Releases | 1½ extra seconds | Ouch | Mushroom House wait | World 1-Fortress | King's chamber | Change of suit | Treasure Ship | Jugem's Cloud | Tanooki Suit | World 3-Japan | World 5-1 | Kuribo's Shoe | World 8-Battleships | No joke | Credits | Names
The two versions compared on this page:
1½ extra seconds
Super Mario Bros. 3 has an iris-out effect when you start a level from the map screen. It is no different in the Japanese version, except that it has an iris-in effect before the level starts. Below is an animation for your viewing convenience.
Animated GIF by CPU3X.
This effect was omitted in the U.S. version, reducing the wait time by about 1½ seconds.
In the Japanese SMB3, Super/Fiery/Raccoon/Frog/Tanooki/Hammer Mario all will revert to small Mario after taking damage. The U.S. version is more lenient, allowing a damaged Fiery/Raccoon/Frog/Tanooki/Hammer Mario to regress only one step to Super Mario.
Mushroom House wait
The Japanese version lets you move before Toad is done talking, but the U.S. version makes you wait until all the text has appeared. If they didn't change the wait time in the U.S. version, you would be able to move right after the second line of text finished.
The rising-and-falling spiked ceiling originally had four more spikes after the door. The right wall was extended two blocks to the left, deleting the spikes in the U.S. version. I would say the change actually made this part easier.
Thanks: Rebeka Thomas.
When we find out the king has been transformed, we also see that his room is a bit different. In the U.S. version, Mario starts out closer to the steps, one column is missing, the stairs were lengthened, and the column on the right side of the screen is now in front of the steps. In the background, the shadows were switched, and the huge upside-down triangles changed in color and size. Also, the throne and stair tops were changed from cyan to gold, resulting in a slightly more colorful room.
In case you were wondering, Super Mario All-Stars used the original throne room from the Japanese version. Mario even starts out on the left there, too.
Change of suit
In the Japanese SMB3, when Frog/Tanooki/Hammer Mario takes damage, you'll hear a "bloop" sound as an outline of the suit leaves Mario's body. We didn't get to see the suit fly off in the U.S. SMB3, but the routine returned in Super Mario All-Stars' SMB3.
There is a trick you can do that will turn a Wandering Hammer Brother on the map screen into a Treasure Ship. If you've ever done it, you may have noticed a weird symbol on the ship's sail. Believe it or not, it is the kanji character for "treasure." (Kanji are Chinese characters used in Japanese writing.)
The Jugem's Clould item lets Mario skip over one stage on the map screen. In Japan, Lakitu is called "Jugem." Lakitu rides in a cloud similar to this one, hence the name "Jugem's Cloud."
Mario's transformations into Raccoon and Tanooki Mario are actually based on Japanese mythology. A "tanooki" (really spelled tanuki) is a raccoon-like animal indigenous to Japan. In ancient Japanese tales, raccoons had quite a bit of magic power. One of their most renowned talents was the ability to shift their shapes by using leaves. They often used this to turn into humans. Other creatures, such as foxes, were also known to have these powers, but whereas foxes used this ability to often play cruel tricks on humans, raccoons were more of a nice and helpful nature. Large raccoon statues are also used in Japan as some kind of good-luck bringers.
Thanks: Toasty64, Xanatøs
On the far right is a tanuki from The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES), and next to that we see Rocky's transformation (from Pocky and Rocky (SNES)).
On the World 3 map screen, if you take Mario on a canoe ride to the castle, you'll pass a mushroom-shaped island on the way. The island where the castle is located also has a familiar shape: the country of Japan.
Incidentally, the castle would be in the city of Kyoto -- the location of Nintendo's headquarters. Now remember that the king of World 3 looks like Mario (Nintendo's mascot), and everything falls into place.
Thanks: Imara and Chilly the Snowman
The ending of World 5-1 changed a little bit here. Originally, in the Japanese version, at this point you would go through the pipe. You'd emerge on the other side of the wall, and would find the dark goal area after about 20 more blocks of vacant terrain. This ending was shortened in the U.S. version, as the "darkness" was moved ahead to where the pipe and wall used to be.
The wall was removed to fix an odd, harmless glitch that would happen if you were to fly over the wall after going through the pipe. See the SMB3 bugs page for more details.
Neat item, but who is Kuribo? The answer is simple: In Japan, the name for a Goomba is "Kuribo." Thus, the English equivalent would be "Goomba's Shoe."
In the Japanese version, if you run into an enemy, the shoe turns red as you lose it. Unlike in the U.S. version, Mario will take damage in addition to losing the shoe. Small Mario will survive, but Super/Fiery/Raccoon/Frog/Tanooki Mario will come out small. Remember that Frog/Tanooki Mario sheds his suit when damaged (see "Change of suit"); if you lose a suit and the shoe at the same time, you'll only see the suit fly off.
In the second "level" of World 8, one block was removed from the end of the last ship.
Mario hops from ship to ship over what appears to be hot lava, but the mystery liquid is actually safe to swim through. In the Japanese version, if Mario were to swim under or jump off the last ship, the back end is too tall for anyone except Frog Mario to jump back up. Furthermore, since this is an auto-scrolling level, Mario cannot swim back to the left because at this point the level has stopped scrolling. The block was removed to fix this problem in the U.S. version.
The Japanese SMB3 features a more serious Princess Toadstool. In the Japanese version, Princess Toadstool originally said, "Thank you! Finally, peace returns to the Mushroom World. The end!"
All of the world names in the credits were changed to "something Land" for the U.S. version. However, World 1: Grass Land also appeared in the Japanese version. Check the changes below. (Japanese screens shown first.) In case you were wondering, Super Mario All-Stars used the original Japanese version's names for its SMB3 credits.
(Some of you may have the original Japanese level titles in your game because there were two slightly different U.S. versions of SMB3. Check the SMB3 info page for more details.)
It is interesting to note that neither the Japanese nor U.S. versions of SMB3 in Super Mario All-Stars are based on their respective NES versions. Instead, both games contain an amalgamation of the Japanese and U.S. versions, with the level changes (such as the world 1-1 Fortress) remaining from the U.S. version, along with the graphic "gimmicks" (such as the suit flying off effect) from the Japanese version.
The following tables compare the Japanese and English manuals.
Special thanks to JJ for providing the Japanese manual!
Contributing: Jonathan Miller.