Bowser in the Dark World

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Bowser in the Dark World
Course Info
Abbreviation BitDW
Terrain Default
Setting Dark
Water None
Course Items
Coins 74 ( Yellow Coin.gif ×58  •  Red Coin.gif ×8)
Enemy Coins 6 ( Yellow Coin.gif ×6)
Stars Challenge infobox star 1.gif ×1
Caps STROOP- Metal Cap Block.png ×1
Star Navigation
Challenge infobox star 1.gif

Bowser in the Dark World is the first Bowser level. It can be accessed from the big star door of the first floor, which requires 8 stars to open.

Excluding the Moat Door Skip glitch (MDS), collecting the key from this level is mandatory to beat the game, as otherwise the basement courses of the game cannot be unlocked.


Location Count
Coin ring above moving platforms right after first flame shooter 8
Sloped line of coins after second flame shooter 5
Single coin above turning blue platforms 1
Sloped line of coins after goomba platform, on bridge 5
3 coins in ! block on platform after crystals 3
Vertical line of 3 coins over turning platforms (after above) 3
Coin ring above moving platforms (after above) 8
4 coins on curved path that leads to the 3rd ! block 4
Ring of coins by 3rd ! block 8
3 coins on each titling platform at end 6
2 coins above the last titling platform 2
5 coins before pipe at end (use ! switch and climb up the stairs) 5
6 Goombas 6
8 red coins 16
Total 80

A Press Counts

In the A Button Challenge, it takes no A Presses to beat the level regardless of whether or not the player goes for the red coin star.

Objective A Presses Minutes
With red coin star 0 3
Without red coin star 0 2

Entering Bowser in the Dark World (0x)

Original Strategy:
With 0 Stars:

Entering the course is easy - simply go to the trapdoor and fall down naturally.

It should be noted, however, that with speed conservation, it is possible to enter the course with 0 stars by exiting Bob-omb Battlefield with 227 stored speed, redirect Mario's direction using the second key door text, and clip through the 8-star door. This allows entering Bowser in the Dark World with zero stars. The strategy is vital as part of the plan for entering Secret Aquarium in 0 A presses.

Within the course (0x)

With red coins:
Without red coins:

Mario is able to navigate the course without the use of A button to jump, as the geometry is mostly flat. The elevators can be reached with a precise dive recover. Throughout the course, there are three difficult sections: The Crystal, named after its vicinity to the nearby structure that is too high to reach with a dive recover, where there is a yellow back-and-forth platform below; The Seesaws, where they must be tilted to very steep angles to reach the red coins; The Warp Pipe, where a misalignment must be utilized to get on top to enter the Bowser fight. An optional section of The 6th Red Coin is required if red coins are collected.

The Crystal

Old Strategy (VSC):
New Strategy (207 DR):

This section is named after the object that originally facilitated Mario to reach the next structure via Vertical Speed Conservation. As the Crystal has a strange hitbox, it displaces Mario's position if he gets into a certain spot, allowing him to store 26 vertical speed. Mario then punches towards to structure, duck down to avoid the amps hitting him, and pops onto the structure, saving an otherwise mandatory A press in a full game run.

Later, Tyler Kehne demonstrated that a very precise dive recover to utilize the misalignment is possible in the course. It was previously thought to be impossible due to the inconvenient angle, but it was eventually worked out on May 5, 2018, with diligent efforts of Iwer Sonsch and bad_boot, while Jongyon worked on the math calculations.

The 6th Red Coin

For this optional segment for red coins, Mario has to bump into a Goomba, luring it to drop onto a narrow bridge. Mario then leaves to collect the 6th red coin on the lonely island and then comes back to bounce on the Goomba, getting back into the main segment.

The Seesaws

Tilting the seesaw and use frame-walking to reach the higher platforms is sufficient, yet it can be done even faster by dive-recovering on steep slopes using pause buffer. Therefore, Mario has no problems getting past the seesaws and reach the bottom of the activatable stairs. Mario also has no issues getting the remaining two red coins for the red coin star in the 100% run.

The Warp Pipe

Instead of activating the stairs to get up, Mario grinds on the slope with repeated dives to gradually rise to the top of the stairs. If Mario collected all red coins, he would now collect the star. Afterwards, Mario aims at one of the misalignments of the warp pipe and lands on the pipe with a precise 207 dive recover to avoid the wall hitboxes and snap onto the top of the pipe. Finally, Mario defeats Bowser in the fight and collect the first key of the game.