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Koopas represent a consistent group of turtle-like creatures. There are many different types of Koopas, the most common being Koopa Troopas. Most Koopas seem to operate in a hierarchy-based grouping system. Bowser is the leader of the Koopa Troop, which has invaded Mushroom Kingdom many times and has control over most of the Koopas in the Mario franchise, beginning in Super Mario Bros. where, according to an interpretation of the story of the Japanese game's manual during the English localization that saw Koopa (「クッパ」) as the name of the group of turtles instead of the name of Bowser, they were known for their "black magic." Said interpretation has since been rectified, with Koopa being acknowledged to be the Japanese name of Bowser, but the concept of Koopas as a group of turtles in the West remains, while Nintendo in Japan consistently refers to Koopa as the name of Bowser and to the Turtle Tribe (「カメ族」) as the group to which the various turtles belong. Many of these same Koopas are members of the Koopa Troop and have different tasks in the organization based on the abilities of their particular class. For example, Koopa Troopas tend to be assigned as basic foot soldiers alongside Goombas due to their lack of specialized offensive capabilities, while Magikoopas are often given advisory roles due to their magical abilities and gift of foresight.
However, not all Koopas are allied with Bowser. Some Koopas, such as the Koopa Troopas of Koopa Village, live peacefully inside the borders of the Mushroom Kingdom, while others, such as Koopa the Quick in Super Mario 64, simply hold no allegiance and operate independently.
Boom Booms are a Koopa species similar to Bowser's. Booms Booms are very large and most have spikes on the back of their shells. The only difference seems to be the connected plastron (the underside of the shell) that Boom Booms have. They have huge arms, which they use to attack by flailing them. Members of this species include Boom Boom and a female Boom Boom named Pom Pom. They appear in boss battles in games like Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 3D Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U and Super Mario 3D World.
Not much is known about the species of Koopa to which Bowser belongs. The exact name is also unknown; the members are most often simply referred to as "Koopas," with the Perfect Edition of the Great Mario Character Encyclopedia (「パーフェクト版マリオキャラクター大事典」) simply grouping the members of Bowser's Royal Family under a group known as Bowser's Group (「クッパ系」). The only known members in the games are Blue Bowser, Bowser, Bowser Jr., the Koopalings, and the Koopa Kids. The unique feature of this species is that the plastron is formed by plates covering the belly that are detached from the carapace, that is spiked. However, when they duck into their shells, the flesh between the belly plates and the carapace is no longer visible, as if the shells featured a fully attached plastron. Like the very similar Boom Booms, members of this species of Koopa stand upright, and are typically much larger than most types of Koopas upon reaching adulthood. Even as a child, Bowser Jr. is almost as tall as a full-grown Koopa Troopa. However, Lemmy Koopa is actually almost as small as Toad while his younger brother Larry is bigger in size, showing that some variability in size exists among Koopas belonging to Bowser's species. These Koopas are known for their strength, sometimes the ability to breathe out flames, and durability, even as children, as well as magical powers; they typically are the leaders of the Koopa race. Koopas belonging to Bowser's species do not have a beak, instead having a fleshy muzzle, and some also have horns. A particular feature, shown by Baby Bowser in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and Ludwig von Koopa in Paper Mario: Color Splash, is that the eyes display yellow eyeshine in the dark, implying that they may possess night vision. Shigeru Miyamoto initially intended for Bowser to look like an ox, hence a few of the physical characteristics, such as the horns.
Buzzy Beetles are found generally in caves and other dark areas. They are known to be immune to fireballs, and they can climb on walls and ceilings, and they can drop from ceilings if Mario or others approach them closely enough. As with Koopa Troopas, Buzzy Beetles hide inside their shell if Mario or others stomp on them, letting their shells be used.
Chargin' Chucks (sometimes referred to as Koopa Quarterbacks or Koopa Football Players) are a type of Koopa who wear American football gear. They have a variety of attacks and sports based weaponry, such as damaging baseballs and footballs. Chargin' Chucks first appeared in Super Mario World. Like the Hammer Bros. and their variations, Chargin' Chucks often appear as duos, or sometimes even larger groups.
Hammer Bros. (or Hammer Brothers) are a type of Koopa that stand upright, wear helmets and shoes, and throw hammers at passerby. There are various similar Koopas who throw other objects at their opponents, such as the Boomerang Bros., Ice Bros., and the Fire Bros., the latter of which used to spit their projectiles from their mouths, but now pull them from thin air, like the others. All of these Koopas have similar shell patterns (though they are color-coded by type: Hammer Bros. wear green armor, Fire Bros. wear red, Boomerang Bros. wear blue, Ice wear light blue, etc.) and beaks that are lighter in color than the rest of their face, both of which sets them apart from Koopa Troopas, which are also slightly smaller.
Koopa Troopas (often shortened to plain Koopas and occasionally to Troopas, Japanese ノコノコ Nokonoko) are common enemies in the Mario series. While some are peaceful, Koopa Troopas are usually displayed as foot soldiers of the Koopa Troop under the direct leadership of Bowser. They typically have no special offensive abilities like Hammer Bros. or Lakitus. Throughout the Mario series, Koopa Troopas have appeared as both quadrupedal creatures (four legged) and bipedal (walking on two legs). Since their debut in Super Mario Bros., Koopa Troopas have appeared in almost every game, usually as enemies, but also as playable characters in numerous spin-offs. They are also partners for Mario in the first two Paper Mario games.
Lakitus are goggled Koopas who ride clouds through the skies, and which can occasionally be found snorkeling in water and hiding behind walls or in pipes. Unlike most Koopa species, they do not have snouts or beaks, but flat faces with round noses. Their shells are also unique in their circular patterning. To attack, Lakitus typically throw unlimited numbers of Spiny Eggs at their opponents, and some will also dangle 1-Up Mushrooms from fishing poles to lure their targets closer.
Magikoopas (referred to as Kameks in the European localizations and as Koopa Wizards in the Super Mario World television series) can cast spells and fly on broomsticks. They are generally considered to be high-ranking members of the Koopa Troop. They wear glasses and wizard's garb: typically blue robes and hats, though Magikoopas specializing in different forms of magic sport different colors. Aside from their heads, which have slightly larger beaks than those of their normal counterparts, little is known about the Magikoopa's external structure due to their robes. Kamek is a notable Magikoopa.
Mechakoopas are mechanical enemies that bear a slight resemblance to Bowser, and walk with a wind-up mechanism. Mario can stun them by jumping on them. There, Mechakoopas can be held and thrown, but they eventually recover and move again. However, the bulky Mechakoopas from Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 cannot be picked up, and can breathe fire.
Rocky Wrenches are enemies and pop out of manhole covers on airships at random. They were stated to be a mole-like type of Koopa during Super Mario Bros. 3, and have been redesigned to greatly resemble Monty Moles as of New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
Spikes are small Koopas who either stand still or walk around. When Mario or an ally of his comes by, however, Spikes throw spiked balls to harm the character. More specialized variants, such as Snow Spikes and Stone Spikes, also exist and throw their namesake projectiles instead of metallic, spiked balls.
Spike Koopas are squat, flat-shelled Koopas with frog-like faces and large fangs. They have a single spike on their heads and many spikes on their shells, as well as stubby arms and legs, giving a slight resemblance to Bowser's species. They only appear during the Mario Party minigame Key-pa-Way, where they guard a Bowser Key, and will stun anyone they touch. They can, however, be jumped over. Only five appear in the minigame.
Spinies (Japanese トゲゾー Togezō) are four-legged Koopas known for their spiked shells. They appear to have a symbiotic relationship with Lakitus, another Koopa variant which throw Spiny Eggs at their opponents.
Names in other languages