Bowser in the Dark World
Bowser in the Dark World, also simply called the Dark World, is the first Bowser level in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS. It is a puzzle-like world with many traps and enemies. The trapdoor entrance is behind the Big Star Door in the mezzanine of the main floor. Eight Power Stars (12 in the DS remake) are needed to open this door.
In the corridor before the player enters the level, a painting that depicts Princess Peach is seen on the far wall. As the player walks closer, the painting will become a picture of Bowser, and a trapdoor will open in the ground, sending the player into the level. The painting is not able to be reached, as there is an invisible wall between the player and the painting.
Bowser in the Dark World
The first section of the level is pretty straight forward. There will be a single Metal Box followed by a flamethrower. Two moving pyramid-shaped platforms join onto a tall stone platform. The blue route is safer, but it is too steep for Mario to run up normally. The stone route is longer and flatter and has coins, but there is a flamethrower at the turn of it. More moving platforms lead to the next section of the level.
Next is a wooden octagonal platform with three Goombas awaiting Mario, as well as a yellow ! Block in the middle containing a 1-Up Mushroom. Connected to the platform is a wooden bridge linking to a path made out of a type of green stone. Six unbreakable crystals are stuck in the path, four of which are being circled by Amps. At the end of the path is a large stone cube with a yellow rectangular block sliding in and out of it and with a yellow ! Block containing three coins floating above it. Two sets of circling platforms will lead Mario to the final section of the level before the Bowser fight.
The next platform contains a single Goomba. To the left of the platform is a narrow path to a large circular platform containing coins, a 1-Up Mushroom, and an Amp. To the right of the base platform are two purple tilting platforms. Behind them, Mario can collect two 1-Up Mushrooms, and on the overhanging platforms, he can collect another two. There are two Goombas on a stone block after the tilting platforms, after which Mario must climb up some stone platforms to hit a Purple Switch, which activates a staircase that leads Mario to the Warp Pipe to Bowser. A signpost in front of the pipe has a message from Princess Peach warning Mario of attacks Bowser has and telling him how to defeat him.
Once Mario enters the pipe, Bowser will show up, saying that Princess Peach is not in the Dark World. Bowser will attack using his trademark Fire Breath in stream, which can burn Mario. He can also jump up and shake the ground if Mario is too far away, stunning Mario if he is not in the air. To defeat Bowser, Mario must grab him by his tail, twirl him around to build up momentum, and then throw him into one of the four mines available (eight in Super Mario 64 DS). Upon Mario doing so, Bowser will admit defeat and disappear, leaving Mario with the key to the Mushroom Castle's basement.
Eight Red Coins can be found throughout this level, many of which are difficult to obtain due to the fact that there are many gaps and narrow bridges in the course. The locations of the Red Coins are as follows:
Upon Mario collecting them all, the Power Star will appear near the Warp Pipe that leads to Bowser.
Star 2 (DS only)
In Super Mario 64 DS, a Star Switch is placed next to the Warp Pipe leading to Bowser. Upon Mario pressing it, the Power Star will appear in a Star Sphere on one of the ledges below. The player has to go down the stairs and across the platforms above the tilting ones to reach the Power Star before the timer runs out.
The stage music is the same as in Bowser in the Fire Sea and Bowser in the Sky, with "Koopa's Road" as the name of the track being used for the course (but not while fighting Bowser). This music is reused for the Bowser stages in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2. A remixed version is also available as a track that can be played during events in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Names in other languages