Bowser in the Dark World is the first Bowser level in Super Mario 64. It is a challenging, puzzle-like world with many traps and enemies that are nearly guaranteed to surprise the player. The trapdoor entrance is behind the star door in the main floor. Eight Power Stars (twelve in the DS remake) are needed to open this door.
Red Coins are difficult to obtain in this level due to the fact that there are many gaps in the course, but simply getting to the end of the course is particularly easy. In Super Mario 64 DS, a Switch Star was added to the level.
While fighting Bowser, the idea is to grab him by his tail and twirl him into a mine. Upon doing so, he will admit defeat and disappear, leaving Mario with the key to the castle's basement.
- In the DS remake, Mario needs four more stars to open the door.
- The first part is also much easier in the DS version as Mario will always gain the power to hover in the ! blocks which will lets him skip the first few obstacles.
- Bowser only needs to be thrown by only one of the mines. Later, in Bowser in the Fire Sea, he will need to get hit by only one and in Bowser in the Sky, he has to get hit three times.