Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U
Stage distribution in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U was deeply affected by having to develop two versions of the game, resulting in a lot of series only receiving a new stage in one version while only having a stage from a previous instalment in the other. Mario wasn’t just one of the few to receive new stages in both versions, but one of the very few to get more than one new stage in either version, and the only to get at least two new stages in both versions. Four new stages are exclusive to the 3DS version, while the Wii U version has three new exclusives. A new stage available to both versions was added as DLC. Overall, the Smash 4 duo added a whopping eight new stages to the Mario franchise, and even a ninth under a different series logo. With so many to cover I’ll split these into sub-sections based on which version they appear in.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Unlike previous Smash instalments, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS has a lot of stages from handheld Mario titles, due to that version having a primary focus on handheld games. Because of this we received some stages that may not have made it into Smash at all, and this version features four new exclusive stages overall. Like how Brawl was the first to have a stage from a Mario spin-off title (Mario Kart), this game adds a stage based on another unrepresented series of the Mario franchise; having the first stage to hail from a Mario RPG. Unlike Brawl however, Smash 3DS lacks the My Music feature, so each stage here only has two songs, thus limiting the amount of games that can be referenced through music.
The first new stage exclusive to the 3DS is 3D Land, a stage based on Super Mario 3D Land. It is a scrolling stage that takes place across multiple environments from the 3DS outing. The first area is based off the very first level in the game, featuring grassy fields, large coloured blocks and Peach’s Castle in the distance. Like in the Mushroom Kingdom and Mushroomy Kingdom stages, Brick Blocks and ? Blocks are present, as is the Note Block, which is wide like its 3D Land version. Also appearing in this area is the Flip Panel; unfolding platforms that are a recurring element in 3D Land that first appear in World 2-1. The second segment isn’t really based on a particular level in 3D Land, although it has some similarities with World 8-2. In this segment, floating platforms travel through a valley, with rocks that protrude causing platforms that touch them to tilt. This then transitions to the third area, which is based on the forest level, World 4-1. Featuring giant rotating blocks and unusable warp pipes, this segment then leads to the final section, which is based of the beach level World 6-1. In this section, there are three switchboard platforms (which first appear in World 1-4) and multiple spiked pillars rising out of the water, which can destroy parts of the platforms. Unlike in 3D Land, the switchboard platforms don’t move left or right if you stand on one side of them, only slowly moving in a circle on their own accord. At the end of this area, the platforms enter a giant warp pipe, taking fighters back to the first area again, restarting the cycle. The main theme for this stage is a remix of both the Main Theme and Beach Theme from Super Mario 3D Land, but instead of the song normally progressing from one to the other, the Beach Theme only plays during the third and fourth segments of the level. The alternate song available is Super Mario Bros. 3 Medley, which consists of the Athletic Theme, Giant Land World Map, Hammer Bros. Battle Theme, and the Life Lost fanfare.
The second 3DS exclusive stage is Golden Plains, which is based off New Super Mario Bros. 2. Set in World 1 of that game, Golden Plains utilises New Super Mario Bros. 2‘s coin gimmick to great effect. The stage is littered with coins, and if you get a hundred of them, you become golden, making your attacks stronger, and negating all knockback from attacks. Other coin-related elements of the New Super Mario Bros. series like Red Coin Rings and P Switches also show up here, as well as the scale platforms that appeared in both Mushroom Kingdom stages. The stage’s main theme is a remix of the Athletic and Ground Themes from the first three New Super Mario Bros. games, while its alternate is Ground Theme/Underground Theme, a medley from Super Mario Bros. that also includes the Castle Theme.
Next up is Rainbow Road from Mario Kart 7. Unlike last time, this track is a specific one rather than an original one, being the final track of Mario Kart 7‘s Special Cup. Rainbow Road is a track that has appeared as the final track in every Mario Kart, and because of this it is very iconic to the series, making it a great choice to represent the games. Instead of being a stationary stage like Mario Circuit, the stage works similar to Mute City in Melee and Port Town Aero Dive in Brawl, with a large floating platform moving along the track and stopping at specific locations. Some of these locations are modified from the original track, such as the mushroom no longer being bouncy and the end of the track before the drop to the moon no longer undulates. Like in Mario Circuit, Shy Guys drive along the track in karts, but unlike that stage, they cannot be attacked. The main theme for the stage is Rainbow Road Medley, which consists of the Rainbow Road themes from Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, while the alternate song is a direct port of Mario Kart 7‘s Rainbow Road.
The final new level exclusive to the 3DS version is Paper Mario, which involves both Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, and is the first stage in the series to be based off a Mario RPG. The stage consists of three different locations that the stage transitions between. The first area is Hither Thither Hill from Sticker Star. This grassy area features a pipe that shoots players up in the air, and a windmill with platforms that turn when someone stands on them. During the end half of this segment, a giant fan will appear and generate strong winds that push fighters and even blow away the pipe. After this, the stage transitions to the S.S. Flavion from The Thousand Year Door. A giant Blooper (with its design from that game) will occasionally show up and cause waves that can rock the boat, and giant waves (not caused by the Blooper) go over the front of the ship and can push players. Additionally, the whale from the original Paper Mario can appear under the ship and lift it with a spout of water. The final area is Bowser’s Sky Castle from Sticker Star. This location features a giant Bowser head that rotates randomly or can bite players, as well as to floating platforms with designs reminiscent of the Koopa Clown Car. Although the stage contains a Thousand Year Door segment and a reference to the first Paper Mario game, with two out of three segments being from Sticker Star and the stage being 3DS exclusive because of the focus on handheld titles, it’s safe to say that the stage is a Sticker Star stage rather a stage that represents the Paper Mario series in general. This stage’s track is a medley of Warm Fuzzy Plains, Rogueport and Bowser Jr.’s Flotilla, all from the same game each segment corresponds to. The alternate track hails from Nintendo’s other Mario RPG series, being Try, Try Again from Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
There is a fifth stage exclusive to 3DS, but unlike the others it is just a returning stage; Mushroomy Kingdom from Brawl (sans Underground version). And while not a new song, Dr. Mario‘s Fever remix from Melee is the alternate song for PictoChat 2. There were two Mario stages added as DLC, but they are available in both versions of the game, so I’ll talk about them later on.
The 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. 4 ended up covering several significant handheld Mario releases, and added much-needed representation to the RPG spin-offs on top of that. The New Super Mario Bros. series, which missed out on having a stage in Brawl was also represented for the first time. Unfortunately the only handheld covered was the Nintendo 3DS, with Mario titles that appeared on Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS being completely ignored. It’s notable that this is the first version of Smash to not have any new stages that represent already-represented games, with each stage hailing from a new game that has not been represented in a previous instalment. Each stage covers a different genre at that (3D platformer, 2D platformer, racing game and RPG), so there is a lot of variety in genres covered too. While the addition of a new Mario Kart series stage was added, seemingly making it a trend, the Luigi’s Mansion stage was not followed up with a Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon stage this time, which while not a glaring absence might mean it will not get a chance to be a stage in the next Smash due to its timing. Overall, Smash 3DS‘ line-up of new stages do an excellent job of covering Mario’s 3DS exploits, but his earlier handheld adventures are sorely missed.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario 3D Land
Mario Kart 7
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Mario Kart DS
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
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