| Gaming |

@#$! Bowser! Top 5 Mario Bosses Who Should Get More Respect

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Look, we get that Bowser is a pretty good antagonist, not the least in that he actually does succeed a fair amount of the time. Plus, he's a dedicated single father, and that can't be an easy thing to do even when you're a monarch and a wizard at the same time. On the other hand, there is the issue of his blatant racism.

Still, we've been playing Mario games for a long time and there are some great bosses that we really wouldn't mind seeing make a return to center stage. Hell, they can play second fiddle to King Koopa if that makes you happy, but they at least deserve their damn existence recognized every now and then.

5. Wart

Wart is the big boss of Super Mario Bros. 2, which we believe makes him the only non-Bowser final antagonist in the main console series. He is a giant frog who has conquered the dream world with a nightmare machine, prompting its citizens to visit Mario in dreams in order to enlist his help.

We admit that Wart as a boss is slightly ridiculous. After all, having a character poisoned to death by force-feeding him vegetables is a rather horrible message to send to kids. However, think about the ramifications of Wart's reign.

He has the best underlings in Mario history, including a mouse that hurls bombs, a three-headed snake, a giant crab and living fire. In addition, whereas Mario usually manages to beat Bowser by himself or with a little help from Luigi, it takes the brothers plus Princess Peach and Toad to topple Wart's regime. Yet, except for the GBA remake of Super Mario Bros. 2, Wart is never really seen again.

4. Tatanga

Tatanga was your big bad in Mario's Game Boy debut, Super Mario Land. In addition to being the boss with the second sweetest ride (See next page), he is also a master hypnotist and technological genius.

Not only does he manage to capture Sarasaland pretty much all on his own, he even survives his encounter with Mario to return in Six Golden Coins...albeit only as a miniboss serving Wario. Some people believe that his role in that game as subservient to Wario means he was second banana all along. We think those people just can't deal with the purple man finally getting ahead.

Without Tatanga we never would've had the sweet dogfight between his spaceship and Mario's plane, and considering that every Mario game now seems to end by making Mario somehow touch Bowser's backside, we could do with a few more high-stakes aerial battles.

3. King Boo

King Boo is technically Luigi's nemesis more than Mario's, but considering that Boo actually captures Mario to lure Luigi into a trap, that makes him pretty damned successful against the legendary plumber, in our opinion.

Here's the thing, though...Boo is actually the hero in our book. It all started when a wacky scientist started collecting ghost friends of his for absolutely no reason and imprisoning them in pictures like some kind of undead serial killer displaying a collection of grisly souvenirs. Despite the fact that this nut job had already proven himself capable of taking out his most powerful subjects, the King goes alone to confront him and frees his people, also getting a sweet house in the deal.

Considering that Boo had worked for Bowser in the past, it's only reasonable to assume that he thought the whole thing was a pre-emptive strike by Mario and Luigi, so he concocted the plot of Luigi's Mansion as retaliation in the name of protecting his subjects. King Boo might be the most faceted character in the whole series now that we think on it, and easily a better royal than all the others, good guy or bad, combined.

2. Smithy

Squaresoft could do no wrong in the SNES era. They released two iconic Final Fantasies, Chrono Trigger, and their amazing crossover with Nintendo, Super Mario RPG. We downloaded the game via the Wii a while back and it hasn't aged a day. It's still one of the greatest games ever made.

The boss of the game, who defeats Bowser so easily you'd think that King Koopa was paid to take a dive, is Smithy. Smithy is a weapons manufacturer who flies around in a giant sword. While tooling around the universe, he destroyed the Star Road, preventing wishes from ever coming true, and holds the Mushroom Kingdom hostage. When Mario confronts him deep in the depths of his factory, he attacks by transforming his head into a tank or a wizard, depending on whether he wants to shoot holes in you with lighting or bullets.

Sadly, even though Square Enix and Nintendo have finally kissed and made up, there's been no movement on doing any kind of sequel, or of the original characters from the game being free to be used in other Nintendo series. Too bad, because Smithy is almost the best Mario antagonist ever.


1. Fawful

Fawful is an inspirational story of how far you can rise if you possess plenty of drive, technological acumen and shorts-browning insanity. He started out as the main henchman to Cackeletta in the Mario and Luigi series before rising to the role of primary antagonist in Bowser's Inside Story.

As a boss, he brings a lot to the table, mostly the incredibly advanced helmet he wears that can vacuum in souls, shoot energy balls or turn into a rocket ship. Those attribute alone allow him to outclass most other villains, but it's Fawful's charismatic presence that really sets him apart. We submit the following quotes as proof of his majesty, as well as a way to spice up any political speech. We know we'd vote for a president who said...

"Finally! Now is the time where my true might shines, like many angry sunbeams of rage!"

"I need no long speech before this battle, which will now be mighty! Snack on my wrath, fink-rats!"

"Your lives that I spit on are now but a caricature of a cartoon drawn by a kid who is stupid!"

"I suppress the fury, but sometimes... The fury has me."

"I drizzled rage dressing on the country next door. Rage dressing on a salad of evil!"

Voice of a generation right there.

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