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Dry Bowser is the undead and skeletal version of Bowser, with his name playing off of Dry Bones. Despite not technically being one himself, he is closely associated with them and shares several traits with the species, like an immunity to fireballs. 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. Dry Bowser is then fought in the first castle in World 8.
Since his debut, Dry Bowser has made subsequent appearances, usually 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 is not 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 do not 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; he is fought in Special 1-Castle, Special 5-Castle, and Special 8-Bowser, which parallels how Mario fights Bowser (albeit two of which are fakes) in the normal world counterparts of those castles; he even fights in the same way as the respective (fake) Bowsers did.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Dry Bowser reappears in New Super Mario Bros. 2 as the castle boss of World Star, the final special world which is unlocked after beating Bowser himself with at least 90 Star Coins. He behaves the same as his other counterpart in World 6 and becomes Big Dry Bowser, 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 or by racing 4,350 races, which will also unlock Daisy. 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. Dry Bowser is one of the fastest characters in the game and is very heavy, but his other stats are among the lowest in the game.
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. Due to being an alternate costume, he does not use his own voice clips in this game, instead using those of Bowser.
Mario Kart Tour
Dry Bowser reappears as a playable character in Mario Kart Tour, where he is available as a High-End character. Dry Bowser's Special Item is the Bowser's Shell, shared with his living counterpart and Bowser Jr. Dry Bowser's self-titled cup first appears as the penultimate cup in the New York Tour. The Cooking Tour introduces a golden variant of him named Dry Bowser (Gold), who is classified as a High-End character and has the Bob-omb Cannon as his special item.
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. 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 Supersonic 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.
In the Nintendo 3DS version, a badge of Dry Bowser can be obtained from the badge machine, and he also appears in the Story Mode. Dry Bowser only appears in Foggy Foes, in which he and a Dry Bones appear protecting the Fog machine in the Main Stadium, and after being confronted by Toad and Omochao, challenge Mario and Luigi to Sailing - 470 (Pair). After being defeated in the event, Mario and Luigi destroy the fog machine and Dry Bones and Dry Bowser leave before they can be questioned.
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 as an unlockable playable character in Mario Tennis Open. He is unlocked after the third difficulty level of Ink Showdown, Inksplosion, is completed. He is one of two Defense-type characters in the game, the other being Waluigi.
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 30th opponent of the Knockout Challenge mode. If the player is playing as Bowser in the mode, Dry Bowser will also appear as the 15th opponent. If the player is playing as Dry Bowser, Bowser will oppose him in both instances.
Mario Tennis Aces
Dry Bowser reappears in Mario Tennis Aces as the game's final playable character to be released. He was initially unlocked by participating in the July 2019 tournament, and has been available for all players since August 1, 2019. Like his previous appearances in the Mario Tennis series, he is a Defense-type character. Uniquely, his racket does not take damage when he fails to block a Zone Shot; however, it will still break if he fails to block a Special Shot. He shares his animations with Bowser, albeit with blue fire instead of red fire; this includes his Trick Shots and Special Shot. However, his sideways Trick Shot (Shell Spin) is unique in that it always functions like a slice with maximum charge. Dry Bowser's emblem also appears on "Ultra Drink" advertisements in Marina Stadium.
Mario Party series
Mario Party: Island Tour
Dry Bowser appears in Mario Party: Island Tour, marking 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, in 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's main attack is "Bowser Claw", which takes away 12500 HP (the attack will always come out first in battle). Dry Bowser can also perform "Bowser Smash," which is much the same as "Bowser Claw" except it takes away 22137 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.
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. Much like Bowser X and Bowser Jr. in the previous games, he is fought at the end of the boss medley in the Battle Ring and is level 48 when encountered, and he is the strongest boss in the game. His attacks involves throwing bones at Mario and Luigi, throwing his head off and spewing blue flames at Paper Mario, and inhaling the brothers to regain health, which can be prevented by hammering spike balls that appear during the attack. Dry Bones and Bob-ombs may appear during this attack, which if the former is struck will end the attack immediately, and the latter exploding and damaging the Mario Bros. if struck. 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 to critical damage from any attack. Occasionally, he summons a pair of Koopalings (Roy and Wendy, 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 his boulder toss attack, 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
Dr. Mario World
Dry Bowser appears as a playable character under the name Dr. Dry Bowser in Dr. Mario World via a game update from December 26, 2019. Unlike other playable characters, Dr. Dry Bowser cannot be obtained from staffing, but is instead mainly available through limited-time character packs or referrals. He can also be unlocked by clearing the special stage of World 10.
His skill is similar to Dr. Bowser, where it will fire beams and clear random row(s), in which it is two rows wide in stage mode and one, two or three rows wide in versus mode depending on the level. The difference is that objects that normally require multiple eliminations to fully clear are cleared in one shot, such as floatie viruses. The row(s) affected by this skill would have at least one object that can be cleared, but unlike other doctors whose skills target randomly, viruses are not prioritized meaning that rows that do not have viruses are potentially targeted even though there are still viruses in the stage. In the case this skill clears two or three rows, if the topmost row(s) are empty or has unclearable objects and there are at least two rows of clearable objects next to each other, this skill might target the unclearable row(s) near the top alongside the clearable row(s) even if there are enough rows for this skill to clear.
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 (that can be seen glowing since Mario Kart 8) 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 Dr. Mario World, Dry Bowser wears a slightly torn gray lab coat. In addition, he wears a small, spiky, red stethoscope with his insignia on it loosely around his neck.
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 Big Dry Bowser 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 comprises 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.
Profiles and statistics
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
List of appearances by date
Names in other languages