In 1988, Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. 3 for
in Japan, while the American release for the Nintendo
Entertainment System was delayed until early 1990 due to a shortage
of ROM chips. For American audiences, it was a return to the classic
gameplay established in the original as the American version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was
a reskinned version of the game Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic since Nintendo felt the true sequel was too
difficult for them (it would eventually see a release in America as The Lost Levels).
Once again, two-players were able to play by alternating turns each level as
Mario or Luigi. It was also the first game in the series to feature an
Mario 3 sees Mario and Luigi
back in their pallet-swapped glory attempting to save the Mushroom Kingdom from the
forces of Bowser and his minions. However, this time around, Bowser is joined
by some new allies: his children, the Koopalings. The Koopalings resemble
shorter versions of Bowser, each one having their own personality, fashion
sense and hair style to distinguish them.
|Iggy, Lemmy, Ludwig, Morton, Wendy, Larry and Roy.
Originally unnamed, Nintendo
of America gave them names based on musicians and celebrities: Larry, with
a Mohawk, was named after Larry Mullen, Jr.;
Morton, who had a white head with a star over one eye, was named after Morton Downey, Jr.; Wendy O.,
with feminine accessories including a polka-dotted bow, was named after Wendy O. Williams; Roy, with large
red sunglasses, was named after Roy Orbison;
Lemmy, with a Mohawk and crazy eyes, was named after Lemmy Kilmister; Ludwig Von, with a single
fang and Beethoven-style hair, was named after Ludwig van Beethoven;
and Iggy, with large black glasses and a Mohawk, was named after Iggy Pop. Each Koopaling served as the boss of
one of seven worlds, with Bowser as the eighth and final. Their primary weapons
were magic wands.
While all of the familiar power-ups returned, a new assortment of
weaponry was provided for the Mario brothers. The Super Leaf gave them raccoon
ears and a tail that allowed them to attack with it and fly. The Tanooki Suit gave them the
same abilities as the Super Leaf, but allowed them to briefly turn themselves
into invulnerable (and immobile) statues. The Frog Suit gave them greater speed
and maneuverability in the water, as well as a higher jump. The Hammer Suit turned them into
versions of The Hammer
Brothers, allowing them to fling hammers at enemies. Finally, the P-Wing granted them indefinite
flight for an entire level until an enemy made contact or another power-up was
grabbed. A less-common power-up was the Goombah Shoe; a large green
shoe with a wind-up key that could be taken from the Goomba riding in it and worn
to prevent damage from spikes and spiked enemies. Power-ups could also be won
in mini-games and saved for later use in one of three slots accessible on the
map; allowing a player to begin a level with their chosen power-up active.
|King Koopa surveys things from his Doomship.
Mario 3 proved a hit in Japan
and the game was adapted into three direct-to-video
OVAs by Studio Juno. Anticipating it would have the same reception in
America, production began on a new Mario Bros. cartoon centered around the game
developed by Bruce
and Reed Shelly.
Although the settings, enemies and power-ups were all from Mario 3, the cartoon strongly resembled the previous show from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show! That’s because DiC Entertainment produced
both shows and Sei Young
Animation Co., Ltd. was again retained to handle the animation. However,
this time around they were joined by Italian studio Reteitalia
S.P.A., resulting in slightly different character models. King Koopa’s
(Harvey Atkin, reprising the role from Super
Show!) name and appearance were retained, as were Mario (Walker Boone) and
Luigi’s (Tony Rosato) red and green coveralls (in the games they had been
switched to blue while their shirts and hats bore their respective colors). Joining
Mario and Luigi on their adventures was Princess Toadstool (Tracey Moore) and
her attendee, Toad (John Stocker, also reprising the role from Super Show!).
|From plumbers to janitors as the brothers try to clean up Brooklyn.
Because production on the series began before the game was released in
America, the Koopalings were given different names based on their
personalities. Larry became Cheatsy (James Rankin), Morton became Big Mouth
(Dan Hennessey), Wendy became Kootie Pie (Tabitha St. Germain), Lemmy and Iggy
became Hip and Hop, respectively (both Tara Strong), Roy became Bully (Gordon
Masten), and Ludwig became Kooky Von (Michael Stark). The series also differed
from the previous one by having the characters journey to the “Real World”, or our
Earth where the Mario brothers originally came from.
|Kootie Pie with Milli Vanilli.
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros.
3 debuted on NBC on September 8, 1990 in
an hour-long block alongside the second season of Captain N: The Game Master as Captain
N & The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. It remained that way until
Today split the shows apart
on the schedule. It was written by Doug Booth, Martha Moran, Matt Uitz, Rowby Goren, Phil Harnage, Perry Martin, Sean Roche, David Ehrman, Steven J. Fisher, Steve Hayes, Heidi Holicker, Rick Holicker, Michael Maurer and Ted Pedersen. Each episode was comprised of
two segments. Each segment had a title screen reminiscent of the game’s title
screen with a curtain and stage. The curtain rose to show the title over an
image of the overworld map with modified music from the game by Koji Kondo. The series’
music was composed by Michael Tavera,
but for its initial run it featured some licensed songs in several episodes. In
fact, in “Kootie Pie Rocks” Milli Vanilli
songs were not only used, but the actual group made an appearance, having been
kidnapped from the Real World for Kootie’s pleasure (the episode was later
pulled from syndication following their lip-synching scandal).
For rebroadcasts and most home releases, the licensed music was replaced by the
song “Mega Move” from
|The animated Koopalings.
In 2003, the complete series was released by MRA Entertainment, Europe for
Australia; one volume of which was released in Germany. Disky Entertainment released three
volumes of 6 episodes each in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Sterling Entertainment Group released a 6
episode VHS collection called King Koopa Katastrophe for the United States. In 2004, General Mills teamed up with DiC and
offered DVDs on various boxes of cereal that contained episodes from DiC’s
various programs. One disc featured an episode of Mario 3. and two episodes of Heathcliff.
|The DVD box (below) modeled after the game box.
In 2007, Shout! Factory and Vivendi Entertainment released the complete
series on its own and as a double
pack with The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog volume
1 as a promotional tie-in for the release of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. NCircle
Entertainment re-released King Koopa Katastrophe as a DVD under the Super Show! title and is the only DVD to feature the original
licensed music on three of the six episodes. In 2009, NCircle released two more
collections titled The Trouble With Koopas and What A Wonderful Warp, and a third in 2010 called Koopas Rock! In 2013, they re-released the complete series as a special
collector’s edition, although the cover art for it features Cape Mario from the sequel
game and series Super Mario World.
A decade later in 2023, NCircle re-released the complete series again—this time featuring Yoshi from World on the packaging—but
without any of the special features from their last one.
Originally posted in 2015. Updated in 2023.