Warning: While most of the content in this article is factual, there is some mild speculation.
Welcome back to my analysis on the Mario games represented in the Super Smash Bros. series with stages. In the second part of this analysis we explore the games covered by the new Mario series stages added in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U. If you missed Part 1, there is a link available below.
Representation of the Mario series through stages in Smash [Part 1] (Smash 64 and Melee)
Representation of the Mario series through stages in Smash [Part 2] (Brawl and Smash 4)
Representation of the Mario series through stages in Smash [Part 3] (Statistics, Trivia and Speculation)
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Like in Melee, Mario is the only franchise to have more than two new stages in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This time it has five stages, and only one of them covers an already-represented game, albeit a completely different take on it. This is also the first time spin-off games were acknowledged with stages by the series. With the introduction of the My Music feature, even more games were acknowledged.
The first new stage is Delfino Plaza from Super Mario Sunshine. This tropical locale is ported right in from the game, although some of it has been modified to be more suitable for a fight. This stage doesn’t take place on any particular location though, as players fight on some moving platforms that travel to different parts of the plaza, a trend that was adopted by other stages in the next game. Notable locations the fight is taken to include the front of the plaza, the Shine Gate and even the two little islands. The stage doesn’t have any active hazards, although it is possible to drown if one waits too long in the water. Both the Delfino Plaza and Ricco Harbour themes from Sunshine are present, but neither are remixed. Other songs include remixes of the Title Screen and Ending of Super Mario World, the Ground Theme of New Super Mario Bros. and a direct port of the Main Theme from Super Mario 64.
The next stage available is Mushroomy Kingdom (yes, that is its actual name), based on Super Mario Bros. While this game received stages in the previous two instalments, this time the direction the stage took was a very different take. Instead of trying to recreate the retro visuals of the original game, the stage now went for a more realistic look, but instead of looking like the green grasslands the Mushroom Kingdom is known for, it is a barren wasteland instead. Unlike the previous two stages based on this game, this version is also a scrolling stage, and the entire layout is a recreation of World 1-1, even including the hidden blocks. There was also an alternate stage that could show up instead, which is a recreation of the first Underground level, World 1-2 (minus the Warp Zone). Each version even had different tracks, with the Ground version having two new remixes of the Ground Theme and unusually, Gritzy Desert from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, the first time a Mario RPG has been referenced by a stage. The Underground version has remixes of the Underground and Underwater themes of Super Mario Bros., as well as a remix of Super Mario Land‘s Underground Theme.
The third and last default stage is Mario Circuit, heavily inspired by Mario Kart DS. This is the first stage in the series based off a spin-off rather than a main-line title, but not the first time Mario Kart was acknowledged in Smash (there was a Kart trophy in Melee and Mario’s bio has two Mario Kart titles listed as appearances in Smash 64). Since Mario Kart is the best-selling Mario series after the platformers themselves, it was only right that it would be chosen to be the first spin-off to receive a stage in Smash. The stage itself isn’t any specific track in the series, but is heavily based on Figure-8 circuit from Mario Kart DS, though elements from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! also appear. Double Dash‘s elements are minor, but include the trees and flowers with faces that appeared in that game’s Mario Circuit, as well as the cloud signs from Luigi Circuit. The references to Mario Kart DS are much more extensive, most notably the track’s shape, which is a Figure-8, alluding to the first track in that game, Figure-8 Circuit. The racers are all Shy Guys, who were first playable in the series in this instalment (only in Download Play however), and the kart designs are from this game too. There is a large screen in the background displaying the outline of the track and racer positions, which is what displayed on the touch screen in Mario Kart DS if you changed it by touching it or pressing the Y Button. The banner above the track that says “Mario Circuit” takes its design from similar banners in Figure-8 Circuit that read “Mario Kart” or simply just “Mario”. Lastly, in the background are tall warp pipes and giant blocks from Super Mario Bros. 3, both of which were in the background of Figure-8 Circuit. As Mario Kart DS was the most recent Mario Kart game at the time, it makes sense why it was chosen to be the focus of the first Mario Kart stage in Smash. While the stage is not based on any of the Mario Circuits from the series, due to be being one of the few recurring tracks it’s likely the name was chosen for its memorability and strong association with the series. As for music, Mario Circuit from Super Mario Kart, Luigi Raceway from Mario Kart 64 and Waluigi Pinball from Mario Kart DS were all remixed, and a direct port of Rainbow Road from Double Dash was also available. Mario Power Tennis and Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour were also acknowledged with a remix that featured both games’ Title themes. Mario Kart: Super Circuit is the only Mario Kart game that was not acknowledged by the stage.
The next stage and one of the two that is unlockable is Luigi’s Mansion from… well, Luigi’s Mansion. Shrunken down from the original game, the now house-sized mansion could be fought in on the inside and outside, and had pillars that when attacked enough would bring the house down, but due to a ghostly presence could rebuild itself soon afterward. Due to the cross-section view of the house, many rooms from the Gamecube title can be seen, including the foyer, ball room, kitchen, study and nursery. Music for the stage included a haunting remix of the Luigi’s Mansion Theme, a track featuring both Super Mario World‘s Castle theme and Super Mario Bros. 3‘s Boss Battle theme and a dramatic remix of the memorable Airship Theme also from Super Mario Bros. 3.
The second unlockable stage and final one for Mario is Mario Bros., obviously based on the game of the same name. Like the two Mushroom Kingdom stages and Mushroom Kingdom II, Mario Bros. recreates the old-school visuals of the original arcade game in 3D, specially Phases 1 and 2 of the arcade game. Shellcreepers and Sidesteppers show up in 8-Bit form and can be attacked, after which they can be thrown at opponents for powerful knockback. POW blocks are present, and you can even hit the floors from underneath to topple enemies just like in the actual game. However, the wrap-around screen movement is absent, meaning walking off-screen will lead to a self-destruct (wrap-around was later added to the Balloon Fight stage in the next game however). The stage’s songs were mostly direct ports of NES/Famicom music, but there was a remix of the Game Start A and Title themes of Mario Bros. As for relevant 8-Bit tracks, the Famicom Medley included the intro of the Hammer Bros. Battle Theme from Super Mario Bros. 3 and Wrecking Crew‘s Bonus Round Theme, and the Power-Up Music from the latter game was also its own track.
While that was all the new stages added in Brawl, a few other notable Mario references show up elsewhere. Mario’s debut game Donkey Kong shows up as the DK series stage 75m, and like Mario Bros. it recreates the look of the arcade game faithfully. And outside of Mario-related stages, Flat Zone 2, Mr. Game & Watch’s stage, includes a remix of Chill from Dr. Mario.
Compared to Melee, Brawl allowed for a larger variety of Mario games to be represented with stages, with no game having more than one stage and only one stage being based on a previously represented Mario game. Between Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion and Double Dash elements on the Mario circuit, the Gamecube era of the series got a good share of representation. We got a stage based on Mario Kart, arguably Mario‘s most iconic spin-off series, and delved even deeper into the franchise’s past with Mario Bros. Even the Super Mario Bros. stage offered something new this time due to its different visuals and Underground version. Super Mario Bros. 3 still did not receive a stage, but got plenty of musical acknowledgements, and other 2D Mario platformers like New Super Mario Bros. and even Super Mario Land got remixes. Super Mario Galaxy only just missed getting in the game, but would later receive content in the next. And while not a new stage, Rainbow Cruise returned as a Melee stage, ensuring Super Mario 64 was present yet again. Yoshi’s Island from Melee also returned, but again under the Yoshi series. The range of Mario games represented in Smash Bros. would only grow larger in the next game.
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Sunshine
Mario Kart DS
Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario World
Super Mario 64
New Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Land
Super Mario Kart
Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Mario Power Tennis
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time