Super Mario Bros.
Complete guide

The release of Super Mario Bros. was a defining moment in video game history; not only did it introduce many people to Mario, but more importantly, it was also the first side-scrolling, run-and-jump platform game. Its popularity spawned a veritable truckload of platform games, and of course, more Mario games. With a perfect blend of action, secrets, and puzzle elements, Super Mario Bros. became an instant classic that was still good enough to be re-released on the Game Boy Color almost 15 years later.

Compared to today's games, Super Mario Bros. is short and simple, making it an easy target for a complete, in-depth analysis. So, enough introduction -- let's get down and dirty with the brothers, the baddies, and the Mushroom Kingdom...


Gwa ha ha!

One day the kingdom of the peaceful mushroom people was invaded by the Koopa, a tribe of turtles famous for their black magic. The quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horse-hair plants, and the Mushroom Kingdom fell into ruin.

The only one who can undo the magic spell on the Mushroom People and return them to their normal selves is the Princess Toadstool, the daughter of the Mushroom King. Unfortunately, she is presently in the hands of the great Koopa turtle king.

Mario, the hero of this story (maybe) hears about the Mushroom People's plight and sets out on a quest to free the Mushroom Princess from the evil Koopa and restore the fallen kingdom of the Mushroom People. You are Mario! It's up to you to save the Mushroom People from the black magic of the Koopa!

-- SMB manual

The good

Player 1

He and his brother Luigi are the now-famous Mario Bros. plumbing duo. Mario is out to free the Mushroom Princess and save the Mushroom People from Bowser.


Exactly like Mario in every way, except for his color scheme. However, Fiery Luigi will be the same color as Fiery Mario.

Player 2
Mushroom Retainer <Mushroom Retainer
Located in Worlds 1-4, 2-4, 3-4, 4-4, 5-4, 6-4, 7-4

Now known as "Toad." Amazingly, each Mushroom Retainer utters the same line when rescued: "Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!"

Princess Toadstool>
Located in World 8-4

The princess of the Mushroom Kingdom has been kidnapped, and is being held captive by Bowser in World 8-4.

Princess Toadstool

Moves and attacks

Lets Mario walk to the right.

Lets Mario walk to the left.

When you are Super or Fiery Mario, press and hold Down to duck. Release to make Mario stand up again. Press Down while Mario is walking, and he'll slide one block. Press Down while Mario is running, and he'll slide three blocks. Also, pressing Down while standing on "open" pipes will let Mario enter them.

Used to climb vines. You must grab onto the vine first by walking into it.

B Button
Hold B while pressing Left or Right to run. Pressing B also makes Fiery Mario shoot a fireball.

A Button
Press A to jump. Jumping while holding Left or Right makes Mario jump left or right. Jump while running for an even longer jump. To get the most distance out of your jump, hold the A Button until you land.

Blue: Standing jump (4 blocks high)
Yellow: Walking jump (5 blocks long, 4 blocks and 6 pixels high)
Red: Running jump (8½ blocks long, 5 blocks and 1 pixel high)

Landing on an enemy (the stomp attack) is Mario's basic attack. While under water, the A Button makes Mario swim.

Only used on the title screen to select a 1- or 2-player game.

On the title screen, pressing Start starts the game you've selected with the Select Button. During the game, player one can pause the game by pressing Start. While paused, pressing Start will unpause.

Losing lives

When Super (or Fiery) Mario takes damage, he shrinks to small Mario and flashes for eight game seconds. During this time, Mario is invincible to enemy attacks.

If small Mario takes damage, it will result in a loss of life.


  • Touching either side of an enemy.
  • Stomping an enemy that can't be stomped on.
  • Touching any enemy underwater.

Even when invincible, Mario cannot survive "instant death."

Instant death

  • Falling down a pit, or a pit of lava.
  • Getting sucked down a pit while underwater.
  • Time up (the timer reaches zero).

Power-ups and 1-Up Mushrooms can help counter these unfortunate events.

The bad

Listed in order of appearance.

Land enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: Y
Infesting Worlds 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, 4-2, 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 6-2, 8-1, 8-2, 8-3, 8-4

Mushrooms turned bad, these guys have over-run the Mushroom Kingdom. They slowly move left or right, changing direction after colliding with a pipe, wall, or another enemy.

The weakest of all enemies, one stomp will get rid of them for good.

Koopa Troopa (green)>
Infesting Worlds 1-1, 1-2, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2, 5-1, 5-2, 6-2, 7-1, 7-3, 8-1, 8-3

These brave, green-shelled baddies will stop at nothing to destroy Mario... even if that means walking off of cliffs.

They move like Goombas, but they aren't as weak. Stomp them once, and they will retreat into their shells. You can then kick the shells into other enemies. If you leave a shell alone, the Koopa will pop back out after 13 game seconds.

Koopa Troopa (green)
Land enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: Y
Piranha Plant
Land enemy
Stomp: N
Fireball: Y
<Piranha Plant
Infesting Worlds 1-2, 2-1, 2-2, 3-1, 3-2, 4-1, 4-2, 4-4, 5-1, 5-2, 6-1, 6-2, 7-1, 7-2, 8-1, 8-2, 8-3, 8-4

These carnivorous plants reside in pipes, waiting to feast on unlucky Italian plumbers.

Although there is a large population of Piranha Plants, their movements are predictable. Moreover, standing on or about half a block away from their pipes will keep them from coming out.

Koopa Troopa (red)>
Infesting Worlds 1-2, 1-3, 3-3, 4-3, 5-3, 7-3

The red Koopas act much like their green relatives, except that the red ones will often stay in a given area because they don't walk off of platforms.

Red Koopa Troopas are mostly found in the x-3 Worlds.

Koopa Troopa (red)
Land enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: Y
Koopa Paratroopa (red)
Air enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: Y
<Koopa Paratroopa (red)
Infesting Worlds 1-3, 3-3, 4-3, 5-3

These guys like to travel vertically, hovering over bottomless pits. Therefore, they can be convenient stepping-stones to high platforms.

When stomped, they lose their wings and become red Koopa Troopas. It's interesting to note that stomped red Koopa Paratroopas will walk off of platforms, unlike the standard red Koopas.

Infesting Worlds 1-4, 2-4, 3-4, 4-4, 5-4, 6-4, 7-4, 8-4

A "Firebar" is a stick of six (or more) fireballs that swings in a circle. Most of them are connected to empty blocks, but some are attached to the castle walls, or even spinning underwater as seen in 8-4.

Since they are made of fire, Mario's fireballs won't damage "Firebars." Avoid them altogether.

Land enemy
Stomp: N
Fireball: N
Land enemy
Stomp: N
Fireball: Y
<Bowser (and seven decoys)
Infesting Worlds 1-4, 2-4, 3-4, 4-4, 5-4, 6-4, 7-4, 8-4

The real Bowser awaits Mario in 8-4 for the final showdown. The first seven "Bowsers" are decoys -- normal enemies with Bowser's power, most likely created with Bowser's black magic.

Bowser's main attack is spitting fire, but in 6-4, 7-4, and 8-4 he flings hammers as well. Bowser will also jump occasionally, which momentarily gives Mario a clear path to the axe...

Touch the axe at the end of the bridge, and the bridge will retract, dropping Bowser into the fire sea below. You can also fry Bowser with five fireballs, the only way to get points from defeating him.

Koopa Paratroopa (green)>
Infesting Worlds 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 5-1, 5-2, 6-2, 7-1, 7-3, 8-1, 8-2, 8-3, 8-4

These winged Koopas fly around aimlessly, with no regard for their own lives. A well-timed stomp will make them shed their wings and become a green Koopa Troopa, grounding them for good.

The majority of green Paratroopas hop, but a few in 7-3 actually hover.

Koopa Paratroopa (green)
Air enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: Y
Water enemy
Stomp: N/A
Fireball: Y
Infesting Worlds 2-2, 5-2, 6-2, 7-2, 8-4

These white squids team up with Cheep Cheeps in every water level and bonus water level for a very effective aquatic attack. Bloobers have an uncanny knack for getting in your way, but as long as you're standing on the ocean floor, they can't hurt you.

Bloobers will do their best to follow you, too. Luckily, your fireballs stay lit underwater...

Cheep Cheep>
Infesting Worlds 2-2, 2-3, 5-2, 6-2, 7-2, 7-3, 8-4

In all water levels, you'll face a constant stream of left-bound Cheep Cheeps. Since they don't swim very fast, and the gray ones move even slower, they make excellent fireball targets.

In 2-3, 5-3, and 8-4, you'll encounter the flying red Cheep Cheep. When it's raining Cheep Cheeps, it's best not to stay in one spot for too long.

Cheep Cheep
Water enemy
Stomp: N/A
Fireball: Y

Air enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: Y

Air enemy
Stomp: N
Fireball: N
Infesting Worlds 2-4, 3-4, 4-4, 5-4, 6-4, 7-4, 8-4

In every castle level except 1-4, these lava bubbles will shoot out of certain lava pits. They are invincible, so don't even waste your time trying to kill them.

Podoboos travel vertically, and can shoot out again anytime after returning to its pool of lava. A Podoboo near Firebars will have you planning your jumps a bit more carefully.

Hammer Bros.>
Infesting Worlds 3-1, 5-2, 7-1, 8-3, 8-4

Hammer Bros. like to attack in pairs, creating a tortoise roadblock. Armed with hard shells and even harder hammers, these belligerent brothers are Mario's worst nightmare.

Though they seem content walking back and forth in a small area, they'll walk towards you after about 110 game seconds. As you'll notice in World 5-2, Hammer Bros. also have the ability to move through "Stair Blocks."

Hammer Bros.
Land enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: Y
Air enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: Y
Infesting Worlds 4-1, 6-1, 8-2

A turtle that rides in a cloud, tossing Spiny Eggs from above. Kill him, and he'll come back after 40 game seconds for more egg throwing.

Lakitu has an endless supply of eggs, but he'll stop throwing if there are five enemies (including himself) already on the screen.

Spiny Egg>
Infesting Worlds 4-1, 6-1, 8-2

The eggs thrown by Lakitu. As soon as they hit the ground, Spiny Eggs turn into Spinys.

Spiny Egg
Air enemy
Stomp: N
Fireball: Y
Land enemy
Stomp: N
Fireball: Y
Infesting Worlds 4-1, 6-1, 8-2

Red, spiked turtles that instantly hatch from Spiny Eggs. Spiny's spikes aren't just for decoration; fry the little "stegoturtles" with fireballs instead of stomping on them.

Buzzy Beetle>
Infesting Worlds 4-2, 5-2, 6-2, 7-1, 8-1, 8-2, 8-4

Buzzy Beetles act the same as Koopa Troopas, except Beetles cannot be hurt with fireballs. Unless you just grabbed a Starman, dispose of him by kicking a shell into him or kicking his shell into a pit.

Buzzy Beetle
Land enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: N
Bullet Bill
Air enemy
Stomp: Y
Fireball: N
<Bullet Bill
Infesting Worlds 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 6-3, 7-1, 8-2, 8-3

Fired from "Turtle Cannons," these straight-shooting, hot-leaded foes try to nail Mario in mid-air, where he is the most vulnerable.

Similar to Piranha Plants, Bullet Bills won't fire if you stand on or near their cannons.

Items, blocks, and lifts

Magic Mushroom
<Magic Mushroom

Transforms small Mario to Super Mario. Super Mario can break Brick Blocks by hitting them from below.

Fire Flower>

Grants Mario the ability to shoot fireballs. It only appears when Super Mario hits a block that would usually contain a Magic Mushroom. If Super Mario becomes small, and then takes the Fire Flower, he will become only Super Mario.

Fire Flower

When touched, the power of the Starman makes Mario invincible for about 30 game seconds. Invincible Mario is impervious to any enemy attack, but falling down a pit or running out of time will still kill him. During his invincibility, Mario can still collect power-ups and shoot fire if he is Fiery.

1-Up Mushroom>

Gives Mario an extra life. Every x-1 world contains a hidden 1-Up Mushroom, but the hidden 1-Ups in Worlds 2 through 8 will only exist if you've warped to that particular world, or collected all the coins in the previous x-3 world. (Note: For World 2-1's hidden 1-Up, you only need to collect 21 of the 23 coins in World 1-3.)

1-Up Mushroom

Hundreds of gold Coins are scattered throughout the Mushroom Kingdom; some are hidden in blocks, but most are out in the open. Every time Mario collects 100 Coins, he earns an extra life.

Jumping Board>

Jump off the Jumping Board as Mario is bouncing on it to give his jump a little extra height. With the right timing, Mario can leap 10¼ blocks from the top of Jumping Board.

Jumping Board
Question Block
<Question Block

Hit it from below to see what it contains. The possible prizes are a Magic Mushroom, Fire Flower, Starman, or a single Coin. If an enemy is on top of a Question Block when it is hit from below, it will be damaged. After a Question Block is hit, it becomes an empty Block.

Brick Blocks>

When hit from below, any enemies on top of it will be damaged, and any Coins on top of it will be collected. Super and Fiery Mario can break Brick Blocks, but small Mario can only bump it up for a split second. If a Brick Block contains an item, it functions like a Question Block.

Brick Block
"Multi-Coin" Block
<"Multi-Coin" Block

A Brick Block with coins inside. Once you hit this block, you'll have about 10 game seconds to continue hitting it for more coins. Any hit after 10 game seconds will give you one last coin and use up the block. With good timing, you can collect 15 coins from them.

"Stair" Blocks>

These blocks usually form staircase-like structures. Nothing special here.

"Stair" Block
Empty Block
<Empty Block

These blocks are usually used Question Blocks. Empty blocks found in castle levels often serve as pivot points for Firebars.

There are five different types of lifts.

  • "Up-Down / Left-Right" - Traveling either up and down or right and left, these lifts stay in one area.
  • "Elevator" - An endless stream of lifts that go either up or down. Some are connected with vertical white lines.
  • "Scale" - Stand on one platform, and the other platform goes up as yours goes down. If one platform goes all the way up, both platforms will break off.
  • "Drop" - Motionless lifts that drop only when you're standing on them.
  • "Sky Lift" - Found only in "Coin Heaven." Motionless until you touch it, and then it will move to the right forever.

Levels: maps and stats


World 1-1
World 1-2
World 1-3
World 1-4
World 2-1
World 2-2
World 2-3
World 2-4
World 3-1
World 3-2
World 3-3
World 3-4
World 4-1
World 4-2
World 4-3
World 4-4
World 5-1
World 5-2
World 5-3
World 5-4
World 6-1
World 6-2
World 6-3
World 6-4
World 7-1
World 7-2
World 7-3
World 7-4
World 8-1
World 8-2
World 8-3
World 8-4


  • There are 32 total levels.
  • Longest level, start-to-flagpole: World 8-1 (376 blocks from start to flagpole).
  • Longest level, including bonus areas: 6-2 (216 blocks from start to flagpole, and 190 blocks of bonus areas, totaling 405 blocks).
  • World 5-1 is the only x-1 level with a small castle at the beginning.
  • World 6-2's total bonus area length (190 blocks) is longer than the start-to-flag distance of 13 different levels! (Worlds 1-3, 1-4, 2-4, 3-3, 3-4, 4-3, 4-4, 5-3, 5-4, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4, 7-1 are all less than 190 blocks long.)
  • Each x-3 level has a time limit of 300 game seconds.
  • The time limits for all the levels add up to 11,200 game seconds total.

Recycled levels
Five of the 32 levels in Super Mario Bros. are recycled. Here's the list.

  • 1-3 = 5-3
  • 1-4 = 6-4
  • 2-2 = 7-2
  • 2-3 = 7-3
  • 2-4 = 5-4

The second time around, the recycled levels are more difficult because more enemies appear, and all long lifts are shortened by one block length. For example, 5-3 is exactly like 1-3 except the lifts are smaller, and Bullet Bills are constantly shot at you from off-screen. In the castle levels, more firebars and Podoboos appear.

Enemy inventory

Below is a breakdown of all the enemies in each world. A "Y" means that the enemy is present, but there will be varying amounts due to the game design. For example, Bullet Bills and Cheep Cheeps keep coming no matter how many you take out. Lakitu returns if you defeat him, and he never runs out of Spiny Eggs. Usually, the longer you stay in the level, the more of these enemies you see.

A Piranha Plant is counted once per pipe. Note that they won't always appear in every pipe shown in the maps above. Piranha Plants found in Warp Zones are not counted, for Mario cannot kill them and vice-versa.

Enemies in the World 4-4 and 8-4 loop sections are counted once.

World Goomba Koopa Troopa (green) Piranha Plant Koopa Troopa (red) Koopa Paratroopa (red) Firebar Bowser Koopa Paratroopa (green) Bloober Cheep Cheep Podoboo Hammer Bros. Lakitu Spiny Egg Spiny Buzzy Beetle Bullet Bill
1-1 16 1
1-2 14 3 4 1
1-3 3 3 2
1-4 7 1
2-1 16 6 8 3
2-2 1 6 Y
2-3 Y
2-4 6 1 2
3-1 14 7 5 5 2
3-2 15 19 1 1
3-3 1 5 1
3-4 9 1 6
4-1 4 Y Y Y
4-2 3 6 10 4
4-3 5 1
4-4 1 5 1 1
5-1 21 6 4 4 Y
5-2 4 1 3 1 5 3 Y 4 3 Y
5-3 3 3 2 Y
5-4 11 1 6
6-1 1 Y Y Y
6-2 4 1 28 2 3 Y 4
6-3 Y
6-4 11 1 3
7-1 1 5 4 4 1 Y
7-2 1 13 Y
7-3 1 3 3 Y
7-4 1 1 2
8-1 26 17 12 3 4
8-2 2 4 12 Y Y Y 4 Y
8-3 1 3 2 8 Y
8-4 3 14 5 1 4 3 Y 1 1 2
Totals Goomba Koopa Troopa (green) Piranha Plant Koopa Troopa (red) Koopa Paratroopa (red) Firebar Bowser Koopa Paratroopa (green) Bloober Cheep Cheep Podoboo Hammer Bros. Lakitu Spiny Egg Spiny Buzzy Beetle Bullet Bill
145 70 109 21 6 55 8 48 28 21 19 22

Enemy inventory notes

  • Most enemies: World 8-1 (60 total enemies).
  • Most diverse defense: Worlds 5-2 and 8-4 (each has 10 different enemies).
  • Piranha Plants appear in 18 levels (56.25% of the levels), more than any other enemy.
  • Red Koopa Paratroopas are the rarest of all enemies. They only appear in four levels.

Item inventory

 [?] = Total visible Question Blocks
 [C] = Coins from Question Blocks
 [P-Up] = Super Mushroom or Fire Flower (depending on Mario's size) from Question Blocks
 (C) = Coin out in the open
 [MC] = "Multi-Coin" Block (in Bricks only)
 [SMan] = Starman (bricks only)
 [P-Up] = Super Mushroom or Fire Flower (depending on Mario's size) from Bricks
 [1-Up] = 1-Up from Bricks
 {C} = Invisible Block (always contains a Coin)
 {1-Up} = Invisible or "Bonus" 1-Up
 [V] = Vine (in Bricks only)
 SB = Spring Board

World [?] [C] [P-Up] (C) [MC] [Starman] [P-Up] [1-Up] {C} {1-Up} [V] SB
1-1 13 10 3 19 1 1 1
1-2 5 4 1 34 3 1 2 1
1-3 1 1 23
1-4 1 1 6
2-1 18 17 1 60 1 1 3 2 1 1 1
2-2 28
2-3 1 1 35
2-4 1 1 6
3-1 9 6 3 64 1 1 1 1 1 1
3-2 1 1 7 1 1
3-3 1 1 22
3-4 3 2 1 3
4-1 20 18 2 34 1 1 1
4-2 7 6 1 42 3 1 3 4 1
4-3 1 1 27
5-1 10 1 1 1
5-2 5 5 73 1 1 3 1 1 1
5-3 1 1 23
5-4 1 1 6
6-1 4 3 1 8 2 1 2 1
6-2 100 2 1 2 2 1
6-3 1 1 24 2
6-4 1 1 6
7-1 4 4 19 1 2 1 1
7-2 28
7-3 1 1 35
8-1 32 2 1 1 1
8-2 4 4 10 2 1 1 1
8-3 1 2
8-4 1
Totals [?] [C] [P-Up] (C) [MC] [Starman] [P-Up] [1-Up] {C} {1-Up} [V] SB
104 79 25 772 23 10 21 2 25 8 5 7

Item inventory notes

  • Most Coins out in the open: World 6-2 (100 Coins).
  • World 2-1 is the only level to contain all types of items. It has at least one Question Block, Magic Mushroom / Fire Flower, Coin, Multi-Coin Block, Starman, 1-Up, Vine, and Spring Board. It even has a lift in its "Coin Heaven."


Brick Blocks
Super or Fiery Mario can smash Brick Blocks from below for 50 points per block. If the Brick Block turns out to be a Multi-Coin Block, the block will "expire" after getting all the Coins, and cannot be smashed.

Collect by touching them. If one is sitting on a Brick Block, you can hit the block from below to collect it. Coins are also hidden in Question Blocks, Multi-Coin Blocks, and Invisible Blocks. No matter how you collect them, Coins are always 200 points each.

Magic Mushrooms, Fire Flowers, and Starmen are all 1000 points each.

Enemy point chart

Stomp: Point value when stomped.
Fire: Point value when fireballed.
Star: Point value when touched while Invincible Mario.
Below: Point value when knocked off Bricks or Question Blocks from underneath.
N/A: Due to the level designs, situation does not occur.
-- : Enemy is not harmed by the attack.
xx : Enemy is not harmed, but harms Mario.

Enemy Stomp Fire Star Below
Goomba 100 100 100 100
Koopa Troopa 100 200 200 100
Koopa Troopa shell (moving) 100 200 200 N/A
Piranha Plant xx  200 200 N/A
Bowser xx  5000 N/A N/A
Koopa Paratroopa 400 200 200 N/A
Bloober xx  200 N/A N/A
Cheep Cheep (water) xx  200 N/A N/A
Cheep Cheep (land) 200 200 N/A N/A
Podoboo xx  --  N/A N/A
Hammer Bros. 1000 1000 1000 1000
Lakitu 800 200 N/A N/A
Spiny Egg xx  200 N/A 100
Spiny xx  200 N/A 100
Buzzy Beetle 100 --  200 100
Buzzy Beetle shell (moving) 100 --  200 N/A
Bullet Bill 200 --  200 N/A

Enemy scoring notes

  • Red Koopa Troopas have the same point values as the green ones.
  • Hitting Buzzy Beetles from below can only be accomplished while in "Hard mode."
  • Using an "invincibility code" with Game Genie, we find that every enemy that cannot normally be killed with a Starman (because they do not appear together in the same levels) would be 200 points each. The "Firebar" will still harm Mario even if you're using said invincibility code.

Enemy points: special sequences

  • 100-400 sequence - Stomp on two Goombas or Buzzy Beetles at once. You'll get 100 points from the first enemy, and 400 points from the second.
  • Shell-kick sequence - Kill enemies by kicking a Koopa or Beetle shell into them, and you'll earn more and more points for each enemy killed with the same shell. The point accumulation is as follows: 500 - 800 - 1000 - 2000 - 4000 - 5000 - 8000 - 1-Up.
  • Stomp sequence - Keep stomping on enemies without touching the ground, and you'll earn more and more points for each enemy killed. The point accumulation is as follows: 100 - 200 - 400 - 500 - 800 - 1000 - 2000 - 4000 - 5000 - 8000 - 1-Up. Bullet Bills do not count towards a stomp sequence.

Enemy points: Shells

  • Koopa Troopa shell (stationary) - Koopa Troopas are a bit different, in that they have a "stomp sequence" of their own. If you stomp a Koopa and then land on its shell before you touch the ground, you'll get 500 points. However, if you touch the ground first, you'll get 400 points for kicking. While the Koopa's legs are coming out, you can get 1000 points if you kick the shell right before the Koopa begins walking again, but if you're a bit quick on the draw, you'll end up with 500 points. You'll get 8000 points for kicking an upside-down Koopa shell in the air before it touches the ground.
  • Buzzy Beetle shell (stationary) - These guys have sequences like Koopa Troopas. When they're in their shell, there's nothing to tip you off when they'll begin walking again, so it's a bit risky going for the 1000-point kick. You'll also get 8000 points for kicking an upside-down Beetle shell in the air before it touches the ground, but you'll only get the opportunity in "hard mode."

End-of-level bonuses

  • Flagpole bonus - You'll get a bonus for touching the flagpole at the end of each level. The higher you jump on it, the more points you receive. Check the chart below for the point zones.

    (Point zones relative to the bottom of Mario's feet when he first touches the flagpole.)

  • Time bonus - When Mario touches the flagpole, the timer stops. After Mario dismounts the flagpole, you get 50 points for each second remaining on the timer. However, there is no bonus for time remaining in the x-4 levels.
  • Fireworks bonus - If you touch the flagpole when the last digit of the timer is a 1, 3, or 6, fireworks will go off, giving you 500 points each. The number of fireworks you get matches the last digit on the timer.

You can get 1000 points from "Scale Lifts" if you make the platforms fall off by standing on one side too long.

Extra lives

Extra lives can be earned three ways:
  1. Grabbing a 1-Up Mushroom
  2. Collecting 100 coins
  3. Points/1-Ups-accumulation techniques
    1. Shell-kick sequence: Kick one shell into seven enemies to earn 1-Ups for every subsequent enemy killed with the same shell.
    2. Stomp sequence: Stomp ten enemies without touching the ground to earn 1-Ups for every subsequent enemy stomped. Sequence resets if Mario touches the ground. (Note: This technique is rare, with the possibility of a 1-Up occurring only where Koopa Troopas or Buzzy Beetles appear on staircase-like structures. See SMB tips/tricks page for details.)

Trash and treasure
Second CHR table The WORLD x-x screen shown before starting a level shows Mario's extra life total. If you get more than 9 extra lives, weird stuff starts to happen to Mario's extra life total. For example, if you have anywhere from 10 - 19 extra lives, the tens digit will be a crown instead of a "1." At this point, it's still easy enough to figure out how many extra lives you actually have left, but after [crown]9 lives (19 lives), the numbers turn into letters. While the crown stays where the tens digit would be, the ones digit goes through A - Z, a blank space, a few solid squares, and then the weird symbols start. Interestingly enough, there is a pattern behind this madness. The symbols (as well as the letters and numbers) come from the game's second CHR table, going in order from left to right and top to bottom.

To find out how many lives you actually have after you have the crown, you must first identify the symbol you have next to the crown. Then count (starting at zero - count: "zero, one, two," etc.) your way to that symbol in the table, and then add 10. For example, "[crown]D" equals 23 lives.

But, if you manage to get more than 128 lives in reserve, the next time you lose a life you'll get a Game Over. The following text file has more info on how the extra lives work in SMB.

"Hard mode"

After you beat Bowser in World 8-4, Princess Toadstool says "Thank you Mario! Your quest is over. We present you a new quest. Press button B to select a world." Next, all you have to do is press B to get back to the title screen. Keep pressing B to make the "World" display on the top of the screen change to 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, and so on.

A few notes:

  • Your score is reset when you start hard mode.
  • You can select one or two players regardless of how many players were in the last game.
  • The World you selected will contain the "Bonus" hidden 1-Up Mushroom.
  • All Goombas are replaced by Buzzy Beetles.
  • Ground enemies walk faster.
  • Long lifts are shortened by one block.
  • Worlds 1-3, 1-4, 2-2, 2-3, and 2-4 are in their "recycled" form, meaning those levels are the same as 5-3, 6-4, 7-2, 7-3, and 5-4, respectively.
  • The continue code still works if you die, and you'll stay in the hard mode.
  • Beating the hard mode won't earn you a harder mode; you'll just get to play the hard mode again.

Further reading


  • Story illustration by GryphonTen
  • Worlds 1-1 and 1-2 mapped by MEGAߥTE
  • Worlds 2-1 - 2-4 enemy locations by MK Mario
  • Worlds 3-1 - 4-3 maps and enemies by MK Mario
  • World 4-4 map and enemies by MEGAߥTE
  • All other maps and enemies by Deezer
  • Thanks to Nicholas Harvey for suggesting several improvements and reporting errors.
  • Thanks to Eclipsed Moon for reporting several map errors.