First released on October 23, 1988 in Japan, February 12, 1990 in North America, Super Mario Bros. 3 is considered by many, one of the best video games of all time. It has been upgraded and re-released many times since its original launch, and is not going away any time soon. If you grew up playing it, chances are, you hold very fond memories of it. Let’s take a look at my top 15 Super Mario Bros. 3 levels.
15. World 6-5
This is the first, and one of only a few levels, where when you reach the end of the level, it is a dead end. There is a pipe that will take you back into the middle of the level.
As a kid, this blew my mind, and it took me a while to figure it out. You are supposed to powerup to racoon mario so that you can fly up to the ceiling and find a hidden exit.
But, that’s not all. Some nasty nipper plants are there blocking your way. As such, you need to carry a green shell up with you to take them out. Time is of the essence, however, as the green shell will quickly wake and damage you, if you’re not fast enough.
As a veteran Mario player, I don’t find it very difficult today, though it is still a uniquely fun level that is worth some notice. As a kid, it took a while to master, and given its uniqueness, deserves a spot on this list.
14. World 7-2
World 7 (Pipe Land) was filled with some of the more difficult levels of the game. One of the more memorable levels was 7-2. Not overly difficulty, level 7-2 presented a trap to Mario, where he could not jump back up due to some hidden note blocks.
Fortunately. after making a note block bridge, Mario can go down a pipe and backtrack a bit, then go above the bridge to get past and complete the level. This technique was new to Mario games at the time, and is still pretty cool.
13. World 7-3
Another seemingly difficult level in Pipe Land is 7-3. Filled with jumps and enemies, not least of which is pesky Lakitu throwing spinies at you, this level can be a little tough, unless you figure out the super star system for this level. You are started off with a super star, but there are 4 others along the way. The trick is to hit the block to get the next one, before your current super start runs out.
Being quick is key to trotting your way to the victory. If you miss the star, don’t worry, you can still beat the level by dodging enemies and making it to the end.
12. World 2-Sand
World 2 (Desert Land) level “sand” (as there is no number designation, just a sand tile) is very unique as it hosts two rare enemies. That it, the angry sun, seen only twice, and the tornado, only seen in this level. The angry sun, after luring you into a false sense of security, as it hangs out in the top-left corner, will soon circle down trying to nip you. The tornado, though not dealing damage, will catch Mario and move him backwards in the level. It takes a bit of P-speed and jumping into it to get past.
This dynamic duo of enemies will earn this level a spot on this list, as it remains in our thoughts as being a pretty neat level.
11. World 6-8
World 6-8 was a cool level in Ice Land that hosted one of the only green grass levels in the game, and numerous blue ice blocks for hurling at annoying enemies, like the nipper plants and buster beetles. Go ahead, hurl those ice blocks and get some revenge.
A fun Mario level that is entitled to a spot on this list.
10. World 4-1
Giant Land is one of the unique worlds that Super Mario Bros. 3 has to offer. Living up to its name, Giant Land is home to super sized pipes, enemies, and just about anything else. This level showcases all that off.
Not to mention, there is a secret water fall that you can fly up to, then swim up the rest of the way to find your way to some extra lives.
A couple big bertha’s guard them, however, so it helps to be packing some fire power.
9. World 4-6
World 4-6 is the only level that has a magic door that will switch between giant and regular size enemies.
Although this functionality is not necessary to use for the completion of the level, is is a pretty amusing trick to do.
8. World 7-7
This level in Pipe Land will require quick hands…or feet, depending on who’s perspective you look from. You must run accross a sea of munchers while maintain your super star power. If it runs out before the next one, you will take damage.
Yet again, we see another gimmick that is unique to a single level. Fun if you can be fast, frustrating if not.
7. World 3-1
Water levels in Mario games are not often considered to be among the best, but in this case, World 3-1 is one of those that has always stood out to me. It is the first level where a frog suit can be used where it is actually useful, and contains a couple hidden power ups. Additionally, it is just a fun colorful level to play.
No matter what path you choose, I think you will also enjoy this level.
6. World 5-3
This is the only level of the game that features the Kuribo Shoe. Whether you think it looks like a potato sack or a windup boot, we can all agree that this shoe is some sweet gear. It allows us to jump on munchers, spinies and piranha plants.
Additionally, it lets us take an additional hit without sacrificing the powerup that we have. Though, we will lose the shoe after a hit. Either way, a good level for this list.
5. World 2-4
World 2-4 has always stood out to me. With the palm trees and hidden area above that is home to many coins, I always find enjoyment when playing this level. You just need to have racoon Mario to gain access.
So go ahead, skip the boomerang bros down below, fly on up and gather some coins.
4. World 5-tower
This level is unique in the fact that it does not have a typical end to it. This acts a junction between the two different parts of Sky Land (the lower and upper). There is no spinning card at the end, nor a boss to battle. You end by going through a pipe and finding yourself in upper Sky Land. Interestingly enough, you can traverse back to lower Sky Land, however, you will have to complete the level again to get back to upper Sky Land.
Yet again, a unique level that adds to the overall charm of the game.
3. World 7-fortress 1
This fortress in pipeland is one of the several where a sort of maze needs to be solved. I fine this level fun, for one, because you can turn all the blocks to coins via the P-switch. This allows you to easy gain extra lives, even to the point of farming them if necessary. Ultimately, this puzzle is solved by finding the tanooki suit and flying your way to the top. I always liked how the room with the hidden pipe looked abandoned, as there were no enemies.
Definitely a level that caused me to scratch my head when I first played it. Still fun to play to this day, earning a spot on this list.
2. World 5:2
This level in Sky Land starts off with Mario entering a pipe, only to begin a free fall. I am not a big fan of playing this level if you take the route all the way to the bottom. The fun way is to catch the note block on the way down and climb back up to a pipe to the right, taking you to a hidden area. When I first seen this, I was very intrigued, and it took a while for me to successfully climb back up.
Traversing the secret route will reward you with an easier level and some extra lives.
1. World 8-2
Number 1. takes us to 8-2, in Dark Land. This level stands out as it is one of two levels (both found in Dark Land) where it contains this nighttime theme, where there is a white foreground and black background. After dealing with Bowser’s tank army and ships, this offers a bit of a stress relief. Best of all, there is a cool secret below the quicksand—a power up and a shortcut, taking you pretty close to the end of the level.
This is the last relatively casual level before trekking your way to bowser’s castle and is one of my favorite levels of Super Mario Bros. 3, gaining a spot on this list.
A Final Note
It was a difficult choice narrowing down all the levels of this great game to 15. Honestly, I can’t really think of any bad levels. It may come as a surprise that there were no airships on this list. For one, they are a slow auto scroller, which to me, takes out the fun of going my own pace through a level. Also, it is hard to pick just one, as they are all about the same feel to them…so to pick one, would mean to pick them all. Bower’s castle is certainly fun, but taking out the boss fight, the level then just remains fairly average. Besides, I felt it was a bit to obvious to include on the list.
What do you think?
Did we get it right, do you agree? Probably not, but that is okay. We would love to hear your thoughts and what you think are the best level. Let us know!