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The Thousand-Year Door enemy
Location(s) Pirate's Grotto
Max HP 60 (has 20 HP per round)
Attack 4
Defense 1
Moves 'Stab (4; hits front character), Slash (4; hits rear character), Multi-Stab/Slash (2x4), Bone Throw (4), Headbutt (4), Charge (raises Atk. Power by 4), Bite (4), Recover (devours souls of audience)
Items None
Coins N/A
Log A pirate spirit who stayed at Keelhaul Key to guard his treasure.
Misc. stats
Level 77
Exp. points 0
Sleep? 40%
Dizzy? 50%
Confuse? 50%
Tiny? 0%
Burn? 100%
Freeze? 25%
Stop? 40%
Soft? 90%
Fright? 0%
Gale Force? 0%
KO? 0%

That's Cortez! He's the dreaded pirate spirit who haunts the island! Max HP is 20, Attack is 4, and Defense is 1. His HP may seem low, but he's a spirit, so even when his HP hits 0, he'll come back. Plus, he has tons of different attacks. He's as tough and scary as he looks. I'd say just keep damaging him, and sooner or later he'll go down for good! Let's give this tormented spirit some eternal rest!

“I'll turn your mustache into a bone-polisher, amigo!”
Cortez, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Cortez is the holder of the fifth Crystal Star, the Sapphire Star, in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. During dialogues, he appropriately speaks in a Spanish accent. He resides on the Black Skull, a pirate-ship-like vessel, deep within Pirate's Grotto on Keelhaul Key. Cortez's name is presumably a reference to Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador most well-known for embarking upon an expedition that led to the downfall of the Aztec empire. "Cortez" itself is also a common Spanish-Portuguese surname.



According to Wonky, Cortez often raided Rogueport, but was eventually betrayed by one of his crew. He sailed away with all his treasure not long before he died. Eventually, the Skull Gem which powers his ship was stolen by Flavio's ancestor, causing him to be stuck in the Pirate's Grotto on Keelhaul Key, where his spirit guards his treasure.

According to Grifty, Cortez is the one who defeated the Stalwart Koopa and caused him to be sealed in a magic black chest. Cortez then took possession of the Sapphire Star.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door[edit]

Cortez tries to scare Mario and his partners away (in the same vein as Tutankoopa in the first game) when he thinks they are after his treasure; when his eerie messages fail, he drops the act in disgust and begins a battle. After his defeat, Cortez seemingly prepares to vanish, only to reveal that his state of unlife renders him effectively invincible. However, Mario is finally able to explain that he was not interested in Cortez's treasure, only in the Crystal Star. Somewhat bemused and asking why Mario "didn't just say so" in the first place, Cortez willingly hands over the artifact, offhandedly remarking that he never particularly cared for the Crystal Star anyhow.

When Four-Eyes revealed his true identity as Lord Crump, Mario and Flavio return to Cortez, in order to request the use of his ship. Cortez was not particularly interested, spouting that he did not want the Black Skull to be used as a luxury liner. He also tells them that even if he wanted to lend them his ship, the ship is useless, as it will not operate, because of the loss of its power source, the Skull Gem. Flavio then reveals he has the gem, causing Cortez to be even more furious, and not wishing to help them even further. He eventually relents after Flavio reminded him that Mario defeated him once, and hints he will have Mario fight Cortez again for the ship. He also says that if Cortez doesn't help, he will throw the Skull Gem into the water where Cortez will never find it. Cortez relents, and proceeds to help Mario in battle against the X-Naut attack on Keelhaul Key. From then on, Cortez stays docked at Rogueport, and would ferry Mario to Keelhaul Key and back whenever he wanted.

At the end of the game Goombella says Admiral Bobbery, Cortez, and a few others went to sail the world.

Field Tattle[edit]

Outside of battle, Goombella can use Tattle on Cortez after Mario returns to Rogueport from Keelhaul Key.

  • "That's Cortez, remember? The dread pirate ghost feared by all? Ring a bell? Boy, hard to imagine someone that scary would like us... But he's just a big sweetie! Plus, he's like our taxi service between Rogueport and Keelhaul Key! I love him!"

Animal Crossing: New Horizons[edit]

Although Cortez does not appear, he is directly mentioned in Animal Crossing: New Horizons by Captain Gullivarrr, who was added in the update released on July 3, 2020. One of his possible wake up quotes is "Arrr! Have at ye, Cortez! Three swords AND a hook? Let's make this a fair duel..."


A screenshot of Cortez in his ship in the Pirate's Grotto.
Cortez in his basic form. The Sapphire Star is visible on the right.

First form[edit]

In battle, Cortez has three forms. His first form appears as a massive skeleton with four arms and no legs, his spine emerging from a spiky pile of bones on the ground. Cortez wields a different bladed weapon in each hand - a bronze sword, a cutlass, a rapier, and a rusty hook that can cause poison. Between his ensemble of weapons, Cortez can attack either one or both heroes every turn.

Second form[edit]

Once this first form is defeated, Cortez transforms into a serpentine state, trading his arms and weapons for an enlarged rib cage concealing a green gem. This form attacks with a headbutt, and can charge before throwing a bone at either character, dealing great damage in the process. Attacking the pile of bones will cause Cortez to lower his upper half, and doing so twice will cause him to open his rib cage, exposing the green gem. This gem lacks Cortez's usual 1 defense, and additionally takes 1 more damage than usual from all attacks.

Third form[edit]

After his second form is defeated, Cortez abandons a body and returns to a simple floating head. Although he is limited to a simple bite attack, he compensates by animating his weapons from the first state, effectively giving Mario and his partner five opponents to worry about. The weapons have different properties to their attacks and are immune to frontal attacks due to their pointed tips. Using a moderately strong attack that strikes all opponents, such as a Thunder Rage item and Vivian's Fiery Jinx, can disable the weapons simultaneously. This effect is temporary, for they reanimate themselves after two turns. Flurrie's Gale Force, if successful (though it will not affect Cortez himself), can blow the weapons out of the stage permanently. If Cortez falls to 10 HP or less, he can absorb souls of the audience to restore his HP, similar to Hooktail and the Shadow Queen. The only difference is that Cortez can only absorb souls equal to half the current audience members, and the remainder will remain to support Mario; by contrast, the Shadow Queen will absorb the entire audience, and Hooktail scares away the uneaten members. With good planning, it is possible to defeat Cortez with a swift assault before he gets a chance to absorb the souls of the audience.

Weapon stats[edit]

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door enemy
Cortez's weapons
Cortez Max HP 4 Attack Hook: 2
Sabre: 2
Rapier: 3
Sword: 2
Defense Hook: 1
Sabre: 0
Rapier: 0
Sword: 0
Location(s) Pirate's Grotto
Sleep? 0% Dizzy? 95% Confuse? 90% Tiny? 0%
Stop? 80% Soft? 90% Burn? 100% Freeze? 85%
Fright? 0% Gale Force? 90% KO? 0% Moves Sword: Slash (2x2)
Hook: Poke (2; Poison)
Sabre: Slash (3)
Rapier: Stab (2, hits both characters, Piercing)
Level 0 Exp. points 0 Coins N/A Items None
Log N/A
Tattle N/A

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese コルテス
French Cortese Similar to the English name
German Cortez -
Italian Cortez -
Spanish Cortés Same as in English and Japanese; a Spanish surname.
Bone Pile
Language Name Meaning
Japanese ほねづか
Bone Pile
French Tados Clipping of "Tas d'os" (Pile of bones)
German Beinhaufen Leg Pile
Italian Elsa Vertebrale Vertebral Hilt
Spanish Montón de Huesos Pile of Bones
Cortez Hook
Language Name Meaning
Japanese コルテスクロウ
Korutesu Kurō
Cortez Claw
French Crochet Hook
German Enterhaken Grappling hook
Italian Uncino Cortez Cortez Hook
Spanish Garfio de Cortés Cortez's Hook
Cortez Rapier
Language Name Meaning
Japanese コルテスレイピア
Korutesu Reipia
Cortez Rapier
French Rapière Rapier
German Rapier -
Italian Stiletto Cortez Cortez Stiletto
Spanish Estoque de Cortés Cortez's Rapier
Cortez Sword
Language Name Meaning
Japanese コルテスソード
Korutesu Sōdo
Cortez Sword
French Épée Sword
German Schwert Sword
Italian Spada Cortez Cortez Sword
Spanish Espada de Cortés Cortez's Sword
Cortez Sabre
Language Name Meaning
Japanese コルテスサーベル
Korutesu Sāberu
Cortez Saber
French Sabre -
German Säbel Sabre
Italian Sciabola Cortez Cortez Sabre
Spanish Sable de Cortés Cortez's Sabre


  • Despite having only 20 HP, Cortez's recovery move will recover up to 100 HP, depending on how many audience members are present.
  • If Cortez's Rapier misses the character in front (due to a Lucky), the character in the back will automatically perform a Guard.