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Lava Bubbles (also called Podoboos, Sparkies, Spark Spooks, or simply Bubbles) are living fireballs that emerge from lava. They are commonly depicted as a large fireball with two black eyes or also as only a large fireball. Lava Bubbles mainly appear in the Mario platformers but occasionally appear in several Mario sub-series, such as the Mario Party series, the Mario Kart series, and the Paper Mario series. In the main series, Lava Bubbles can be destroyed by using a Super Star, a Gold Flower, a Hammer Suit, a Penguin Suit, or an Ice Flower.
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros.
Podoboos first appeared in Super Mario Bros., as fireballs that would jump out of the lava in simple patterns in an attempt to burn Mario whenever the plumber tried to jump over them. In this game, they only appear in castles and are completely invincible. They debut in level World 2-4.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
In Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Podoboos reappear and act as they did in Super Mario Bros., and are still primarily found in castles. However, a single Podoboo can also be found in World 9-4 between the katakana characters "ト" and "ウ" in the word "アリガトウ" (arigatou, meaning "thank you" in Japanese) that is formed by blocks. It is possible to defeat Podoboos in World A-4 by kicking a Red Shell at them.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Like many other enemies from the previous games, Podoboos appear in Super Mario Bros. 3. Also, in World 5-Fortress 2, there are some Podoboos that jump out of lava on the ceiling. Podoboos can be defeated with Statue Mario, Hammer Mario's hammer, or a Starman.
Super Mario World
Super Mario World marks the first time that they were referred to as "Lava Bubbles", as can be seen in the player's guide for the game. It is also the first time Lava Bubbles are shown to have eyes. They again appear in castle levels, where they act the same as in their previous appearances — they simply jump out of the lava in an attempt to burn Mario. However, diagonally-travelling Lava Bubbles are now found outside the lava at all times, bouncing around the rooms of castles. This behavior is similar to Boo Buddy Snakes in Ghost Houses and the red Fireballs found in the Mario Bros. game. When this type touches lava, it sinks and does not come back out.
The former type of Lava Bubble assists Larry Koopa in battle, while the latter type assists Lemmy Koopa and Wendy O. Koopa in their battles, with one appearing in Lemmy's room and two appearing in Wendy's.
Super Mario 64 / Super Mario 64 DS
In Super Mario 64 and its remake, Lava Bubbles are rare, only appearing in Lethal Lava Land. They jump out of the lava horizontally and bounce on the bridges, then they come back to the lava. They are indestructible, and if Mario touches one, it causes him to uncontrollably run and lose three wedges of health, like all other fiery enemies or obstacles. In the battle with Bowser in Bowser in the Sky, he spits some blue (green in the remake) fireballs that turn into Lava Bubble-like flames which immediately bounce towards Mario. They disappear after a few seconds. In the remake, Yoshi can eat a Lava Bubble, causing him to spit out fire, similar to his ability in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
New Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Galaxy
In Super Mario Galaxy, Lava Bubbles are small and appear in a non-standard cyan color. Rather than hopping in and out from lava, they bounce along its surface and along the ground, following Mario. They can only be defeated by shooting a Star Bit at them, releasing one coin. They initially appear during the third phase of King Kaliente's battle in the Good Egg Galaxy, where he spawns them around his arena. They later appear in Bowser Jr.'s Lava Reactor, appearing both in the stage itself and in the fight against the blackened King Kaliente, who spawns them sooner than before. Finally, they appear occasionally in the Melty Molten Galaxy, guarding a Silver Star in Burning Tide and guarding Star Chips in Through the Meteor Storm.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Lava Bubbles appear in many boss castles, acting like they did in New Super Mario Bros.. They could commonly be found in World 8 as an enemy. They have eyes in this game, having a similar appearance to the Super Mario World Lava Bubbles. Additionally, the Lava Bubbles can be defeated by using an Ice Flower's or Penguin Suit's Ice Balls, or by running into one while using a Star. They first appear in Roy's Castle in World 2 right at the beginning; they continue to appear in the castles of World 5, World 6 and World 8. They are also found as enemies in the World 8 Enemy Course.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Standard orange Lava Bubbles appear in Super Mario Galaxy 2 as obstacles in galaxies with lava, as well as in Bowser's galaxies. Just as in previous installments, Lava Bubbles jump out of the lava trying to hit Mario (or Luigi, as the case may be). Also, in Bowser's Gravity Gauntlet, in a place in which there are many lava pits, there are Lava Bubbles that jump from one lava pit into another nearby lava pit. The blue Lava Bubbles from the first Super Mario Galaxy also appear in this game, solely in the battle against King Kaliente in the Boss Blitz Galaxy.
Super Mario 3D Land
Lava Bubbles return in Super Mario 3D Land, where they mainly appear in castle stages, and, like in previous games, they act as obstacles that jump out of the lava in order to hit Mario or Luigi. In this game, Lava Bubbles can only be defeated while the Bros. are under the effects of a Star or an Invincibility Leaf.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Lava Bubbles reappear in the Nintendo 3DS title New Super Mario Bros. 2, again inhabiting castles, and attacking in the same way. However, this time, Lava Bubbles have the capability of jumping out of lava pits in a diagonal pattern.
New Super Mario Bros. U
New Super Luigi U
Lava Bubbles make a return in New Super Luigi U, where they have the same abilities as in the original game, New Super Mario Bros. U. However, a sideways flying variation appears, which leap from one lava pool to another. Additionally, Takemoto, the director of this game, officially confirms that this enemy is called a Lava Bubble in a Miiverse post.
Super Mario 3D World / Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
Lava Bubbles reappear in Super Mario 3D World and its Nintendo Switch port Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury where they act just like they did in Super Mario 3D Land. Blue variants also appear in levels with blue lava.
Super Mario Maker / Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS
Lava Bubbles reappear in Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS. They can be set to come out of Warp Pipes and ? Blocks, or be produced by Bill Blasters and Lakitus. Giving one wings will make it fly diagonally and bounce off of walls like the diagonal ones from Super Mario World, though they also now bounce off the surface of lava instead of sinking. Additionally, while under the effects of a Big Mushroom, Lava Bubbles gain eyes and mustaches.
Super Mario Run
Vertically leaping Lava Bubbles appear in Castle levels in Super Mario Run. Otherwise indestructible, they can only be defeated when the player is under the effect of a Super Star. Each supplies players with a +3 coin bonus when in Toad Rally. A derived species called Poison Bubble also appears. Instead of leaping from lava, this creature leaps out from poisonous swamps.
Super Mario Odyssey
Lava Bubbles reappear in Super Mario Odyssey, where they are found in the Luncheon Kingdom and the Darker Side. along with a secret area in the Lost Kingdom and the Cookatiel rematch in the Mushroom Kingdom. Their eye color does not change when they are captured by Mario; they instead gain his nose, eyebrows, and mustache. When being controlled by Mario and Cappy, Mario can only travel through lava. When in lava, Mario can jump by pressing , and dash by pressing and . If Mario jumps on a Magmato, a puddle of lava is formed, allowing Mario to traverse on the ground. Jumping in pots causes them to heat up, releasing a Power Moon. Touching the ground while controlling a Lava Bubble causes it to disappear. Lava Bubbles also appear in an 8-bit section in the Cloud Kingdom. There are also objects seen in the Luncheon Kingdom and the Darker Side known as lava cannons that will launch Mario to another area of the kingdom when jumped into as a Lava Bubble.
Super Mario Maker 2
In Super Mario Maker 2, Lava Bubbles return with their properties from Super Mario Maker. They additionally appear in the new Super Mario 3D World style, where they will not leap if the player is wearing a Goomba Mask.
Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen!
Podoboos make a brief appearance in Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen!, when the Goombas pull a switch which sends Mario and Kibidango onto platforms that move up and down over lava; it is at this point where Podoboos began attacking them both, trying to knock the heroes into the lava below. Fortunately for Mario and Kibidango, Luigi accidentally breaks a hole in the ceiling while looking for coins; the room above is filled with water, so the hole that Luigi creates starts a flood in the area, presumably extinguishing the Podoboos.
Nintendo Adventure Books
Some Lava Bubbles appear in the Magma Pits in Koopa Capers, hopping in and out of a lava pool Luigi can try and cross using protruding rocks as stepping stones. If Luigi decides to wait before jumping, he will make it, but if he jumps immediately, he will only pass the first three Lava Bubbles, and collide with the fourth, who notably speaks, taunting Luigi by responding to his "I'm pretty hot stuff!" remark with "Not as hot as me."
The Legend of Zelda series
Podoboos are one of several Mario enemies to appear in The Legend of Zelda series, specifically appearing in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, and Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda. In the first three, they appear in sidescrolling segments and act just like in the Mario games. In Four Swords, they hop after the players, splitting into two small, quickly ricocheting ones when attacked. In Cadence of Hyrule, they instead move around walls like Sparks.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Lava Bubbles appear in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and its remake Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3. They share the same behavioral patterns as in Super Mario World. In this game, Lava Bubbles can be eaten by Yoshis, giving them the power of the red watermelon: the ability to spit fire.
Lava Bubbles (referred to as Spark Spooks) reappear in Yoshi's Story. They act as they did in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, but cannot be eaten. They appear the levels Blargg's Boiler and Magma Castle. There is another variant in this game, known as Lava Ghosts.
Yoshi's Island DS
Lava Bubbles appear once more in Yoshi's Island DS. They act identically to their role in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Lava Bubbles (referred to as Sparkies in this game) are encountered in the Coal Mines and the optionally-traversed Pipe Vault, harassing Mario and others by blocking their path. In battle, they hover in the air.
In battle, a Sparky attacks by spinning its body into one of Mario's party members. A Sparky can also use the special attack Drain, which allows the flame creature to shoot a small fire orb at a party member. Needless to say, fire is ineffective against Sparkies. However, despite being made of fire, Mario can surprisingly use jump attacks on Sparkies. Sparkies typically fight in groups of one to three.
Mario Party series
In most Mario Party titles prior to Mario Party 9, Lava Bubbles are referred to as Podoboos.
In the Mario Party minigame Hot Rope Jump, players are required to jump over a rope made up of many Lava Bubbles. Contestants must jump over the flaming rope twenty times. If one fails to do so, they will lose fifteen coins—five of those coins will be given to each opposing player. If all players complete the minigame successfully, everyone will receive ten coins.
Mario Party 2
The Hot Rope Jump minigame returns in Mario Party 2. This time, contestants start by jumping over slow, blue Lava Bubbles five times. After five jumps, the Lava Bubbles turn orange and move more swiftly. The rope will keep twirling until only one contestant remains. The winning contestant gains ten coins.
Mario Party 3
In this game, Lava Bubbles appear in the battle minigame, All Fired Up. Here the player must avoid them in an attempt to be the last one standing; this is the only way to win the minigame. They also appear as obstacles in Treadmill Grill, and are targets in Hyper Hydrants.
Mario Party 4
Mario Party 5
In the minigame, Heat Stroke, Lava Bubbles would land on the platforms the three players were on, making it more difficult for them.
The Bubble Capsule is introduced, which advances the player forward 10 spaces.
Mario Party 6
In the minigame, Daft Rafts, Lava Bubbles act as obstacles on some of the rafts. They appear only during the nighttime, in groups. The item from the previous game also returns, known as the Podoboo Orb.
Mario Party Advance
Mario Party 8
In Mario Party 8, the minigame Lava or Leave 'Em requires contestants to dodge a Lava Bubble that splits into many other Lava Bubbles. Also, when the player lands on a Bowser Space in Goomba's Booty Boardwalk, Bowser appears and surrounds the player with three Lava Bubbles. The player will have to jump in order to avoid them as they move towards the center (in an attempt to burn the player); the player must continue to do this for ten seconds. The Lava Bubbles only try to hurt the player three times. If the player gets hit by one, they will lose ten Coins (therefore, the maximum number of coins that can be lost is thirty).
Mario Party 9
Mario Party: Island Tour
Mario Party 10
Mario Party: Star Rush
Mario Party: The Top 100
Mario Party Superstars
Lava Bubbles reappear in Mario Party Superstars, reprising their roles in the Mario Party 2 version of Hot Rope Jump.
Mario Golf series
Mario Golf (Nintendo 64)
Mario Golf: Super Rush
Lava Bubbles reappear in Mario Golf: Super Rush. When it gets hit by the ball, it attracts a one-stroke penalty.
Paper Mario series
In Paper Mario, Lava Bubbles appear as common enemies in Mt. Lavalava. Because of their fiery bodies, they can not be jumped on; Mario can only harm them with hammer-based attacks, unless he has a Fire Shield or Ice Power badge equipped. In this game, Lava Bubbles are weak to water and ice. Lava Bubbles can either jump on Mario or damage Mario's partner, causing the partner to become Injured unless the partner blocks the attack. This also takes up the Lava Bubble's turn. A stronger, blue-colored variety of Lava Bubble, called Embers, appear as enemies in Star Way.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, they can be found in the Pirate's Grotto as well as in the Pit of 100 Trials. Mario has to attack them with his Hammer since they cannot be jumped on unless he is equipped with an Ice Power badge. In this game, they attack by getting close to either Mario or the partner, and burning them with their body, causing 4 damage. They can also spit fireballs that hit either Mario or his partner. These fireballs cause only 3 damage, but they can set Mario (or his partner) on fire. Ice and explosions are their main weakness. Also, one character refers to them as "ghosts". If hit by a fire attack (such as Vivian's Fiery Jinx), they will either duplicate or restore HP.
Super Paper Mario
In Super Paper Mario, they jump out of lava pits in The Underwhere, just as they do in the main series; however, they can be damaged in this game. The player can use Carrie to jump on them, use Boomer to explode on them, hit them with Cudge, or hit them with Barry. It is possible for them to traverse on land; the player will have to pick them up with Thoreau and drop them. While on land, Lava Bubbles can pass through pipes and get trapped in spikes. Visually, their flames are no longer slanted, and they do not flip over at the top of their jump as in previous Mario games.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Lava Bubbles also appear in Paper Mario: Sticker Star. However, they only appear in the stage Bowser's Sky Castle, during the third phase of the Bowser battle. As soon as Mario approaches Bowser in a lava-filled area of the final hallway, the Bubbles can be seen jumping up and down in the lava. When it is Bowser's turn to attack, he lifts his pointer finger in the air, and ten Lava Bubbles are sent towards Mario. They each deal two points of damage to Mario. Only the first Lava Bubble can be blocked, but Mario is helpless against the nine that follow. However, they have a weakness.
The only way to harm the Lava Bubbles is with a Thing Sticker with cold or freezing properties. An example of one such sticker is the Refrigerator. After using the Sticker, the Lava Bubbles are frozen. Using a wind Thing Sticker like the Fan make Bowser and the Lava Bubbles fly in the air. Bowser falls, and all 10 Lava Bubbles will fall on Bowser doing 10 damage each. However, more Lava Bubbles will spawn after a few turns. In this game, the Lava Bubbles more closely resemble their visual appearances in Mario platformers, as opposed to that of previous Paper Mario games.
Paper Mario: Color Splash
Lava Bubbles return in Paper Mario: Color Splash. They have three forms: a "normal" version, a black paint version known as Black Lava Bubble, and an 8-bit version, the latter of which is only shown in the course dedicated to Super Mario Bros. 3, Green Energy Plant. In Redpepper Volcano, a Snifit can be seen teaching a Fire Bro how to aim his fireballs, using a Lava Bubble as a target.
Outside battle, normal Lava Bubbles come out from lava, chase Mario and after some seconds come back to the lava if they don't make it to hit him.
Paper Mario: The Origami King
In Paper Mario: The Origami King, Paper Macho versions of Lava Bubbles appear in Hotfoot Crater during the Paper Macho Goomba chase. They fly out from the lava and bounce along the ground, creating small pools of lava that damage Mario upon contact.
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga / Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Lava Bubbles appear as obstacles in the first section of Neo Bowser Castle, where they have multiple behaviors. Some jump straight up and down as normal, but sometimes in groups of two or three at an extremely quick pace, thus necessitating either a well-timed Side Drill to go past them or a Spin Jump to go around them. Others leap in an arc over the path, though these move at a consistently slower pace.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong series
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
Mario Baseball series
In both Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers, Lava Bubbles make an appearance in the Bowser Castle stadium. They jump from the lava pits onto the outfield, creating brief fiery splashes that can burn players and make them drop the ball.
Mario Kart series
Throughout various Bowser's Castle courses in the series, Lava Bubbles appear as obstacles. They also appear as obstacles in Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, appearing on Ember Island stunning drivers that make contact with them.
Super Princess Peach
In Super Princess Peach, Bubbles (known in the glossary as Podoboos) could be encountered in Fury Volcano and Bowser's Villa, where they behave in the same manner as in previous games. There is also a blue variant that appears in Bowser's Villa. These ones hover above blue lava, and when Princess Peach approaches a torch, it slowly follows after her. Peach must lead them to the unlit torches, as lighting all of them in a room will open up certain doorways. Like Beach Koopas, Blindfold Boos, and Security Thwomps, the blue variants do not appear in the in-game glossary.
Mario Sports Mix
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
Lava Bubbles appear in the Bowser's Castle segment of Mario's Figure Skating Spectacular in Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, where the skaters jump over and past them during parts of the routine.
WarioWare: Get It Together!
Profiles and statistics
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Paper Mario series
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Super Paper Mario
Paper Mario: Color Splash
Mario Party: Star Rush
Super Mario Run
Names in other languages