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From SmashWiki, the Super Smash Bros. wiki
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 Super Mario Bros. 35 (2020)
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 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 princess, Peach Toadstool, 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 more members of his "family," mainly his only child, Bowser Jr. and the seven Koopalings. He also has a helper named Kamek, who has raised him since he was born and serves as his mentor and father figure.

Bowser is a heavyset, chimeric, reptilian creature (officially described in Super Mario Odyssey as a "monster") 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 shell and tail covered with spikes and 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. To settle a common dispute original game developers intended for Bowser to be more of a dragon instead of his common perception as a turtle. Bowser, at times, 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.

Bowser is the primary villain in many Super Mario-themed platformers, and therefore usually not a playable character. Bowser has appeared as a playable character, however, in several Mario games nonetheless, such as in the Mario Kart series. Whereas Mario and Luigi are consistently the most balanced characters in the character line-up of any competitive Mario-themed game, Bowser traditionally fits the "big, slow, and strong character" archetype to the extreme in any game he is playable. In the various Mario-themed sports games, for example, Bowser performs relevant actions more powerfully than others but more slowly as well, while in the Mario Kart games, Bowser as a playable racer features the heaviest weight and the highest top speed of the racers, offset by low acceleration and handling abilities. This archetype is faithfully preserved in Bowser's appearance as a playable fighter in both Melee and Brawl. Yet despite this, Bowser's actual agility rating greatly varies in his of his appearances, especially in most competitive titles where he is playable in his home franchise, which is something more represented in Smash 4.

Bowser remains part of the regular cast in the Super Mario empire of video games, though his level of menace has fluctuated throughout his various game appearances. In many spinoffs, Bowser is on seemingly equal grounds with the other Super Mario characters in competitive games like sports and kart racing, and has even been helpful to the characters in some RPG roles - albeit typically to serve his own purposes. In particular, some of the RPG entries feature Bowser as a playable party member, even being a central protagonist in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. When in antagonistic roles, Bowser has occasionally been depicted as bumbling, comical, and almost slightly incompetent, but he works hard to come across as "bad" and supposedly has been doing so from a young age as Baby Bowser. However, 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 such appearances, the Koopa King is more cunning and sinister than his brutish appearance would suggest, but is still boisterous, hammy and somewhat whimsical. Despite this, ever since the introduction of Bowser Jr. in Sunshine, one of Bowser's defining traits has been his love and support for his only 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 sort of capacity. However, according to a page on Smabura-Ken (the Japanese Super Smash Bros. site), Bowser was planned to be included as a playable character, but was cut. In fact, it has been confirmed that Bowser and King Dedede were actually playable characters during development of the game in 1998. In the end, Bowser would end up being completely scrapped while King Dedede became a background character in the Dream Land stage. This was mostly a result of the Nintendo 64's hardware limitations, as well as time constraints.

In an official poll held on Smabura-Ken regarding characters for a potential sequel, Bowser placed first with 169 votes.[2] [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 installment, and is billed 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 combatants 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 setup does not translate well in the fast-action world of Super Smash Bros. Melee. His powerful, damaging attacks with good range are good only when it manages to connect with opponents, for they have long wind-up and wind-down, and such a lack of alacrity seriously harms any fighter's ability to fight. 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 combo opponents, and his great size makes himself perhaps the easiest opponent to land combos on. 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 have a chance at competitive play, though even an expert Bowser player will be severely disadvantaged against a regular Fox player.


Bowser is a playable character, so he is featured on three trophies that can be acquired 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 again be seen plummeting into the darkness, 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 is still a low-tier character with among the worst tournament results of any character 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
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)

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. Yet, being a large and heavy character, he still suffers from combos and a lack of defensive options. Bowser has certainly improved from his past two appearances, and despite his small playerbase, he has achieved strong results.


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.


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name
Japan Japanese クッパ, Koopa
UK English Bowser
France French Bowser
Germany German Bowser
Italy Italian Bowser
Spain Spanish 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. The same thing happens to Petey Piranha, who is giving monstrous roars instead of his current voice actor in the Mario games, Toru Minegishi; Donkey Kong, who is given realistic gorilla grunts rather than using Takashi Nagasako's voice clips from other games; Diddy Kong, who uses realistic chimpanzee screeches instead of using voice clips from his current voice actor Katsumi Suzuki; and King K. Rool, who uses realistic crocodile grunts instead of his current voice actor in the Donkey Kong games, Toshihide Tsuchiya.
    • This makes Bowser and Petey Piranha the only non-Donkey Kong characters to have this trait.
  • Since his debut in Melee, Bowser is the heaviest fighter in the Smash series by default.
  • In Smash 4, Bowser is the only returning character to have a different victory theme.


  1. ^ Kamek's words: "You can, ah, will, aaah, never enter the Koopa Kingdom! I banish you to forever twinkle in the heavens, BE GONE!!" - Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
  2. ^
  3. ^