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Super Mario Bros. 3 is a platform action-adventure title released for the Famicom and NES. It is the third game in the Super Mario series (excluding the lost levels)with a Japanese release on October 23, 1988; a North American release on February 9, 1990; and a European and Australian release on August 29, 1991. On November 5, 2007, it was released in North America for the Wii's Virtual Console, as well as the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console on April 17, 2014. It was also remade for Super Mario All-Stars (released in 1993 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System) and Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance), which serves as the final installment of the Super Mario Advance series. It also received a release on June 3, 2013 as a reward for Club Nintendo users. They could purchase the game with their coins for the Wii Virtual Console.

Being considered as one of the greatest games of all time, the game's complexity and challenging levels are what made it a huge success. The game features new power-ups, as well as new moves, items, and Enemies. In addition, there are also some special areas in each world, which include Toad Houses, where the player can obtain some useful items; Spade Panels, where the player can play a matching minigame for a chance to win some extra lives; as well as some secret areas, such as the White Mushroom House and the Treasure Ship. New power-ups that were introduced to the game were: the Super Leaf, the Tanooki Suit, the Magic Wing, the Frog Suit, the Hammer Suit, and the Goomba's Shoe. It has also been one of the most famous mario games out there.

An animated television series based on the game, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, was released shortly after the game was released. It was produced by DIC Entertainment in collaboration with Nintendo. Despite being based on the game, the show has a different plot. In the cartoons, King Koopa and his Koopalings attempt to take over both the real world and the Mushroom Kingdom.


Bowser has returned to the Mushroom Kingdom and with his newly and introduced seven Koopalings, he tried to conquer it again. He sent his Koopalings into seven kingdoms of the Mushroom World to capture their kings, steal their magic wands, and alter their appearance. Princess Toadstool sent Mario and Luigi to go and stop the Koopalings and turn the kings back into their normal form. After fighting each Koopaling, they received each kings' magic wand and changed them back to their original appearances. However, this was only a distraction so that Bowser could kidnap the Princess again. The Mario Brothers then traveled to Dark Land to find Castle Koopa was and rescue the Princess.


Control Action(s)
(Toward an aligned pipe entrance) Enter pipe
(While underwater) Swim left/right (Frog Mario)
Crouch (Big Mario)
(While resting on upwards facing pipe entrance) Enter pipe
(While in front of Vine) Descend
(While on a slope) Slide down slope
(While underwater) Swim downwards (Frog Mario)
(While resting on downwards facing pipe entrance) Enter pipe
(While in front of Vine) Climb
(While in front of Door) Enter door
(While underwater) Swim upwards (Frog Mario)
A Jump
(As you stomp an enemy) Super jump
(While underwater) Swim
(While P Meter is full) Fly (Raccoon/Tanooki Mario)
(While in midair) Descend slowly (Raccoon/Tanooki Mario)
(While underwater) Swim fast (Frog Mario)
Hold A High jump
B Throw projectile (Fire/Hammer Mario)
Tail whip (Raccoon/Tanooki Mario)
Hold B (While moving) Dash
Hold object
Release B Throw object
(While holding ↓) Drop object


Item select screen.

Gameplay in Super Mario Bros. 3 is similar to Super Mario Bros., but features several additions. The game features eight worlds, and each has an overworld map where the player has a choice of paths to take and courses to complete. Also on each map are Toad Houses and Spade Panels that can be accessed. Items collected at Toad Houses can be accessed on the world map and be used in any level. Each world has at least one fortress the player must clear in order to unlock blocked paths. At the end of each world is the king's castle. Upon beginning this level, the player will need to navigate through an airship and fight a Koopaling to reclaim the king's magic wand.

Mario performing the Slope Slide.

Player one is in control of Mario, while player two is in control of Luigi. Both players take turns in between each course. There are new moves included such as being able to pick up and kick objects such as shells, white blocks, and Bob-ombs; and the Slope Slide, which allows the character to slide down a hill. This move has been carried over into future Mario titles. A returning power-up is the Fire Flower, and it retains the same function it had in Super Mario Bros.. New power-ups are featured as well, including the Super Leaf, a power-up that transforms the character into their raccoon form, allowing them to fly in the sky; and the Hammer Suit, which transforms the character into their hammer form, allowing them to toss hammers at enemies, even those that cannot normally be defeated otherwise.

Collecting three consecutive Starman cards.

At the end of each course is a darkened area, where the player must grab a card to advance. On these cards are items ranging from Super Mushrooms, Fire Flowers, and Super Stars. Upon collecting three consecutive cards, the player will usually earn an extra life. Collecting three consecutive Super Mushroom cards rewards two extra lives; collecting three consecutive Fire Flower cards rewards three extra lives, and collecting three consecutive Starman cards rewards five extra lives.


World 1: Grass Land

World One: Grass Land

Grass Land is the first world of the game that was attacked by Larry Koopa, who stole the wand of the Grass Land King and turned him into a dog (or a Cobrat from Super Mario Bros. 2 in the remake). The landscape itself is mainly composed of plains, surrounded by hills and even some cliffs in the south. A fortress can be found in the middle of Grass Land, and the king's palace lies to the east-southeast, surrounded by a circular moat. The enemies Mario encounters here are regular ones, like Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Piranha Plants. The world features a Spade Panel, two Toad Houses, and six levels, of which four have to be cleared to reach the king's palace.

World 2: Desert Land

World Two: Desert Land

Desert Hill (also known as Desert Land or the Koopahari Desert) is the second world of the game. It is a region within a vast desert, filled with sand, palm trees, and some pyramids. A fortress is located in the west part of the desert, and a quicksand field can also be found, as well as a great pyramid that the player needs to traverse in order to reach the king's palace. The king was attacked by Morton Koopa Jr., who turned him into a spider (or a Hoopster from Super Mario Bros. 2 in the remake). The world features two Spade Panels and three Toad Houses, of which one lies in a secret area behind a rock that needs to be crushed by a Hammer. It contains a Warp Whistle guarded by two Fire Bro. Four of the five levels need to be cleared to get to the great pyramid and the palace. Desert Hill houses many desert-related creatures like Fire Snakes and the very rare Angry Sun.

World 3: Water Land

Also referred to as Water Land or Sea/Ocean Side, it is a water-themed region that was raided by Wendy O. Koopa. While some levels take place on solid ground, most of the levels and even one of the world's two fortresses involve water in a certain way. At the northern part of the world map, Mario will encounter drawbridges that open and close in a set pattern. The world's palace is located far to the east on a small remote island that is only accessible through a Warp Pipe. The king of Ocean Side was turned into a Spike (or a Dino-Rhino from Super Mario World in the remake) during Wendy's attack. A boat can be unlocked by using a Hammer on a rock in the south. Through it, the player can reach some bonus Spade Panels and Toad Houses. Ocean Side contains two Hammer Bros., two Fortresses and nine levels in total, of which one can be skipped if a certain drawbridge is closed, and houses several water creatures like Bloopers, Cheep-Cheeps, and Big Berthas. The world also introduces a very rare Boo known as a Stretch.

World 4: Giant Land

Mario encountering Gargantua Koopas in Big Island. This world, which is also known as Giant Land, is mainly composed of an island in the vague shape of a Koopa. It is a relatively green island with plants growing on it that resemble Fire Flowers. The castle at the west coast of the island was attacked by Iggy Koopa, who transformed the Big Island King into an orange dinosaur (or Donkey Kong Jr. in the remake). The world has two fortresses, one on the east side and one on a small island in a lake in the world's center. The most prominent feature of Big Island, which gives this world its name, is the fact that many enlarged versions of regular enemies can be found here. The world features four Toad Houses, two Spade Panels, three Sledge Bros., and six levels, five of which need to be cleared to reach the king's palace. Also, the Tanooki Suit makes it debut here.

World 5: Sky Land

The area also known as Sky Land is the world that has been conquered by Roy Koopa. It is divided into two parts: a ground part and a sky part. The player begins on the ground. The most notable feature of this area is the possibility to gain the Kuribo's Shoe, an item that can be obtained in World 5-3 only. After clearing the levels on the ground, the player can reach a spiraling tower that reaches up to the sky. The main part of the level is located here, and there are also some creatures exclusively to this realm, namely the Para-Beetle in World 5-6. After clearing the tower that serves as a link between the two areas, the player can go back to the ground, but they will have to clear the tower again on their way up. If Roy Koopa isn't defeated at the first try, his Airship will be able to move freely between sky and ground. There are nine levels in total, three Spade Panels, three Hammer Bros., three Toad Houses, and two Fortresses. Seven of the nine levels are required to get to the Palace. The palace is on the southwest part of the sky part.

World 6: Ice Land

Iced Land, sometimes referred to as Ice Land, is an area covered in snow and ice. The palace of Iced Land was attacked by Lemmy Koopa, and Mario has to venture there and reclaim the magic wand just like in the previous worlds. Before he can reach the palace however, the player has to navigate Mario through the levels of Iced Land. These levels feature frozen ground, which makes movement more difficult, as Mario has poor footing on them and is likely to slip off (if not wearing a Frog Suit) into a bottomless pit. In some levels, the player can find ice blocks that contain coins or enemies. These blocks can only be melted with one of Fire Mario's fireballs. There are ten levels in total, three Spade Panels, two Toad Houses, three Hammer Bros., and three Fortresses. Only four of the ten levels need to be completed. Hammers access shortcuts very well in world 6 . If you don't use hammers than seven of the ten are required. The Palace is far to the east near the sea. The Hammer Suit makes its debut here.

World 7: Pipe Land

File:Smb3 w7.png

World Seven: Pipe Land

Also known as Pipe Maze, Pipe Land is a series of small islands in a network of confusing pipes. The fourth stage is an underwater level with spiked Cheep-Cheeps, some Big Berthas, and three Blooper Nanny. Prince Ludwig von Koopa attacked the Pipe Maze king and turned him into a goldenrod Venus Fire Trap. The country itself consists of nine levels (of which seven of them need to be cleared before reaching the palace), three Spade Panels, two Fortresses, two Nipper Plant Levels, and three Toad Houses. The palace is located in southeastern Pipe Land by the sea. If not defeated, Ludwig's airship will fly from one island to another, since the anchor is required to stop it.

World 8: Dark Land

This mysterious world (also known as Dark Land) is ruled by King Bowser. The levels in this world are primarily tank brigades and airships. There are also three Hand Traps found in the second area of the world, which unexpectedly grab Mario or Luigi and take them to a short obstacle course which has a chest containing a Super Leaf at the end. The third area has two normal levels and a Fortress, and the final area has the last tank level and Castle Koopa, where Mario and Luigi must finally battle Bowser and save the princess.

World 9: Warp Zone

World 9, aka The Warp Zone, is only accessible by a Warp Whistle. In it, the player can choose to go to any other world in the game. The selection of worlds the player can choose from changes depending on the world they used the Warp Whistle in. For example: If the player uses a Warp Whistle in World 1, it will take them to the pipes leading to Worlds 2 to 4, A warp Whistle in Worlds 2 to 6 will take them to pipes leading to worlds 5 to 7, and a warp whistle is used in world 7 to 9 will take them to the pipe leading to World 8.


World-e is an e-Reader-based world, and it is exclusive to Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3. It can only be reached when using an e-Reader.


Battle Mode




Piranha Plants


Hammer Bros.








  • Super Mushroom: Turns Mario into Super Mario, turning him twice his normal size, and enabling him to take an extra hit before a loss of life when Small Mario.
  • Fire Flower: Turns Mario into Fire Mario, enabling him to shoot fireballs.
  • Starman: Turns any Mario form into Invincible Mario, making him invincible for a few seconds (limited).
  • Super Leaf: Turns Mario into Raccoon Mario, enabling him to fly for a short time and attack with his tail.
  • Hammer Suit: Turns Mario into Hammer Mario, enabling him to throw hammers and allows him to duck to block fire attacks. But somehow, Hammer Mario can't slide.
  • Frog Suit: Turns Mario into Frog Mario, enabling him to swim much easier. However, his running and abilities are decreased. Like the Hammer Suit, Frog Mario can't slide.
  • Tanooki Suit: Turns Mario into Tanooki Mario, with the same abilities as Raccoon Mario, and the ability to turn into a statue a few seconds (limited).
  • Kuribo's Shoe: Obtained from a Goomba in World 5-3 only, it enables Mario to hop over hazards such as spikes.
  • P-Wing: Turns Mario into Raccoon Mario and allows him to fly for an unlimited time (until the timer runs out) until he is damaged. Mario also loses this power after completing a level.

Other items

Regional differences

There are many differences in the U.S and Japanese releases of the game.

  • The TM symbol is placed next to Bros. in the Japanese version rather than the 3 in the U.S version.
  • When you start a stage in the Japanese version, it borders in, while in the U.S version, it fades in.
  • In 1-Fortress, at the door right before the boss there are two spikes at the end of the room. In the Japanese version, there are four spikes at the end.
  • When you enter a Toad house in the Japanese version, you can start moving before Toad finishes speaking. But in the U.S release, you have to wait for him to finish.
  • In the Japanese release, if you have a power-up and get hit, you turn back to small Mario while in the U.S version, you turn back to Super Mario.
  • In the U.S version when you lose either suit or Kuribo's shoe, you lose your power up and go back to normal Mario (except for Kuribo's shoe which lets you keep your power-up) while in the Japanese version, the power-up makes a BLOOP sound and you revert to small Mario.
  • The Japanese version also shows the power-up being taken off.
  • In the king's room in the U.S release, Mario is standing next to the stairs, the chair and stairs are golden, and there is only one pillar in the left of the room. In the Japanese release, Mario is standing at the far left and the stairs and chair are cyan while there are two pillars to the left of the room.
  • In 5-1, the course ending is different as for the Japanese release, the player had to go through a pipe to reach the goal while in the U.S release, the pipe wasn't there and the player could go straight to the goal. This was to prevent the fourth warp whistle glitch from happening.
  • In World 8's navy level, the end of the ship is a lot steeper and harder to reach from the water in the Japanese version than in the U.S version.
  • The ending speed is also different in the U.S version as it is faster.
  • Also in the ending most worlds' names are different from both releases. Such as World 2 being Desert Hill in Japan and Desert Land in the U.S and World 8 being Castle of Kuppa in Japan while it is called Dark Land in the U.S version.
  • There is one difference between the U.S and PAL version. When you get Bowser's letter after you finish World 7, in the U.S version, it says King of the Koopa while in the PAL release, it says Koopa Troopa.


Hat mario.png To view Super Mario Bros. 3's
image gallery, click here


  • This game marks the first appearance of the Koopalings. The Koopalings later make appearances in Super Mario World, in which they are given a different battle order (from Iggy to Larry). They also appear for the first time in 3D and the first time with Bowser Jr. in the popular Wii titles New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U and in New Super Mario Bros. 2.
  • The Water Land theme can be heard as the Fairy Fountain in the Legend of Zelda games. while the Warp Whistle theme is reused in the intro to another Zelda game, Ocarina of Time.
  • Two different versions of Super Mario Bros. 3 exist: the second fixes translation bugs.
  • Prior to its private consumer North American release, gameplay footage from Super Mario Bros. 3 appeared in the Universal Studios film The Wizard, which helped fuel the game's anticipation among fans.
  • Six months after the game's release, McDonald's released a set of Super Mario Bros. 3 Happy Meal toys.
  • A sped-up version of the Coin Heaven/Warp Zone theme was used for Peach's final smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 was released in North America 9 months before Super Mario World was released in Japan.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 was also first released in Japan 14 days after Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in North America.
  • This was the first game in the series to introduce bosses that have to be defeated by jumping on their head three times.

External links