Small Mario (formerly referred to as Regular Mario or just simply Mario) is the weakest form of the player character in the main Super Mario games. This form does not have any special abilities, and it also does not take any power-ups to assume this form, unlike other forms. Super Mario or Luigi turns into Small Mario or Small Luigi when he is hit by an enemy or obstacle. Mario almost always starts the game off in this form (Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World are notable exceptions).
One hit from any enemy in Small Mario form will cause him to lose a life. If Mario is Super Mario when he is hit, he will return to Small Mario form and be given momentary invulnerability depicted by his flickering sprite. Sometimes this invulnerability can be extended by Mario not moving but he can still die if the time runs out or he falls into the pit, lava or Poisoned water. His actual size depends on the game. Usually, before being able to assume even stronger forms, Small Mario first must become Super Mario by eating a Super Mushroom. There are exceptions, however, such as the green ! Blocks in Super Mario World. In Super Mario Bros., if Mario gets a Fire Flower out of a box, the Fire Flower will only turn him into Super Mario, but this was changed in later games so, for instance, if Mario gets a Fire Flower out a Block but then gets damaged, grabbing the Fire Flower will still turn him into Fire Mario.
In Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario or Fire Mario can also become Small Mario by touching a Poison Mushroom. Being Small Mario can sometimes be useful; in some games, like Super Mario Land, there are small crevices that can be reached only with Small Mario.
In Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Toadstool start out each level in Super form with two hit points, regardless of what their form was upon exiting the previous level. By finding the two Mushrooms hidden in Subspace, Mario can extend his maximum hit points to four (five in the remake); also upon the Mushroom's collection, the character always regains full health.
This form also appears in Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. with the same effect.
Bowser was also turned small in the ending of Super Mario Galaxy 2, possibly as a side effect of using the power of the Grand Star's to make himself giant. When in this form, he could be jumped on by Mario and Yoshi, and could be hit by Yoshi's tongue.
In Super Mario 3D Land, Mario also can be turned into Small Mario after getting hit by the enemy. In this form, Mario loses his cap. This hat-less transformation is similar to Wario's smaller form, as first seen in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. He also has a higher-pitched voice. However, if Mario collects the maximum number of lives, which is 1,110 lives, Small Mario will wear his hat. Also like Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario will start out in his super form. Touching a Midway Flag will also revert Mario to his super form.
This form also appears in New Super Mario Bros. 2, having the same effect as previous games.
In Super Mario 3D World, all six playable characters (Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Rosalina, and Captain Toad) can get affected by this transformation, which functions identically to how it does in Super Mario 3D Land. As well a special feature of each character changes in their small forms from their super forms. Mario and Luigi lose their caps, Princess Peach's and Rosalina's hair gets shorter, and either Toad's cap colors are reversed.
Small Captain Toad and Small Toadette appear in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, with identical mechanics to those in Super Mario 3D World (including the reversal of cap colors and higher-pitched voices). However the small form does not persist between levels; every level is started in super form regardless of what form the previous level was finished in.
A similar form appeared in Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door as Tiny. This state could be inflicted by Hammer Bros. in the original, X-Naut PhDs and Bonetail in the sequel, or using a Mini Mr. Mini (or Yoshi Kid using Mini-Egg) in the sequel.
In The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, there was no Small Mario. Regular Mario was Mario's weakest form. Mario could become Super Mario (actually Fire Mario) by using a Fire Flower, Starman or some other source of power. The concept of Super Mario was dropped for The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, which followed the physics of their respective games more closely.
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