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A Fireball (also written as Fire Ball) is a common projectile in the Mario series. Typically, one can only shoot fireballs if he or she acquires a Fire Flower. Some enemies can shoot fireballs without the use of a power-up. (Additionally, Mario and Luigi can shoot fireballs from their hand without using a Fire Flower). Ice Balls can be seen as a parallel to Fireballs.
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros.
Fireballs make their debut in Super Mario Bros., where Mario and Luigi can shoot these fireballs only if they acquired a Fire Flower. They are affected by gravity and can bounce in the ground. Most enemies can be defeated by one fireball and Bowser can be defeated by five. Hitting a Fake Bowser with five fireballs will reveal the common enemy that was in disguise.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Fireballs return in Super Mario Bros. 3, with being used as a projectile again. Though Mario and Luigi aren't the only ones that can shoot fireballs, as Fire Bro's can also shoot fireballs from their mouths which acts like the Mario Bros. fireballs. Due to palette limitations in the NES version of the game, the fireballs Mario and Luigi shoot, appear green inside Toad Houses and blue during Koopaling fights.
Super Mario World
Fireballs appear in Super Mario World where they are used as weapon. Additionally, Yoshi can breathe fireballs if he eats a Red Shell and Red Yoshi can also breathe fireballs if he eats a Koopa Shell. The fireballs that Yoshi spit out look like Lava Bubbles and destroy most enemies.
Super Mario 64 DS
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Fireballs appear in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Like in previous games, they are used as a weapon. Yoshi can also spit a giant Fireball by eating a fireball launched by a character with a Fire Flower power up, or from a Fire Piranha Plant. This giant fireball transforms all enemies encountered into coins.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Fireballs return in New Super Mario Bros. 2 and behave as they always have. There is an extra gimmick where Fire Mario can shoot fireballs into a pipe and coins can shoot out the other end amongst other prizes, such as a Mega Mushroom.
New Super Mario Bros. U
Super Mario 3D World
Fireballs reappear in Super Mario 3D World and behave as they did in Super Mario 3D Land.
Super Mario Maker
Fireballs return in Super Mario Maker due to the return of the Fire Flower item and enemies such as Fire Piranha Plants. Yoshi can also swallow fireballs from enemies that shoot them, or transform fire to fireballs from fire obstacles such as Fire Bars or Burners. Additionally, the Fire Koopa Clown Car, an object released via a software update on December 22, 2015, has the ability to shoot fireballs from its mouth. A charge can create larger fireballs which can destroy blocks.
Mario Kart series
Super Mario Kart
Fireballs make their debut in the Mario Kart series in Super Mario Kart, where Bowser would drop these items and touching them would make the driver spin out. Unlike other laid down items such as Banana Peels, however, they move around a bit on the course.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Fireballs reappeared in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, where they are the special item of Mario (and Petey Piranha and King Boo, due to their ability to have any special item). Luigi's is a Green Fireball, but it acts the same. When the special item is used, five fireballs will be launched into the racetrack, hitting other drivers and causing their karts to spin-out. These fireballs are capable of ricocheting off walls. However, after a short amount of time, the launched fireballs will fizzle out.
Mario Kart Wii
Fireballs also appeared in Mario Kart Wii, where they could only be seen in the 2nd Competition of March 2009. Here, Dry Bowser would spit out fireballs to attack the player. He would either fire three fireballs backwards or one fireball forward, depending on the player's racing position.
Mario Kart 7
Fireballs appear in Mario Kart 7 where they are used as a special weapon. They can only be used if the Fire Flower item, which allows the racers to shoot fireballs forwards and backwards, is acquired. A racer hit with a fireball loses three coins.
Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Superstar Baseball
Fireballs also appeared in Mario Superstar Baseball, where they are Mario and Luigi's special pitch. It, unlike most other pitches, goes in a straight line. The ball, as the name says, turns into an extremely hard-to-hit fireball (red for Mario, green for Luigi).
Mario Super Sluggers
Fireballs reappeared in Mario Super Sluggers. Like in Mario Superstar Baseball, it is used as Mario's Star Pitch, though Luigi is given a different Star Pitch. Just like in the predecessor, Mario will throw the baseball at a fast speed, which makes it harder for batters to properly hit it.
Super Smash Bros. series
Fireballs appear as the neutral special move used by both Mario and Luigi throughout the Super Smash Bros. series. Mario's Fireballs are affected by gravity (meaning they bounce against the ground), while Luigi's shoot straight no matter what, unless it ricochets off of something in front of Luigi. Kirby can also use the Fireball move once he has sucked up Mario or Luigi, and the color and performance of the Fireball are according to which Mario Brother he has sucked up. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, Yoshi can spit single fireballs in his Final Smash form.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, the first custom variant of Mario's Fireball is Fast Fireball, in which the fireball travels directly forward at high speed but doesn't cause knockback and deals less damage. The second is Fire Orb, which fires a larger but slower fireball that moves similarly to the standard Fireball but can hit multiple times. The custom variants for Luigi's Fireball are Bouncing Fireball, which behaves like Mario's standard Fireball, and Ice Ball, which moves more slowly but can freeze opponents.
Club Nintendo comics
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
Fireballs appear in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. They are used by Fire Mario (known as Super Mario in the show). The episode, "The Fire of Hercufleas" introduces the Great Balls of Fire, very powerful fireballs that can damage a wall.
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3
Fireballs also appear in The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. Once again, they are used by Fire Mario. The episode, "Princess Toadstool for President" includes the song, "Great Balls of Fire," which is a real song. Fireballs are also produced by Fire Chomps and Fire Snakes.
Super Mario World television series
Donkey Kong Country Returns / 3D
In both Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, fireballs are featured as hazards during a short section of Hot Rocket. They come out from behind and fly across the screen, destroying the Kongs' Rocket Barrel and causing them to lose a life if they come into contact. However, if avoided, fireballs simply outrun the characters, never to be seen again. Fireballs cannot be stopped or destroyed. At one point, a fireball crashes into a chunk of rock falling from the ceiling, destroying it and revealing a Puzzle Piece.
Names in other languages