Super Mario Brothers 3, alternately known as Mario 3 or SMB3, is arguably the best Game in the series. Produced by game design mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto, SMB3 melded the lessons of the two true previous games* in the series, and added upon them.

With the best level design in the series, with a then-innovative map-screen interface that allowed for inventory, to the range of colorful and iconic power-ups that so trapped the minds of many at the end of the 80's, SMB3 had it all. The game control was superb, and as is Miyamoto's hallmark, replay value was high with both incredible amounts of secrets per level, and an inclusion of the original Mario Bros. Game (from before they were 'super' ;) for the two-player option.

Truly one of the best. The Super Nintendo versions, although good, seemed to expand laterally upon the concepts introduced in SMB3, instead of the massive jump from SMB2 to 3.

And besides, Yoshi had nothing on the Koopa Clan that never saw light of day in its unabridged format again.

*you should probably hear The Truth Behind the Super Mario Series in America

Super Mario 3's main attraction was in the special suits you could get. Well, maybe people liked the different bosses, and the wands, and the inventory system... or whatever. Personally, runner up number 1 is the fourth "giant" world. Wholesome goodness is what I liken it to.

The Tanooki Suit

Turns Mario into a tanuki (spelling of tanuki fixed by asterphage), which is some crazy mythical character. Mario now has a full racoon looking suit on, the only real benefits of which are:

  1. Looking cute and fuzzy
  2. Turning to stone for up to five seconds

The Frog Suit

This suit allowed you to swim in the water very well. Walking on land made you into a total goon, although you could jump really high. The best part was beating a level with it, because Mario bounces off at super high speed, like he's on some controlled substance or something.

The Hammer Bros. Suit

Be a hammer brother. Kick ass. Take names. By far, my favorite suit, you get to throw hammers, you can reflect fire off your shiny, ducking backside, and you look a lot different than any other incarnation of Mario (except for the Tanooki's special power of, 'turn into a stone statue of an old cylindrical guy'). Fun indeed.

The Big Payoff

Okay, the best part about these suits was that if you could manage to beat a world with one of them on, the king of the castle would give you a different 'thank you' message. He'd express concern for the frog, and ask if you'd like be changed back. I believe "Thank you Mr. Racoon" is what the Tanooki got, and the Hammer suit takes the cake with a phrase that's something like, "Hey, nice clothes. How about lending them to me. No dice? What a drag."

Honestly... borrowing the clothes of a sweaty Italian plumber... It doesn't get any better than that.

Members of the turtle tribe
information from the NES Super Mario Bros. 3 instruction booklet

Boss of World 8, Dark Land

Bowser's kids

Larry Koopa
Boss of World 1, Grass Land

Morton Koopa Jr.
Boss of World 2, Desert Land

Wendy O. Koopa
Boss of World 3, Water Land

Iggy Koopa
Boss of World 4, Giant Land

Roy Koopa
Boss of World 5, Sky Land

Lemmy Koopa
Boss of World 6, Ice Land

Ludwig Von Koopa
Boss of World 7, Pipe Land

Enemies above ground

A new flying version of an old familiar enemy. Once you jump on it, it loses its wings.

These are Para-Goomba's children that will cling to Mario. Pressing the A Button rapidly is the only way to get them off of Mario.

Mario can ride on top of these flying beetles.

A moving chain of fireballs that can pass through many things to get to Mario.

Fire Chomp
A black ball followed by a chain of fire that shoots fireballs at Mario. Look out! They can explode!

Chain Chomp
Although tied to a block by a chain, Chain Chomp is quite a tough enemy. Only invincible Mario is able to defeat him.

Enemies in the Water

Bloober with kids
Bloober swims underwater with its children. It has a relative, the Scattering Bloober, whose children scatter in all directions.

Swimming in the sea, this thorny fish will try to block Mario's path.

This electric jellyfish may sit still anywhere in the sea to get in Mario's way. They are invincible!

Lava Lotus
An artificial flower that grows and blooms deep in the sea. Look out for the lava balls that it will release.

Enemies underground

Buzzy Beetle
He's back again. This time he can walk on the ceiling.

Spike is usually easy going. But once he sees Mario he starts throwing spiked balls at him. Spike occasionally appears above ground too.

As long as he's walking, Bob-omb seems cute. Be very careful when he starts to flash. He will explode destroying everything around him.

Enemy in an Airship

Rocky Wrench
Rocky is a turtle who kind of looks like a mole. He will suddenly appear and start to throw wrenches at Mario.

Enemies in the Fortress

If Mario comes close, Thwomp will try to crush him. Since Thwomp is covered with thorns, Mario can't touch him.

Spins around making maneuvers difficult for Mario.

"Boo" Diddly
Boo is too shy to look anyone in the face. But when you turn around...

Hot Foot
Usually, Hot Foot stays on a burning candle. If Mario gets close, Hot Foot will start to chase him.

Dry Bones
A mummified turtle? No matter how many times you jump on it, it'll come back to life.

A ghost that hides under the floor waiting for anyone to come along.

The Boss of the Mini-Fortresses

Boom Boom
This is the boss that controls the Mini-Fortresses. Boom Boom hurls himself at Mario with his arms swinging. Mario needs to jump on Boom Boom 3 times to defeat him. Be careful though, Boom Boom gets quicker every time he gets jumped on.

The Pirana Plants

Venus Fire Trap
This pirana plant emits fireballs. They come in different sizes and are very dangerous.

These flowers blow out spiked balls from their mouths. There are walking ones as well as ones that live in pipes.

Walking Piranas
These small flowers jump up when Mario gets close. Some of them can move around.

Munchers wait quietly for Mario. They are invincible, no attacks can hurt them.

Hammer Brothers

Boomerang Brothers
They have boomerangs instead of hammers. They can throw two boomerangs at once.

Fire Brothers
These guys shoot balls of fire at Mario.

Sledge Brothers
The Sledge Brothers shake the earth when they jump. They also throw hammers. Try to jump up when the Sledge Brothers hit the ground. If you don't, Mario will lose his footing.
According to David Sheff's book Game Over, Super Mario Bros. 3 sold 7 million copies in USA, 4 million in Japan and 3 million in Europe, making it the most popular NES/Famicom game that wasn't packed in with the console.

How to jump from World 1 to World 8

A warp whistle is in World 1-3. Get it by jumping on the last big white block in the level, holding down until you fall through it into the background, and running to the end of the level before you return to the foreground. Instead of touching the card box, you'll go to Toad's House and get a whistle. Don't use it yet.

Another is in the first Mini Fortress. Get it by getting the Racoon Leaf at the end of the first room, don't go in the door, then fly around and above the ceiling. The camera won't follow you up but you can keep rising, and eventually you'll land on top of the ceiling. Walk right until you hit a wall, then push up into a door, then you'll get another whistle and skip the boss.

Once you have both whistles, use one, then you'll land in the Warp Zone with pipes 2, 3 and 4 beside you. Instead of entering them, use the remaining whistle to go to pipe 8.

Have fun in world 8! You won't have many lives or power ups, but you sure have saved a lot of time!
Super Mario Brothers 3 was released in 1990 by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES. It is often just referred to SMB3.


Super Mario Brothers 3 is a sprite-based game. The graphics of the game were nice because every world was unique in background and elements. The entire game was beautiful at the time. There are slight graphical errors where the edge of the screen looked like the other edge of the screen, but it is a minor annoyance only on a couple levels. In addition there was rarely an error where a box would be copied over in green, unable to be touched, but looked like it was real. The sprites are higher quality of the old games, especially the 4th world, called "Giant World", which has large enemies (the goomba is twice the size of Mario).


The music of the game is quite similar to the original Super Mario Brothers game, there is not a lot of variety but it has a playful quality the original didn't seem to have, similar to the game itself. The sound of the stomping of enemies creates a squashed sound that is one of the identifiable sounds of Mario. The sound of the game continues the feeling of playful game play but memorable noises.


The story of the game is simple. As written in the instruction booklet...

The Mushroom Kingdom has been a peaceful place thanks to the brave deeds of Mario and Luigi. The Mushroom Kingdom forms an entrance to the Mushroom World where all is not well. Bowser has sent his 7 children to make mischief as they please in the normally peaceful Mushroom World. They stole the royal magic wands from each country in the Mushroom World and used them to turn their kings into animals. Mario and Luigi must recover the royal magic wands from Bowser's 7 kids and return the kings to their true forms. "Goodbye and good luck!," said the Princess and Toad as Mario and Luigi set off on their journey deep into the Mushroom World.

The surprise is of course after the 7 kings are changed back, the Princess is kidnapped by Bowser and Mario must free her on the 8th world.


The gameplay of Super Mario Brothers should be noted that it is a completely separate gameplay then in the original two games. The gameplay changed a large amount of stuff that makes the gameplay in Super Mario Brothers 3 almost perfect.

To start with, this is one of the hardest games for the NES for the first play through. It also is extremely hard because the game is long and has no save states, something sorely missing from the "next generation" console games of today.

There are 8 worlds in SMB3. They are...

  1. Grass Land - The starting level. Many hills, grass, and simple levels, don't think the game stays that easy for long.
  2. Desert Land - The desert with small amounts of water, and many fiery enemies, including the Sun. Some levels also includes quicksand traps.
  3. Water Land - Venice in SMB3. The entire level is flooded with Big Bertha on half the levels, and the rest under water. Many players believe this it is one of the hardest levels.
  4. Giant Land - A personal favorite level. The monsters and blocks are all enormous, almost twice the size of Super Mario.
  5. Sky Land - One of the best-designed maps. The warp tube is actually a full stage in itself. Of course the Super Leaf helps a lot here.
  6. Ice Land - Beware almost all platforms in this level are iced to let you slip and slide all around this level. It also has one of the only Hammer Bros. Suit. The Fire Flower is essential here.
  7. Pipe Land - The maze level, so many pipes and too many of them work in the wrong way. Beware of the piranhas.
  8. Dark Land - The final world, there is many stages, and most of them are hard. There are a lot of tricks, traps and almost every stage has a boss.

Level Design

What would a Mario game be with out the unique levels. In Super Mario Brothers 3, there are the normal side-scrolling levels of Super Mario Brothers though they also can go up and down with out having to change screens. The flying in the game is allows a nice aspect as most of the levels are two screens tall and hide items in the upper screens. Flying allows Mario an easy way to explore "anywhere". Along with side-scrolling stages there are auto-scrolling levels that you must stay in the screen without getting squished by a wall and the edge of the screen or dropping off the bottom. They do get complicated and become harder because of the speed of the scroll.

There are also Fortress buildings that require Mario or Luigi to navigate a Fortress and then gain a key to open a lock on the map. Later on Level 8 there is also Boat and Tank levels that are similar to the auto-scrolling stages. The boat levels are in water where you must dodge cannons and weapons. The Tank levels are also moving levels that contain has many tanks with large cannons, and a couple huge cannons. Splattered through the entire game are Hammer Brothers stages on every world excluding the final world. In the stages Mario must fight the hammer brothers, though they are extremely fast for stages there is more of them then any other type of stage.

There is also the Boss stage of each world that is an airship that the player must complete. The ship flies and is similar to the boat stage except that there is no water, falling off is instant death. The ships are short but can get challenging later on. Most of them are just to avoid the Bullets Bills and cannonballs.

Finally there is the castle of Bowser, which is a hard stage to beat but not too difficult except for all the traps which are quite nice. There is also a final puzzle in the stage.

In addition to the stages of the game, there are a couple bonuses. The first is the Mushroom house that will give you one item or suit. Also there is the spade will give up to 5 one-ups if you line up the three rows into a mushroom, flower, or star. There is also popup bonuses like the game to flip over cards to get extra bonuses. After the regular stages in Super Mario Brothers 3, to end the stage there is a card that Mario must get. After three stages Mario receives a bonus. If Mario gets three unmatched cards, he receives a 1-up. If he get three mushrooms, Mario gains 2 one-ups. If there is three fire flower, Mario receives 3 one-ups. If Mario is lucky or skillful enough to get 3 Starmen on his cards, Mario receives the big bonus of 5 one-ups.


Mario has many forms each of them with there own special abilities.
  • Regular Mario is half the size of the other Marios and more vulnerable. A single hit can kill regular Mario, but he doesn't need to duck ever.
  • With a super mushroom, Mario turns into Super Mario. Super Mario is the large version of Regular Mario. He is twice as large as him and can break bricks but hitting them with his head or hand, (which one has never been revealed). A single hit will return him to Regular Mario form. Any advanced form of Mario will change back to Super Mario with a single hit.
  • With a simple leaf, Mario will turn into Raccoon Mario, which is one of the most popular forms of Mario. With a simple tail on him that allows him to fly when he reaches his the P on his meter. He is also able to spin around and kill many enemies with a simple swat of his tail.
  • With a fire flower, Mario turns into Fire Mario. Fire Mario is the same as the original Super Mario Brothers. He is able to shoot fireballs at the enemies. The fireballs will kill most of Mario's enemies.
  • With a Frog suit item, Mario will turn into Frog Mario. Frog Mario can swim with out a problem, just moving in the direction and kicking instead of having to kick just to stay in the same position. Mario also can jump very high in this suit but can't move on dry land easily.
  • With a "Tanooki" suit item, Mario will turn into Tanuki Mario. Tanuki Mario looks like a raccoon. The Tanuki form is similar to Raccoon Mario, but when hitting Down and B, the Tanuki will turn into an invincible statue for 5 seconds.
  • With a Hammer Brothers Suit, Mario will turn into Hammer Mario. Hammer Mario will be able to throw hammers at enemies and also able to duck and be almost completely invincible.

The suits all are different and fun to use, The leaf is the most common suit, other then the Super Mushroom if you are small.


SMB3 has a large amount of items besides the suits. There is

  • Coins - 100 coins will give Mario a free life known as a 1 up.
  • Star Man - Will make Mario invincible for a little while. Any monster that touches him will die, but lava and pits are still dangerous.
  • Green Mushrooms - The old 1-up will give Mario another chance to beat a difficult level.
  • P-Wing - The P-wing will make Mario in Raccoon Mario and give him infinite fly for one level. After the level Mario will retain his Raccoon form, but no longer have infinite flying. If Mario takes a hit in the level the Power meter will also become normal again as Mario changes to Super Mario.
  • Anchor - This is a special item that will stop the airship from moving if you lose against it or the boss.
  • Music Box - Hammer brothers and Piranha Plants will faint when they hear the Music Box.
  • Jugem's Cloud - This item will allow you to skip a level but if you fail to beat the new level you will still have to play the skipped level.
  • Hammer - This item will allow you to open new pathways or get to hidden mushroom houses. These items aren’t important but could help pass a hard stage.
  • Warp Whistle - the warp whistle allows Mario to warp to another level with a simple toot on the whistle, useful but not necessary.
  • Kuribo's shoe - a special in-level item only. If the goomba wearing Kuribo's shoe is knocked out from beneath, Mario or Luigi can grab the shoe and walk on anything. It is destroyed if Mario or Luigi takes a hit.


SMB3 has one of the longest lists of monsters for a NES game. There are at least 56 monsters in the game. Some of the categories of monsters are

Over all the game makes it so there is many, many, creatures and they are always different guys to kill on each level.


The most common mini-boss is BoomBoom who inhabits all the castles. He is a simple boss to beat if timed correctly, though he learns how to fly later in the game.

The bosses of the levels are as follows.

  1. Grass Land - Larry Koopa - A simple boss to start the game.
  2. Desert Land - Morton Koopa Jr. - Another simple boss, the only difference is the terrain that you fight on.
  3. Water Land - Wendy O. Koopa - The hardest Koopa kid. She shoots rings at Mario that are hard to avoid and can jump extremely high after two attacks.
  4. Giant Land - Iggy Koopa - All he can do is jumping high after the second successful attack. Over all Just another simple brother but he is fast.
  5. Sky Land - Roy Koopa - Roy is one of the biggest eaters of the Koopa Clan. Unfortunately his weight is noticeable when he jumps. He creates earthquakes that should be avoided.
  6. Ice Land - Lemmy Koopa - Lemmy is similar to Wendy O. Koopa's ability to shoot stuff, but luckily all he can shoot is balls. Balls can be jumped on to help you, but they are still dangerous.
  7. Pipe Land - Ludwig Van Koopa - Another big eater of the Koopa Clan. He creates earthquakes just like Roy. Some consider him the hardest, but he can be easily beaten if the player times it right.
  8. Dark Land - Bowser - The Big poppa of the Koopas. He is as mean as always. He does breath two fireballs and then hits the ground with his butt. The way to win is just let him crush the ground to let him fall through the bottom.

The bosses are different, and a sometimes hard and almost always fun to fight.

Tips and Tricks

Super Mario Brothers 3 has many secrets. The lists are enormous of stuff to do in each level. There are a couple of interesting tricks that are easy to find.

Starman cards

At the end of a level if Mario is running full force and hits the bottom left corner of the card, he receives a starman card.

Infinite 1-ups

There is actually 3 methods to gaining all the 1-ups you require to beating Super Mario Brothers 3.

  • Find a Koopa shell and bounce it against two bricks, then move off in a way to keep spawning enemies for it to hit, there is a site to achieve this trick in 3-4 and 3-9
  • Raccoon Mario can get all the life he wants in 1-2 and World 2's fortress. The 1-2 will require you to go to the spawning pipe where the Goomba's come out and to keep floating around. The World 2 fortress requires you to just fly and keep killing the Drybones where there are three together.
  • There are stages where someone can get more then 100 coins or more then one 1-up per level. What can be done is that you collect the 1-ups or coins, then suicide and collect them again and again.


After every 80,000 points there is a spade that will allow you to play a card game, there is only 8 card set ups and they never change until they are completely finished.

White Houses

One level in every world but World 8 will let the player get a special item after completing the level if enough coins are grabbed. The required coins are...

  • 1-4 requires 44 coins
  • 2-2 requires 30 coins
  • 3-8 requires 44 coins
  • 4-2 requires 22 coins
  • 5-5 requires 28 coins
  • 6-7 requires 78 coins
  • 7-2 requires 46 coins

In the even number worlds, the prize is an Anchor. In the odd number worlds, the prize is a P-Wing.

Treasure Ships

When the player is in a World 1, 3, 5, or 6 there is a way to visit treasure ships. During any stage, if at the end of a level the coins that you have is a multiple of 11 and the multiple is also the same as the tens digit of your score and the timer is on a even second when it stops the Hammer Brother turns into a treasure ship. The Treasure ship has a large amount of coins and a small item to thank the player for hitting the three conditions.

Warp Whistle

There is 3 magic whistles in SMB3. They are attainable by

  • The first whistle is attainable in 1-3 where if the player holds down on the last white block for about 6 seconds then runs for the goal and goes behind the black, there is a secret house that will give a warp whistle.
  • The second whistle is in the first fortress. before the first door, if the character is a Raccoon, they can fly up above the door and walk to the right and gain a second whistle.
  • The third and final whistle is in the map of World 2. In the upper right corner there is a brick that can be broken by a hammer, and behind it is a hammer brother with a whistle and a frog suit.

The whistles will take the player to World 9, Warp Zone, and allow the player to choose a world. Then if the player so desires he can use another whistle and go straight to world 8's warp.

Thank you Mr. Raccoon?

If Mario kills a boss in the Frog suit, a Tanuki suit or a Hammer Brothers suit the king will greet him differently.

Flameless Bowser

IF you use a P-wing you can fly over the Bowser's lair to get to an easier version of Bowser with out his flame breath.

28 P-Wings

After completing the game, the player can start a new game with 28 P-Wings.


Super Mario Brothers 3 game was shown in the movie The Wizard. The Wizard was about a game player, and in the movie, the competition was the first time anyone saw Super Mario Brothers 3.

In addition Super Mario Brothers 3 is an amazing game that is extremely hard to beat, it is one of the hardest NES games, and far harder then any game now as there is no save function in it. The ultimate challenge of Super Mario Brothers 3 is to play the entire game in one sitting with out using any P-wings, completing every level. My friend and me sat and did it in 6 hours to disprove his remark that "The game could not be beaten."

In 1994 there was a re-released version of all the Super Mario Brothers games including the real Super Mario Brothers 2 that was not released in America. The game was called Super Mario All-Star. There are minor differences between the two versions, especially the fact that the All-Star version could save, and thus defeated the difficulty.

Almost all this information was collected by me and my friend while playing the game, along with all the gaming magazines and other nerdy sources we have read over the years.

Some information was gained from FAQs from

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