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The axe (or ax) is an item found in the castle levels of the original Super Mario Bros. Mario or Luigi can defeat Bowser or his duplicates by touching the axe, which cuts the support of the bridge Bowser is standing on and sends him falling into the lava below. If Mario or Luigi do not have a Fire Flower, using the axe is the only way they can defeat Bowser. The use of the axe is seen again in the World-e level Classic World 1-4 in Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3.
The axe appears in Bowser's court in Mario Hoops 3-on-3, where the basketball hoop's pole is a giant axe. It also appears in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, where it cameos alongside a paper duplicate of Bowser in a Super Mario Bros.-reminiscent section of Bowser's Castle. In New Super Mario Bros., the axe is replaced by a Skull Switch in the game's Bowser battles. In New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. 2, a ! Switch is used instead. Buttons with Bowser's emblem on them replace axes in the Fake Bowsers', real Bowser's, and Dry Bowser's battles in Super Mario 3D Land. In New Super Mario Bros. U, the axe reappears, serving the same purpose as it did in Super Mario Bros., though it is activated by a ! Switch, like in prior New Super Mario Bros. games.
The axe appears in Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, as the goal for Castle-style courses. Its appearance is different depending on the game style, but it shares the same function as seen in Super Mario Bros., though its appearance in the Super Mario Bros. style has changed to make it taller and wider.
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