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When the Dark Star was gathering DNA from Bowser's body, Mario and Luigi tried to stop it before it succeeded. The brothers fought hard to defeat it, but apparently, it had already absorbed every piece of DNA that it needed, and it transformed into Dark Bowser, although in a ghost-like state because he was incomplete. The only parts missing were the legs, which it obtained by inhaling Dark Fawful (he inhaled an unconscious Princess Peach earlier, but nothing happened), thus completing his form, and becoming solid in the process. He flees from Bowser, but when Bowser finds him alongside a still unconscious Peach (who is now inexplicably outside of Dark Bowser) in the secret tower of Peach's Castle, they both execute flame breath attacks that clash with each other, initiating the prologue to the final battle. Bowser overwhelms Dark Bowser, then they both curl up into a spike ball and the fight commences. Bowser again overwhelms his dark form, who gets away. Later, Dark Bowser unleashes a dark hurricane over the Mushroom Kingdom, trapping Broque Monsieur, the Blue Paratroopas and several Toads and Goombas in bubbles. Bowser is now the only one who can defeat his doppelganger.
Dark Bowser has all of the original Bowser's physique and build, but is detailed very differently. All of his scales and shell are colored dark blue, and his snout, stomach, horns and spikes are noticeably paler than Bowser's. His eyes are identical to the Dark Star's own, but seems to entirely lack Bowser's eyebrows. The rings around his spikes and horns are colored black, and the most noticeable difference from Bowser and Dark Bowser is that Dark Bowser has a black mohawk. His sprites also has dark orbs float across his body.
In his incomplete state, he retains his details, but appears as a ghostly figure with a purple coloration (without his eyes), whilst pulsating a brighter purple. His animations are also distinctive in that his idle sprite has misplaced pixels to give an effect resembling video noise, and his talking animations have a noticeable jitter to them. He also entirely lacks legs and a tail until he is fully complete.
While Dark Bowser is incomplete, his speech is halted and can only speak one sentence at a time. However, upon his completion, he starts to speak fully and does not use contractions. In the Japanese version, his speech is halted and written completely in katakana while he is incomplete. When Dark Bowser inhales Dark Fawful and is completed, he begins to speak in more natural Japanese, with kanji and no pauses. Aside from text dialogue, Dark Bowser's roars and grunts are provided by Kenny James.
One of Dark Bowser's attacks is throwing a boulder into the air and blasting it apart with fire, causing rocks to fall from the sky. Bowser must duck with his shell to avoid taking damage. However, he must also punch one of the rocks in front of him at Dark Bowser, who is charging a massive blast of dark fire. When the rock lands in his mouth, the attack's energy recoils and he inflicts damage on himself from the inside. If Bowser does not do this, however, he takes damage from the blast.shell defense to damage Dark Bowser, however, this method takes longer and requires precise timing while swinging. After taking enough damage, Dark Bowser will fall to the ground; he is then fully healed by the ingested Dark Fawful and will grow larger. He will always follow this up (assuming Bowser did not make Dark Bowser's HP fall to 0 via counter-attacking) by tossing a mixed ball of "Dark Minions" at Bowser, including dark versions of Goombas, Koopa Troopa, Thwomps, Bob-ombs, and Bullet Bills. The ball pushes Bowser back several meters, after which he must then walk back through the "Dark Minions" while dodging or countering their attacks. When near to the battlefield, Dark Bowser again curls up into a spike ball and tries to slam into him from above. Bowser must defend with his shell, then do it again as Dark Bowser prepares the next spike-ball slam. Bowser can avoid the second attack just by walking. When it is his turn, Bowser has to attack his stomach so that he spits up the Dark Star Core and causing Dark Bowser to shrink back to normal size. Bowser must then inhale Dark Fawful, which Dark Bowser will try to counteract it with his own inhaling technique. Fail this part and Bowser will have to do it all over again. Successfully inhaling Dark Fawful pulls him into Bowser's belly, where the Mario Brothers must fight Dark Fawful. If Mario and Luigi fail to defeat Dark Fawful and Dark Star Core within several turns, he will escape and return back into Dark Bowser's body, forcing the process to be repeated. Only upon Dark Fawful's defeat can Bowser give his shadowy doppelganger the final blows. Once defeated, Dark Bowser dissolves, leaving only the Dark Star, which rises into the air and explodes, restoring the Mushroom Kingdom to normal.
Names in other languages