Mario is the Big N’s most iconic character and quite possibly the most famous face in the gaming industry. From its debut in the 1983 title Donkey Kong, the franchise has accumulated even more faces, with many even starring in their own dedicated titles. However, for every Luigi, Yoshi, and Wario, there are several characters who faded in the mists of time.
While many of these characters have been absent for a good reason, there are quite a few whose presence is sorely missed. With the box office success of the portly plumber’s recent film, it seems fitting to take a look back at the characters that Nintendo has neglected.
10 Wanda From Mario & Wario
Mario & Wario was a strangle puzzle game that utilized the Super Nintendo mouse peripheral. Players control a fairy named Wanda, who must aid Mario, Yoshi, and Princess Peach after the three get a bucket thrown on their heads. She essentially acted just like a cursor as players prevented the heroes from getting into danger and led them to Luigi.
While this quirky title never made it to Western shores, it was referenced in Pokémon Red and Blue when players observe the SNES in their rooms. Wanda sadly never resurfaced, but some similar-looking fairies appeared in Super Mario 3D World.
9 King Wart From Super Mario Bros 2
In this Western re-skin of Doki Doki No Panic, Mario and his friends are tasked with rescuing a strange kingdom from the tyranny of King Wart. Since it wasn’t originally conceived as a proper sequel, the gameplay differed a bit from the original Super Mario Bros. with an emphasis on picking up and throwing objects.
Luckily, the evil monarch’s Achilles’ heel was his distaste for vegetables, of which there was an abundant supply to toss. Since then, Wart’s appearances have been scarce, with the non-Mario title The Legend of Zelda:Link’s Awakening being one of the very few examples.
8 Stanley The Bugman From Donkey Kong 3
Donkey Kong 3 is an arcade shooter that has largely faded into obscurity. Donkey Kong 3 just didn’t have the longevity or quality platforming gameplay of its predecessors. Rather than the portly plumber, the game instead saw Stanley the Bugman tasked with fending off the big ape and several pests with his trusty spray.
While the sight of DK getting sprayed in the posterior can prove to be initially amusing, players are much better off checking out the simian’s prior arcade classics. A mere trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee would be Stanley’s only subsequent appearance.
7 Burt From Yoshi’s Island
The SNES swan song Yoshi’s Island essentially served as a prequel to the entire Mario franchise. It told the story of how the Yoshi clan helped the two siblings find their way home after their stork was intercepted by the villainous Kamek. The game incorporated a whimsical pastel children’s book art direction with suitably saccharine characters and backdrops.
While many of the enemies consisted of the familiar Shy Guys, Chain Chomps, and Koopas, there were some original baddies, such as the Burts. However, these hostiles never really saw an appearance outside the dedicated Yoshi games.
6 Several Human Characters In The Sports Titles
Before the series had accumulated its now large cast of characters, many of the early Mario sports titles bumped up the roster with entirely original contestants who eventually faded into obscurity. For example, Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64 saw the introduction of players such as Maple, Plum, and many others.
Mario Golf Advance was the last entry to feature these characters, as further sports entries would focus entirely on the usual suspects of the Mushroom Kingdom. However, Waluigi is one of the few characters created for the sports titles to persist in further entries.
5 Tatanga From Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land is a portable entry that was made by an entirely different division within Nintendo rather than the usual Mario staff. Game Boy and Metroid creator Gunpei Yokoi served as producer, while Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto had no part in it. Because of this, the game sported a distinct feel and characters from prior entries.
In it, the mustached hero traversed through the kingdom of Sarasaland in order to rescue Princess Daisy from the dreaded alien menace Tatanga. While Daisy would re-appear in various spinoff games, Tatanga and his many bizarre henchmen wouldn’t ever be seen again.
4 Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr. made his debut in the arcade title of the same name, where he rescued his father from the clutches of a vengeful Mario. He was actually meant to re-appear in Donkey Kong Country as a playable character. However, Nintendo felt that Rare’s redesign strayed too far from the original.
Rather than scrap the look, they made it part of an entirely new character named Diddy Kong. While it’s been speculated that the DK in post-Rare games is Junior all grown up, the two actually appeared side by side in Mario Tennis. Once Rare was acquired by Microsoft, Junior’s appearances became more scarce while Diddy’s ballooned.
3 Paper Mario’s Supporting Cast
The Paper Mario games boasted some of the most endearing secondary characters the franchise had ever seen. These classic RPGs subverted the usual formula by allying the plumber with previously hostile species such as the Goombas and the Koopas. Each of these characters has their own unique abilities, such as Goombella’s Tattle skill and Koops’ Shell Toss, which can damage multiple enemies.
They were lovable characters who added a lot of levity and heart to Mario’s adventures. Sadly, the series became more restricted with the supporting cast, resulting in all non-hostile NPCs being relegated entirely to toads in Sticker Star and Paper Jam.
2 Gene & Mallow From Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars
Super Mario RPG was a wonderful blend of Square’s trademark JRPG formula and Mario’s platforming gameplay. In many ways, it was the perfect entry point to the genre. This adventure saw Mario team up with his arch nemesis, Bowser, and even new characters, such as the transformed frog Mallow and the talking puppet Geno.
Unfortunately, both characters are owned by Square Enix, and they’ve prohibited Nintendo from appearing in non-Square-developed Mario titles. In fact, the company got in hot water when Geno made a minor cameo in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, forcing the company to scrub it in further releases.
1 Toadsworth From Super Mario Sunshine
Toadsworth was the scholarly mustached assistant to Princess Peach, following her and offering his sage-like wisdom. He made his debut in Super Mario Sunshine, where he joined the princess and Mario on their vacation to Delfino Island. He cropped up in subsequent titles to provide help to the plumber throughout his journeys.
A younger version of him even showed up in Intelligent Systems’ Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Unfortunately, starting with Paper Mario Color Splash, his role was taken up by a generic toad character with no distinguishing characteristics whatsoever. Since then, Toadsworth has largely been MIA throughout the franchise.
NEXT: 10 Mistakes That Still Haunt Super Mario
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