bowser's name is King Koopa in the movie, he is a humanoid dinosaur.
- His color scheme and crown in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, and related cartoons, were taken from Wart, as well as the 8-bits appearing among his minions, who served Wart in Super Mario Bros. 2.