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Fortresses, also known as forts, are fortified buildings that appear in many Mario games, starting with Super Mario Bros. Usually, fortresses are found at the end of levels, behind Goal Poles. After reaching the fortress, Mario or Luigi can advance to the next level.
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros. / Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
In Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, fortresses are usually made from red bricks (except for the one at the very beginning of World 6-3 in the former game and World 7-3 in the latter game, which are colored gray like the rest of the level), and are usually located at the end of most levels, except for the third and fourth levels of each world, which end with a castle and take place inside that castle respectively. They also appear at the very beginning of underground and underwater levels, where Mario/Luigi enters the level via a Warp Pipe. Additionally, castles appear to be a fortress stacked upon a larger section. World 5-1 in Super Mario Bros. begins with Mario/Luigi outside a fortress, despite the level before taking place inside a castle; World 1-1 in The Lost Levels also begins in front of a fortress.
Super Mario Bros. 3
In Super Mario Bros. 3, the fortresses that advance Mario to the next level do not appear. Instead, fortresses, also known as Mini-Fortresses, are usually found in the middle of worlds. They are levels with Boom Boom as their only boss, and he must be defeated to open Locked Doors and gain access to other parts of the world.
Some parts of some fortresses (all in Worlds 3, 5, 6, and 7) have light that always has the same color as the pipes in whatever color scheme the appropriate part of the fortress uses.
In Super Mario All-Stars, however, all of the fortresses have blue walls.
Super Mario World
In Super Mario World, fortresses are guarded by Reznors but are far less common, as there are only four in the game, and only one of them is mid-world. Fortresses are normally inaccessible after being completed, unless the player presses while holding and when at it on the map (does not apply to the Japanese version). The GBA version lets players re-enter fortresses freely after defeating Bowser; Dragon Coins have also been added to them. Like with castles, Yoshi cannot enter fortresses.
New Super Mario Bros. series
The end-of-level fortresses later return in New Super Mario Bros., New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and New Super Mario Bros. U and reprise their earlier role from the first Super Mario Bros. game, allowing Mario, Luigi, and/or the Toads to continue to the next level. Black fortresses appear as parts of secret exits, except in the original New Super Mario Bros. Their mid-world role in Super Mario Bros. 3 is replaced by towers, which in New Super Mario Bros. Wii are called fortresses; however, one of the Mario Vs. Luigi courses in the original New Super Mario Bros. is a Fortress.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario 3D Land
Fortresses return in Super Mario 3D Land, but only in World 2-3 and Special 1-3, where they look as they did in Super Mario Bros. As in that game, they appear behind the levels' Goal Poles and can be entered, this time for a 1-Up Mushroom.
Super Mario Run
Super Mario Maker series
In Super Mario Maker, its 3DS port, and Super Mario Maker 2, the castle theme in the Super Mario Bros. 3 style is based on the gray-wall color scheme of the fortresses from the original game. The fortresses of Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. U return in the respective game styles.
Forts also appear in the Yoshi franchise as the mini-boss levels of each world.
Paper Mario series
Super Paper Mario
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Super Smash Bros. series
The Mushroom Kingdom stage in Super Smash Bros. Melee features a classic Super Mario Bros.-style fortress in the background. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, one also appears in the Mushroomy Kingdom stage, in the same place as in World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros.; however, it is in the background, so fighters cannot enter it. It also appears in the Final Destination versions of the stage, as well as Ultimate's Battlefield version. Like the rest of the stage, it has a more realistic and withered appearance.
Appearances in other media
In Mario Ice Capades, during the whole show, King Koopa rode a moving fortress. A fortress also appeared in the background of the show as a prop. In The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, a fortress appears only in the intro.
In Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, the fortress as it appears in Super Mario Bros. could be obtained as special furniture in Fishing Tourney #12 (themed after the Mario franchise in celebration of Mario Day 2019), after passing the 4,900; 5,900; 7,100; 8,300; or 9,800 cm milestone.
Names in other languages