Lava is a hazard that appears in many Mario games. It mainly serves as a hazard where if Mario touches one, he instantly dies though this effect is different in games like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. Lava is usually home to Podoboos and is Bowser's main hazard he has in his castles.
Lava appears as a hazard in Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3. Lava mainly appears in Castle levels where if Mario falls into it, he instantly dies. In Super Mario Bros, this is a classic way of finishing off Bowser at the end of levels. Podooboos also tend to jump out of the lava in these games.
Lava appears on many levels in this game where it's purpose is the same as in the Super Mario Bros. games. The first castle in this game is known for using lava to defeat Iggy Koopa. If Mario lands in lava, even if he has a Cape, he instantly dies. Enemies known as Blarggs tend to lurk around in the lava.
Lava appears mainly on Lethal Lava Land and in Bowser in the Fire Sea in this game. If a character falls in the lava, they will lose three out of eight health points. Lava is also used to defeat Bullies.
Lava is a hazard in some courses in the Mario Kart game. Whenever a racer lands in lava, they lose all their items and Lakitu carries them out. Also not as bad as the chilling water, lava can greatly send a racer back a few places. Lava always appears in Bowser's Castle related courses.
Lava minorly appears in the Paper Mario games. In the first Paper Mario game, lava appears in Mt. Lavalava and Bowser's Castle. Falling into the lava makes Mario lose one hit point, and he must have Parakarry or Lakilester to carry him over lava.
In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, it is found only during the two Bowser events, the first around Bowser's Castle, and the second in a stage reminiscent of Super Mario Bros.
In Paper Mario: Sticker Star, lava is seen in Rugged Road and Rumble Volcano. In Rumble Volcano, if Mario falls in the lava, he loses 3 HP. In area one of Rugged Road, Mario must use a freezing Sticker-type to cross the lava. In other areas, he must use tock pieces floating on lava to cross it.
Lava reappears once again in Paper Mario: Color Splash, in the levels, Redpepper Volcano, Redpepper Crater, and Kiwano Temple. In Redpepper Crater and Redpepper Volcano, falling into the lava makes Mario lose 30 HP. To cross the lava, Mario must ride Draggdon. Super Mario Bros. 3-style lava appears in the Green Energy Plant. In Kiwano Temple, falling into the lava gives Mario an automatic Game Over.
New Super Mario Bros. series
Lava once again appears as a one-hit kill in the New Super Mario Bros. games. Lava is also used to finish off Bowser which, in turn, turns him into Dry Bowser. Lava also mainly appears in castle levels where Mario usually uses it to finish off Bowser Jr. or The Koopalings.
Lava is usually used as a hazard to eliminate players in the Mario Party games. In Mario Party 7, there is a Bowser event where Lava rises up in a certain area and the player that was on the platform loses all of their Stars.
In those games, lava kills the player instantly, like in 2D Mario games.