The 20 Greatest Mario Enemies Ever

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Who's gonna make the list?

Who's gonna make the list?

I can’t stop thinking about the Super Mario series of games no matter how hard I try (which isn’t very hard actually). I keep coming back to my favorites and remember what made me fall in love with the plumber in the first place. So I thought, “Hey, New Super Mario Bros Wii is out now and this week is Thanksgiving, so what better time for me to rattle off my favorite Mario enemies?” I instantly agreed with myself and began searching through the Mario database to remember each and every enemy Mario has ever faced. After searching I discovered I couldn’t limit myself to just 10, so here it is, my list of the 20 Greatest Mario Enemies.

20. Wiggler:

Right, like this guy's gonna harm me?

Right, like this guy's gonna harm me?

One of the best parts about the Mario games is the way enemies don’t always make a whole lot of sense. Take Wigglers for example. Initially they look like cute, happy caterpillars just boppin’ around, doin’ their own thing with a pretty flower on their head. But then you stomp on their flowers and they go nuts. Suddenly they freak out, turn red, and bum rush you. All because the pretty flower is now gone. You heartless monster.

19. Blargg:

That's my reaction to Blarggs, too.

That's my reaction to Blarggs, too.

Fun to say, more fun to pretend to be. I’m assuming a Blargg is a type of fire dragon thing as they live in lava, only to pop their eyes out and lazily dive at you with a “Blargg!” sort of sound. Take a second now and go find your sister (or brother if he’s been particularly evil to you lately). Hide somewhere and when they come by, jump out with a “BLARGG!” If that isn’t fun, I don’t know what is.

18. Fawful:

Always play your Mario & Luigi before bed.

Always play your Mario & Luigi before bed.

Sometimes people just don’t heed my advice. If you don’t know who Fawful is, you’re probably not heeding it. Have you heeded? I bet not. Go play Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and you’ll know exactly who this little bean of hilarity is. Known for his catchphrase “I have fury!” Actually, this may be the proper response to “BLARGG!”

17. Dino Piranha:

That's it, I'm replaying Super Mario Galaxy this week.

That's it, I'm replaying Super Mario Galaxy this week.

Super Mario Galaxy did a lot right, but it didn’t add too many new enemies that stood out for me. It did however bring back a favorite of mine in this Petey Piranha upgrade. The Dino Piranha is like Petey Piranha on steroids, and while I don’t endorse the use of drugs other than Super Mushrooms and Fire Flowers, I do support the revamped primal-urges of the Dino Piranha, such as “Destroy!” and “BLARGG!”

16. Francis:

It's like they took my high school self and made a video game character out of him.

It's like they took my high school self and made a video game character out of him.

The Paper Mario games have a way of getting funnier and funnier with each new sequel. When I heard about Super Paper Mario, I wasn’t too enthused since it wasn’t going to be an RPG like its predecessors but rather a 2-D/3-D platformer. And then I got to the third world and encountered Francis the chameleon, an uber nerd. When Princess Peach attempts attacking him, he boots Swoon.exe, a program that’s primary function is to talk to girls. I think this quote says it all: “Booting up Swoon.exe! Activating Nerd2Babe interface mod with real-time wooing!” That’s priceless.

15. Kriffid:

Beware the deadly fish-bush!

Beware the deadly fish-bush!

You’re going to find a good handful of Super Mario RPG enemies showing up here, with the first being Kriffid, a bush-like thing. Or maybe a fish-like thing? I think it’s closer to a fish-bush actually. The first time I encountered one of these things I thought there was a mistake and the game didn’t load the proper enemy. Then the bush opened up and a fish enemy scuttled around and wasted my face using electrical attacks. I’ve been terrified of bushes ever since, a trait shared only by a few select individuals in history such as Moses.

14. Super Koopas:

More powerful than the Justice League.

More powerful than the Justice League.

“Why haven’t we seen Koopas yet?” Is that what you’re asking? Well, I thought about them and determined that Koopas kinda suck. Yes, I enjoy them and all, but what does it say about you when you get stomped on and then killed with your own shell? That’s like if I was punched, my shirt fell off, and then someone strangled me with my own shirt. Well, Super Koopas don’t have that problem and they don’t take guff from no Mario. They can fly and they do so in groups, making normal left-to-right gameplay a massive hazard of flying doom.

13. Ptooie:

This is why I don't travel.

This is why I don't travel.

Ptooies are cheaters, plain and simple. I first saw these in Super Mario Bros 3 and since the day I witnessed a Piranha Plant walking about outside a pipe, keeping a spiked-ball suspended merely by blowing, I called foul play. Something about that just never seemed right to me as I was just used to the idea of deadly plants emerging from usually safe plumbing. Now suddenly they could walk about and become massive annoyances. No, that’s just too much. Red Flag called on account of absurd.

12. Jinx:

The original Napoleon Complex.

The original Napoleon Complex.

Here’s another from Super Mario RPG, and while I love this enemy, you don’t technically have to fight him if you don’t want to or if you suck at the game. The picture there doesn’t really do him justice as this dojo master is roughly the size of Mario’s foot, yet can lay the smackdown like no body’s business. He’ll leap at you with a flying kick, jump behind you and explode your Achilles tendon, or just hit you with a giant bullet that comes from nowhere. Simply, this guy owns you.

11. The Koopalings:

Glad to see you back, but what took so long?

Glad to see you back, but what took so long?

Well, they didn’t quite break the top 10, but they came close. Why don’t they make it higher? Well, they got overshadowed by Bowser Jr, that’s why. First seen in Super Mario Bros 3, each Koopaling had its own airship and my budding gaming skills were no match for their “Jump on me three times” defenses. They returned in Super Mario World to get beaten again, and once more in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Finally they get revived for New Super Mario Bros Wii and for that I couldn’t be happier. But still, I’ve got better enemies waiting just ahead.

10. Fuzzy:

Remember kids: Don't do drugs.

Remember kids: Don't do drugs.

“Touch Fuzzy. Get Dizzy.” Simple words for a simple concept. Everyone that’s played Yoshi’s Island knows what a Fuzzy is. Think of them as our real-world equivalent of a kick to the head, or really cheap beer (I prefer the kick to the head). If Yoshi so much as brushes up against these little puffs the screen gets distorted and causes much difficulty with controls. All you can do is just sit and wait for the effects to wear off.

9. Angry Sun:

Why I don't leave my house when the sun's out.

Why I don't leave my house when the sun's out.

Super Mario Bros 3 was a hard game because everything wanted you dead. Even the sun. Yes, the sun would scowl at you from the sky until it eventually couldn’t take any more and began dive-bombing every chance it got. And it wouldn’t even smile if it killed you, either. I remained angry. You’d go “Whoop! I died!” and fall off the screen, but the sun would still scowl like you’ve caused him far too much grief for your death to matter anymore. What did you do to him anyway? Did you murder the sun’s son in a previous game? Something to think about.

8. World 1-1 Goomba:

"AHHH Motherland!"

"AHHH Motherland!"

No other enemy on this list has as many kills racked up as this one simple murder machine. Goombas as a people are pitiful, stupid enemies that hobble back and forth, hoping you’ll step in front of them as they slowly bump into you. But this one lone solider stands as the very first enemy Mario encounters in Super Mario Bros and somehow year after year, new players pick up the controller unaware that they should jump over this stupid Goomba and instead suffer the ultimate fate. Even worse is when a seasoned player loses patience and rushes headfirst into death by accident while their friends shake their heads in shame. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.

7. Booster:

I wish I looked like this.

I wish I looked like this.

One of the most memorable characters from Super Mario RPG was this rough-faced scoundrel that goes by the name Booster. He has his own tower that he typically just plays around in while riding a train, but Princess Toadstool fell from the sky after the events at the beginning of the game and landed on his balcony. Therefore, he figures he should marry her since he’ll get a cake out of it. Pretty much, I sort of want to grow up to become this guy some day.

6. Pionpi:

These WILL kill you, no arguing.

These WILL kill you, no arguing.

Super Mario Land was always odd to me, since the English version didn’t change the Japanese enemies’ names. I always thought they should have renamed everything so you could describe them easier to your friends, since we did that anyway. “You know those Jumpy-Spiders?” “Oh, you mean Kumos?” “No, I mean Jumpy-Spiders, jerk.” By the time you get to the fourth world, which has a very distinctly “Chinese” vibe to it, you encounter enemies that look like Chinese people hopping around without much thought. They’re actually called “Pionpi” and are based off of ghouls known to Japanese people, but come on, they look just like evil Chinese people mindlessly hopping back and forth. Like I’m going to listen to Japanese developers when they says, “No seriously, we weren’t making fun of Chinese stereotypes or anything.” Don’t believe you. Plus, these enemies never die! They just get mad!

5. Boss Bass:

I know you've been eaten by one of these at least once.

I know you've been eaten by one of these at least once.

BLARGG! Second only to that stupid World 1-1 Goomba in aggravating deaths, Boss Bass is the fish from Super Mario Bros 3 that swims around and hops every so often. If it catches you in its mouth, instant death. No chance to get out of it, you just die. You can kill these with a well-timed throw of a block or a shell, with a fireball, or even just grab a star and give the jerk a taste of his own medicine. But then he comes back! What the heck?! These should have been called “Blarggs” instead of those lava dragons.

4. The Rawk Hawk:

"Can you smell what the Rawk is cookin'?!"

"Can you smell what the Rawk is cookin'?!"

Now we’re talking. “Are you ready to get RAWKED?!” Yes, I am ready. You have a brief stint as the Great Gonzales partway through Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door where you fight your way through the Glitz Pit to take on the champion. And who is the champion? A hawk that knows Lucha-style moves and spews catchphrases similar to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If he’s losing he’ll even jump up to the rafters and shake down debris. I was almost sad to kick his butt.

3. The Koopa Bros:

They're the world's most fearsome fighting Koopas!

They're the world's most fearsome fighting Koopas!

C’mon, like I’m not going to include the obvious Ninja Turtle reference? The Koopa Bros show up as the first real bosses of Paper Mario and do a fairly competent job of dealing some punishment should you not focus your attacks very well on stopping their ultimate attack of hopping into each other’s backs and launching a spinning tackle. Plus they get cool theme music to beat your face in. I really want to see these enemies come back but we haven’t seen a bit of them since the end of Paper Mario.

2. The Axem Rangers:

Go Go Axem Rangers!

Go Go Axem Rangers!

First the Ninja Turtles, now Power Rangers? You bet your sweet bippy. My favorite enemies from Super Mario RPG came near the end but when they showed up I was totally blindsided. I got destroyed the first few times I tried fighting this hardcore team of Smithy’s most loyal but with enough practice I figured out the secret. However, no fight with them is ever simple since each member gets an attack and the Black Ranger attacks twice. They can scrape your sorry team in one move if you aren’t careful. And once you knock out all five, that’s it, right? Wrong! They get behind the Megazord head and fire the Breaker Beam at you, leaving you clinging for dear life.

So who can possibly beat super Koopas, Blarggs, giant fish, cheating plants, Chinese stereotypes, a Lucha chicken, the Ninja Turtles, and the Power Rangers? Oh, I think you know.

1. Giga Bowser:

"Please give me all your faces!"

"Please give me all your faces for I now own them!"

Like there was any doubt who was going to top this list? Bowser appears in just about every single Mario game and causes more than his share of chaos, but Bowser felt a little too simple to top the list. In comes Super Smash Bros Melee with a final boss battle against a Bowser reborn as Giga Bowser. Basically, take Bowser and increase his killing power, making him an unstoppable force of destruction. All he has to do is headbutt you and dark energy sparks from his noggin. Why? Who cares? Giga Bowser could take on every enemy on this list and not even lose a life, and that’s why he makes the top of the list.

Do you disagree with my list? I bet you probably do since everyone has his or her own favorites to talk about. So tell me about them with a comment or two. There are hundreds of enemies in the Mario universe and I only touched on 20. There’s plenty of room for your voice to get heard, so let’s hear it!

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for this list. I wish I had not sold my SNES before as this made me want to replay Super Mario RPG.

  2. Pretty much a fantastic list, although for 1 and 2 spots I’d have to put 2 of the best bosses in terms of theme music and story (not necessarily for hilariousness) which are: Shadow Queen and Ultimate Show. Both of those bosses have great backstories that are more than just “I have a fetish for Princess Peach so I want to marry her, then rule the world” like Bowser’s. Shadow Queen is insanely evil, and insanely powerful and I think she could probably take on Giga Bowser or any form of Bowser save for Composite. Ultimate Show is great because his backstory is legitimately sad and you really felt for him.

  3. ok well people might have played those games but the original enemies from the older games are way better

  4. not enough original enemies like lakitu, or hammer bros, or bullet bill, or dry bones, and too many weird ones that no one has heard of like axem rangers, rawk hawk, booster, jinx, krifid, francis, fawful and pionpi like wtf?????

  5. PuppetDoctor on

    My #1 favorite enemy is the original Goomba from Super Mario Bros. (when I was a kid the Goombas from SMB1 looked like Mushrooms to me so I imagined eating them. I learned this week that Goomba is actually mushroom in Hungarian).

    #2 Would be the Koopa Kids (After seeing their picture in the Super Mario World Manual I just loved those kids. I still love the picture of them all together).

    #3 is Kammy Koopa (Just for the sheer laughter that she has caused me in the Paper Mario series).

  6. I like tanoomba.

    Game: M&L:SS

    Ability: Turn into Mario/Luigi and hammer/jump you.

    Location(s): The beach where you hammer Luigi into that gap so he turns into a Surfboard. Chucklehuck forest, it only appears on the playing screen because you cannot fight it. If you hammer Luigi into the ground in the first area and wait a while a (supposedly lost) Tanoomba will poke its head from behind a tree.

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