Super Mario Bros. 3

aka: SMB 3
Moby ID: 7300
NES Specs
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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

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Credits (NES version)

12 People

Executive Producer
Directors and Game Designers
Assistant Director
Main Programmer
Level Designers
Character Designers
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Average score: 96% (based on 40 ratings)


Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 393 ratings with 8 reviews)

My favorite platformer on the NES

The Good
The level design is very good and original, this is the game's strongest point and for a good reason. Whenever you think you have seen everything there is something new which shows how much the NES is actually capable off. I also liked how the world all had themes like desert or water, it's an old retro tradition I understand, but it never fails to be charming. If I have to name a downside it's that the levels always end in a black background which is weird considering everything else is very colorful, but that is nothing too bad.

Compared to the first Super Mario Bros. game, this one looks like it's on a completely new console, like this game was meant for the Super Nintendo, but somehow ended up fitting on a NES-cartridge. The graphics are much better (understatement there) and the colors are much brighter and enjoyable.

The new map which allows you to take multiple paths to reach the same goal is very interesting and adds more depth to the multi-player. The map is filled with obstacles and moving bonuses that the players can collect which make it feel like a part of your adventure rather than just a fancy menu where you select the level you want to play. My cousin and I have a strategy where I get all as many puzzles as I can while he does some of the harder parts of the level, but sometimes we just want to be competitive and steal the bonuses away from each other or die on purpose.

I like the many different bonuses the game has, the original Mario only had the flowers and mushrooms, but now you also have a leaf (that allows you to fly), a frog-suit that makes swimming easier and a whistle that works like a warp-zone. It's also nice that you can store power-ups and use them before you start a level, this way you don't have to find one while playing and risk losing a lot of lives in the process. You can now also find items by doing mini-games which can also result in finding more lives.

There is some pretty nice music in this game and while nothing tops the old Mario theme, it's still very refreshing after hearing that tune over and over again.There is still not a lot of variety, but enough to keep make sure you don't get bored of them too soon.

The Bad
My biggest and foremost complaint is that this game contains no save-feature whatsoever, if you decide to stop playing for a while, all your progress is lost. This is not just a short, but hard game like the original Super Mario Bros., this game takes quite a long time, especially without the whistle. I never made it past the third world, simply because I don't want to play that much Mario in just one sitting, I want to take a break and play something else. I understand this was before saving became a standard part of every video game, but this one deserved to be an exception.

The Bottom Line
I hate reviewing NES games and especially platformers because they are just so simple and so many of them look the same that it's hard to come up with proper criticism. Even praising is hard because they all work and look the same. However Super Mario Bros. 3 is probably the best in the entire NES library, it looks great and it plays great, but above all it's designed amazingly well. The only flaw I noticed was that there is no save-feature, but that was common at the time and most people won't have any problem with it.

Super Mario Bros. 3 is a nice game for kids and maybe even their parents, some teenagers may also enjoy playing it, but they might consider it a bit childish. If you want to play this for nostalgia's sake, rest assured that it's still as great as it ever was.

NES · by Asinine (957) · 2011

A must-have for all fans of Mario!

The Good
Super Mario Bros. 3 is one of my all-time favorite Mario games for any Nintendo console. The graphics are sweet for an NES game, the music and the sound effects are pretty nice and are good for every Mario fan's ears, the gameplay is really exactly the same as Super Mario Bros. 1's except you can run faster and can even fly if you gain enough speed and have picked up a Super Leaf. And most of the enemies and bosses and items are done really nicely.

The Bad
Some of the enemies (example: Hammer Bros. and Lakitu) are annoying as hell. And the fact that one of my favorite items is RARE is pretty disappointing.

The Bottom Line
If you happen to go shopping on the internet, and you see this game, I recommend you buy it if you're a fan of Mario, because it's one of the best games ever.

NES · by Dark Cloud (31) · 2003

Simply Flawless 10/10!

The Good
I must say that when playing this game, you almost forget there is a controller in your hands. Not by it being realistic, but because the control is simply amazing. I don't know if I have played a game since that has controlled this perfectly. Everything that you're trying to make Mario do, he does. No complaints. The graphics at the time were truly jaw dropping. It had some of the coolest items and power-ups in any game. The Tanooki suit is a personal favorite. The challenge level is a perfect balance, the game starts off relatively easy, allowing you to learn the basics, and then eventually you will be throwing your controller at how difficult it can be. But at the same time, you're loving the game.

The Bad
Are you kidding me? This is Super Mario Bros. 3! There isn't anything wrong with it!

The Bottom Line
Please do yourself a favor and play this game for five minutes. That is all you will need. After five minutes, you will find yourself up at 2 AM bidding on an NES on eBay. It's just that great.

NES · by Alex Mills (2) · 2004

[ View all 8 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
No battery save, how did anyone finish this game? BdR (7206) 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


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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
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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.