No offense to Super Mario World, but Super Mario Bros. 3 has it beaten in nearly every category.
While both are unquestionably some of the best platformers of all time, Super Mario Bros. 3 edges out its more powerful brother in terms of gameplay, power-ups, control, music, and level design, if not more, and although it doesn’t have Yoshi, it’s got a mythical raccoon suit that lets you turn into an invincible statue. Take that, you dumb dinosaur.
While we’re being somewhat facetious, there’s really no question about the fact that Super Mario Bros. 3 is simply a total masterpiece.
That said, despite the fact that it’s been out for years and has been played by countless individuals, there’s still a lot of content, secrets, and general tricks that are hiding within the code of the game that not everyone has had the pleasure of discovering and using to their advantage.
We’re changing that today, with our list of Super Mario Bros. 3: 25 Tricks From The Game Players Have No Idea About.
We’ll be covering everything from arguably well-known secrets (at least to longtime players, rather than the general public) to the most obscure tactics, and we can almost guarantee that even if it’s your 100th time going through the game, you’ll find something on this list that you never knew about.
Better yet, if it’s your first time playing, all of these tips and tricks will be invaluable tools to help you make it to the end goal… which is an arduous task considering the titanic difficulty spike SMB3 puts you through during its final hour.
25 The "Magic" Pink Note Block
Let’s start off with something that many folks probably know about, but even if they don’t, it’s an awesome reminder (or introduction) to the kind “anything is possible” secrets that define the Super Mario Bros. 3 experience.
In World 1-3, you can find a pink “Magic Note Block,” and jumping on it will send you up into Coin Heaven.
It’s a delightful surprise that immediately gives players a sense of wonderment and discovery. Of course, it’ll also make you rich.
There are other instances of these pink, bouncy blocks, but we’ll let you discover them on your own.
24 Turning A Muncher Into A Block
Most players familiar with the Super Mario Bros. games are well aware of the dastardly Piranha Plants, who love taking bites out of our heroes (or singing them with a fireball.)
In Super Mario Bros. 3, however, there’s another kind of hungry plant: the Muncher.
These things appear in rows over long distances, forcing you to find a way to travel quite a decent length to avoid them.
One trick is to whack one with you raccoon tail, as that will turn it into a solid block.
Honestly, it really doesn’t do much, but it’s still pretty cool.
23 "New Game Plus"
After beating Super Mario Bros. 3, you deserve to treat yourself to something nice, because it’s definitely not an easy experience.
But let’s say that you still have the itch to play the game, despite conquering it minutes ago. Luckily, the Western release incorporates something of a “New Game Plus” for those who aren’t done donning raccoon tails.
Starting a new game gives players an inventory topped off with P-Wings. With these powerful items in tow, prepare to breeze through the game with a brand new perspective.
22 Picking A Box Doesn't Matter
There are a variety of mini-games that can be found on the overworld that yield much-needed rewards for Mario on his journey, and one of these locations tosses away any chance of failure by letting you choose one of three treasure chests, all of which contain great items.
Here’s the thing, though: it doesn’t matter what box you choose.
The second you enter the Toad House, the game has already decided what you’re getting, no matter which chest you click on.
Armed with this knowledge, you can stop hitting yourself over “just missing” the Super Leaf.
21 Infinite Lives A Plenty
You’re going to need a lot of lives to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 unless your some kind of expert (and, even then, you might want to consider stockpiling extra lives just in case).
Luckily, Super Mario Bros. 3 makes it easy to get an infinite number of extra lives through simple exploits.
One of these is in 1-2, where standing over of a specific pipe while wearing the Tanooki Suit will trigger an endless army of goombas, who you can farm for 1-Ups by smiting them one after another.
20 The Secret Duplicate Room In Bowser's Castle
When it comes to beating Bowser, players may want to tip the odds in their favor as much possible, and we don’t blame them. Luckily, there’s an unusually obscure secret that will prevent Bowser from being able to launch his deadly fire balls.
Equip yourself with a P-Wing and then fly through the crack above a grey Bowser statue in the final level.
You’ll go through the wall and into an identical room. Go through the door, then fly up and left, where you’ll find a Bowser who can’t breathe fire!
19 Taking Advantage Of World 3's Fortress
The Fortress levels in Super Mario Bros. 3 are usually the most difficult in the game, aside from some of the more brutal airships. World 3’s Fortress is particularly trying, considering the seemingly random nature of dropping from the air and landing by doors that may or may not send you backwards.
There’s a way to game the system and make it right to the end, however.
Head through door three and then door four, and you’ll find yourself right at the end of the level, all without breaking a sweat (or a controller).
18 How To Cheat The Card Matching Game
Every now and then you’ll find yourself in a mini-game where you’ll need to match cards. Successfully completing this will result in well-deserved rewards, but victory isn’t a guarantee.
That said, you can tip the odds in your favor by using a technique to cheat, even if only slightly.
Essentially, it’s always a safe bet to choose the bottom right card, because no matter what, it’ll be a Star.
Use this to your advantage next time you’re in a tight spot.
17 Sliding To Beat Baddies
Okay, we’ll be frank: there probably isn’t anyone out there who’s played Super Mario Bros. 3 and doesn't know about this move, but just in case, we’ll quickly go over it anyway.
If you find yourself on a steep enough hill, often crawling with enemies, hold down and Mario will slide.
While he’s scooting down the hill on his behind, most enemies in his way will get a face full of plumber shoe before being exiled to the depths of the underworld.
16 The Lowered Difficulty Is A Trick On Its Own
There are various region differences between many games on many different consoles. Sometimes, like in Super Mario Bros. 2’s case, Japan and the West receive entirely different games.
While this isn’t exactly the same situation with Super Mario Bros. 3, there are some rather significant changes between the two versions.
Specifically, the Western release has altered game mechanics to make it easier. When Mario takes damage in Japan, he immediately reverts to normal Mario, amping up the difficulty.
This “trick” (on the part of the developers) is actually one heck of a favor, considering the brutality of SMB3’s end game.
15 Sliding In The Hammer Bros. Suit
After years of embarrassing and frustrating defeats at the hands of the ruthless Hammer Bros., SMB3 allowed players to get their vengeance by donning the Hammer Bros. suit and laying waste to all who oppose them.
Despite the god-like powers of the suit, Mario is incapable of sliding with it on, which is its only flaw.
However, a sprite of hammer-suited Mario was found in the game’s data, and hackers were able to implement it in 6-10.
It frankly doesn’t have much practical use, but if you wanted to slide with the Hammer Suit, now you know it’s possible.
14 Bypassing Fortresses
Fortresses are filled with traps, treachery, and devilish foes, and they pose as a major threat to all plumbers who enter them.
If you’re clever enough, though, you might be able to bypass these lairs with ease.
Every 80,000 points a card-matching game materializes on the world map, and it always appears next to you.
With proper planning, you can have it appear on a fortress and bypass it all together.
Be careful, though: the locked paths associated with the fort will remain as such.
13 Alternate Dialogue
One of the most iconic aspects of Super Mario Bros. 3 are the different costumes the plumber can don.
Some of these give him strange powers, like the Tanooki Suit’s flight and statue-transforming, while others, such as the Frog Suit, make swimming a breeze.
If you’re wearing one of these costumes when you rescue a king at the end of a world, however, you’ll get some humorous alternate dialogue.
While this isn’t exactly a “trick,” per se, it’s something that players who have beaten the game multiple times can attempt to inject some replay value.
12 Warp Whistles
This is common knowledge for many Super Mario Bros. 3 players, but there’s a whole new generation discovering this game for the first time, and they might find themselves unaware of the powerful Warp Whistles hidden in the game.
With a Warp Whistle in hand, you’re able to skip entire worlds, even heading to World 8 if done right.
Best of all, you can find two Warp Whistles in the very first World, just in case you think you might be needing them.
11 Five Easy Extra Lives
Mario will come across a box containing the image of a Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Star at level’s end, and collecting three of a kind will yield bonus lives, with three Stars giving you 5 1-Ups.
This can be invaluable for new players, or those stocking up extra men for the difficult and taxing final world, but the timing on getting three of a kind can be difficult.
One go-to method is to run as fast as possible towards the box and jump into its lower-left corner.
If you nail the timing, you typically get a Star every time!
10 The Game Working At All Is A Trick
Super Mario Bros. 3 was an impressive technical achievement on the aging NES. In fact, one of the greatest tricks in the game is that the only reason it was capable of functioning was because of a special chip called the MMC3.
Because of that particular chip, SMB3’s excellent graphics, speed, and even status bar were all possible.
While earlier Super Mario Bros. games weren’t ugly or non-functional in the slightest, the difference in power and quality in part 3 is readily apparent, and it’s all thanks to this specialized chip.
9 Statue Tanooki In The Goomba's Shoe
Tanooki Mario is infamous for being able to turn into that weird statue, but it’s still not as weird as being able to take a ride in Kuribo’s Shoe (otherwise known as “Goomba’s Shoe,” depending on your version of the game).
If you turn into the statue right before landing in the shoe, you’ll be able to combine the best of both worlds and become an immortal god.
As this purely invincible form, you can lay waste all of your enemies, and force them to bow before you and your unstoppable might.
8 The White Toad House
There are a few overworld secrets, but few are as illusive as the mysterious White Toad House.
In order to make this highly secretive homestead appear, you’ll need to satisfy curiously specific conditions.
The method involves collecting a certain amount of coins on a specific level, such getting 30 coins in 2-2.
If you manage to reveal one, you’ll be treated to mighty and rare items, such as the P-Wing.
With only one White Toad House in each world, it’s best to plan ahead to make sure you acquire their powerful items.
7 Bypassing The Pyramid
While the pyramid in World 2 is pretty cool, maybe you just don’t feel like dealing with it during your current playthrough. In fact, maybe you’d rather just skip the whole thing all together.
Luckily, you can do exactly that, but you’ll need to be a little bit of a cheat.
When starting the level, you’ll be outside the pyramid. By using cheats to let you go out of the level’s boundaries, you need only keep running to the right until you find some coins and a way to the end of the level.
6 An Immense Amount Of Secret Levels
The e-Reader was a cool idea, but one that never really took off. Essentially, you’d buy a peripheral that plugged into your GBA, and their would be packs of cards that you’d buy, each of which giving you something after scanning it in the device.
Some of these cards were brand new bonus levels in the GBA version of Super Mario Bros. 3.
There are 30 of these levels in total, but Westerners only had ten of the cards released.
Luckily, ALL of these stages can be played on the Wii U Virtual Console version of the game.
5 Freeing The Chain Chomps
Right… so this “trick” isn’t necessarily something that you’d want to do, but the fact that someone thought to program this into the game is hilarious and kind of amazing in its own right.
Chain Chomps may lunge at you, but their chain always keeps them from getting too far.
Wait for 175 seconds, and that changes.
Their chains will break and after all that time you spent taunting them from just out of reach, you’ll be a primary target for their insatiable rage and hunger.
4 Bowser Can't Hurt You
So you finally suffer through the disastrously malicious World 8 and reach Bowser.
You’re short on lives and your short on power-ups, but you can’t give up now, especially considering the difficulties you had to go through to even see the Koopa’s face.
Lucky for you, if you’re ducking, or just regular ol’ Mario, you won’t be hurt by Bowser’s ground pound attack.
With that in mind, perhaps you really will be able to beat the tyrant once and for all… at least in Super Mario Bros. 3.
3 Wall Kicks... Will Work?
Wall kicks/jumping has become a staple of the Mario franchise, and is also integral in other Nintendo properties such as Metroid, but did you know that it’s possible (albeit difficult) to wall jump in Super Mario Bros. 3?
Because of the way the game is structured, with many tiles creating the layout levels, the game can think that Mario has something under his feet, allowing you to jump off it.
The window to do this is brief, and it takes a lot of practice, but mastering it will aid you in ways you wouldn’t think were possible.
2 Swimming Under Bowser's Ships
If there is one flaw that Super Mario Bros. 3 has, it’s the extreme difficulty spike in the latter third of the game, especially the final world.
While it’s no surprise that an NES game is difficult, or that its final world is even more difficult, the problem in SMB3 is that it’s a DRASTIC spike, with level layouts that feel unfair rather than reliant on skill.
Thankfully, with this special trick, you can at least bypass a portion of this awful mess.
In the boat-filled stage in World 8, you can simply swim under everything, avoiding the pain.
1 The Mythic Treasure Ship
The mysterious “Treasure Ships” are so rare that most players thought they were playground myths.
They are quite real, actually, but the method for summoning them is just as obtuse and obscure as finding the White Mushroom Houses, if not more so.
You’ll need a Hammer Bros. on the map, then beat a level with a coin total that’s a multiple of 11, and the tens of your total score need to match that multiple.
While ridiculously precise, successfully pulling it off will let you wander a ghostly vessel that few mortals have ever set foot on.