How to Beat Bowser in Super Mario 64?

Super Mario 64 is easily one of the best Mario games of all time, and one of the most fun aspects to the game are the boss battles. To complete the game, you’ll have to beat Bowser three times in total, each time providing a different battle experience. 

Here we’ll go through how exactly to beat all three of them. Read on to learn how to beat Bowser in Super Mario 64. 


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Grab Bowser by the tail in order to throw him on explosive mines
Grab Bowser by the tail in order to throw him on explosive mines

There are 3 battles against Bowser in Mario 64. 

The first encounter is Bowser in the Dark World, a level with many traps, puzzles and enemies. The trapdoor entrance to find the Dark World is behind the Big Star Door on the left of the mezzanine of the main floor of Princess Peach’s Castle. 

The second encounter is Bowser in the Fire Sea, the entrance to which is found in the basement level of Mushroom Castle. This battle poses a greater challenge than the previous one. 

The final encounter is Bowser in the Sky. This is the final battle of the game and is undoubtedly the trickiest Bowser battle. 

Here we will go through all three battles with Mario’s ultimate nemesis. Read on for how to beat Bowser in Super Mario 64.   

Bowser Battle 1 – How to beat the first Bowser

Bowser in the Dark World - Super Mario 64
Bowser in the Dark World – Super Mario 64

To beat the first Bowser in Super Mario 64, you have to learn his movement patterns. This is relatively easy as he moves very slow compared to some of the other bosses. 

Once you’ve got a feel for the pace and pattern of Bowser’s movements, start circling around him with the objective of getting behind him to grab his tail. When you eventually grab Bowser by the tail, circle the analog stick to begin swinging the King of the Koopas around and around. When you gain enough momentum, release Bowser from your grasp, timing it so that you hurl him towards one of the mines that encircle the battle arena. 

Rinse and repeat. When you have hurt Bowser enough, he will give a short dialogue before escaping, and that will be it until the next encounter. 

Bowser Battle 2 – Bowser in the Fire Sea

Bowser in the Fire Sea - Super Mario 64
Bowser in the Fire Sea – Super Mario 64

To get to the second fight with Bowser, there are a few requirements that you must meet first. You will need the Basement Key, the first Star from the Dire Dire Docks level, and a total number of at least 31 Stars. If you have all this already, head to the basement of Peach’s Castle and enter the Fire Sea through the hatch that appears in front of the Blue Portal to the Dire, Dire Docks. 

Reaching the Bowser battle requires navigating the many puzzles, twists, and turns in the lava-ridden level, something that is relatively easy but will require patience and timing. 

When you finally get to Bowser, the battle is very similar to the first Bowser battle in the sense that you still have to grab him by the tail and hurl him towards the explosive mines at the edges of the fiery arena.

This fight is made more difficult, though, by the fact that Bowser has a few new moves in his arsenal. He can now shoot fireballs towards Mario, and can also unbalance the battle arena platform by slamming his weight down at one end of the arena. When he does this, move to the other end of the platform as quickly as possible to avoid finding yourself in the lava. 

After you beat him, he will give you a key to the second floor of Peach’s Castle and challenge you to come and find him there. 

Bowser Battle 3 – How do you beat Bowser at the end of Super Mario 64?

Bowser in the Sky - Super Mario 64
Bowser in the Sky – Super Mario 64

The third Bowser fight, and the final battle of the entire game, is the most challenging of all of the Bowser fights, but it is still fairly easy once you know what you are doing. 

In order to beat Bowser in the Sky, you must have at least 70 Stars (80 Stars in the DS remake) from the other courses in Peach’s Castle. If you do, then make your way to the top of the endless stairs and into the final stage. 

Making your way through the Bowser in the Sky map is like a trickier version of the previous two Bowser maps. Like the others, with a bit of patience and good timing, you should have no problems reaching the final battle. 

Once you reach Bowser, the same tactics apply, circle the Koopa King and then grab his tail to chuck him around. It’s a good idea to stay close to Bowser in this battle when circling him, as he moves faster than the previous battles and also makes the platform smaller when hurt. You should also be mindful of Bowser’s wave attack that will ripple towards you. Simply jump over it when this happens. 

When you do enough damage to Bowser this time, Bowser will fade into nothingness and you will have completed the game! And that is how to beat Bowwser in Super Mario 64.  

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For a better look at how to beat Bowser in Super Mario 64, check out the great YouTube video below by BluesifulWave. 

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