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Lava Bubbles (sometimes called Podoboos or Sparkies) are living fireballs that emerge from lava. They are commonly depicted as a large fireball with two black eyes or also as only a large fireball. Lava Bubbles mainly appear in the Mario platformers but occasionally appear in several Mario sub-series, such as the Mario Party series, the Mario Kart series, and the Paper Mario series. In most games, Lava Bubbles are nearly invincible, and can only be destroyed by using a Super Star, Gold Flower, Hammer Suit, Penguin Suit, or an Ice Flower.
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros.
Lava Bubbles (at the time, called "Podoboos") first appeared in Super Mario Bros., as fire balls that would jump out of the lava in simple patterns in an attempt to burn Mario whenever the plumber tried to jump over them. In this game, they are invincible and not even a Starman can defeat them, and only appear in Castles.
Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels
In Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, Lava Bubbles reappear and act as they did in Super Mario Bros., and are still only found in Castles.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Like many other enemies from the previous games, they appeared in Super Mario Bros. 3. Also, in World 5-Fortress 2, there are some Lava Bubbles that can stay suspended in the air for a short while when they jump out, then they come back to the lava. Lava Bubbles can be defeated with the Hammer Suit or a Star.
Super Mario World
Super Mario World marks the first time that they were referred to as Lava Bubbles, as can be seen in the player's guide for the game. It is also the first time Lava Bubbles are shown to have eyes. They again appear in castle levels, where they act the same as in their previous appearances — they simply jump out of the lava in an attempt to burn Mario. However, some are now found outside the lava at all times, bouncing around the rooms of castles. This behavior is similar to Boo Buddy Snakes in Ghost Houses and the red Fireballs found in the Mario Bros. game.
Super Mario 64
In Super Mario 64 and its remake, Lava Bubbles are rare, only appearing in Lethal Lava Land. They jump out of the lava horizontally and bounce on the bridges, then they come back to the lava. They are indestructible, and if Mario touches one, it causes him to uncontrollably run and lose three wedges of health, like all other fiery enemies or obstacles. In the battle with Bowser in Bowser in the Sky, he spits some green fireballs that turn into Lava Bubbles which immediately bounce towards Mario. They disappear after a few seconds. In the remake, Yoshi can eat a Lava Bubble, causing him to spit out fire, similar to his ability in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
New Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Galaxy
Though Lava Bubbles themselves do not appear in Super Mario Galaxy, a blue variety do. This sub-species acts in a similar pattern to regular Lava Bubbles, but instead bounce along the ground, rather than jumping upwards from various pits.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Lava Bubbles appear in many boss castles, acting like they did in New Super Mario Bros.. They could commonly be found in World 8 as an enemy. They have eyes in this game, having a similar appearance to the Super Mario World Lava Bubbles. Additionally, the Lava Bubbles can be defeated by using an Ice Flower's or Penguin Suit's Ice Balls, or by running into one while using a Super Star. They first appear in Roy's Castle in World 2 right at the beginning; they continue to appear in the castles of World 5, World 6 and World 8. They are also found as enemies in the World 8 Enemy Course.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Lava Bubbles reappeared in the game Super Mario Galaxy 2, appearing as obstacles in galaxies with lava, as well as in Bowser's galaxies. Just as in previous installments, Lava Bubbles jump out of the lava trying to hit Mario (or Luigi, as the case may be). Also, in Bowser's Gravity Gauntlet, in a place in which there are many lava pits, there are Lava Bubbles that jump from one lava pit into another nearby lava pit. The Blue Lava Bubbles from the first Super Mario Galaxy also appear in this game.
Super Mario 3D Land
Lava Bubbles return in Super Mario 3D Land, where they mainly appear in castle stages, and, like in previous games, they act as obstacles that jump out of the lava in order to hit Mario or Luigi. In this game, Lava Bubbles can only be defeated while the Bros. are under the effects of a Star or an Invincibility Leaf.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Lava Bubbles reappear in New Super Mario Bros. 2, again inhabiting castles, and attacking in the same way. However, this time, Lava Bubbles have the capability of jumping out of lava pits in a diagonal pattern.
New Super Mario Bros. U
New Super Luigi U
Lava Bubbles make a return in New Super Luigi U, where they have the same abilities in the original game, New Super Mario Bros. U. However, a sideways flying variation appears, which leap from one lava pool to another. Additionally, Takemoto, the director of this game, officially confirms that this enemy is called a Lava Bubble in a Miiverse post.
Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen!
Lava Bubbles make a brief appearance in Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen!, when the Goombas pull a switch which sends Mario and Kibidango onto platforms that move up and down over lava; it is at this point where Lava Bubbles began attacking them both, trying to knock the heroes into the lava below. Fortunately for Mario and Kibidango, Luigi accidentally breaks a hole in the ceiling while looking for Coins; the room above is filled with water, so the hole that Luigi creates starts a flood in the area, presumably killing the Lava Bubbles.
Nintendo Adventure Books
Some Lava Bubbles appear in the Magma Pits in Koopa Capers, hopping in and out of a lava pool Luigi can try and cross using protruding rocks as stepping stones. If Luigi decides to wait before jumping, he will make it, but if he jumps immediately, he will only pass the first three Lava Bubbles, and collide with the fourth, who notably speaks, taunting Luigi by responding to his "I'm pretty hot stuff!" remark with "Not as hot as me."
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Lava Bubbles appear in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and its remake Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3. They share the same behavioral patterns as in Super Mario World. In this game, Lava Bubbles can be eaten by Yoshis, giving them the power of the Super Red Watermelon: the ability to spit fire.
Yoshi's Island DS
Lava Bubbles appear once more in Yoshi's Island DS. They act identically to their role in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Lava Bubbles (referred to as Sparkies in this game) can be encountered in the Pipe Vault, harassing Mario and others by blocking their path through the sewer system. In battle, they hover in the air.
In battle, a Sparky attacks by spinning its body into one of Mario's party members. A Sparky can also use the special attack Drain, which allows the flame creature to shoot a small fire orb at a party member. Needless to say, fire magic is ineffective against Sparkies. However, despite being made of fire, Mario can surprisingly use jump attacks on Sparkies. Sparkies typically fight in groups of one to three.
Although most Sparkies live in the Pipe Vault, they were first seen in Bowser's Keep during Mario's initial rescue attempt. However, these Sparkies did not attack; they merely jumped out of the lava as Mario walked by.
Paper Mario series
In Paper Mario, Lava Bubbles appear as common enemies in Mt. Lavalava. Because of their fiery bodies, they can not be jumped on; Mario can only harm them with hammer-based attacks, unless he has a Fire Shield or Ice Power badge equipped. In this game, Lava Bubbles are weak to water and ice. Lava Bubble can do two attacks. Their main attack is jumping on Mario but the other attack is that Lava Bubbles can damage Mario's partner which can cause Mario's partner to gain the Injured status effect but Mario's partner can avoid getting Injured by blocking the attack. This also takes up the Lava Bubble's turn. A stronger, blue-colored variety of Lava Bubble, called Embers, appear as enemies in Star Way.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, they can be found in the Pirate's Grotto as well as in the Pit of 100 Trials. Mario has to attack them with his Hammer since, obviously, they cannot be jumped on. However, if he is equipped with an Ice Power badge, he can jump on them without taking damage. In this game, they attack by getting close to either Mario or the partner, and burning them with their body, causing 4 damage. They can also spit fireballs that hit either Mario or his partner. These fireballs cause only 3 damage, but they can set Mario (or his partner) on fire. Ice and explosions are their main weakness. Also, one character refers to them as "ghosts".
Super Paper Mario
In Super Paper Mario, they jump out of lava pits in the Underwhere, just as they do in the main series; however, they can be damaged in this game. The player can use Carrie to jump on them, use Boomer to explode on them, or hit them with Cudge. Visually, their flames are no longer slanted, and they don't flip over at the top of their jump as in previous Mario games.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Lava Bubbles also re-appear in Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the Nintendo 3DS. However, they only appear in the stage Bowser's Sky Castle, during the third phase of the Bowser battle. As soon as Mario approaches Bowser in a lava-filled area of the final hallway, the Bubbles can be seen jumping up and down in the lava. When it is Bowser's turn to attack, he lifts his pointer finger in the air, and ten Lava Bubbles are sent towards Mario. They each deal two points of damage to Mario. Only the first Lava Bubble can be blocked, but Mario is helpless against the nine that follow. However, they have a weakness.
The only way to harm the Lava Bubbles is with a Thing Sticker with cold or freezing properties. An example of one such sticker is the Refrigerator. After using the Sticker, the Lava Bubbles are frozen. Using a wind Thing Sticker like the Fan make Bowser and the Lava Bubbles fly in the air. Bowser falls, and all 10 Lava Bubbles will fall on Bowser doing 10 damage each. However, more Lava Bubbles will spawn after a few turns. In this game, the Lava Bubbles more closely resemble their visual appearances in Mario platformers, as opposed to that of previous Paper Mario games.
Mario Party series
In the minigame. Hot Rope Jump, players are required to Jump over a rope made up of many Lava Bubbles. Contestants must jump over the flaming rope twenty times. If one fails to do so, they will lose fifteen coins — five of those coins will be given to each opposing player. If all players complete the minigame successfully, everyone will receive ten coins.
Mario Party 2
The Hot Rope Jump minigame returns in Mario Party 2. This time, contestants start by jumping over slow, blue Lava Bubbles five times. After five jumps, the Lava Bubbles turn orange and move more swiftly. The rope will keep twirling until only one contestant remains. The winning contestant gains ten coins.
Mario Party 3
In this game, Lava Bubbles appear in the battle minigame, All Fired Up. Here the player must avoid them in an attempt to be the last one standing; this is the only way to win the minigame. They also appear as obstacles in Treadmill Grill, and are targets in Hyper Hydrants.
Mario Party 5
In the minigame, Heat Stroke, Lava Bubbles would land on the platforms the three players were on, making it more difficult for them.
There is a bubble capsule that advances the player forward 10 spaces that looks like a Lava Bubble.
Mario Party 6
In the minigame, Daft Rafts, Lava Bubbles act as obstacles on some of the rafts. They appear only during the nighttime, in groups.
Mario Party Advance
Mario Party 8
In Mario Party 8, the minigame Lava or Leave 'Em requires contestants to dodge a Lava Bubbles that splits into many other Lava Bubbles. Also, when the player lands on a Bowser Space in Goomba's Booty Boardwalk, Bowser appears and surrounds the player with three Lava Bubbles. The player will have to jump in order to avoid them as they move towards the center (in an attempt to burn the player); the player must continue to do this for ten seconds. The Lava Bubbles only try to hurt the player three times. If the player touches one, they will lose ten Coins (therefore, the maximum number of coins that can be lost is thirty Coins).
Mario Party 9
Mario Party: Island Tour
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
Mario Superstar Baseball
Lava Bubbles reappear in this game, but only in Bowser's Castle. First they would jump out of the lava pond and then they would land on the player and cause them to lose the ball. The players themselves would catch on fire and run around for a second, disallowing control over them.
Mario Kart series
Mario Kart DS features Lava Bubbles as well. Most of them are located in Desert Hills, being shot down by Angry Sun. Lava Bubbles appear as enemies in the Grumble Volcano course of Mario Kart Wii, and on various Bowser's Castle courses throughout the entire series. While in most courses, they jump out of lava and then fall back down, at Grumble Volcano, the large pieces of rock from the volcano hit the ground to become massive Lava Bubbles. In the Mario Kart Wii remake of Desert Hills, Lava Bubbles return.
Super Princess Peach
In Super Princess Peach, they could be encountered in Fury Volcano where they behave in the same manner as in previous games. There is also a blue variant of the fiery enemies. These ones appear in torches with blue fire in Bowser's Villa, and when Princess Peach approaches a torch, a blue Lava Bubble appears and slowly chases after her (Peach must lead them to the unlit torches). The reason why they appear is to light unlit torches to open up doorways.
Mario Sports Mix
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