Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Bros. 3 is a platform action-adventure game for the Famicom and NES and is the fourth installment in the Super Mario series. It was released for consoles in Japan on October 23, 1988, in North America on February 12, 1990, and in Europe and Australia on August 29, 1991. Prior to its North American release on the NES, Super Mario Bros. 3 was ported to the Nintendo PlayChoice-10. The first game in the series since Super Mario Bros. to not derive its gameplay from another game, Super Mario Bros. 3 retains the same level-based platformer mechanics of previous titles. These core mechanics are iterated upon, featuring greatly expanded levels, several new power-ups, new enemies and bosses, a more fleshed-out multiplayer mode, a world map, and many optional levels and secrets. The game has gone on to become one of the most influential titles for the Mario franchise, and several elements introduced in this title have since become franchise mainstays, including landscape-themed worlds, the Koopalings, airships, and Toad Houses.
The game features a unique stage play-esque aesthetic, with objects being bolted to the background or suspended by ropes, and casting drop-shadows. Additionally, the end of most levels features Mario traveling "off-stage" on a black backdrop to complete them. This led to a long-standing rumor that the game was stage play put on by the Mario cast, an idea later confirmed by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto. Some of these aesthetic choices were changed or removed in remakes of the game.
Super Mario Bros. 3 has received near-universal critical acclaim since its release, and is one of the best-selling NES and Super Mario games of all time. The game has received several re-releases on other platforms, including full remakes for the SNES compilation game Super Mario All-Stars and on the Game Boy Advance as Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3. It is also featured on all of Nintendo's Virtual Console services, as well as Nintendo Switch Online.
A cartoon adaptation of the game known as The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 started airing shortedly after release of the game. In the cartoon, King Koopa and the Koopalings attempt to take over both the real world and the Mushroom Kingdom. The series was produced by DIC Entertainment Productions in association with Nintendo.
The following text is taken directly from the instruction booklet.
Peace has returned to the Mushroom Kingdom thanks to the efforts of Mario and Luigi; however, Bowser sent his own seven children (Larry, Morton, Wendy, Iggy, Roy, Lemmy, and Ludwig) to the other countries of the Mushroom World. The Mushroom Kingdom forms a gateway to these lands, and the Koopalings have stolen the respective royal magic wands of the seven kings, using them to transform the kings into various helpless creatures. Mario and Luigi vow to go and stop the Koopalings' mischief, and change the kings back into their normal form. At the end of each world, Mario and Luigi fight one of the Koopalings, and after the match is over, retrieve the wand from the Koopaling to turn the king back to normal. While the brothers are out in their adventure, Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool and takes her to his lair in Dark Land. The brothers go to Dark Land and fight Bowser. After defeating Bowser, they save the princess and restore peace once again.
Super Mario Bros. 3 plays similarly to Super Mario Bros., with several additions. The game features a world map where the player can choose which path to take and which level to play. Toad Houses and Spade Panels are also found on the world map. Midway through each world, Mario or Luigi enter a fortress, where they fight Boom Boom. At the end of each world, they enter the world's airship, where one of the seven Koopalings is fought. After defeating the Koopaling, Mario or Luigi restores the king back to his normal state and moves onto the next world.
The first player controls Mario, while the second player controls his brother, Luigi, with the two players taking turns. New moves include picking up objects and kicking them, as well as sliding down hills, moves which have carried over in future Mario games. The Fire Flower returns in this game, where it acts as it does in Super Mario Bros., allowing Mario or Luigi to transform into their Fire forms and shoot fireballs. Several new power-ups are also introduced, including the Super Leaf, a leaf power-up that transforms Mario or Luigi into their Raccoon forms, allowing them to fly into the sky, and the Hammer Suit, which transforms the brothers into their Hammer forms, letting them throw hammers at enemies.
Another object is the Goomba's Shoe, only obtainable in World 5-3 of the game. This object allows Mario to safely hop across dangerous objects and jump on spiky enemies, such as Piranha Plants and Spinies. It is obtained from bumping a Kuribo's Goomba off a block from below. It is only found in this game and its remakes. However, since it is not a power-up, it does not overtake any previous powers the player may have had. For example, if Fire Mario mounts a Goomba's Shoe, then loses it, he will still retain his Fire form, similar to Yoshi in Super Mario World.
In international releases of this game, after players obtain a power-up that is greater than a Super Mushroom, any injury will turn them back to their Super form, like in every 2D Super Mario game after Super Mario World. In the original Japanese Famicom release, any hit reduces the player back to Small form, like in Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels and Super Mario World. Also, getting hit while in the Goomba's Shoe in the Japanese Famicom release also changes Mario into Small form, regardless of what power-up he had while in the Goomba's Shoe.
Unlike Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2, this game has a world map, a feature that has been carried over into every subsequent title in the series. Like Super Mario Bros., the game features eight total worlds spread out across eight different maps, each one featuring a different name, theme, and boss; the inclusion of thematic worlds would also be carried over into future titles in the series. In the remakes and the original NES release of this game, most of the worlds were given different names (indicated in parentheses in the table below). In Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, the world map gains interactive features. According to the Japanese manual, the map designs were deliberately modeled after that of a board game.
2 Player Game
In 2 Player Game, Mario (player one) and Luigi (player two) take turns to complete levels. After one brother completes a level or loses a life, the other brother plays. Also, if one brother picks a level that the other brother completed, they enter Battle Mode in their small forms. Whoever wins will be their turn to play the main game.
Most Battle Mode stages are similar to Mario Bros. In these stages, five enemies will emerge from the top pipes. The objective is to survive while defeating all five enemies with the one getting the most wins. Enemies to defeat are Spinies, Sidesteppers, and Fighter Flies, but defeating a Fireball does not count. Players can also indirectly kill each other by forcing the rival to collide with an enemy to gain victory. Players can also steal goal cards from each other by bumping from below, stomping, or using the POW Block. If a brother gets his third card, then he is instantly awarded extra lives in the main game equal to their combination. However, if a loose card is not grabbed before a round ends, it is lost. Any deaths incurred in the Battle Mode will not affect the player's lives in the main game.
Every fourth match is a bonus stage of which there are three types. The first bonus stage is to simply grab at least three of the five coins. The second is a stage that has a vertical pipe that shoots out Fireballs and coins. The player that collects at least three coins or survives wins. The final bonus stage has the players climbing ladders to retrieve coins under boxes, some of which are empty. All five coins must be collected with the winner being the one who obtained the most.
Super Mario All-Stars also includes a different Battle Game in the main menu for Super Mario Bros. 3.
Development for Super Mario Bros. 3 began shortly after Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was finished in the Spring of 1986. Originally, the game was developed with a bird's-eye view in mind, similar to The Legend of Zelda, where the player would be looking down at the characters from above. With jumping as one of Mario's main moves, this overhead view made it difficult to determine whether Mario was touching the ground or not, so the view was switched to the side-view used in earlier titles. However, relics of the overhead view can still be found in the final game, such as the black-and-white checkerboard seen at the title screen.
When Takashi Tezuka was designing concepts for the game, he didn't want it to be like Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels where only the levels and difficulty was changed. Instead, he wanted to rework everything, from giving Mario an improved moveset to overhauling the character sprites. Programmers also had what they called a "Map Room", which was a long, narrow meeting room where they looked at sheet papers and programmed map data all day. There were 20 to 30 people working on Super Mario Bros. 3, compared to Super Mario Bros.'s seven or eight. However, Koji Kondo was completely alone on sound design, and he claims it was difficult to come up with music to fit the genre of the game. Additional sounds were possible to use during Super Mario Bros. 3's development which weren't able to be used during Super Mario Bros.'s. The Japanese version of the game was originally planned to release in Spring of 1988, but because of the developers wanting to add so many new features, the game ended up getting pushed back another six months.
The hard part of creating a video game with old characters is making the old characters seem fresh and new. In many ways, Super Mario Bros. 3 revived the series and brought many new young and old fans back to the adventures of the Mario Bros. The game also appeared in the 1989 movie The Wizard as a way to advertise it; this also marked the first time that a Mario game was advertised in a movie.
Remakes and ports
Super Mario Bros. 3 was later remade and included in Super Mario All-Stars, with updated graphics and sound for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and with further minor upgrades in the re-issue, Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World, and the game's eventual port to the Wii as Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition. A notable addition to the All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. 3 was a save feature which allow players to save the progress and continue the world where they left off. Additionally, there's a Battle Game feature in the title screen that works differently from the ones featured from the maps in the 2-Player Game Mode. Other than that, retaining some localization changes and certain glitches fixed, gameplay was not altered.
The original game is also one of the 30 titles included in the NES Classic Edition and Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer, and was made available as one of the 20 NES titles with added online play at the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service's launch in September 2018. It later received a special version on July 28, 2021, known as Super Mario Bros. 3: Mario, the quick-change artist!, where the player would start on World 8 with 35 lives and the inventory full of every power-up in the game.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Bros. 3 was ported to the Game Boy Advance handheld system as the fourth and final installation in the Super Mario Advance series, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3. It used the same graphics and sounds as the Super Mario All-Stars version, and also incorporated the use of the e-Reader: by scanning in certain cards, players could unlock new items and levels, including content originally from the other classic Mario platformers.
The game has received critical acclaim and is considered to be one of the greatest games of all time. IGN placed it at the number one spot of their top 100 NES games of all time list.
id Software's attempted PC port
PC developer id Software sent to Nintendo a demo of a PC port of the game, with the intent being to gain authorization to make an official port. The demo reached the Nintendo of Japan management (including Shigeru Miyamoto), who were impressed by the port's quality. However, Nintendo declined to greenlight an official PC version of the game as the company had no plan to release its products outside their own platform.
The pitch followed a tech demo named Dangerous Dave in "Copyright Infringement", which was a playable recreation of World 1-1 with Mario's sprite being replaced with that of the titular character. Dangerous Dave was notable for featuring smooth scrolling, something unheard for PC games of the time. With a distribution deal with Scott Miller of Apogee Software, Ltd., "Copyright Infringement" id developers John Romero and John Carmack along with Tom Hall (who originally had the idea) later used the engine they had developed to create the Commander Keen series, a series of shareware platform games for MS-DOS.
On December 14, 2015, John Romero uploaded gameplay footage of the port on the video-sharing website Vimeo.
References to other games
References in later games
There are four known versions of Super Mario Bros. 3 released for Family Computer and Nintendo Entertainment System: the original Japanese version, the North American PRG0 and PRG1 versions (NES cartridges will display
Level design changes
PAL version changes
Pre-release and unused content
One of the early ideas was a power-up to turn Mario into a Centaur (half-man, half-horse), although this was rejected before being implemented into the game. (Tilden 1990, 21)
Names in other languages
Super Mario Bros. 3: Mario, the quick-change artist!