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Dark Land (alternatively Castle of Koopa or Bowser's Castle) 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 sinister land largely untouched by sunlight, filled with giant skulls and endlessly burning 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.
Dark Land is Bowser's kingdom, and is the place where his main castle stands. It is also the Koopa Troop's main base of operations in Super Mario Bros. 3. Because of this, the area is heavily defended by the Koopa King's military forces. Large numbers of tanks and airships patrol these lands. In fact, there are so many of these stages that there are only two standard Action Scenes in the entire world.
After Mario and Luigi save the seventh kingdom of the Mushroom World, Bowser reveals that he took the princess to his own kingdom. It is also possible for the player to enter it via Warp Zone (notably, both Magic Whistles from World 1 can be used to reach Dark Land without restoring any of the kings). 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.
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. 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 purused 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's giving up his evil ways, he donates Kastle Koopa to Princess Toadstool. Spoiltly wanting 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 bloodthirstily drags Toad against the Mushroom Sea, enters Kastle Koopa via a drain pipe and slams him up against a dumpster and starts pounding on him. While the whole ordeal turned out to be a trap, the group of four 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 travelling. 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.
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
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 opera, Dribbling Beauty, on a seven year tour of the kingdom.
Names in other languages