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Barrels (also called Regular Barrels or Normal Barrels) are objects that can be used in a variety of ways throughout the Mario franchise and related franchises, most commonly as projectiles that can be thrown to attack other characters. In their original appearance, Donkey Kong, they were used as such by the titular Donkey Kong against Mario, with the mechanic returning in Donkey Kong Country and subsequent games to aid Donkey Kong in defeating enemies. However, there are many exceptions from this mechanic, as in some games barrels function as platforms or as simple item containers. Their physical appearance might change slightly from game to game (e.g. the number of hoops rimming the barrels, their tints and coloration, their size), but these are mostly aesthetic and do not modify the gameplay.
Many variations of the normal barrel appear in the games, and a list where each of them is mentioned can be found below. Largely due to its iconic role in the original arcade game and its use in the Donkey Kong Country series, the barrel has become an object commonly associated with Donkey Kong in Mario-related media.
Donkey Kong franchise
In Donkey Kong, the first obstacle Mario faces is from a blue barrel that Donkey Kong tosses in the 25m level. When this blue barrel rolls into the Oil Drum at the start, it spawns a Fireball. Donkey Kong mostly throws brown barrels at Mario which he can then jump over - once successfully jumped over, Mario is granted 100 points. Sometimes, barrels can roll down ladders. By using a hammer, he can smash the barrels, awarding him 500 points.
Barrels appear as obstacles yet again in the Game & Watch port of the original Donkey Kong and the remakes in Game & Watch Gallery 2, Game & Watch Gallery 4, and Game & Watch Collection. In these games, although barrels are thrown by Donkey Kong like before, this time around, there are no means to destroy them.
Donkey Kong Circus
In Donkey Kong Circus, Donkey Kong is forced by Mario to balance on a barrel that acts as a circus ball. He has to dodge Fireballs that fall from the Oil Drums above, and juggle pineapples, all while riding the barrel.
Donkey Kong (Game Boy)
The first four levels of the Game Boy version of Donkey Kong are an almost exact imitation of the classic arcade game, which means that barrels appear once again in the 25m stage. When Mario jumps over one, he is awarded 100 points, just like in the original game. Nevertheless, the player only earns 300 points upon destroying a barrel with a hammer, unlike in the arcade Donkey Kong. Later in the game, Donkey Kong still uses barrels as attacks occasionally. When a rolling barrel encounters an edge and falls down to the platform underneath, Mario needs to perform a handstand right under the falling barrel and stop it with his feet. The barrel then lands upright, and it can be picked up so Mario can throw the barrel back at Donkey Kong in order to damage him.
Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land series
Donkey Kong Country introduces several barrels as weapons used by Donkey Kong in combat with enemies. They appear frequently in many levels throughout the game. The Kongs can pick up the barrel if the player presses on the SNES controller while the characters are in front of the barrel. Donkey Kong lifts the barrel above his head, while Diddy Kong carries it in front of his body. The barrel can then be tossed by releasing the button. Regular barrels are necessary to destroy tough or well-protected enemies, including Zingers and Krushas, and are sometimes needed to take down bosses, such as Queen B., Kreepy Krow or Baron K. Roolenstein. During boss battles, there are specific methods of acquiring barrels: they can either spawn repeatedly without the player's input, appear after defeating a living Mini Necky, or fall from the ceiling after the player pulls some pipes.
The mechanics of a barrel are simple: after it is picked up and thrown, it starts to roll on the ground and breaks when it hits a wall. Any enemy standing in front of a rolling barrel is defeated upon contact. Manky Kongs toss dangerous barrels at the Kongs, much like Donkey Kong did in the original arcade game. These barrels only break when they hit a wall, and oddly enough, when Rambi bumps into a barrel thrown by a Manky Kong, the barrel does not break, but instead simply falls off-screen.
After Donkey Kong Country, barrels retain the same functions they had in the aforementioned game. Despite being common in Donkey Kong Land 2 and Donkey Kong Land III, the first Donkey Kong Land features only three barrels, each in Jungle Jaunt, Freezing Fun, and Tricky Temple. In this game, barrels are smaller and take the form of wooden kegs.
In Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Country 3, Dixie Kong can lift barrels over her head with her ponytail. In Donkey Kong Country 3, Kiddy Kong's method of holding barrels is the same as Diddy Kong's.
There are some barrels in the first Donkey Kong Country which do not display steel hoops, but instead weaker-looking, greenish ones. These are named Vine Barrels, and when thrown, they roll on the ground just like common barrels, but break when hitting an enemy. Barrels in Donkey Kong Country 3 function the same, although these do not sport any change in appearance from generic barrels.
Other enemies are shown to use barrels as well. As stated above, Manky Kongs use barrels from an unlimited supply as weapons and always toss them towards the Kongs. Kannons from Donkey Kong Country 2 shoot barrels that can be destroyed with a jump attack or by hitting a wall. Klobbers, also from Donkey Kong Country 2, hide inside barrels that look identical to normal barrels. When the Kongs approach the barrel, the Klobber inside will start ramming into them. If they are stomped on the head, the barrel can be carried around and thrown like a normal barrel. In Donkey Kong Country 3, very similar foes called Knockas use barrels in the same manner, only that now these are painted green with a grin. Belcha, the first boss of Donkey Kong Country 3, is a large, animated barrel. It emits barrels from a hole that serves as a mouth. When these barrels are jumped on, they will break and yellow Knik-Knaks will come out.
In some instances, barrels also act as platforms. This is shown in Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Land 2, where they stay either aligned or stacked on top of each other on the ship deck levels, such as Gangplank Galley and Rattle Battle. They technically function as terrain not only for the players, but also for enemies and other objects. However, barrels that aren't just foreground elements, as the player and/or the environment can interact with them, are mainly featured in Donkey Kong Country 3. Ellie the Elephant is able to suck up and transport barrels with her trunk, and then throw them in the water; if done correctly, the barrels come to the surface of the river, and thus Ellie can use them as pseudo-bridges to pass the dangerous water guarded by Nibblas. This can be seen in Bobbing Barrel Brawl. In the stage Barrel Drop Bounce, many barrels fall down the waterfall here. The cause of their appearance is not shown, but they break upon hitting ground. While they are still falling, the Kongs can hop on them and quickly jump again on solid platforms; rows of barrels dropping down can also be encountered and stepped on in order to reach further platforms.
Donkey Kong 64
In Donkey Kong 64, regular-looking barrels are commonly featured as design patterns for many constructions in the game (e.g. Cranky's Lab has the shape of a large barrel, and so does the slot machine in the Batty Barrel Bandit minigame). Klobbers return from a past game, along with their clothing composed of barrels. This time, the enemies can straightforwardly harm the Kongs by bumping into them with the barrels they wear. Otherwise, they behave the same as before.
Inside the main sunken ship of Gloomy Galleon, and also inside the barn with the club-wielding Kosha in Fungi Forest, one can find barrels. These are relatively big, and only fulfill decorative purposes without offering the possibility of being picked up by the player. On the other hand, barrels that can be grabbed and thrown just like in the past Donkey Kong games are rather uncommon here. These are small, and the player's character can take one in his arms if button on the controller is pressed. Pressing this button again makes the character throw the barrel, which rolls continuously on the ground until hitting a wall. Two areas of the game feature barrels that function as handy objects: one of Cranky Kong's training minigames takes place inside the first of these areas; the other one is Diddy Kong's igloo from Crystal Caves, which can be accessed much later in the game.
In the main menu of the game, Donkey Kong takes a barrel, lifts it above him, and waits for the player to select an option. Once the option has been selected, the ape throws the barrel and destroys it.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
In Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, small barrels are used to transport Donkey Kong to different kingdoms. Every barrel has a letter in front of them, with each letter spelling out the initials of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. The D Barrel links to the Banana Kingdom, Orange Kingdom, Watermelon Kingdom, and Apple Kingdom. The K Barrel warps the player to the Strawberry Kingdom, Pineapple Kingdom, Lemon Kingdom, and Grape Kingdom. The J Barrel goes to the Cherry Kingdom, Peach Kingdom, Melon Kingdom, and Durian Kingdom. The B Barrel introduces the player into the Pear Kingdom, Lychee Kingdom, Chili Pepper Kingdom, and Star Fruit Kingdom. Completing all the kingdoms in each barrel allows Donkey Kong access to the next barrel.
The heads-up display of the game permanently features a large barrel, lying horizontally in the upper left corner of the screen. On this barrel stays written the number of bananas Donkey Kong has collected in the level he is currently in. As a matter of fact, he uses this barrel to transport the bananas.
In DK: King of Swing and DK: Jungle Climber, barrels are mere harmless obstacles the Kongs can find in their way. They can be broken if the player charges into them. Upon destruction, they reveal bonuses, such as bananas and medals. Before getting destroyed, barrels can be stood on, just like on ground.
Likewise, only in King of Swing, the player can store the first 50 bananas collected throughout the game inside a barrel, which is shown on the bottom right corner of the screen as an icon. The bananas can be consumed by the Kong to gain invincibility, and if the player has less than fifty bananas left afterwards, the barrel disappears and make room for four or less bunches of ten bananas.
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast
Normal barrels appear as obstacles in the Wii racing game, Donkey Kong Barrel Blast. They are encountered in strings on the racetracks. One can avoid these hindrances by hopping over them, and if one were to crash into a barrel, he or she would break it and severely decelerate. Nonetheless, players can charge with a Wild Move into barrels and destroy them successfully without slowing down; if done correctly, they are awarded five bananas for each performance. A while after a barrel got destroyed, another one spawns and take its place. Along with normal barrels, Steel Kegs can be found throughout the course.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong series
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Just like in the Game Boy remake of Donkey Kong, barrels can be used by Mario to attack Donkey Kong in Mario vs. Donkey Kong. They are relatively common, and most of them can be found lying on the ground in Donkey Kong Jungle. Once picked up, they can be carried by the player to any accessible place and either tossed at enemies, or put convenably to serve as platforms for Mario to reach higher places. Likewise, they can be placed on spikes and used to safely cross them. The only boss battles where Donkey Kong uses barrels against Mario are Level 3-DK, Level 3-DK+, and Donkey Kong Plus, the final battle. Barrels thrown by Donkey Kong can be deflected with a handstand and then used as normal.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
In Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, barrels, along with other debris, fall from above when Donkey Kong shakes the screen in the boss level of Mushroom Mayhem. If unavoided, they will destroy a Mini and cause the player to lose it.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!
Barrels return in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!, where they function the same as in the previous game in the series. They are found in Floor G Donkey Kong, which plays out almost identically to the Mushroom Mayhem boss battle from Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!
Donkey Kong is frequently accompanied by barrels in his battles from Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, where he uses them to attack the Minis. Often, Donkey Kong slams his fists on the ground and causes a barrel to drop from the pile. If the barrel hits one of the Minis, it destroys the toy and causes a Game Over. However, barrels break when they reach the ground or any other platform. Shortly after a barrel is used, another one spawns in its place.
Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle
In Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle, barrels are used by the novel's characters on several occasions. Before the Kongs leave their treehouse to travel to Big Ape City, Donkey Kong fills his backpack with "miniature barrels", including some that "could even explode" (referring to TNT barrels). In Tree Top Town, the Kremlings use barrel cannons from high up in the trees, which fire "dangerous barrels". The Kongs overcome them by slinging TNT Barrels at them using a tree branch. After rescuing Funky Kong from his prison cell in Big Ape City's factory, Donkey Kong hands Funky and Diddy Kong some barrels to use against a group of Kremlings. Diddy manages to hang from the ceiling, and drop barrels from above.
Later, Donkey Kong tricks Krusha into thinking that he has a list of the locations of all the Kongs on Donkey Kong Island within his backpack. Krusha allows Donkey Kong to reach into his backpack for the list, but he pulls out a barrel instead and uses it to knock Krusha out. Within the Kremling's supply room, Diddy Kong lodges a barrel in the jaws of Klap Trap, which allows time for Diddy to retrieve a spare plane part for Funky Kong. Within King K. Rool's zeppelin, Donkey Kong and Diddy confront several Kemling guards with "double jumps, cartwheel attacks, and barrels left and right". They later plant time-delayed TNT barrels throughout the zeppelin, causing it to fall on to the Kremling's factory and explode.
Despite the novel describing the use of "miniature barrels", their illustrated size in proportion to Diddy Kong and Klap Trap appears to be closer to a regular-sized barrel.
Super Mario Bros. Special
Barrels appear as uncommon obstacles in Super Mario Bros. Special, where they are credited as Tarusar. They are introduced in World 3-4 and continue to appear occasionally throughout the game. Barrels retain their physics from Donkey Kong, in that they roll continuously towards Mario. Their source is not seen, but they always fall from a certain height onto the ground before they start rolling. Mario cannot destroy barrels with a jump attack, but he can use Hammers to destroy them, which are sometimes found in areas with barrels.
Mario & Wario
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, barrels appear inside the Sunken Ship, where they are grouped into piles, usually serving as stairs for Mario to reach a higher floor. Later in the game, one of the puzzles hosted by Dr. Topper inside Bowser's Keep has the player guess how many barrels are stacked up in a large heap seen from the usual in-game perspective. In another area of Bowser's Keep, Mario confronts a Chained Kong that stands atop a high place in a lofty room and hurls barrels down several stairs. The barrels push Mario down the stairs if they hit him, making him lose some coins in the process.
Super Mario series
New Super Mario Bros.
In New Super Mario Bros., large horizontal barrels can be found buoying on water in World 3-A and World 8-2. They can be used as platforms, but will sink under Mario or Luigi's weight. However, if they become tiny with a Mini Mushroom, they can stand on the barrels without sinking them.
Super Mario Galaxy
Octopuses from Super Mario Galaxy reside in large barrels from where they shoot projectiles at Mario or Luigi. The barrels can be destroyed and the enemies subsequently defeated by spinning onto one of their projectiles to send it back.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Barrels reappear in New Super Mario Bros. Wii as objects that can be picked up and thrown just like in Donkey Kong Country. Upon touching the ground, they will start rolling continuously in a direction until they crash into a wall or a spiked ball. They can be used to attack enemies or even other players. In World 7-, Broozers can punch barrels to make them roll and use them as obstacles against the player.
The larger barrels that float on water, first seen in New Super Mario Bros., reappear in World 4-2 with the same physics as previously.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Barrels reappear in the Super Mario Galaxy 2 with the same role as in Super Mario Galaxy, acting as cover for Octopuses. They are encountered in Shiverburn Galaxy and Grandmaster Galaxy. A boss character named Prince Pikante also drives a small tank which is composed of an armored barrel.
Super Mario 3D Land
Barrels appear in Super Mario 3D Land. In the final boss battle with Bowser, there is a point in the battle where Bowser throws large barrels at Mario or Luigi, a reference to the original Donkey Kong arcade game. The only way to destroy these barrels is by having the characters touch them in White Tanooki form.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
New Super Mario Bros. U / New Super Luigi U / New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Barrels reappear in New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe as items. Here, they are less common, only appearing in some Ghost Houses with Broozers. Barrels return in New Super Luigi U as rare items, only found in the level Broozers and Barrels.
Super Mario Odyssey
In Super Mario Odyssey, barrels that use their appearance from Donkey Kong are encountered as obstacles in 8-bit segments of Metro Kingdom and the Darker Side. Most of the time, they come out of Warp Pipes and roll on the ground until they fall into an Oil Drum. Donkey Kong also throws barrels just like in the original arcade game. Mario must jump over barrels to dodge them, otherwise he loses one wedge of his health meter.
Outside 8-bit sections, Mario can encounter stationary, harmless barrels in some areas of the Metro Kingdom and the Seaside Kingdom. Although they cannot be destroyed, hitting one with Cappy or with a Ground Pound grants one coin. They can also be stood on and used as platforms.
Mario Golf series
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour
Mario Golf: World Tour
Mario Kart series
Mario Kart Arcade GP
The Barrel is one of Donkey Kong's special items in Mario Kart Arcade GP. It can be sent rolling forward or backward to attack opponents.
Mario Kart Arcade GP 2
The Barrel reappears as an item in Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 with the same use as before.
Mario Kart 7
In Mario Kart 7, barrels can be found scattered around various courses, acting as obstacles. They severely slow down any character that crashes into them, but will also break and potentially drop an object such as a Mushroom or a Banana Peel in regular races. Normal-looking barrels only appear in Wario Shipyard, but DK Barrels in DK Jungle act the same.
In Time Trial, barrels are shielded by metallic bars and cannot be destroyed.
Mario Kart Arcade GP DX
The Barrel is once again one of Donkey Kong's special items in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, acting the same as in Mario Kart Arcade GP and Mario Kart Arcade GP 2.
Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Barrels return as obstacles in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on various courses. Regular barrels are found on the airship section of Cloudtop Cruise and also on the boardwalk part of Wild Woods. In Toad Harbor, barrels are decorated with flowers and are found on both the actual racetrack and the sidelines. Additionally, in Bone-Dry Dunes, some barrels are stacked up together and placed under the tents surrounding the finish line, though they are not part of the racetrack.
Mario Party series
Mario Party 2
Mario Party 5
Mario Party 6
Barrels appear in the minigame Blooper Scooper from Mario Party 6, where they are carried among other objects towards a giant Blooper by a whirlpool. They will break when they crash into the Blooper or the players. If a player is hit by a barrel, they will be knocked towards the Blooper.
Mario Party Advance
In the minigame Barrel Peril of Mario Party Advance, the playable character has to walk on a long alley while wearing a barrel. The character can hide inside the barrel to protect themself from Chain Chomps that guard the area.
Mario Party 8
Mario Baseball series
Each of the games from this series, Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers, contains a stadium that represents a homage to the Donkey Kong games. The stadiums are Donkey Kong Jungle and DK Jungle, respectively. Both feature Barrel Cannons out of their bounds, which shoot large barrels. These roll on the stadiums' fields and hinder the baseball players from getting the ball if they stand before them. Barrels roll continuously until they slam into a wall, in which case they crumble and despawn.
In the Mario Superstar Baseball version of the stadium, a minigame called Barrel Batter takes place. In this minigame, the batter has to launch the ball with his bat into rows of colored barrels that stay right in the front of the player. The more barrels of the same color hit consequently, the more points the player gains.
The Mario Super Sluggers version of the stadium hosts another minigame, titled Barrel Basher. The batter is given a small wall in front of him/her which serves as a shield against the many rapid barrels (and also powerful Bob-ombs) that come from several Barrel Cannons. Despite the protection granted by the shield, the safety of the player is still precarious, as the barrels can damage the shield upon bumping into it. The target in the minigame is to destroy as many barrels as the player can and prevent the wall from falling apart. If not broken in time, the barrels may successfully uncover the player by destroying the wall, leaving him or her exposed to other dangerous barrels. Upon breaking a barrel, the score of the player increases; some of the barrels are shiny and are more worthy than regular barrels.
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
In several locations, such as Chucklehuck Woods and Woohoo Hooniversity, there are barrels that Luigi can enter from underneath to solve puzzles. In the latter location, there is a segment where Mario has to jump over rolling barrels in a similar manner to Donkey Kong.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
Barrels also appear in fights with Broozers and Paper Broozers, who utilize barrels in their attacks. They drop a barrel in front of themselves and ram it into the trio. The effect changes depending on what kind of Broozer hit which type of barrel.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Rare barrel stickers can be found in Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Two of them may appear if the player defeats the Broozers on Bowser Jr.'s Airship. The barrel stickers provide actual wooden barrels, which Mario can use to defeat one enemy at a time, with an attack power of three to five points.
Mario Tennis Aces
Barrels appear in the Shy Guy Train Tussle challenge in Mario Tennis Aces. They can be destroyed for three coins, taking two hits with a regular ball or one hit with a ball under the effect of a Super Mushroom or a Bob-omb. When a barrel is hit with a regular ball the first time, it will appear chipped.
Super Smash Bros. series
Barrels also appear as items in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, where they contain one to four items and can roll along inclines. They also sometimes explode when broken. They return in subsequent Super Smash Bros. games, alongside Crates. Starting with Super Smash Bros. Brawl, barrels change appearance depending on the stage in which they appear. For example, they turn into Present Barrels on the Yoshi's Island stage; though the effect of the barrels remains unchanged.
Wario Land series
Wario Land 3
Small, keg-like barrels appear as carriable objects in Wario Land 3, appearing in stages such as The Big Bridge and The East Crater. They are functionally similar to Glass Blocks from Wario Land II, in that they can be picked up and hurled at enemies or blocks to destroy them. Barrels break instantly when they are thrown to the ground or if attacked with a ground pound or a shoulder charge. However, they respawn in their default location after Wario departs from them and returns afterwards. In addition, barrels can be stood on, serving as platforms.
Barrels appear in the Donkey Kong microgame in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!, which is based upon the 25m level from the original Donkey Kong. Here, they are thrown by Donkey Kong towards Mario, and need to be jumped over while standing in place. Barrels are seen again in a similar microgame in WarioWare: D.I.Y. Showcase and WarioWare Gold, in which the player must destroy barrels that come towards Mario as he moves automatically on the beams.
Barrels appear during the battle with Captain Skull in Wario World. They can be destroyed by being thrown or by any of Wario and Captain Skull's various attacks, and may contain coins, garlic, or nothing at all. They can also be used as weapons against Captain Skull, as they knock the captain out if hurled at him. Throwing either a barrel or Captain Skull's bombs at him is required during the second half of the battle, when he becomes immune to Wario's punches.
NES Remix series
In NES Remix and Ultimate NES Remix, barrels reappear as obstacles in many challenges that are based on the level 25m of the arcade Donkey Kong. As in the arcade game, 100 points are earned once Mario jumps over a barrel and are added to a score. Challenges often require the hero to jump over one or even more rolling barrels at once, or to jump over a set number of barrels.
Types of barrels
In many of the games of the Mario universe, mostly in the ones from the Donkey Kong franchise, a handful of barrel variations, derived from the classic barrel, appear. Each fulfills a unique function that may or may not help the heroes. Oddly enough, in the Donkey Kong Country series, DK Barrels, Blast Barrels, and Barrel Cannons are encountered more often than regular barrels. The table below lists all types of barrels in the Mario franchise and related franchises.
Official profiles and statistics
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
Names in other languages