Dr. Mario (Dr. マリオ, Dr. Mario) is the persona Mario assumes within the eponymous Dr. Mario series. Within his home series, Dr. Mario typically seeks to destroy a variety of dangerous Viruses from harming the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Dr. Mario debuted in Super Smash Bros. Melee as an unlockable character, and returns in that capacity in both Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate after being absent from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Dr. Mario is simply Mario wearing a doctor's garb. In his eponymous debut game, he takes a break from adventuring in order to work in a virus research lab at the Mushroom Kingdom Hospital alongside Nurse Toadstool. When an experiment goes wrong, the hospital is flooded with three differently colored types of Viruses. Arming himself with Megavitamins—a medicine of his own invention—Dr. Mario sets out to neutralize the outbreak.
Dr. Mario's gameplay sees Dr. Mario periodically throw Megavitamins into a prescription bottle. Afterward, the player can move and land them on Viruses, which spawn throughout the bottle. By connecting a line of three or more halves of Megavitamins to a Virus of the corresponding color, the Virus disintegrates. As such, blue Megavitamins eliminate Chill Viruses (blue), red Megavitamins eliminate Fever Viruses (red), and yellow Megavitamins eliminate Weird Viruses (yellow). Removing all of the Viruses on the screen advances the player to the next level.
Although subsequent Dr. Mario games retain the core gameplay, with some also introducing new mechanics, only two other installments feature actual story modes like the first installment. In Dr. Mario 64, Dr. Mario seeks to reclaim his Megavitamins after they are stolen by Mad Scienstein on behalf of his master, Rudy. However, Dr. Mario also has to contend with Wario, who seeks to steal the Megavitamins from Mad Scienstein and sell them for money.
In Dr. Mario World, the potential of an outbreak in the Mushroom Kingdom first mentioned in Dr. Mario comes to pass: red, blue and yellow Viruses appear en masse and are joined by the debuting green, light-blue, purple and pink Viruses. In response, Dr. Mario sets out to cure local inhabitants of their infections; beginning with level 11, he is joined by Dr. Peach in her bid to help the Toads, as well as Dr. Bowser, who wants to cure his minions himself. However, they are also joined by several other doctors (including Luigi, Yoshi, Toad, Toadette, Bowser Jr., Ludwig, Wendy, Wario, Waluigi, Princess Daisy, Rosalina, Luma, Donkey Kong, and Diddy Kong) and, for the first time in the series, assistants from a variety of species within the Mario series.
Dr. Mario has also made a number of cameos outside of his home series. Most notably, he appears in the WarioWare series series via two microgames based on his debut game, while his medical garb can be unlocked in Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Odyssey.
In the Super Smash Bros. series, Dr. Mario is depicted as being slower, yet stronger, than his normal self. A trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee attributes his sluggishness to lack of exercise, whereas SSB4 variously attributes this to his white coat or medical doctorate status. In regard to Dr. Mario's raw strength, Palutena's Guidance attributes it to his knowledge of anatomy.
In Super Smash Bros., Dr. Mario was briefly mentioned in Mario's biography as one of his many other past professions.
As a playable character
Main article: Dr. Mario (SSBM)
Dr. Mario appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee as an unlockable character. He can be unlocked either by clearing Classic Mode with Mario without using any continues, or by playing 100 Versus Mode matches. According to Super Smash Bros. series creator Masahiro Sakurai, he included Dr. Mario because of his liking of the Dr. Mario series' soundtrack and his desire to include some of its songs for Melee. Although Dr. Mario's design is based off his appearance in Dr. Mario, Melee modified his design by giving him dark gray pants instead of his traditional white pants.
As a clone of Mario, Dr. Mario has the same moveset; according to Sakurai, however, Dr. Mario's concept involves "the parts that aren't different are the parts that are different." To reflect this, a number of Dr. Mario's moves have aesthetic and mechanical modifications, with three being the most noticeable examples: Dr. Mario's forward smash discharges electricity instead of producing a small burst of fire, his neutral special move uses Megavitamins instead of Fireballs, and his side special move, Super Sheet, is a white bed sheet that has more vertical range and less horizontal range compared to Cape. On a lesser note, some of Dr. Mario's animations are less energetic and thus make him appear more serious and contemplative, which Sakurai jokingly said "make him seem like an old man."
According to Sakurai, Dr. Mario himself also had his attributes modified, which is reflected in him being stronger than Mario. Although this stronger power was supposed to be counterbalanced by slower speed as noted within Dr. Mario's Adventure Mode trophy, in actuality, almost all of Dr. Mario's speed attributes are equal to Mario's. The only exception is his air speed, which is actually faster than Mario's. Outside of this, the only instance in which Dr. Mario is slower than his normal self is in regard to his neutral attack.
Thanks to Dr. Mario's superior KO potential and his mobility being marginally better than Mario's, he has fared better than his normal self within the competitive scene. As such, Dr. Mario is currently ranked 11th out of 26 on the tier list; this places him at the top of the D tier, and renders him the highest ranking mid-tier character.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (Super Mario Bros. series)
Dr. Mario, like the rest of the playable characters, has three different trophies dedicated to him. The Viruses from the Dr. Mario game also appear as a trophy. His Classic Mode trophy is as follows:
Dr. Mario Immaculate in his medical garb, Dr. Mario destroys killer viruses with his amazing vitamin capsules. With his dedicated nurse, Princess Peach, at his side, Dr. Mario spends day and night in his laboratory working on new miracle cures. Somehow he's managed to keep up with all the new viruses that have arisen over the years.
Dr. Mario was one of the five playable characters in Melee who did not return as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Instead, his only appearance in the game is as a single sticker that can only be used to power up characters from the Mario universe and Yoshi. Additionally, he is referenced with the inclusion of "Dr. Mario (Melee)" as an immediately available music track for PictoChat, and the inclusion of "Chill (Dr. Mario)" as an unlockable music track for Flat Zone 2.
Main article: Beta elements (SSBB)#Scrapped characters
While Dr. Mario does not appear as a playable character, an unfinished character file that makes reference to him exists inside the game's files, called (
As a playable character
Main article: Dr. Mario (SSB4)
After being absent from Brawl, Dr. Mario returned as an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. 4, becoming the first fighter in the series' history to return as a playable character after being cut from a previous installment (and before Ultimate, he also had the distinction of being the only non-DLC fighter with this characteristic). Although he was originally planned to be an alternate costume of Mario, Dr. Mario ultimately retained his status as a clone late in SSB4's development for the purpose of appealing to his Melee fanbase.
Although Dr. Mario's moveset is mostly unchanged since Melee, he received his own Final Smash called Doctor Finale. True to its name, it is Dr. Mario's version of Mario Finale and fittingly uses a pair of gigantic, intertwining Megavitamins that deal more damage. His design is also now based on a combination of his appearance as of Dr. Mario 64 and the dark gray pants he sported in Melee.
Unlike in Melee, Dr. Mario now properly functions as a stronger, yet slower version of Mario: he still possesses noticeably more power overall than his normal self (which has been increased even further since Melee), but he is now noticeably slower overall. Although Dr. Mario's overall frame data is very fast like Mario's, both his combo game and recovery are noticeably worse than his normal self's, with the latter trait's weakness being attributed to his slower mobility.
These factors have resulted in Dr. Mario's tier status and tournament representation both suffering from a vast downturn compared to his appearance in Melee. To reflect this, Dr. Mario is currently ranked 49th out of 55 on the tier list, placing him in the F tier and rendering him a low-tier character.
As a playable character
Main article: Dr. Mario (SSBU)
Dr. Mario returns as an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He still functions as a stronger and slower version of Mario, yet has nevertheless been marginally de-cloned: Dr. Mario now has slightly higher traction, a new and significantly stronger back throw, and updated animations for his idle pose and Super Sheet. Aside from these changes, Dr. Mario has also gained a new down aerial, which possesses meteor smashing potential like his normal self's forward aerial.
Despite the term "Echo Fighter" being used in Ultimate to officially denote clones, Dr. Mario is not labeled as such and no reason has officially been given for this oddity.