Super Mario Bros. 3

aka: SMB 3
Moby ID: 7300
NES Specs
Note: We may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made via eBay or Amazon links (prices updated 4/14 3:26 AM )

Description official descriptions

Bowser is back, and along with the Bowser kids, he's out to spoil Mario's day once again.

This time, along with nabbing the Princess, the Bowser crew have also taken the magic wands from the Kings of each land and turned them into creatures. It's up to Mario and Luigi to get back the magic wands, defeat Bowser, and save the Princess all before the day is done.

Old and new power-ups abound in each level for the Mario Brothers, including the return of the Super Mushroom and Fire Flower, plus the new power-ups including the frog suit, the warp flute, and the most important of all, the leaf, which allows the player to fly and attack enemies with your tail.


  • Super Mario Brothers 3 - Alternate spelling
  • スーパーマリオブラザーズ3 - Japanese spelling

Groups +




See any errors or missing info for this game?

You can submit a correction, contribute trivia, add to a game group, add a related site or alternate title.

Credits (NES version)

12 People

Executive Producer
Directors and Game Designers
Assistant Director
Main Programmer
Level Designers
Character Designers
Sound Composer



Average score: 96% (based on 42 ratings)


Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 396 ratings with 8 reviews)

The closest to perfection ever

The Good
Engaging gameplay, challenging levels, unlimited replay value, great graphics for it's time, a game that is as fun now as it was when it was released. I think the question is more of what is not good about this game. Simply legendary.

The Bad
The frog suit is cumbersome outside of water. Seriously that's it...

The Bottom Line
This is the ultimate game period. If you haven't played this game you've probably been living under a rock. In that case get out from that rock and play this game! It's the #1 game ever in my opinion and any game coming out would be hard pressed to beat it

NES · by darthlobos1182 (2) · 2009

The ultimate Mario adventure for the NES

The Good
The original Super Mario Bros. came out in 1985 and it was a flagship title for the NES. Its huge success meant that a sequel appeared three years later. The Western release of the game was very different from its Japanese counterpart (which was released in 1986), due to Nintendo of America’s objections that the true sequel to SMB was harder and that NoA should frame the game around Yume Kōjō: Dokidoki Panic. Although the game was successful as well, this didn’t stop Nintendo going back to their roots.

It has been some time since Mario defeated Bowser. He infiltrated eight of his castles looking for Princess Toadstool, and he was disappointed that seven of them only contained an impostor. He was more disappointed when Toad told him that the “princess is in another castle”. Eventually, Mario managed to find the real Bowser and the princess, and peace was finally returned to the Mushroom Kingdom. Three years on, and Bowser is not happy that his adversary tossed him into a pool of lava, so he sends his seven offspring to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom, stealing each of the wands belonging to the kings of the seven kingdoms and transforming them into animals. SMB3 expands upon the original game in a number of ways.

SMB3 includes eight world maps complete with dancing vegetation and other scenery, and you can do many things beside entering levels. You can, for example, run across a Spade Panel, a memory game in which you are awarded an extra life or bonus points if you play your cards right. There are also fortresses in which you need to find and defeat the Koopaling inside to get further into the map.

The levels behave the same as the first game, and the heads-up display is similar to the first game, with score, time, lives, etc. but a “power meter” has been added. This only applies to certain power-ups such as Raccoon Mario and Tanooki Mario; with these activated, you can run through the level until your power meter is full, pressing B to fly upwards onto any platforms in the air. Other power-ups include the Super Leaf, Magic Wing, Frog Suit, and Hammer Suit. Also, there is no checkpoint at the end of the level, rather a black area where you need to get a card to advance. You can get some extra lives if you collect more than one of the same card, and a spectacular display if you manage to get all three of the same.

Once you have conquered all ten levels on a map, you can proceed to the castle where you find out what animal the kings have turned into, and board an airship before it flies off without you. The airships contain only cannonballs and flame-jets which have to be avoided before you reach the only pipe on the airship. You go down and defeat the Koopaling inside to get the wand. You see the King transformed (you don’t get to see the transformation taking place), and get a letter from the Princess.

SMB3 excels in both graphics and sound. Both the maps and levels are colorful. I like the appearance of Ice World and how everything is enlarged in Giant World. The music is excellent, with tunes ranging from happy melodies to sinister ones. I like how the later levels also pose quite a challenge. One of the last few levels of the game has you walking across nipper plants while putting several Starman power-ups to good use. Another one has you negotiating a level containing nothing but pipes and the few odd enemies, and you have to stand on special lifts that will hoist you up, making sure not to bump into anything.

The Bad
Similar to SMB, Nintendo expects you to complete the game in one sitting.

The Bottom Line
It's easy to see why most reviewers here list Super Mario Bros. 3 as their favorite Mario game. It features the same gameplay as the original game that came out in '85, while adding new elements such as world maps, mini-games, and character transformations. Anyone who has played the original game should get their hands on a copy of SMB3. It just shows how amazing games on the NES were capable of being.

NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43091) · 2022

A masterpiece among Mario's.

The Good
This was it. This was perfection on the NES. When this came out no videogame had ever been so addictive, so fun, so simply flawless. Graphically this game was the Doom 3 of NES, everything was so colorful and bright and things were much more clearer than other games at the time. The levels were all fantastically made and the map screen was was much better than just jumping from level to level like in previous Mario videogames. The controls are like all Mario games, PERFECT and the mini-games on the map were always fun. The power-ups are to die for and this is the kind of game you turn on and just don't stop.

The Bad
The fact that the only way to save your progress was to get the secret whistle, which is cheating by the way.

The Bottom Line
Without a doubt this is the best Mario videogame and is up there with Punch Out as one of the best NES games of all time. You MUST buy this!

NES · by MegaMegaMan (2257) · 2004

[ View all 8 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
No battery save, how did anyone finish this game? BdR (7207) Nov 4, 2015


1001 Video Games

The NES version of Super Mario Bros. 3 appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


On the map screen, the treasure ship icon features a symbol on its sail. The symbol is the Japanese word "takara", which means "treasure".

References to the game

In the movie "The Wizard", which is about a seven year old in a videogame competition, Super Mario Bros 3 was featured as a "brand new game" which none of the contestants had gotten a chance to play before.


During the game, Mario can find a Warp Whistle, which will take him to a new area of the game. When using the Whistle, the tune played is the exact melody used from the Whistle in The Legend of Zelda.


The game sold nearly 30 million copies worldwide.


As of 2010, the fastest run through the the game is under eleven minutes (0:10:48 as conventional speedrun and 0:10:25 tool-assisted).

Regional and version differences

The Koopa Kids are only named in the North American and European versions. The Japanese version completely omits giving them names.

At some point, Nintendo re-released Super Mario Bros. 3 with a couple of text changes:

  • If you picked up a copy close to its release date, you may have noticed that Toad ends his N-Spade game instructions with "Miss twice and your out!", which is incorrect, as "your" should have been "you're". However, you also may have noticed that there was no more room in the text box to include an apostrophe. In the new version, Toad says "You can only miss twice!" instead of "Miss twice and your out!". Instead of resizing the text box so they could include an apostrophe, they just rewrote the last sentence using the same amount of characters.
  • Another change was to Princess Toadstool's letter to Mario after beating World 2. Instead of "Kuribo's shoe," she now says "Goomba's shoe." Kuribo is the Japanese name for Goomba.

There are some differences between regional releases. Among those and as to USA vs JP releases:

  • In the credits, the curtain speed in the opening is slightly higher in the USA release and the world names are different (USA names in parentheses): Grass Land (Grass Land), Desert Hill (Desert Land), Ocean Side (Water Land), Big Island (Giant Land), The Sky (Sky Land), Iced Land (Ice Land), Pipe Maze (Pipe Land), Castle of Kuppa (Dark Land).
  • Boat warp zone glitch fixed in the USA release
  • End of level 5-1 is different
  • In world 8-1, it is a little easier to jump on the boat in the USA release
  • When you carry a power up and are hit, you revert to Super Mario in the USA release (you revert to Mario in the JP release).


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • December 1989 (Issue 5) - Most Eagerly Anticipated Game (that wasn't released) (NES version)
    • December 1989 (Issue 5) - Game of the Year (Forecasting the 1990 Award Winners) (tied with The Revenge of Shinobi)
    • December 1989 (Issue 5) - Best Sequel (Forecasting the 1990 Award Winners) (tied with Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and Phantasy Star II)
    • February 2006 (Issue #200) - #14 on the "Greatest Games of Their Time" list
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #8 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #36 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
    • Issue #37 - #3 in the "Top 25 Platformers of All Time" poll

Information also contributed by Big John WV, CaptainCanuck, Guy Chapman, MegaMegaMan, PCGamer77, Ryan Hopson, Torgospizza and WildKard


MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Super Mario Bros.
Released 1985 on NES, Game Boy Advance, 2006 on Wii...
Super Mario Bros. 2
Released 1986 on NES, Game Boy Advance, 2007 on Wii...
Super Mario Bros. 2
Released 1988 on NES, 2007 on Wii, 2012 on Nintendo 3DS...
VS. Super Mario Bros.
Released 1986 on Arcade, 2017 on Nintendo Switch
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
Released 2003 on Game Boy Advance, 2015 on Wii U
Mario Bros.
Released 1983 on NES, 1984 on Commodore 64, 2002 on Game Boy Advance...
Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
Released 1994 on Game Boy, 2011 on Nintendo 3DS
New Super Mario Bros.
Released 2006 on Nintendo DS, 2015 on Wii U
Super Mario Bros. 35
Released 2020 on Nintendo Switch

Related Sites +

  • Howard & Nester do Super Mario Bros. 3
    A regular feature in Nintendo Power magazine, Howard & Nester was a comic strip about two game whizzes who would one-up each other, while disclosing hints and tips, in the settings of various recently-released games for the NES platform. In the May/June 1990 two-page installment, they explore the pros and cons of pursuing the second Warp Whistle instead of proceeding in the castle.
  • OC ReMix Game Profile
    Fan remixes of music from Super Mario Bros. 3.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 Trivia
    10 question quiz to test fans' knowledge about Super Mario Bros. 3.
  • TMK | Super Mario Bros. 3
    The Mushroom Kingdom's information page.
  • Video review of Super Mario Bros. 3 (WARNING: Language)
    The Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe, reviews Super Mario Bros. 3 on NES and talks about the motion picture The Wizard.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 7300
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Arcade added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Wii added by gamewarrior.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Satoshi Kunsai, Apogee IV, Alaka, gamewarrior, Pseudo_Intellectual, LepricahnsGold, Tracy Poff, Patrick Bregger, Thomas Thompson, FatherJack, A.J. Maciejewski, lightlands.

Game added September 28, 2002. Last modified February 19, 2024.