The following is a guest article by MagcargoMan.
Warning: While most of the content in this article is factual, there is some mild speculation.
The Mario series tends to get the most content in every instalment of Super Smash Bros., and why wouldn’t it; it’s Nintendo’s flagship franchise. Because of this, it receives the most new stages in every iteration, whereas most other series have never had more than two new stages in a single game. With the plethora of stages spanning over 30 years of Mario games, it has covered many different games in the franchise, both main series and spin-off titles. In this set of articles I’ll be covering every Mario stage in the Super Smash Bros. series and what games have been represented, as well as predicting what stages we could see in the next Smash. For reader convenience this analysis will be split into three parts, the first of which covering Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee.
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.
In the original Super Smash Bros., the Mario series has two stages, being the only series to have more than one, as well as the second being the only unlockable stage in the game.
Introducing Peach’s Castle, which doesn’t actually take place on or inside the castle!
The first of these stages is Peach’s Castle from Super Mario 64. Being the most recent Mario platformer at the time, as well as having a notable influence on some of Mario’s attacks, it makes sense to have this game at the forefront. The castle was the game’s hub world, so it was likely chosen over one of the courses due to it’s prominence. While the stage doesn’t actually take place on the stage’s namesake, it does appear in the background. Despite this the stage does have elements visually reminiscent of the game, notably the sign and tree designs, as well as the bridges being reminiscent of the ones from Cool, Cool Mountain and the floating slope platform textures based off the starting platform from Bowser in the Dark World. The song for the stage is a remix of the iconic Super Mario Bros. Ground Theme, which actually only appeared on the title screen of Super Mario 64. One can guess it was chosen for its memorability rather than being particularly relevant to that game.
Just like the NES game, if it was a bootleg version.
The second and unlockable stage in the game is Mushroom Kingdom, which is based on the original Super Mario Bros. As the very first game of the Super Mario series, it only makes sense for such a landmark title to appear in Smash. This stage tries to recreate the visuals of the NES game, complete with certain elements being 2D sprites. The setting for the stage is the regular ground levels, with the background featuring one of the athletic levels (the design of the mushrooms being the ones that only appeared in World 4, but are green instead of yellow and red) and also features the flag pole and end of level castle, which are oddly grey instead of green and brown respectively. Brick Blocks form a non-passable platform on the left of the stage, but they cannot be broken like in the original game. Three Warp Pipes are located on the stage, which can be used and even harbour Piranha Plants. A prominent feature of the stage is the scale platforms in the middle, which first appeared in World 3-3. There are a couple of elements that reference other early Mario games, most notably the POW Blocks from Mario Bros., and a more minor reference to Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels with the Piranha Plants being red, which only came in green in the first game. Despite this, they behave like the green ones, as they won’t come up if you’re standing next to the pipe. The stage’s song is a direct port of the original Ground Theme, and is the only song in the game that is not a remix.
Can crystals even be metal? Or meta for that matter?
There is one other stage in the game of note that references the series. While it is not a Mario series stage, the stage Meta Crystal, where Metal Mario is fought in 1P Game, contains elements from Hazy Maze Cave and Cavern of the Metal Cap from Super Mario 64, specifically the floating platform design and large metal crystals. These were definitely included as a reference to how Metal Mario debuted in 64.
Overall, the two Mario series stages in Smash 64 are good representations of games they represent, even if they aren’t fully faithful in design. The two stages could be considered bookends for the series, as they represent the first and latest Mario platformers (at the time). It’s notable that both games would be represented again with new stages in Melee.
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario 64
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
Continue on Page 2 for the analysis on Mario‘s Melee stages.