Bowser in the Dark World

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Bowser in the Dark World
Bowser in the Dark World
Mario in Bowser in the Dark World
How to unlock Open the Big Star Door with eight Power Stars (N64) or 12 Power Stars (DS).
Boss(es) Bowser
Stars Super Mario 64:
Star icon in Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 DS:
Star SM64DS.pngStar SM64DS.png
“Bwa ha ha ha! You've stepped right into my trap, just as I knew you would! I warn you, "Friend," watch your step!”
Bowser, Super Mario 64

Bowser in the Dark World, also simply called the Dark World,[1] 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, with the background displaying a massive dark cavern with sickly green stone spires protruding from the ground and ceiling. The trapdoor entrance is behind the Big Star Door on the mezzanine of the main floor of the Mushroom Castle. 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 becomes a picture of Bowser, and a trapdoor opens 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 trapdoor and the painting.


Map of Bowser in the Dark World
Map of Bowser in the Dark World in Super Mario 64 DS

The first section of the level is fairly straightforward. There is a single green block 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 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 turquoise (purple in the DS version) seesaws. Behind them, Mario can collect two 1-UP Mushrooms, and on the overhanging platforms, he can collect another two (though in the original Nintendo 64 version, one of them appears only after Bowser in the Fire Sea has been completed). There are two Goombas on a stone block after the seesaws, 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.

Bowser battle[edit]

Map of Bowser in the Dark World battle area
Map of the battle area

Once Mario enters the pipe, Bowser shows up, saying that Princess Peach is not in the Dark World. Bowser attacks using his trademark fire breath in stream, creating a huge patch of flame that sends up sparks that make fireballs upon landing, which can burn Mario. He can also jump up and shake the ground upon landing if Mario is too far away, stunning Mario if he is not in the air. Occasionally, he may also attempt to claw Mario. 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 spiked orbs available (eight in Super Mario 64 DS). Upon Mario doing so, Bowser admits defeat and disappears, leaving Mario with the Big Key to the Mushroom Castle's basement.

Enemies encountered[edit]


8 Red Coins[edit]

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:

  • Two on top of blocks that appear upon activation of a Purple Switch (In the DS remake, one of the coins is moved near the starting platform.)
  • Next to the third crystal in the second section
  • Next to the stone cube, obtained when the yellow rectangular block protrudes out the side
  • In the far left corner of where two platforms circle each other
  • Next to the pin on an octagonal platform to the left of the start of the third section
  • Behind the second seesaw
  • Above the far left platform that overhangs the seesaws

Upon Mario collecting all the Red Coins, the Power Star appears near the Warp Pipe that leads to Bowser.

Switch Star (DS only)[edit]

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 appears in a Star Sphere on one of the ledges below. The player has to go down the stairs and across the platforms above the seesaws 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 Bowser is fought). An arrangement is used for the Bowser stages in Super Mario Galaxy, with a similar arrangement being used for the Bowser stages in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Another arrangement 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.



Audio.svg Stage theme - Bowser in the Dark World
File infoMedia:SM64-Bowser's Road.oga
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Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese やみの せかいの クッパ
Yami no Sekai no Kuppa
Bowser of the Dark World
Chinese 黑暗世界的酷霸王[2]
Hēi'àn Shìjiè de Kùbàwáng
Bowser of the Dark World
French Bowser des ténèbres Bowser of Darkness
German Bowsers Schattenwelt Bowser's Shadow World
Italian Bowser al Buio Bowser in the Dark
Korean 암흑세계의쿠파
Amheuk Segye ui Kupa
Bowser of the Dark World
Spanish Bowser en las tinieblas Bowser in the Darkness


  1. ^ Knight, Michael. Nintendo DS Pocket Guide. Page 376.
  2. ^ From the pause menu of the level in iQue's localization of Super Mario 64 DS.