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Dry Bowser is the undead and skeletal version of Bowser, with an English name playing off of Dry Bones, despite not technically being one himself. He made his debut in New Super Mario Bros., where he ascended as the result of Mario defeating Bowser by dropping him into lava at the end of New Super Mario Bros.'s first castle. Unlike previous occasions, the lava reduced the once-mighty king to a skeleton, leaving his son, Bowser Jr., temporarily in command of the Koopa Troop. Dry Bowser is then fought in the first castle in World 8.
Since his debut, Dry Bowser has made subsequent appearances as a separate character from Bowser, the first of which was as an unlockable driver in Mario Kart Wii. Notably, he has appeared as an antagonist in the Mario & Sonic series. His appearance in both New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D Land is not due to Bowser falling in the lava, as in both cases he isn't turned into a skeleton after falling in the lava after the final boss battles.
Super Mario series
New Super Mario Bros.
In New Super Mario Bros., Bowser becomes Dry Bowser when he falls into lava after being defeated in World 1. He later appears as the boss of World 8's first castle. He drops in from the ceiling and falls apart, but reassembles and is ready to fight Mario.
To defeat Dry Bowser, Mario must dodge his attacks, which includes breathing small flames and throwing his own bones. Mario can wait for Dry Bowser to make a high jump and then run under him, or precisely jump over him. Then Mario can hit the Skull Switch, destroying the bridge and throwing him into a very deep pit; when he finally hits the ground, his whole body falls apart. Like Dry Bones, Dry Bowser is fireproof, so Fire Mario's fireballs won't have any effect against him.
If Mario (or Luigi) has a Mega Mushroom as his backup item, then the player can use this item to simply jump on Dry Bowser, who then quickly crumbles in defeat. Dry Bowser is also vulnerable to three shell dash hits, just like his living self.
If the player uses the Warp Cannon that leads to World 5 found in World 1 before taking on the castle, Bowser's demise will appear unexplained, as he is never seen falling into the lava before appearing in his Dry Bowser form in the first World 8 castle. Regardless, at the game's final battle, Bowser Jr. tosses the disassembled Dry Bowser into a cauldron, which causes Bowser to revert to his original form, albeit larger.
Super Mario 3D Land
Dry Bowser returns in Super Mario 3D Land as the boss in the castle stages of the Special Worlds. His battle tactics are similar to a fake Bowser, but they have several subtle differences. For example, he breathes blue fireballs at Mario while approaching him as opposed to the fake Bowsers' method of breathing fireballs while stationary. He also attempts to hit the hero with his skeleton tail and slam the ground (creating shockwaves). Once Mario hits the switch, the bridge collapses, sending Dry Bowser into the lava. Dry Bowser is fought in the castles of Special 1, Special 5, and Special 8, which parallels how Mario fights Bowser (albeit two of which are fakes) in the normal world counterparts of those same castles.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Dry Bowser reappears in New Super Mario Bros. 2 as the castle boss of the World Star, the final special world which is unlocked after beating Bowser himself. He behaves the same as his other counterpart in World 6, which marks the first time Dry Bowser becomes a larger size (excluding the use of a Mega Mushroom in Mario Kart Wii). The only difference in the two boss battles is that Dry Bowser is faster than Bowser, can toss bones instead of sledgehammers at Mario, is immune to fireballs, and the platforms are smaller. Unlike the original battle, Peach's cage is nowhere to be seen.
Mario Kart series
Mario Kart Wii
Dry Bowser makes his first playable appearance in Mario Kart Wii. He is a large-sized driver along with his living counterpart. Dry Bowser features a good off-road rating (tied with Toadette) and mini-turbo boost (tied with Wario, Koopa Troopa, and Dry Bones), which makes vehicles like the Flame Flyer and Phantom perform a bit better off the track along with getting a slightly better mini-turbo boost after a drift. He can be unlocked by beating all of the Wii New Grand Prix cups on 150cc with at least a 1 star ranking for each. He is the Time Trial ghost of Grumble Volcano and GBA Bowser Castle 3.
Dry Bowser was the only CPU opponent in the second tournament of March 2009, where he attacked the player by firing fireballs at them throughout the race in N64 Bowser's Castle. This competition has since been repeated twice.
Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Dry Bowser returns to the Mario Kart series as a downloadable playable character in Mario Kart 8 as part of the game's second DLC pack, Animal Crossing × Mario Kart 8, released in April 2015, which also includes Villager and Isabelle from the Animal Crossing series, eight new courses, and four new vehicle customization options. Dry Bowser is also the only downloadable character in this title who is not a newcomer to the series, as he is playable in Mario Kart Wii.
Dry Bowser is a heavyweight character with a large body frame, and his stats are identical to those of Bowser, Wario, Morton, and the large Mii. The Bone Rattler serves as Dry Bowser's signature vehicle. Likewise, Bone-Dry Dunes has a part of his head on the cliff face over the cave, and advertisements in both Twisted Mansion and Wii Grumble Volcano for "Undead Motors" use his emblem.
As with every other playable character in Mario Kart 8, Dry Bowser reappears in the Nintendo Switch port Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as a playable character. He is available from the start, and now shares stats with only Wario.
Mario Kart Arcade GP DX
Dry Bowser appears in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX as an alternate costume for Bowser, making him a heavyweight character.
Mario & Sonic series
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
Dry Bowser makes his second spin-off appearance in the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games. He appears as the last rival character in the Festival Mode. Here he challenges the player to the Ice Hockey event, where he is the captain of a team of three Dry Bones while he participates as his team's goalkeeper. Once the player's team manages to beat him, he angrily chases his own team, likely blaming them for the loss. However, if the player loses, Dry Bowser and his team will do a victory dance and laugh evilly. There is also a purchasable Dry Bowser costume that the Miis can wear.
In the DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, Dry Bowser is seen working for Bowser and Dr. Eggman, who are trying to kidnap the Snow Spirits in the Adventure Tours mode. He appears as the boss of the Super Sonic Downhill event (where he is found at the end of Sparkleton, keeping Pola hostage in a cage), as well as in the Curling Bowling event, where he is encountered just before the player reaches Bowser and Dr. Eggman in Blizland, where he is keeping Frosty in a cage.
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Dry Bowser returns as a rival in the London Party Mode of the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games. He is faced in the Dream Long Jump event. After the player beats him, they receive a Sticker. Also, the music that plays when playing against him is the same as in the previous title. The player can once again unlock a Dry Bowser suit for their Miis.
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
Dry Bowser appears as a boss in the Legends Showdown mode of Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. As all of the playable characters are about to claim the Legend Trophy, he ambushes them along with Eggman Nega and Rouge the Bat. The player must then face all three of them in the Winter Sports Champion Race event.
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Dry Bowser made his first playable appearance in the Mario & Sonic series in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In both the 3DS and Wii U versions, he only participates in the Javelin Throw event. During this appearance, he briefly mentions he has discarded everything unnecessary for the power of a heavyweight and the speed of a lightweight.
Mario Tennis series
Mario Tennis Open
Dry Bowser appears this time as an unlockable playable character in Mario Tennis Open. Dry Bowser, along with Waluigi, are the only Defense-type players in the game. He can be unlocked after the third difficulty level of Ink Showdown, Inksplosion, is completed.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
Dry Bowser appears in Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash as an unlockable playable character. Like in Mario Tennis Open, he and Waluigi are the only Defense-type players in the game. His emblem is used in the "Ultra Drink" advertisements seen around the stadium. He can be unlocked either by playing 10 simple matches in classic tennis mode, or by purchasing him from the rewards menu for 5000 coins.
A permanently mega Dry Bowser appears as the final boss of Knockout Challenge mode. Also, if the player is playing as Bowser in the mode, Dry Bowser will appear as the mid-boss as well. If the player is playing as Dry Bowser, Bowser will oppose them in both instances.
Mario Tennis Aces
Mario Party series
Mario Party: Island Tour
Dry Bowser appears in Mario Party: Island Tour, making his first appearance in the Mario Party series, He acts as the fifth boss to be fought in Bowser's Tower, on the twenty-fifth floor, with his minigame Dry Bowser's Brain Bonk. His voice clips from Super Mario 3D Land are reused.
Mario Party 10
Dry Bowser makes a return in Mario Party 10. During Bowser's boss battle minigame, Bowser's Tank Terror, when his HP reaches halfway, he falls in the lava and turns into Dry Bowser. He also grows huge in this state, making it the second time Dry Bowser becomes a larger size.
Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition
Dry Bowser also appears as an extra boss in Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition. He serves as the boss of ★World 8-, and his main attribute is Dark, while his sub-attribute is Fire. When fought as an enemy, Dry Bowser will always start the battle with Bowser Claw, which subtracts 12500 HP from the player. Dry Bowser can also perform an attack that takes away most of the player's HP, can breathe dark flames and cause blindness for the entire Orb field, and is able to use Super Heal to fully heal himself as well.
Dry Bowser can also be used as a helper after the player completes ★World 8. His HP and ATK are high, while his RCV is set at 0. His initial level after joining is level 46. As a helper, Dry Bowser's skill, Bowser Smash, can be used to perform a large amount of damage to all enemies, while his Helper Skill, Flame of Vengeance, raises the ATK of all teammates by 4x whenever the player makes 7 combos or more in one turn.
Dry Bowser cannot be rematched after the player completes ★World 8; after Dry Bowser joins the player, a Boom Boom replaces him as the boss of ★World 8-Bowser's Castle.
Dry Bowser also serves as the boss of Fixed Challenge Course 5 in Score Attack. In that course, however, he attacks every two turns, and does not perform any first strike blows.
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
Dry Bowser makes his first appearance in the Mario & Luigi series as the secret boss in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. He is fought at the end of the boss medley in the Battle Ring and is level 48 when encountered. He's the strongest boss in the game. His attacks involves detaching his body parts and throwing them, throwing his head off and spewing blue flames, and inhaling the brothers to regain health. He also has an attack where he summons Thwomps to crush the bros. before spewing a torrent of flames. If all three Thwomps are countered, they take the brunt of the flames, causing them to take turns jumping on Dry Bowser as they hop off, leaving him vulnerable. Occasionally, he summons a pair of Koopalings (Wendy and Roy, or Larry and Ludwig) from portals to assist him, all of whom are at level 46 except for Roy, who is level 45. When he summons the Koopalings, they behave like they do in their previous battles with two exceptions: Wendy does not attack Roy if she is hit by one of his attacks, and Ludwig and Larry do not use Battle Cards. Both Dry Bowser and the summoned Koopaling pair must be defeated in order to end the battle. Dry Bowser is notably unique in that he has a special animation for both entering battle and being defeated.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey
Dry Bowser briefly appears in the ending of Bowser Jr.'s Journey, where Bowser, after ingesting too much of the Skeletone Formula:D that Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings retrieved, ends up transforming into this form. He appears as a 3D model instead of a sprite.
Mario Sports Superstars
Although Dry Bowser does not appear in Mario Sports Superstars, his emblem appears on various usable items, such as baseball bats and soccer balls. These items can be unlocked through the use of amiibo cards or by purchasing them from the in-game shop, after which they can be used by Bowser instead of his default equipment. The difference is purely aesthetic however, and makes no alteration to gameplay.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Dry Bowser is simply Bowser's skeletal form, though there are some significant changes to his overall appearance. His snout is slightly morphed into a beak-like shape, while his chest and stomach are hollow due to consisting of five ribs. Dry Bowser's shell is a charcoal gray with dark red spike-rings and scarlet spaces between its plates, as opposed to his counterpart's standard green, red, and black coloration. His horns are longer and more curved, his eye sockets are more triangular, and he sports a bony brow mimicking the characteristically angry position of his living counterpart's eyebrows. Like Dry Bones, Dry Bowser's eyes are black and empty holes with glowing yellow pupils. However, his pupils have been shown to turn a light blue whenever he swipes at Mario during the second phase of his boss battle in New Super Mario Bros. 2. The once black and shiny collars around his neck and arms have been scorched and turned a dull, very dark red, and his hair has been taken up in a ponytail similar to the hairstyle of his son, and to a certain extent, himself as a youngster.
In addition to these vast physical changes, Dry Bowser's roar is also different from Bowser's, as his bones rattle when he roars. This can especially be heard in the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games when the player faces him in Ice Hockey. However, he sometimes uses Bowser's own roar in other games.
Powers and abilities
Dry Bowser gains the fire resistant nature of Dry Bones, higher jumps, the ability to throw bones, and as a giant in New Super Mario Bros. 2, raise lava by roaring loudly. In addition to these new traits, he also retains his typical abilities, including his signature Fire Breath. However, unlike with his living counterpart, Dry Bowser's fireballs can sometimes be colored light blue.
Dry Bowser has always had voice acting, though it is comprised of grunts, yells, and roars, as opposed to the Dry Bones' clacking sounds. The lone exception to this is New Super Mario Bros., which gives Dry Bowser realistic roars. Dry Bowser's roar is significantly different from Bowser's, and his voice clips sound more menacing; this is especially evident in Mario Kart Wii. Games like the Mario & Sonic series give Dry Bowser in-game text so players can understand what he is saying.
List of appearances by date
Official profiles and statistics
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Tennis Open
Flag description (Wii U version)
Miis' dialogues (Wii U version)
Names in other languages