Super Mario 3D Land has been well and truly inserted into my 3DS over the last week. It’s been brilliant. Loved it. Tanooki Mario makes me so very happy. You should read Henry’s review. But while I’ve been playing, it has occurred to me that unless Bowser changes his game plan, he’s never going to get the better of Mario. He’s never going to get to keep Princess Peach so she can make him cake or marry him or whatever it is that Bowser wants her for. He’s always going to be the loser. And this is why. Here are the 8 reasons why Bowser always fails.
1. He always insists on lava
Yes, rivers of molten rock can bring out the evilness of an evil villain, but Bowser is a Koopa. Which is just a turtle with a different name. Turtles and fiery volcanic discharge do not go well together. Seriously. Bowser hasn’t learnt his lesson since Super Mario Bros. That was over 25 years ago. He’s still falling into his own lava. It’s ridiculous. Insisting on lava is stupid enough. But insisting that he battles Mario while being in dangerously close proximity to lava (like on a rubbish bridge) is stretching the concept of a suicidally brainless turtle to its most asinine limits. As a turtle, he might do better if he surrounded himself with some other element instead. Like, say, oh I don’t know…water?
2. His traps aren’t ambitious enough
Above: Get past that you little prick
Wow, Bowser, those slowly rotating flame spindle obstacles are totally going to stop Mario in his tracks. He’s going to see them and he’s going to know that he has met his match. He’s going to turn around and go straight home to Luigi, crying all the way. He absolutely isn’t just going to jump over them like they’re not even there. No sir. Just a bit of advice, though, when the traps are at the design stage, you might want to think bigger. Aim for something that might actually be effective in the task of stopping Mario. Like an enormous and completely impassable wall of fire. Just a suggestion.
3. He’s rubbish at kidnapping
Above: Here is Bowser about to kidnap Princess Peach again. Notice how he is not very inconspicuous
Maybe if the King of Koopas was a little more discrete and snatched away Princess Peach when nobody was around to witness the deed he’d have a better chance of getting away with it. But he seems to deliberately go out of his way to make sure Mario knows of his despicable doings. And once Mario knows of Bowser’s despicable doings, it’s only a matter of time before Bowser ends up in the lava. Again. Like an idiot.
4. He breathes the world’s slowest fireballs
Above: Gee, Mario. Look out for that f-i-r-e-b-a-l-l. Oh, Bowser’s dead already
The ability to breathe fireballs is unquestionably bad ass. But when said fireballs move only marginally faster than the running speed of an overweight Italian plumber, it’s hardly worth burning the inside of your mouth for. Against Mario, Bowser’s fireballs are just, well, a bit balls really.
5. He always hides Peach in the most obvious place in the entire Mushroom Kingdom
Above: This is the correct sort of place to hold someone captive
I’m no expert in the business of kidnapping, but I always presumed that the general idea was to hide your hostage in the last place anyone would ever think to look. Some place not altogether obvious. If you are the known perpetrator of the kidnapping and your name is Bowser, then holding the prisoner captive in a castle that is commonly known as Bowser’s Castle is a stupid idea. As is putting her on a boat that has a huge Bowser head stuck to the bow and a big Bowser flag flying from the mast. Surely keeping Peach at the bottom of a disused warp pipe in some abandoned brick factory would be the logical choice.
6. His castles are designed by Mario sympathisers
It’s the only explanation. Otherwise they would surely be furnished with floating Bowser blocks full of useful objects to facilitate the annihilation of Mario. Instead of it being, like, the other way round. Note to Bowser: remember to reference check the architects.
7. He has an army of useless minions
>>>NEWS FLASH FOR BOWSER! GOOMBAS ARE SHITE! And if it’s not Goombas being useless it’s some other idiot minion ineffectually wandering back and forth along the same predetermined path like a sad polar bear at the zoo. They’re just waiting for Mario to come along and put them out of their misery by jumping on their heads or some other conveniently vulnerable and completely unprotected area of their personage. Unless Bowser starts issuing suitable body armour and exploding hats to his troops, they’ll continue to be as effectual as a turtle in lava. Oh.
8. He doesn’t really want to win
It’s the only explanation. I refuse to believe that anyone – even an overgrown video game turtle – can be so consistently inept at their chosen vocation. He’s been doing the exact same stuff, falling for the exact same tricks, falling in his own lava over and over again for more than two decades. That doesn’t happen by accident. Bowser has a problem. He’s trapped in a negative behaviour pattern which manifests as this perpetual self-conditioning of failure.
I get the sense that there is much more to Bowser than we realise. That he is an incredibly complex Koopa with deep-rooted issues that could probably be traced back to an unhappy childhood. But I’m not a psychologist. All I see when I look at Bowser is a big stupid turtle that breathes slow fireballs, has a rubbish army, stands on rickety bridges above rivers of his own lava and occasionally enjoys sports with other citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom. He’s gaming’s most successful loser and he is destined to fail many more times in the next 25 years. Silly turtle.