Fake Bowser (JP) (also called Bowser Impostor or Bowser's decoy) is an enemy in the Mario series. It is a regular enemy that disguised as Bowser. Fake Bowsers debuted in Super Mario Bros. for NES where they appear as bosses at the end of every world other than the last, where the real Bowser appears. Fake Bowsers are disguised regular enemies such as Goombas and Koopas with the purpose of trying to fool Mario and Luigi. The only way to know which enemy is under the costume is to defeat it with fireballs.

The Fake Bowsers in Super Mario Bros. may also be comparable to the Fake Bowsers in Luigi's Mansion and Super Mario 3D Land.

List of Fake Bowsers

Super Mario Bros./Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels additional worlds:

  • World A - Goomba - fire (FDS)/Red Koopa Troopa - hammer (SNES)
  • World B - Koopa Troopa - fire (FDS)/Green Cheep-Cheep - hammer (SNES)
  • World C - Buzzy Beetle - fire (FDS)/Bullet Bill - hammer (SNES]
  • World D - Spiny - fire (FDS)

In Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Fake Bowsers also appear in Worlds 8-4, 9-3, and D-4, along with the real Bowser. Unlike the other Fake Bowsers, these Bowsers have more of a mint-green body with a brown muzzle instead of the normal color. This type of Bowser is a magical copy of the real one; it also breathes fire and throws hammers in all levels encountered except in World D-4, where it is a Spiny which breathes fire, just like the one at the end of the level.

Super Mario All-Stars

In Super Mario All-Stars, they also lack their alternate coloration and look identical to Bowser. Because of this and the fact that this Bowser is the only Bowser that appears in World 9, players unaware of the original version of the game have mistaken them for the real Bowser. However, one means of distinguishing them from the real Bowser is the music that plays; the real Bowser's music is different. On a side note, all the Fake Bowsers in Worlds 9-D only throw hammers in the Super Mario All-Stars remake. Strangely, the real Bowser in World D-4 also only uses hammers, unlike in World 8-4, where he uses hammers and spits fire.

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

In Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, a Fake Bowser appears as a boss in the e-world level "Classic World 1-4", where it plays a similar role to that played in Super Mario Bros., though it looks identical to the game's real Bowser. It is revealed that the Fake Bowser is a Goomba after being defeated.

Super Mario 3D Land

Fake Bowsers appear in the Nintendo 3DS game, Super Mario 3D Land. They have tanooki tails like Tanooki Mario, and they attack in a similar way as in Super Mario Bros., breathing several fireballs from a far place and jumping, except not in a two-dimensional stage, since the game is a 3D platformer Mario game.

However, unlike in Super Mario Bros., only two Fake Bowsers appear: one in world 1 castle and the other in world 5 castle. After being defeated, the Fake Bowsers show their true forms. The Fake Bowser in World 1 is actually a Goomba, and the one in World 5 is actually a Magikoopa. When defeated, it will bounce on the lava for a couple of seconds then reveal its true form: a Goomba/Magikoopa with a Super Leaf beside it.

Super Smash Bros. series

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a False Bowser is the Shadow Bug copy of Bowser. False Bowser makes his first appearance without warning at The Lake almost seemingly at random. After Fox and Diddy defeat him, he dissolves. He is seen several more times throughout the game, antagonizing the other heroes. He fights exactly like Bowser.

Mario & Luigi series

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

A Fake Bowser makes a cameo appearance in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. It is seen in a special area inside Bowser's Castle which is a side-scrolling level imitating a Super Mario Bros. level. The False Bowser appears at the end of that level. The Bowser appears to be made of cardboard and Mario must run underneath him and hit the Ax to make him fall.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

While a fake Bowser never appears physically in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, one appears on a Battle Card, taking its design from Super Mario 3D Land.

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

A Tail Bowser appears as a boss in Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, specifically in the Mario World version of Dream Figure Skating. The appearances of the stage and its boss are based off Super Mario 3D Land. He chases the team across a giant collapsing bridge, spitting fireballs at them. The team must hit four buttons at the same time to cause the fake Bowser to fall into lava, where he turns into a Goomba and a Super Leaf.

Super Mario Run

In Super Mario Run, fake Bowsers appear at the end of the fortress levels in Worlds 1, 3, and 5. They are a Goomba, a green Koopa Troopa, and a Buzzy Beetle, respectively.

Game appearances

Titles Description Release date(s) Systems/formats
Super Mario Bros. Boss 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Boss 1986 Family Computer Disk System
Super Mario Bros. Special Boss 1986 PC-88, X1
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 Boss 2003 Game Boy Advance
Super Mario 3D Land Boss 2011 Nintendo 3DS
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Boss 2013 Wii U
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Cameo on Battle Card 2015 Nintendo 3DS
Super Mario Run Boss 2016 iOS, Android


  • The World 3 and World C (original) fake Bowsers are the only Buzzy Beetles that can be defeated by fireballs (outside of Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen!), and the World C (All-Stars) and "You VS. Boo" 2-4 (Deluxe) ones are the only Bullet Bills that can be defeated by fireballs.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, an exaggerated cardboard Bowser suspended by a pair of ropes over a bridge is seen at the end of a special area inside Bowser's Castle, which is a side-scrolling level imitating a Super Mario Bros. castle. Mario must move underneath the stationary object and touch the axe to make it fall.
  • Fake Bowser's Super Mario 3D Land artwork is in almost the exact same pose as Dry Bowser's artwork for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Mario Kart Wii.
  • If the player beats Bowser's Sky Scuffle with any character barring Bowser Jr. in Mario Party: Island Tour, Bowser will reveal that the "Bowser" they defeated had been a decoy, which may have been a reference to the Fake Bowsers.
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