Main Walkthrough

Bowser's Keep

Super Mario RPG starts off in fairly predictable fashion, with Princess Toadstool getting kidnapped by Bowser. Mario immediately sets off to rescue her, and you'll need to guide him through Bowser's Keep. This area is more or less a straight line to the northeast, with a little bit of hopping to get you from one end to the other. Use the B button to propel Mario into the air, and hold down the Y button to make him run a bit faster.

Along the way you'll run into enemies known as Terrapin. Terrapins are Koopas that will perform basic hitting attacks. A single punch from Mario (A button) will take them out, making this area a pushover. We'll get into the nuances of combat shortly, though for now, keep in mind that you can power up Mario's normal attacks by pressing the A button again just as he's delivering his punch animation. Practice this now and it will come in handy later.

In the final room of Bowser's Keep you'll run into Bowser himself, and get into a brawl. He's stronger than his Terrapins, but still a wimp compared to Mario. Rather than hitting Bowser, though, you should target the Kinklink holding up Bowser's chandelier. A few hits will end the fight. You can use Mario's Jump Special Move (Y button) to speed up the battle. Bowser plummets...

... aaaaand then things go rather awry.

Mario's Pad

You'll wind up back at Mario's home, and Toad - one of many - will be waiting. Hop off of the wall. Before following Toad outside, note that you can interact with the lamp on the right side of the room to turn out the lights and have a nap. This will restore Mario's health to full. Handy if you need a break later in the game and are in the area.

Leave the house. Toad is wandering outside, and when you tell him about Toadstool and Bowser he'll ask you to go fetch the princess. Leave the area via the exit to the south and you'll wind up on the world map, where you can quickly cycle from map to map. For now you can only head back to Bowser's Keep, though, ah, you won't get far.

Head back to Mario's Pad and speak to Toad again, inside Mario's home. Follow him outside, to the area's exit, and he'll give Mario a Mushroom. You can use this opportunity to learn about items, which can be accessed via the menu (X button), as well as Timed Hits, which we discussed a bit above. Toad will then give you three more Mushrooms and dash off. 

Before you exit Mario's Pad, look to the northwest of the exit. There's a fancy, glowing block up here. This is a save point, and if you jump on top you'll get the opportunity to save your game. Make sure to save at every opportunity, as there are plenty of areas in Super Mario RPG that can hand you a Game Over if you're not careful.

Your first challenge will be circumventing Mushroom Way. First, though, let's do a quick rundown of the combat system.


As you've already discovered, Super Mario RPG is a turn-based RPG. Each time you run into an enemy in the fied you'll get into a battle. If it is your turn, you can choose a command for Mario (and, later, other party members) to carry out against the enemy team. You'll need to use attacks to reduce the HP of your foes and knock them out of the fight while maintaining the health of your own party.

There are four menu options you can choose in combat, each tied to a button on the controller:

  • A - Attack. Your character performs a basic attack against a single enemy. Press the A button again before the attack lands and your character will perform a second strike, boosting your attack power.
  • B - Defense / Run Away. Defense improves your character's defenses for a turn at the cost of their attack, while Run Away removes your party from battle.
  • Y - Special. Your character can use a Special Move to either damage an enemy, inflict a status ailment, or heal an ally. Special Moves use up Flower Points (FP), and can also be timed to increase their potency if you hit the Y button at the correct moment (which varies from attack to attack).
  • X - Item. Your character uses an item from their inventory to restore health, eliminate a status ailment, or inflict damage on an enemy. Occasionally you'll receive a 'Freebie', which essentially means that the item you use was not expended.
For the most part the combat is straightforward. The only curveballs come in the form of Timed Hits - which you'll need to learn through trial and error - and your FP. Rather than allotting FP to each character individually, FP is a pool that each character in your party draws from. Run out of FP in a battle and no one will be able to use Special Moves. Your FP total can be increased by finding Flowers, Flower Tabs, Flower Jars, and Flower Boxes.

Whenever you win a battle your party will receive experience and coins. Accumulate enough experience and your party members will gain a level. Whenever a party member gains a level their stats will improve, and you'll have the option to improve one of three stat categories:
  • Physical (POW, on the left). Your character will hit harder with their normal attacks, and take less damage from physical attacks.
  • HP (HP, in the middle). Your character will receive an extra boost to their HP.
  • Magic Power (S, on the right). Your character's Special Moves will hit harder, and they will take less damage from special attacks.
If you want to optimize your characters then you should generally play to their strengths when choosing these bonus categories. Mario, for example, tends to do best with physical attacks, so you'd go with POW most of the time, throwing in S to boost his Fire attacks every now and then. That said, Super Mario RPG is pretty forgiving, and you can choose whichever bonus you like and get through the game just fine.

Mushroom Way


  • Goomba - 16 HP - Weak to Fire
  • Lakitu (unreachable)
  • Sky Troopa - 10 HP - Weak to Jump
  • Spikey - 20 HP
The path through Mushroom Way is pretty straightforward, and full of simple enemies for practicing your Timed Hits. You can avoid them if you want, but you're best off fighting everything so Mario can get up to level 2 or 3. If you jump up and smack the question boxes floating along the path you'll receve a bunch of Coins, and if you save Toad from a Goomba before leaving the first area you'll receive a Honey Syrup. In the north you'll find an exit to the second screen. 

This second area, which is also full of enemies, has two chests to bop open. The first, by the exit in the east, restores your health. The second is on a rocky ridge to the west. To get at it you'll need to defeat the Goomba standing on the rotating flower in the middle of the area, then hop on the flower yourself. Wait until it spins Mario to the left, then jump off to reach the chest. It contains a Flower. You'll also need to use this flower to reach the ridge on the right, where Toad is being carried around by a Sky Troopa. Free him to receive a Flower Tab.

On the east side of the second screen you'll find the final area of Mushroom Way. This section is inhabited by Spikeys, dropped by a patrolling Lakitu. You can't reach the Lakitu so you'll just have to put up with the Spikeys. (Make sure you don't use the Jump attack and you'll be fine.) There are no items to grab here, so battle or dodge your way east until you find a clearing, guarded by a beefy-looking fellow. Get too close and he'll attack.

Hammer Bros

HP: 50

The first official bosses of the game, the Hammer Bros aren't too difficult. They use the following attacks:
  • A regular bop on Mario's head
  • Hammer Time, a stronger physical attack
  • Valor Up, which boosts the target's defenses
 Whether you reached the second or third level, this fight is easy. The Hammer Bros will take turns hitting Mario with hammer attacks, and when you beat one the other will use Valor Up to improve its defenses. Either thwomp them on the head with Jump, crisp 'em with Fire Orb if you reached level three, or bash them in with punches. Valor Up prolongs the fight, but one Hammer Bro alone can't take Mario out if you have even one Mushroom in your inventory.

You'll receive a Flower Jar for besting the Hammer Bros, and once the fight is over Toad will hand over a Hammer for Mario to equip. This will boost his attack power and make every battle on Mushroom Way into a piece of cake, if they weren't already. (Make sure you equip it, though.) With the Hammer Bros out of your path you can leave Mushroom Way, and head to the Mushroom Kingdom.

Main Walkthrough