In my opinion, the Mario versus Bowser boss battles have to be some of the greatest hero vs. villain battles ever. Every time they fight, it feels different from their last encounters. No doubt about it, the evolution of their battles over the years has been very influential to the gaming world. It's time to take a look at ten of these historic rivals' greatest boss battles.
1. Super Mario Bros.
We can't begin this list without the one that started it all. In the final level of Super Mario Bros., Mario has to reach the other side of a drawbridge without getting hit by fireballs and flying axes (not to mention avoiding getting stomped by Bowser). Luckily, Mario does figure out a way to send Bowser to his doom by activating a switch that retracts the drawbridge and drops Bowser into the lava below. After doing so, he rescues Princess Toadstool, and his adventure ends happily.
2. Super Mario Bros. 3
In his clash with Bowser in the classic Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario must again avoid fireballs and stomping as he attempts to escape the room in which he's trapped. Fortunately, every time Bowser attempts to crush Mario and misses, he smashes a couple of bricks into tiny pieces. No power-ups are going to defeat Bowser in this encounter; the only way to win this one is to make him crush all the bricks so that his own doing sends him plunging to the depths below. To add to the battle's complexity, Mario has to make sure that he himself doesn't fall! After defeating Bowser, he is finally reunited with Princess Toadstool.
3. Super Mario World
On top of Bowser's Castle, amidst a backdrop of thunder and lightning, our plumber hero has to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser once again in Super Mario World. This time, it is a much more complex battle than their previous encounters. With Bowser zipping around in a flying ship, Mario must throw Bowser's own toy-like minions, Mecha-Koopas, back at him, all while avoiding large, black balls and a barrage of fireballs. After Bowser has finally been defeated, Princess Peach drops down to Mario safely, and Bowser disappears to prepare himself for the next showdown with his mustached rival.
4. Super Mario 64
The evolution of Mario vs. Bowser battles jumped into 3D in the groundbreaking Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64. Meeting up high in the sky, Bowser has plans to defeat Mario once and for all, but in this three-dimensional world, Mario has some new tricks up his sleeve. In this epic boss battle, Mario has to grab Bowser by the tail and swing him around (almost like an Olympic hammer throw) into bombs just off the platform. However, his task is made no easier by having to constantly watch out for Bowser's fire breath. After three successful attempts, Bowser is defeated, and Mario uses the golden star to fly away and meet with his beloved princess.
5. Super Mario Sunshine
There is nothing wrong with a family vacation, but that doesn't mean you have to kidnap someone and force them to go with you (apparently Bowser never got that memo). For the Mario vs. Bowser battle in Super Mario Sunshine, Peach, Bowser, and Bowser Jr. are swimming around in a giant hot tub atop Corona Mountain when Mario comes to save the day. This time, he has to face off against both Bowser's traditional fire breath as well Bowser Jr.'s mini-sub as he works to destroy the five platforms holding the hot tub together. Luckily, he has his trusty water pack, F.L.U.D.D. (Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device), to help him out. Once victorious, everybody is safe and sound on the island, including Bowser and his son, who will one day meet Mario again.
6. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Returning to his roots of platform gameplay but now with 3D graphics, Mario once again faces his nemesis Bowser in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Mario must rescue Peach from Bowser by avoiding his attacks and triggering a button that retracts the bridge, sending Bowser to his doom. At first it looks like Mario wins the battle, but it appears the princess was the wizard all along. Fooling Mario, the wizard uses his powers to make Bowser 10x bigger. Now running for his life and avoiding the gigantic Bowser's attacks, Mario sees Peach and a large trigger on the other side. After smashing the trigger, the lava begins to decrease, and Bowser is sent along for the ride. Finally, the princess is let out of her cage and reunited with Mario.
7. Super Mario Galaxy
Mario and Bowser battles go into zero-gravity mode in Super Mario Galaxy. Here, the longtime foes fight in space, which makes things much more interesting. On three separate moons, Mario must use his speed and maneuvers to attack his nemesis. On the first moon, Mario has to avoid Bowser's attacks. Then, Bowser turns into a rolling asteroid, which allows Mario to attack him by punching his face. Afterwards, Mario must use green, balloon-like objects to attack Bowser. However, he must avoid Bowser as he transforms into a spike ball trying to run over poor Mario. Finally, on the last moon, Mario must avoid fireballs, a spike ball, and being crushed. Fortunately, the moon is filled with lava, and if Bowser lands in the crystal-filled lava, it will burn him, allowing Mario to attack. Successfully defeating Bowser sends him to the lava below and allows Mario to fly away with the star.
8. Super Mario Galaxy 2
In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mario and Bowser are at it again in space -- only this time, Bowser bought the heavy artillery. A mega-sized Bowser plans to smash Mario with his super fist, which Mario must avoid along with asteroid balls and electric balls. Luckily, Bowser gets his fist stuck in the moon, which allows Mario to walk on the asteroid balls and use them to his advantage. After stunning Bowser a couple of times, it looks like the battle is over. However, Bowser is tricky as always and finds a way to return to the battlefield. One last encounter sees Mario walking on the asteroid balls with plans to defeat Bowser one last time, which he does successfully. The dark galaxy world returns to normal, and Peach and Mario are happily reunited.
9. Super Mario 3D World
Bowser ups the ante in Super Mario 3D World, using a magical bell to transform himself into Meowser. In the final encounter of this game, Mario must scale the tower in order to save the magical fairies in Meowser's clutches. While Mario scales the tower, he needs to watch out for the sneaky Meowser's attacks. He can attack from sliding down, climbing up, swiping his tail, and bursting the tower and clawing him. After scaling up the tower midway, he knocks off Meowser standing on a POW box. Mario scales the building at super speed using a pipe, only to see Meowser cloning more enemies. Once Mario reaches the top, he has to knock Meowser off a bigger POW box while avoiding fireballs. After successfully doing so, Meowser flies into the air and explodes into fireworks, setting the captive fairies free.
10. Super Mario Odyssey
One of the hottest and most trending games ever developed by Nintendo, Super Mario Odyssey finds Mario and Bowser at it once again. This time, Mario is out to stop Bowser from marrying the princess. Decked out in wedding attire, Bowser's hat is equipped with punching gloves at which Mario can toss Cappy in order to seize control. Avoiding the traditional fire breath in addition to other hats and tail swipes, Mario must get up close and unleash a barrage of punches at Bowser to send him into an electric fence. After a few successful attempts, Bowser is knocked unconscious, Peach is free, and the wedding is over.
Which Mario vs. Bowser battle is your favorite? Post your comments below, and thanks for reading!