The Mario universe has a plethora of enemies for the heroes to stomp, kick, or fireball to death. We all know the mainstays like Shy Guys, Koopa Troopas, or Goombas, but what about the lesser known ones? In this first of hopefully many articles on the baddies of the Mushroom Kingdom and beyond, we’ll break down and look at some of the most obscure and amazing adversaries of the plumber and his cohorts. Let’s begin with a Game Boy classic, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.
A SURPLUS OF SURPRISES
A sequel to the successful Super Mario Land on the Game Boy, the plot introduced Wario as the primary antagonist, a character who would later gain his own popularity and series of games. The soldiers at his command are some of the weirdest I’ve ever seen. This list doesn’t cover them all, but I picked out what I thought were some of the most fascinating.
Unfortunately, the F almost assuredly stands for Fire, but that name is still top tier. This enemy appears in the Pumpkin Zone of the game, the spooky and Halloween themed levels. They don’t actively seek out Mario, but will harm him if contact is made. They cannot be defeated unless Mario is invincible. The character comes from Japanese folklore called Hitodama. Translating as “human soul”, they are balls of fire that float around at night, lost and separated from their human bodies.
A cute little witch/wizard! The name could come from a variety of Japanese words such as keep, due the character’s desire to grab 1-Up Hearts from Mario and run away, along with escape and cape, in line with their actions and outfit. They appear only in the Macro Zone, where Mario is tiny and the world is massive, and only on one level. Talk about rare! I love their outfits, something with a striking resemblance to the boss Witch from the Pumpkin Zone. Perhaps they are her children??
This is the absolute best baddy from the entire series. LOOK AT HIM. Clearly inspired by Jason Voorhees of the Friday the 13th film series, these little guys are simply a hockey mask with a DAGGER sticking out of their HEAD. Nintendo Power referred to them as Masked Ghouls, but we all know that name sucks and J-Son is the most fantastic thing ever. Found in the Pumpkin Zone, I’d like to think these are Goombas who dressed up for a holiday that Mario just completely ruins for them. In Italian, they’re known as Horror Goomba, so perhaps they thought the same thing!
A pig with a cannon on his face is QUITE the Mario foe! Likely a mash up of bonbon and bomb, this little piggy is found in Mario Zone and Space Zone, firing a cannonball at Mario both horizontally and diagonally. Although they appear in multiple colors and fire different types of cannonballs, they are all effectively the same. The simplicity of the design is remarkable, but I do wonder how this guy functions in day to day life. Can he even chew? Then again, if you start thinking about that kind of stuff, you have to ALSO wonder where the endless cannonballs come from and, well, that’s just pointless. Anyway, I need him as a pet.
One of the more rare enemies from the game, as well as their appearance in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, Bē simply hangs out and waits for Mario or Wario to approach, then flies away. He never attacks and essentially is trying to hang out and enjoy the sun in Tree Zone and Macro Zone. Although it would seem like catching them would net a profit, it simply defeats them and nothing more for Mario. Wario will receive ten coins, which is not too shabby! I enjoy the tongue sticking out on the artwork, as though he taunts the heroes before flying away to do whatever it is he planned for the afternoon. Reading?
Look at this kid! It’s like a character from a one-shot Akira Toriyama manga! One of the few human looking enemies, he appears in, you guessed it, Pumpkin Zone. To attack, he sends out bats, called Minikyura, which Mario must defeat or avoid. The name combines the words for black and Dracula, with the bat’s name combining mini and Dracula together. This character also appeared in the Super Mario manga by Kazuki Motoyama released only in Japan. In the story, he is the right-hand man for Wario and helps to cause trouble on his behalf. I’d like a full series with those two, ASAP please and thanks.
The final opponent today comes yet again from the best place for weird enemies, Pumpkin Zone. A one-eyed monster that stands around waiting for Mario, he will immediately charge once the player is in view of his all seeing peeper. His name comes from an onomatopoeia for glancing left and right repeatedly, which is exactly what he does while he waits to find Mario. Based on another Japanese folklore, Hitosume-kozo, they are bald supernatural apparition children with one eye who run around causing mischief, but rarely hurting anyone. They are often depicted with a comical design and I want to be friends with them and hang out on Halloween.