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Ladders are objects first seen in the original Donkey Kong game. They have reappeared throughout many later games as inanimate objects that the player is able to climb to progress in the level, area, or stage.
Donkey Kong series
Ladders are found throughout Donkey Kong and serve as a connection between two platforms. In 25 m, Mario has to use them in order to get to the top and to avoid barrels and Fireballs, however, barrels can occasionally roll down the ladders and the Fireballs can climb up them as well. Some of the ladders are broken; Mario cannot climb these. He also cannot climb any ladders if he is carrying a hammer. Some of the ladders in the 50 m stage extend and retract. Mario can only climb those up completely if they are fully open.
Ladders reappear in Donkey Kong for the Game Boy in several varieties. The static and extending ladders from the original arcade game make a return in many levels of the game. Mario can only climb a ladder if he stands on solid ground, which is an important element in some levels, where he first has to place a road or jump on an icicle to have a platform to stand on from which he can climb the ladder. Another important element in the game's puzzles are ladders than can be placed by Mario himself, also known as Arrow Blocks. If Mario jumps against one such vertical-facing block in the game, the game freezes and the player has to place the ladder in any free point of the level. The ladder will then extend itself upwards and downwards as far as it can. The ladder is timed, and disappears after the time has passed. This timer indicated with a music that starts playing as soon as the ladder is placed and gets faster gradually. The timer can be reset if Mario places another ladder within the first ladder's time limit, or any other placeable objects such as roads, Jump Stands, and blocks. After disappearing, the ladder can then be placed with the same block again.
VS. Wrecking Crew / Wrecking Crew
Ladders reappear in VS. Wrecking Crew and Wrecking Crew, where they serve the same purpose they did in Donkey Kong. The enemies, Eggplant Men, Gotchawrenches, and Foreman Spike, can climb ladders. A type of ladders, ladder walls, appears in this game, where they must be destroyed.
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Land
Ladders also appear in Super Mario Land's bonus game. One ladder, along with Mario, will move between the different platforms until the player presses . Mario will then move along the platform, but if he comes across a ladder, Mario will move up or down it onto another platform, collecting a different reward.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
New Super Mario Bros. U / New Super Luigi U / New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Ladders also appear in New Super Mario Bros. U and its Nintendo Switch port, in the level The Mighty Cannonship, and in New Super Luigi U in the levels Slippery Rope Ladders and Broozers and Barrels. They behave the same as they did in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
Several ladders also appear in Luigi's Mansion. One of them appears in Professor E. Gadd's laboratory, though it serves no function, and a second leads between the Courtyard and the Bottom of the Well. A third is found on the bunk bed in The Twins' Room, and two are found on the Roof.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong series
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
In Mario vs. Donkey Kong, ladders appear in every world and plus world.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!
Super Paper Mario
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Ladders first appear in the Super Smash Bros. series in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. They appear in the 75 m, PictoChat, and Rumble Falls stages. They are also found in several of the Subspace Emissary levels. They can also be placed as stage parts in custom stages.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, ladders reappear on 75 m as well as on Palutena's Temple and the Wrecking Crew stage. On the Wrecking Crew stage, ladders appear in the form of ladder walls and can be destroyed if they are attacked.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, ladders reappear on 75 m, Palutena's Temple, Wrecking Crew, and the stage builder. Fighters can now perform aerial attacks while on a ladder.
Mario Party series
Mario Party: Island Tour
Mario Party 10
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Ladders also appears in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and its Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS ports which Captain Toad and Toadette can climb. During the levels that reappear from Super Mario 3D World, ladders were added due to Captain Toad and Toadette being unable to jump.
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