Dark Land

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Not to be confused with Dark Realm.
Dark Land
Dark Land
First appearance Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)
Latest appearance Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition (2010)
Greater location Mushroom World
Ruler Bowser
Inhabitants Rocky Wrenches, Fire Brothers

Dark Land[1][2] (alternatively Castle of Koopa[3] or Bowser's Castle[4]) is the eighth and final world in Super Mario Bros. 3. A stark contrast to the rest of the Mushroom World, Dark Land is a wasteland-inspired area untouched by sunlight, filled with skulls and flames. One of the areas in the map is so dark that it appears to be completely black, except for a circle of light around Mario or Luigi. It is shown to be south of Ice Land and to the north of Sky Land in Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3.

Dark Land is Bowser's kingdom, and it is the place where his main castle stands. It is also the Koopa Troop's main base of operations in Super Mario Bros. 3. Large numbers of tanks and airships patrol these lands, which most levels take place on, with only two standard Action Scenes in the entire world.

It is possible for the player to enter Dark Land via Warp Zone (notably, both Magic Whistles from Grass Land can be used to reach Dark Land without restoring any of the kings).

Level information[edit]

Level Preview Summary
World 8-Tank.gif SMB3 SNES Tank Screenshot.png One of the tank levels and the first level of Dark Land, this is an autoscrolling level with many cannons that fire cannonballs and Bob-ombs.
World 8-Navy.gif SMAS SMB3 World 8-B Screenshot.png Another autoscrolling level with many cannons, this time on ships over water.
World 8-Hand Trap in Super Mario Bros. 3 (Super Mario All-Stars) Hand Trap level A group of three levels that contain many traps.
World 8-Airforce.gif SMAS SMB3 World 8-A Screenshot.png Another autoscrolling level, though this one moves quicker, has small platforms, and takes place in the air.
World 8-1 SMAS SMB3 World 8-1 Screenshot.png The first of two standard levels in Dark World, this level has many Turtle Cannons and pipe platforms.
World 8-2 SMAS SMB3 World 8-2 Screenshot.png The second of two standard levels in Dark World, this level reintroduces the Angry Sun from Desert Land.
World 8-The Fortress map icon. SMAS SMB3 World 8-F Screenshot.png The fortress level which is made up of a maze of doors and traps.
World 8-Tank.gif SMAS SMB3 World 8-ST Screenshot.png Another autoscrolling tank level with many cannons and enemies.
World 8-Bowser's Castle map icon, from Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3. The final battle between Mario and Bowser, in Super Mario Bros. 3. The final level of the game and is where King Koopa is keeping Princess Toadstool captive.

The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3[edit]

Dark Land in The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3.

As it is home to Bowser and the Koopalings, Dark Land appears in quite a few episodes of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, where it is depicted as a gloomy wasteland. Lava-filled caverns are shown to be beneath the surface of Dark Land in a few episodes as well. However, most of what goes on within Dark Land happens either near or inside Kastle Koopa.

The episodes in which this world is shown as the title card are "Never Koop a Koopa", "Do the Koopa", "Crimes R Us", "Recycled Koopa" and "Super Koopa".

Not counting episodes in which all the Dark Land scenes were restricted to events within the perimeters of Kastle Koopa, Dark Land appears in the following episodes:

  • Reptiles in the Rose Garden: In order to give Kootie Pie rulership of the United States of America as a birthday present, Bowser transports the White House, along with everyone inside, to Dark Land. Bowser later sinks the White House to the bottom of the Mushroom Sea. However, Mario managed to raise the White House to the surface, and with Luigi's help, was able to return the building to its proper spot to Washington, D.C.
  • Mind Your Mummy Mommy, Mario: Luigi, Princess Toadstool and Toad travel through Dark Land via a Steam Cloud Balloon to recover Prince Mushroomkhamen's stolen sarcophagus, only for it to get flung into a tower of Kastle Koopa by a Mushroom Kingdom twister. Luigi then uses the remnants of the Steam Cloud Balloon to construct a steam powered mummy sled, which he, Princess Toadstool and Toad use to escape from Kastle Koopa, and subsequently, Dark Land.
  • Princess Toadstool for President: After discovering that Bowser in ahead in the polls for leadership over the Mushroom Kingdom only by using a Nice Guy Potion, Mario and Luigi travel to Dark Land in order stop Kooky and Cheatsy from making another dose before the election. Upon arriving in Dark Land, Mario and Luigi are pursued by Rocky Wrenches in tanks, which chase them through a pipe into a lava-filled cavern. From that point, Mario and Luigi then have to deal with Fire Chomps, Hot Foots and a Fire Snake before making it to Kastle Koopa.
  • Never Koop a Koopa: When Bowser announces that he is giving up his evil ways, he donates Kastle Koopa to Princess Toadstool. Deciding she wants to turn Kastle Koopa into a retirement home for elderly Mushrooms, Princess Toadstool travels to Dark Land with Mario to check the place out. However, Luigi is wary of the whole thing. He and Toad travel to Dark Land after Mario and Princess Toadstool, where they wait in a boat on the Mushroom Sea for their friends to return from Kastle Koopa. When Mario and Princess Toadstool fail to come out after waiting for a long time, Luigi drags Toad into the Mushroom Sea, and both enter Kastle Koopa via a drainpipe. Discovering that the whole ordeal turned out to be a trap, the group of four reunite and later escape from Kastle Koopa after obtaining Raccoon Power.
  • Do the Koopa: Princess Toadstool discovers a map leading to the Doom Dancer Music Box, which is hidden in the underground Temple of Gloom. Mario, Luigi and Toad accompany Princess Toadstool to Dark Land, but they are immediately spotted by a Dry Bones, who heads to Kastle Koopa to warn Bowser of their arrival. As Bowser is sick, he orders Bully, Big Mouth, and Cheatsy to follow the Dry Bones, who leads them to where the heroes are traveling. Mario's group brave the cavern's many traps and ultimately make it to the Temple of Gloom, where they succeed in obtaining the Doom Dancer. However, a trap set up by Bully causes Mario to lose the Doom Dancer, which winds up in Bully's hands. Bully then brings uses the Doom Dancer's power to bring everyone back to Kastle Koopa, where Bowser, who is unable to hear well due to his cold, takes the Doom Dancer from Bully. Bowser then uses the Doom Dancer to force everyone in the Mushroom World to dance forever, but the Mario Bros. foil his plan.
  • Recycled Koopa: The Koopas are ordered to dump all their garbage, and the place they do so is in Princess Toadstool's Castle. Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool and Toad manage to steal one of the Koopa Kids' wands to remove all the garbage and send it back where it came from. The heroes believe the Koopas will try again and spy on them with Luigi's Plumber's Periscope, and see the Koopalings dumping garbage down another pipe leading to the Real World.
  • The Venice Menace: Although Dark Land is unseen in this episode, Bowser's intention is to scare all the humans out of Venice so that he can warp the entire city to Dark Land and turn it into a water park for Kootie Pie.

Nintendo Adventure Books[edit]

Dark Land is the setting of the fourth Nintendo Adventure Book, Koopa Capers, where Bowser has a magic carpet bring Luigi to the kingdom to help (whether he wants to or not) in the search for Wendy O. Koopa after the Koopaling disappears. The two main areas of the region that can be explored in the book are a gloomy and trap-filled fortress, and a highly volcanic area known as the Magma Pits.

In the proceeding book, Pipe Down!, Dark Land (though here referred to as Dark World) is mentioned once by Ludwig von Koopa, who states that he intends to take his new ballet, Dribbling Beauty, on a seven-year tour of the kingdom.


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ワールド8 暗黒[5][6]
Wārudo 8 Ankoku no Kuni
Kame Teikoku
World 8: Dark Land (alternatively "Castle of Kuppa"[8] in-game)

Turtle Empire[9] (Super Mario Bros. manual)
French Château de Bowser
Pays-noir (The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario Bros. 3 instruction booklet)
Bowser's castle
German Dunkelland Dark-Land
Italian Terra Oscura Dark Land
Portuguese (NOA) Terra das Trevas[10] Land of the Darkness
Romanian Tărâmul întunecat (The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, episode Princess Toadstool for President)
Regatul Koopa (The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, episode Up, Up, and a Koopa)
Dark land
Koopa kingdom
Spanish (NOA) Castillo de Bowser
Reino de las Sombras (The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3)
Bowser's Castle
Kingdom of the Shadows



  1. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 English instruction booklet, page 34.
  2. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 North American re-release and European ending.
  3. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 North American original and Super Mario All-Stars International ending.
  4. ^ Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 International ending.
  5. ^ a b Super Mario Bros. 3 Japanese instruction booklet, page 34.
  6. ^ Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario 3 + Mario Bros. Japanese ending (in kana).
  7. ^ Super Mario Bros. Japanese instruction booklet, page 10.
  8. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario Collection Japanese ending.
  9. ^ Super Mario Bros. English instruction booklet, page 10.
  10. ^ VideoGame magazine, issue 8A, p. 22, Editora Sigla, november/1991.