Paper Mario is a role-playing game spin-off series of the Mario franchise, developed for Nintendo by affiliate company Intelligent Systems. The series is renowned for its distinctive visual style, which consists of 2D paper cutout characters moving about in 3D papercraft worlds. It is considered a thematic and spiritual sequel to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, the first game to introduce RPG elements into the Mario franchise, and follows many conventions established in that game. While the game is full of interesting and fun bosses, here is our list of the 10 hardest bosses in Paper Mario.
1. The Shadow Queen
The Shadow Queen is the true main antagonist and the final boss of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. One thousand years before the game’s events, she arrived, hoping to conquer the land. She was defeated and sealed away in the Palace of Shadow, where she remained for the last millennium and throughout the course of the game. After one thousand years have been passed, Beldam plans to revive her through manipulation of the X-Nauts.
Mario and his friends enter the Palace of Shadow, her current location, to destroy her and save Peach, but in the end, Grodus provides Princess Peach as a vessel for the Shadow Queen and she possesses her, forcing Mario and his friends to defeat the possessed Peach. Eventually after the queen exits Peach’s body due to being uncomfortable and is weakened by the power of the Crystal Stars, she is defeated and sealed again by Mario and his partners for good.
The Shadow Queen is a demon who cares only for herself and her aspirations, particularly conquering the world and remaking it in her image. She seems to rule her followers through fear rather than loyalty, as she often uses power to intimidate them. She also acts like she is superior to everyone, challenging Mario and his party, just because they look weak.
Some of the Shadow Queen’s speech and behavior vary somewhat between the Japanese and English versions of the game. In the Japanese version, she speaks in a considerably more down-to-earth manner. For example, when she sees Mario and his party members, she describes them as looking “agreeable”, and when she offers them a second chance to serve her, she says if they agree she will “let bygones be bygones.” In the English version, she speaks more formally, and is more condescending, backhandedly describing Mario and his party members as looking weak but possibly useful.
Bonetail is a large, skeletal dragon in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door residing at the bottom of the Pit of 100 Trials. There is some regional dispute over the gender of Bonetail, as while English releases of the games depict Bonetail as male, most other regions consider Bonetail as a female. In the Italian version, Bonetail’s name is derived from “Cassandra”, a girl’s name. In the Japanese version, all three dragons have baba in their name, which means “old woman”.
It is the older brother of Gloomtail and Hooktail. Unlike its still-living siblings, it is an undead dragon, having died of old age after not eating anything for centuries at the bottom of the Pit of 100 Trials. It was once a pet of the Shadow Queen, but it is never stated why or how Bonetail came to reside at the bottom of the Pit. According to Grifty, Bonetail, along with its two siblings, went around the world terrorizing people some time before the Shadow Queen was imprisoned behind The Thousand-Year Door.
After Mario and his teammates reach the bottom floor of the Pit of 100 Trials, Bonetail will roar, making it questionable if it can talk, as it never demonstrates that ability. Bonetail’s many breaths cause a variety of status ailments in addition to dealing damage. Its blue breath can freeze Mario, green breath can cause confusion, purple can shrink Mario or his partner, and white has the effect of a Sleepy Sheep. All of its fire breath attacks can be avoided with Shell Shield or simply guarding. If Mario defeats Bonetail, it coughs up a chest containing the Return Postage Badge.
Bonetail is much stronger than its younger siblings, Hooktail and Gloomtail, and even than the Shadow Queen. It is the strongest boss in the game; Bonetail can restore 20 HP when having lower HP, and has the most HP out of any enemy. Additionally, Bonetail has the same default attack and defense stats as Gloomtail, with other buffs added throughout the fight (but note that Bonetail doesn’t have all of Gloomtail’s attacks, like Earthquake or Megabreath).
Sir Grodus (or simply Grodus) is the supreme leader of the organization called the X-Nauts and one of the main antagonists of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. The organization consists of X-Nauts, a band of thugs determined to capture the Crystal Stars before Mario so they can dominate the world with the treasure behind the Thousand-Year Door.
While nothing is known about his past, Sir Grodus is presented as a serious villain who wants to rule the world. Grodus is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish his plans.
Despite being outwardly calm on most occasions, Grodus’s desires often drive him to appear insane, laughing evilly. Grodus is often seen giving orders to his organization, seeing most of them as inferiors. He is shown to be very uptight throughout the course of the game, but becomes more calm towards his associates when he gets closer to unleashing the Shadow Queen.
Grodus doesn’t care about much other than himself. This is shown when Grodus does not tell Lord Crump about his plans of Mario defeating him. Grodus also shows a dislike for disobedience, as he demonstrated when he attempted to command the Shadow Queen. Grodus also sees Mario’s relationship with Peach as a weakness.
Along with typical villain traits, Grodus is also shown to be highly intelligent and skilled at technology. His technology goes as far as manipulating magic. Grodus also always thinks ahead and is never willing to admit defeat. He always has backup plans in case his original plans fail. He is also very cunning and is always prepared for an attack, as seen by the puzzles and traps he sets up in his base.
Grodus’s main fault is his overconfidence. He underestimated Mario’s abilities, especially in his battle with him. Grodus’s arrogance led to his ultimate defeat in which he attempted to command the Shadow Queen. This mistake led to the Shadow Queen almost killing him. Grodus remains alive as a head only.
4. Anti Guy Unit
Anti Guys are Black Shy Guys that appear in Paper Mario. They are also known as Deadly Guys due to the fact that their attacks are extremely powerful. They are one of the strongest non-boss enemies that Mario battles, second only to the Amazy Dayzee, and even then, Anti Guys have much higher HP.
In the game, Mario first encounters an Anti Guy in Shy Guy’s Toy Box. This Shy Guy is guarding a treasure chest holding a Power Plus Badge. If spoken to, it demands that Mario backs off, but the player can engage it in battle and get the badge by beating it. Later, in Bowser’s Castle, the second of three Guard Doors gives Mario a “best three of five” quiz. If Mario meets the given conditions, he can pass. However, if he does not, he has to face three Anti Guys at once, known as the Anti Guys Unit.
Instead of fighting the Anti Guy in Shy Guy’s Toy Box, Mario can instead bribe the Shy Guy to leave by giving it a Lemon Candy, allowing Mario access to the Power Plus Badge. However, if Mario does this, he is no longer able to fight the Anti Guy.
In battle, Anti Guys attack the same way as regular Shy Guys, by jumping on Mario or ramming into him, except their attacks are ten times more powerful.
Black Shy Guys from Yoshi’s Story share similarities with Anti Guys, particularly in that both enemies are powerful types of Shy Guys working for the Koopa Troop. The only difference is that Anti Guys are fighters, whereas Black Shy Guys are fliers. Worthy of note is that the masks of Anti Guys are gray, unlike the masks of other Shy Guys, which are white.
5. Huff N. Puff
Huff N. Puff is a large cloud monster of the Puff species appearing in the game Paper Mario. He is found in the sixth chapter of the game, Dark Days in Flower Fields, in the area Flower Fields preventing the sun from shining over the lands.
Bowser assigned Huff N. Puff to guard the sixth Star Spirit, Klevar. His base of operations is Cloudy Climb. Mario and his comrades, with the help from their newly-reformed teammate Lakilester, destroy his Puff-Puff Machine and engage him in battle. If Lakilester is the active partner when Mario confronts Huff N. Puff, the cloud boss will react differently, addressing the Lakitu directly by his old moniker “Spike” and calling out his betrayal.
Huff N. Puff attacks by Body Slamming, blowing wind, and using thunder and lightning strikes. When his HP reaches as low as five, he will then begin attacking by creating earthquakes. Huff N. Puff can absorb electricity attacks without any ill effects to himself. If Huff N. Puff is struck with any other type of attack, he will spawn several Tuff Puffs equal to the amount of damage done. These Tuff Puffs provide backup while battling Mario and his comrades. Huff N. Puff can inhale the Tuff Puffs to restore HP. They also assist Huff N. Puff with his earthquake attack, increasing the damage caused depending on how many Tuff Puffs join the attack.
After Huff N. Puff is defeated, he explodes, freeing Klevar and sending several Tuff Puffs flying in all directions, although not before expressing disbelief that he could lose. In spite of this, he does make an appearance in the credits during the parade, being shrunk by the Yoshi kids and chased by Gourmet Guy, who wants to eat him.
Shadoo is the boss of the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials during the second time the four heroes reach Room 100 in Super Paper Mario. While it was created by the Ancients, it works for its “own cursed powers”. When the four heroes make it to Room 100, it copies their abilities and uses shadowy clones to try to defeat them and take their places, in a bid to get revenge on the Ancients. Shadoo’s name is a play on the words “shadow” and “duplicate.” Wracktail was implied to be familiar with Shadoo, as after being beaten by the heroes, Wracktail states that it, “wasn’t the only monster created by the ancients” and directs them to the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials.
With all four forms combined, Shadoo is the strongest enemy in the game (having 400 HP altogether), even stronger than the game’s final boss, Super Dimentio, similar to the The Master being stronger than Bowser in Paper Mario, Bonetail being stronger than the Shadow Queen in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Culex being stronger than Smithy in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and Bowser X being stronger than Dark Bowser or Dark Star Core in Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. Also, much like the fight with Mr. L, when Shadoo is Dark Luigi, he can heal with a Shroom Shake, which the player can steal by using Thoreau.
Wracktail is a white robotic dragon that appears in Super Paper Mario. He stated that he was a wrathful god who was locked away by the Tribe of Ancients, and Tippi says that he was the prototype for Fracktail, who looks identical to Wracktail except for his color. Wracktail is found at the bottom of the Flipside Pit of 100 Trials and upon his defeat, Dashell, a Pixl, is obtained, and a Pipe appears, leading Mario and company back to the entrance of the Pit. Just as Fracktail is the Super Paper Mario equivalent of Hooktail from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Wracktail is the counterpart to Bonetail. Wracktail is the largest boss in the Mario franchise, also sharing that title with Fracktail.
To defeat Wracktail, the same tactics must be utilized as those used to defeat Fracktail. The player must wait for the boss to dive low along the ground, then jump on his back and use Thoreau to grab the Wrackles and throw them and Wracktail’s antenna, which must be hit 30 times to defeat the dragon.
The player can also use Luigi’s super jump to continuously jump onto the antenna, and Peach’s parasol move can be used to easily jump back onto Wracktail’s head when he does a loop, potentially making the battle easier than the earlier Fracktail battle. However, contrary to his Catch Card’s claims, Wracktail is only ten times stronger than Fracktail, not 100 times.
He expresses anger at the heroes for disturbing his slumber and threatens to kill them in turn. After being beaten by them, he acknowledges that he was done, but then hints that he wasn’t the only monster created by the Ancients, and that they go to the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials to find the other monster before being destroyed.
8. Crystal King
The Crystal King is the final boss in possession of a Star Spirit that Mario had to face before his final confrontation with Bowser in Paper Mario.
The Crystal King is invisible, save for his robe, crown and floating yellow eyes. He can disappear and reappear altogether in a flurry of snowflakes.
The Crystal King is exceptionally powerful. He can levitate, summon Crystal Bits to use as ammunition and shoot freezing beams. In desperation, the King can make fake clones of himself and recover his HP; if not beaten quickly enough, the Crystal King will recover 20 HP at least three times, and he and his army of illusory copies will unleash a powerful blizzard attack. There is no way to tell the Crystal King apart from his clones, leaving Mario to guess or use an attack that hits all enemies.
The Crystal King guards the last Star Spirit, Kalmar, in the Crystal Palace. When Mario defeats him, Crystal King says, “Oh no! The last Star Spirit!! King Bowser, forgive meeeeeeeee!!” before spinning and disappearing in a flurry of sparks. Like the other bosses, Crystal King appears in the parade at the end during the credits. Two Duplighosts are impersonating him. The real Crystal King removes their disguises, but is carried away by his Crystal Bits, seemingly to his surprise and against his will.
9. Magnus Von Grapple 2.0
Magnus von Grapple 2.0 (or Magnus 2.0) is the improved version of Magnus von Grapple controlled by Lord Crump and built by X-Naut Scientists in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year door. It is the seventh Chapter Boss in the game, and the last boss to hold a Crystal Star.
Lord Crump was assigned to guard the Crystal Star in the X-Naut Fortress located on the Moon. He controlled an upgraded version of the Magnus von Grapple, with new attacks (a flying drill attack instead of the stomp, an ability to inhale audience members and open its front to fire many audience members at the person in front, and a higher HP, attack and defense). After defeat, the robot explodes, sending Lord Crump into deep space.
Magnus von Grapple 2.0 still retains its rocket punch and just like its weaker counterpart, it has the ability to summon another rocket punch. Magnus von Grapple 2.0’s main attack is flying off-screen and then diving down at Mario and his partner, which does six damage. Another one of its attacks is flying to the audience arena, revealing the vacuum from its bottom, inhaling the audience, and then opening its front to fire audience members at the player, which does three damage per hit.
Smorg is the boss of Chapter 6 in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Its name may come from the word smog, based on its dark, cloudy appearance. Their vocabulary consists of one word, “Smorg”. Smorg is made up of massive hordes of smaller, individual Smorgs, and the base is made up of a cluster of magenta Smorgs. It is the only chapter boss aside from the Shadow Queen that does not guard a Crystal Star.
Individual Smorgs are first seen at Riverside Station, where they lift the drawbridge to stop the Excess Express from progressing. Mario discovers a large group of them hidden within the station, who were trying to conceal the switch controlling the bridge. Mario chases them away and presses the switch, lowering the bridge and allowing the train to pass. The next day, it is shown that the Smorgs stowed away on the train and kidnapped the passengers. When the Smorgs are cornered on the top of the train, they combine into one large entity. Once it is defeated, the individual Smorgs blow away in the wind and release the passengers.
At the beginning of the battle, three tentacles surround the main body. After taking a significant amount of damage, the tentacles change shape into a pincer claw, which deals a large amount of damage to Mario and his partner.