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For fighter info, see Bowser (SSBM), Bowser (SSBB), Bowser (SSB4), and Bowser (SSBU). For the smasher, see King Koopa.

Official artwork of Bowser from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.

Universe Mario
Debut Super Mario Bros. (1985)
Smash Bros. appearances Melee
Most recent non-Smash appearance Mario Party Superstars (2021)
Console/platform of origin Nintendo Entertainment System
Species Koopa
Gender Male
Place of origin Koopa Kingdom[1] (birthplace)
Bowser's Castle (surrogate home)
Created by Shigeru Miyamoto
Article on Super Mario Wiki Bowser

Bowser (クッパ, Koopa), is the supreme leader of the Koopa Troop, and King of the Koopas. He is the main antagonist of the Mario series. Since his debut in the world-famous Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System as the archenemy of main hero Mario, Bowser is easily one of the most recognizable of all villain figures in the video game industry. He has therefore appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. 4, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the Super Smash Bros. series as a playable fighter, and due to his size and strength, Giga Bowser (a gargantuan, power up version of said character) also appears in Melee as the final boss of Adventure Mode and as his Final Smash in Brawl, SSB4, and Ultimate.


Bowser, as he appears in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. His appearance since this game (designed by Yoichi Kotabe) inspired his look in Melee.

Bowser was introduced in the seminal Super Mario Bros. for the NES, with most of his traditional character traits introduced along with it: his storyline role as a comically monstrous villain who always goes out of his way to kidnap the Mushroom Kingdom's Princess Peach, his gameplay role as a boss enemy for Mario to defeat, his fire-breathing abilities, his immeasurable army of henchmen such as mushroom-headed Goombas and turtle-like Koopa Troopas, and so on.

Super Mario Bros. holds the Guinness World Record for best-selling video game at 40 million copies, essentially guaranteeing worldwide fame for all characters who appeared in the game, Bowser included. He has appeared in some form in almost every Mario game to date, along with additional members of his "family": his only child, Bowser Jr., and his subordinates, the seven Koopalings. He also has a helper named Kamek, who has raised him since birth and serves as his mentor and father figure.

Bowser is a heavyset, chimeric, reptilian creature who combines traits of various real and mythological animals. Like his Koopa Troopa underlings, he features elements of a turtle or tortoise (albeit with qualities of a fire-breathing dragon or dinosaur) with his spike-covered shell and tail. He also has the facial structure and horns of an ox, as well as a very distinctively-constructed face and red hair arranged like a mohawk, both very unlike a typical Koopa Troopa. Though he is commonly thought of as a turtle-like being, the games indicate that he is intended to be a more generic representation of a "monster".

At times, Bowser is depicted in vastly different sizes, somewhat resembling Mario's tendency to grow or shrink in size during games starring him; he is a colossus in his appearance as the final boss of Super Mario Sunshine, while in other appearances, he is only slightly larger than the average person. Generally, his size is reduced for spin-off titles, and increased for games where his role as a major antagonist is emphasized.

Bowser is the primary villain in many Mario platformers, and therefore he is usually not playable. Bowser has appeared as a playable character, however, in several Mario spinoffs nonetheless, such as in the Mario Kart series. Whereas Mario is consistently the most balanced character in the roster of any competitive Mario spin-off, Bowser traditionally fits the "big, slow, and strong" archetype to the extreme. In these games, Bowser is typically classified as a "power" type, who performs relevant actions with more strength but less speed than others. This archetype is faithfully preserved in Bowser's appearance as a playable fighter in both Melee and Brawl.

In contrast, Bowser's actual agility greatly varies in each of his appearances; as another example, Bowser features the highest top speed and heaviest weight of the racers in the Mario Kart games, offset by low acceleration and handling abilities. This aspect of his character is more represented in SSB4 and Ultimate, which feature him with a more active and athletic moveset.

Bowser remains part of the regular cast in the Super Mario series of video games, though his level of menace has fluctuated throughout his various game appearances. In many spin-offs, Bowser is on seemingly good terms with the other Mario characters in competitive scenarios like sports and kart racing, and has even allied himself with the protagonists of some games (albeit typically to serve his own purposes). In particular, some of the RPG titles feature Bowser as a playable party member, to the point of being a central protagonist in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. When in antagonistic roles, Bowser has occasionally been depicted as bumbling, comical, and slightly incompetent. He works hard to come across as "bad" in spite of this, and has been doing so from a young age, as seen in the Yoshi's Island series.

Most current Mario games return Bowser to his previous status of a legitimate threat, as can be seen in the transition from Super Mario Sunshine to Super Mario Galaxy, and his character development throughout the Mario & Luigi RPG subseries. In these appearances, the Koopa King is more cunning and sinister than his brutish appearance would suggest, but still boisterous and somewhat whimsical. Additionally, ever since the introduction of Bowser Jr. in Sunshine, one of Bowser's defining traits has been his love and support for his son (regardless of how evil or competent either of them may be).

In Super Smash Bros.[edit]

Bowser does not appear in the original Super Smash Bros. in any way. However, according to Masahiro Sakurai on Smabura-Ken (the Japanese Super Smash Bros. site), Bowser was planned to be included as a playable character, before being cut for space/time constraints.[2][3] Shigeru Miyamoto even listed Bowser among the playable characters in a Nintendo Power Source interview in 1998, during development of the game.[4] In the end, Bowser would end up being completely scrapped.[5] This was mostly a result of the Nintendo 64's hardware limitations, as well as time constraints.[citation needed]

In an official poll held on Smabura-Ken regarding characters for a potential sequel, Bowser placed first with 169 votes.[3]

In Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Bowser (SSBM)
A Japanese image of Bowser, as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Bowser makes his Smash Bros. series debut as a default playable character in the GameCube entry, and is depicted as staying true to his archetype in normal competitive Mario games: he is among the heaviest and strongest characters in the game, but also among the most sluggish. Like Mario and Luigi, his appearance is based on his appearance in Nintendo 64-era artwork, except he has a noticeably more muscular frame and darker skin tones.

Bowser's neutral special move is Fire Breath, a continuous stream of fire breathed from his mouth into the area in front of him for several seconds until it weakens in power and size. His side special move, the Koopa Klaw, can be a good-range claw swipe attack, but can also grab onto enemies that are very close to him, and the move has the unique ability to grab onto enemies when both fighters are in midair. His up special move, the Whirling Fortress, is a third jump consisting of him withdrawing into his damaging spiked shell which is now spinning wildly upwards, and his down special move, the Bowser Bomb, causes a midair Bowser to crash down to earth vertically with great force. If Bowser is on the ground when doing this, he will leap up and in front of him diagonally before performing the crashing down maneuver.

Bowser's archetype does not translate well in the fast-paced metagame in Super Smash Bros. Melee. His powerful, damaging attacks with average range are good only when it manages to connect with opponents, for they have large amounts of startup and endlag, and such flaws detriments his combat capabilities. His dash speed is slow, his jumping and landing animations are very laggy, and his wavedash is very slow and nearly useless. He is also not able to reliably combo opponents, and his great size renders him combo fodder against the vast majority of the cast. Bowser players must therefore be able to read their opponents extremely well and must successfully pressure their opponents in battle, and make use of his good edge-guarding game, to even have a chance at competitive play, though even an expert Bowser player will be severely disadvantaged against a regular Fox player. As a result, his humongous deficiencies have resulted in him placing 26th out of 26 characters in the F tier at the very bottom of the tier list.


Bowser is a playable character, so he is featured on three trophies that can be obtained by beating each Regular Match with him on any difficulty. His first trophy is earned by defeating the Classic mode as him on any difficulty, his second from the Adventure mode, and his third from the All-Star mode. There is also a trophy of Bowser at a younger age, "Baby Bowser", who is often confused with his son Bowser Jr..

Bowser's Classic trophy plays a large, symbolic role in Melee's "story", so to speak; the trophy is shown near the end of the opening FMV, getting struck by lightning. At the end of Adventure mode, after Bowser, the trophy is seen plummeting into the darkness. If the right conditions are fulfilled, however, the trophy will rise back up onto the stage, land, and get struck by that special lightning, which will cause it to break apart and reveal Giga Bowser breaking out of it, and the Giga Bowser battle begins. If Giga Bowser is defeated, the trophy will be seen plummeting into the darkness again, where it will now shatter like a little firework, signifying the player's ultimate victory.

Bowser's normal trophies read as follows:

Bowser has a long history of kidnapping Peach to lure his nemesis, Mario, into traps. He leads an enormous group of mischievous creatures, not the least of which are his seven children. With outrageous strength, flammable breath, and more spikes than you can shake a Star Rod at, Bowser is a constant threat.
  • Super Mario Bros., 10/85 (NES)
Bowser [Smash Red]
In many ways, Bowser is the toughest character around. Not only does he have near-impervious hide, but his great mass makes him almost impossible to hurl offscreen. Of course, his weight also makes him rather slow to maneuver, so when facing him in battle, it's best to press your attack and not give him a chance to counter.
  • B: Fire Breath
  • Smash B: Koopa Klaw
Bowser [Smash Blue]
Bowser's Fire Breath strikes continually, but it grows gradually smaller over time until it's barely smoldering. The Koopa Klaw rakes enemies at a distance and pulls nearby foes in close for a good gnawing. Bowser's Whirling Fortress moves laterally over the ground; it works in midair as a recovery. The Bowser Bomb is powerful and paves the way for more attacks.
  • Up & B: Whirling Fortress
  • Down & B: Bowser Bomb
Baby Bowser
Even as a youngster, Baby Bowser was already playing pranks and causing trouble for Baby Mario and his pal Yoshi. Even at this early age of his evil career, Baby Bowser had tons of henchmen at his disposal. Many experts speculate that Mario and Bowser have some sort of connection that can be traced back to their mutual births.
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, 10/95 (SNES)

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Bowser (SSBB)
Bowser, as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Bowser is another returning playable character in Brawl, but with an updated look with more realistic textures, though with a design more akin to the Mario series rather than his more muscular appearance in Melee. All but one of his special moves from Melee return in Brawl-- his side special move, Koopa Klaw, has been replaced with a new move called Flying Slam. His appearance is based on his current appearance in the later Mario games, starting with Super Mario Sunshine. As Masahiro Sakurai previously mentioned on the Smash Bros. DOJO!! website, Bowser now comes in a "slightly different flavor this time around", like all the other characters; this can be taken as indication of Sakurai's claim that Brawl was designed with balance in mind.

Bowser's moveset and running speed are slightly faster than in Melee. His forward smash now has a chance to hit twice, once for the head, and again for his body, doing anywhere from 36 to 48 percent damage, and being by far the most damaging smash attack in the game. While he has been buffed from Melee, Bowser still retains a multitude of gaping flaws, rendering him to still be a bottom-tier character with meager tournament results in Brawl, ranking 33rd on the current tier list.


The king of the Koopas and Mario's eternal rival. He breathes fire, hurls hammers, attacks from vehicles like the Koopa Clown Car, and uses all sorts of weapons in hopes of taking out Mario. As his size suggests, he's immensely powerful. His son Bowser Jr. is a chip off the old block who spends his time creating trouble for Mario.
NES: Super Mario Bros.
GameCube: Super Mario Sunshine
Paper Bowser
The great king of the Koopas who plots to rule the land with a firm fist. In a change of events, Bowser goes from being Mario's rival to adventuring side by side with him. Bowser's special skill is breathing fire and he has nearly twice the attack power of Mario or Peach, which allows him to take out foes from a distance or multiple enemies with a single blow.
Wii: Super Paper Mario
Wedding Bowser
The great Koopa king in a sharp, white tuxedo. Bowser is forced into marriage with Princess Peach by Count Bleck, who plots to wipe out the universe with the Chaos Heart. Although it's all part of Count Bleck's plan, Bowser doesn't seem to be displeased with the prospect. This might just be the last time we ever see Bowser in a tuxedo.
Wii: Super Paper Mario


Name Game Effect Characters
Bowser Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix AttackThrowing+020TypeIcon(Throwing).png Attack +20 Mario Luigi Peach Bowser YoshiMarioHeadSSBB.pngLuigiHeadSSBB.pngPeachHeadSSBB.pngBowserHeadSSBB.pngYoshiHeadSSBB.png
Bowser Mario Kart 64 AttackWeapon+013TypeIcon(Weapon).png Attack +13 Mario Luigi Peach Bowser YoshiMarioHeadSSBB.pngLuigiHeadSSBB.pngPeachHeadSSBB.pngBowserHeadSSBB.pngYoshiHeadSSBB.png
Bowser Mario Power Tennis AttackDarkness+021EffectIcon(Darkness).png Attack +21 GanondorfGanondorfHeadSSBB.png
Bowser Super Paper Mario AttackArm+023TypeIcon(Hand).png Attack +23 Mario Luigi Peach Bowser YoshiMarioHeadSSBB.pngLuigiHeadSSBB.pngPeachHeadSSBB.pngBowserHeadSSBB.pngYoshiHeadSSBB.png
Super Mario Bros. Super Mario Bros. AttackArmLeg+015TypeIcon(Hand).pngTypeIcon(Foot).png Attack +15 Mario Yoshi Luigi Bowser PeachMarioHeadSSBB.pngYoshiHeadSSBB.pngLuigiHeadSSBB.pngBowserHeadSSBB.pngPeachHeadSSBB.png
Brawl Sticker Bowser (DDR Mario Mix).png
(DDR: Mario Mix)
Brawl Sticker Bowser (Mario Kart 64).png
(Mario Kart 64)
Brawl Sticker Bowser (Mario Power Tennis).png
(Mario Power Tennis)
Brawl Sticker Bowser (Super Paper Mario).png
(Super Paper Mario)
Brawl Sticker Super Mario Bros..png
Super Mario Bros.

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Bowser (SSB4)
Bowser as he appears in Super Smash Bros. 4.

Bowser returns as a playable character in SSB4, with a more upright posture and increased mobility. Like Mario, Luigi and Peach, his design is based on his appearance from recent Mario games, such as Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8.

Bowser ranks 24th out of 55 characters on the tier list. He has been considerably buffed from Brawl to Smash 4, having been granted increased speed and faster attacks. The general changes to Smash 4 improve Bowser further, as he no longer has to contend with the likes of chain-grabbing, and the new rage mechanic brings more benefit to his great survivability. Unfortunately, he still suffers from combos and a lack of defensive options, courtesy of his large size and high weight. Such benefits resulted in him having stronger tournament presence and a larger playerbase.


Ntsc Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS The archenemy of Mario and the reason Peach spends more time kidnapped than in her own castle. His plans aren't always the best, and occasionally he even finds himself on Mario's side. In Smash Bros., he's a serious heavyweight who laughs off weaker attacks. Hit him hard to send him flying!
Ntsc Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Mario's archnemesis and the reason Peach spends more time in "another castle" than in her own. His plans almost never work out, and occasionally he even finds himself on Mario's side. In Smash Bros., he's a serious heavyweight who laughs off weaker attacks. Hit him hard to send him flying!
Pal Mario's princess-kidnapping arch-enemy. Yes, he's quite the villain, but he can also be a bit of a buffoon, too. And sometimes, he even ends up on Mario's side! As a serious heavyweight, he's tough to launch, and using standard attacks on him will only make him laugh. If you want to send him flying, make sure to whack him really hard!
NES: Super Mario Bros. (10/1985)
N64: Super Mario 64 (09/1996)
Bowser (Alt.)
Ntsc Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Bowser makes good use of his heavy physique with his down special Bowser Bomb, slamming down with his bottom. If he's on the ground, he'll jump into the air before crashing down. Also, he can gain a bit of altitude if you press the special button repeatedly while executing Whirling Fortress, his up special.
Ntsc Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Bowser makes good use of his heavy physique with his down special Bowser Bomb, slamming down with his backside. If he's on the ground, he'll jump into the air before crashing down. Also, he can gain a bit of altitude if you press the special button repeatedly while executing his up special Whirling Fortress.
Pal Down special Bowser Bomb makes good use of Bowser's bulky physique to crush opponents. If you use it on the ground, he'll jump first, hitting anyone on the way up with his horns, then hit for a combo on the way down. When you use his Whirling Fortress up special in the air, press the button repeatedly to climb higher.
NES: Super Mario Bros. (10/1985)
N64: Super Mario 64 (09/1996)
Paper Bowser
Ntsc Bowser's defense team argues that, considering his latent savageness and the promises of wish-granting power, it could only be expected that Bowser would try to grab the Sticker Comet. Who could resist something like that? Bowser was just a victim of circumstance!
Pal The Sticker Fest looked super fun, so he thought he'd get up on stage. And with the Sticker Comet looking all sparkly and stuff, how could he NOT touch it?! And that's when the evil, evil Royal Sticker brought out poor Bowser's dark side. You see? Bowser was just a victim of circumstance!
Paper Bowser (Second Form)
Ntsc The Royal Stickers can grant wishes, both good and bad. One sticker enhanced Bowser's natural greediness and rage, making him so powerful that Mario had to beat him twice in a row—the recycled Bowser even bigger and more powerful than before!
Pal The Royal Sticker grant wishes, and in the wrong hands, they can wreak all kinds of havoc. When one of them landed on Bowser, he ran riot through the Mushroom Kingdom, and even when Mario managed to beat him, he came back in an even more destructive form than before! Yikes!
Bowser + Standard Kart
Ntsc Bowser has tricked out his kart exactly like Mario's. With a level playing field, it all comes down to the driver's skill. Well, and luck. And if the driver got a good night's sleep... Only the goddess of victory knows who will win. That's part of the fun of Mario Kart!
Pal The kart Bowser has here isn't unique to him. You can use the same parts with any racer - even Mario! Of course, even if everyone has the same kart, the race still won't come down to pure skill - luck always plays a part. It's that unpredictability that makes Mario Kart so exciting, after all!
North AmericaBowser + Flame Runner
EuropeBowser + Bowser Bike
Ntsc Now THIS is a monster of a bike! It was obviously designed with Bowser in mind, since they both weigh a ton and both have trouble accelerating. Once you get up to top speed, though, these two really come into their own! Incidentally, Bowser is known as Koopa in Japan, but the Japanese name for this bike is Super Bowser. How rare.
Pal Now THIS is a monster of a bike! It was clearly designed with Bowser in mind, but since they both weigh a ton, they might have trouble accelerating. Once they get to top speed, though, they're a practically unstoppable team! Incidentally, although Bowser is known as Koopa in Japan, this bike still uses his English name there.
Wii: Mario Kart Wii 04/2008

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Bowser (SSBU)
Bowser as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Bowser returns as a playable character alongside the entire playable roster of the series. This is Bowser's first appearance in Super Smash Bros. where he is not a starting character. As the first character in Donkey Kong's unlock tree, he can potentially be the first character to be unlocked.


Fighter spirits[edit]

Primary spirits[edit]

No. Image Name Type Class Slots Base Power Max Power Base Attack Max Attack Base Defense Max Defense Ability Series
SSBU spirit Bowser (Wedding).png
Bowser (Wedding)
★★★ 2 2824 8516 1836 5536 988 2980 No Effect Super Mario Series
SSBU spirit Dry Bowser.png
Dry Bowser
★★★★ 1 4854 12137 1831 4579 2582 6455 Fire Attack ↑ Super Mario Series
SSBU spirit Paper Bowser.png
Paper Bowser
★★★ 2 2986 9005 1717 5178 1269 3827 Can Be Enhanced at Lv. 99 Paper Mario Series
SSBU spirit Paper Bowser (Paper Mario Sticker Star).png
Paper Bowser (Paper Mario: Sticker Star)
★★★★ 2 4655 11640 2307 5768 1887 4719 Mouthful of Curry Paper Mario Series
from the game's files
Baby Bowser
★★★★ 2 4224 10562 1816 4542 2408 6020 No Effect Yoshi Series
SSBU spirit Fury Bowser.png
Fury Bowser
★★★★ 2 4796 11990 2834 7085 1526 3815 Fire Attack ↑ Super Mario Series

Support spirits[edit]

No. Image Name Class Cost Ability Series
SSBU spirit River Survival.png
River Survival ★★ 1 Falling Immunity Super Mario Series

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name
Japan Japanese クッパ, Koopa
UK English Bowser
France French Bowser
Germany German Bowser
Spain Spanish Bowser
Italy Italian Bowser
China Chinese (Simplified) 酷霸王, Koopa (lit. King Koopa)
Taiwan Chinese (Traditional) 庫巴, Koopa
South Korea Korean 쿠파, Koopa
Netherlands Dutch Bowser
Russia Russian Боузер
Portugal Portuguese Bowser


  • While Bowser has had a voice actor in his own series since Super Mario Sunshine, with his current voice actor being Kenneth W. James, neither Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. 4, nor Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gives Bowser a voice actor, instead giving him realistic roars, similar to his appearances in some Mario games such as New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS.
  • Since his debut in Melee, Bowser is the heaviest fighter in the Smash series.
  • In Smash 4, Bowser is the only returning character to have a different victory theme.