I come from a big family – I mean, five brothers, parents and dogs! Family is pretty important to me and I’ve always had a soft spot for characters looped together by the bonds of that, whether they are related by blood, by circumstance or choice, it’s a pretty unbreakable connection. So the family that plays together stays together and I’ve plenty of fond memories playing video games with my own siblings and parental units particularly on the Super Nintendo.
Super Mario World is perhaps one of the most overplayed games in my collection, hours/days/weeks/months hell even years spent playing the game and that’s meant facing off against one of the toughest families around – the Koopas; Bowser a.k.a King Koopa and his offspring, the Koopalings. If you asked any of my brothers we’d all be able to identify each other based off our stereotypes – first is golden, second is cranky, third is smart, fourth is funny, fifth is a dork and the sixth is spoiled.
Even at an early age I always identified my brothers with one of the Koopalings, fiercely loyal to their parent, vicious, unstoppable and always close to throttling each other! The Koopalings are as deadly as they are adorable!
In Super Mario World, following the defeat at the hands of Mario and Luigi, Bowser and his army retreat to Dinosaur Land to rebuild his forces and lick his wounds, but it also happens that Mario and team have also headed the same way (what a funny coincidence) and soon Princess Toadstool (this was before she was known as Peach) finds herself snatched by King Koopa. Determined this time to take his enemies down, Bowser sends his children out to capture the Yoshi (plural of these guys anyone?). The Koopalings in an effort to impress their father and remain on his good side do his bidding and act as the main line of defense against the plumber and his team.
The Koopalings were my first encounter with proper bosses. Not just generic at the end of the level kind of bosses either, these guys and their sister were out to crush you and they each had their own preferred methods of doing so. The siblings aren’t just masters of destruction of chaos, they come with their own looks and personalities:
- Iggy Koopa – a mechanical genius with a knack for being crazy, he’s the first to face the Mario brothers.
- Morton Koopa Jr. – this wall climbing Koopa knows by staying high he’d be out of reach from the plumbers.
- Lemmy Koopa – the smallest, and the most hyper of the Koopalings.
- Ludwig von Koopa – named after the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven, he’s considered the intelligent one in the family… intelligent and arrogant.
- Roy Koopa – the… dumb one of the group Roy is known for being more muscle than brain, he’s named after Roy Orbison, wearing glasses like his namesakes.
- Wendy O. Koopa – the only girl in the Koopalings, Wendy is a terrifying force to reckon with, in the cartoon series she’s the spoiled one with her father wrapped around her finger.
- Larry Koopa – youngest of the gang, Larry looks a little like his older brother and is the last Koopaling to face Mario. He’s named after U2’s Larry Mullen.
It’s not easy when your father is a tyrannical overlord who spends his days plotting revenge against plumbers and snatching the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, the kids have been put between a rock and a hard place but they rise to the occasion in the face of all that. While they fall against the plumbers one by one they don’t stop fighting, with each encounter escalating in difficulty and the specific worlds they inhabit throwing challenge after challenge. In 1994 the Koopalings would be retired for a nine year break, one too many failed attempts at capturing the Princess the seven siblings would be replaced by a newcomer, Bowser Junior.
With the new Super Mario World games though they have made a fantastic return to the games once again proving that you can’t keep a bad Koopa down… unless you jump on their head three times! Even better, you can select each of them in the latest Super Smash Bros. for both Wii U and 3DS to settle those sibling rivalries in real time. Hooray for sibling squabbling!
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!