From Gamehiker Wiki

A Koopa depicted in New Super Mario Bros.
Type Turtle
Debut Super Mario Bros.

The Koopa are a diverse race of turtle-like creatures 'that are featured in the Mario series, where they usually serve as antagonists under the rule of King Bowser Koopa. The basic type of Koopa is a beaked grunt known as the Koopa Troopa.



The term "Koopa" is usually applied as a blanket term to cover all of the turtle-like creatures appearing throughout the series. There are a number of varieties which differ in areas such as height, build, the type of shell, level of competence and weapons used. Koopas all have shells (worn like clothes) which usually act as protection. Most Koopas are also able to withdraw into their shells and slide around in order to attack others without risk of being hurt. Some Koopas, especially those of higher class, have spiked shells. In other cases, the shells serve little purpose beyond being worn by the Koopa in question. Other differences between types of Koopas are some having hooked beaks while others have more human-like faces, whether they are bipedal or quadrupedal, the presence of hair and whether or not they can spit fireballs. Koopas can become quite large and heavy, to the point where some can unleash powerful hip drops which can produce shockwaves.

Koopas were initially depicted as hostile creatures and have been commanded by the Koopa King, Bowser, in his many campaigns against the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser has often referred to his forces as his Koopa Troop. Later games have shown that there are friendly Koopas living in or around the Mushroom Kingdom in small towns such as Koopa Village and Petalburg. The Koopa's homeland is unknown, especially since Bowser has many fortresses and castles around the Mario world. One possibility is the region that was known as the Dark Land in Super Mario Bros. 3. Although the Koopas are primarily loyal to Bowser, they have also been shown amongst the ranks of other villains such as Tatanga and Wario. The Koopas may even have preceded Super Mario Bros., as the original Mario Bros. game featured enemies known as Shellcreepers who were nearly identical to a quadruped version of the Koopa Troopas.

The original Super Mario Bros. instruction manual refers to the Koopa as "a tribe of turtles well known for their dark magic", although later games would show usage of dark magic within the Koopa race to be limited to Magikoopas and occasionally Bowser. Koopas were extensively used in nearly all of Bowser's campaigns except for Super Mario Sunshine; in that game, the only Koopas aside from Bowser and his son were the Electrokoopas. They have also been scarce in games set in in the past, such as Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. In this game the only Koopas present are Baby Bowser, Kamek and Koopa Troopas in only a few levels, one of which becomes a boss known as Hookbill Koopa.

After Koopas die, usually their skeletons sometimes are reanimated as creatures called Dry Bones. In New Super Mario Bros., it is shown that Bowser also has a special pot that can be used to bring him back to life if his body is ever disintegrated, and it is possible that other Koopas use this technique as well. The same game also showed Bowser to have a skeletal form known as Dry Bowser.

Koopa Troopa

The Koopa Troopas are the "average" members of the Koopa race who often act as infantry in Bowser's armies. They are smooth-shelled turtles who, when attacked, will either withdraw into their shells or be forced out of them, depending on the game. The shell can then be kicked around to destroy other enemies, although a Koopa Troopa will regain its shell if left to its own devices long enough. Koopa Troopas are most commonly shown as bipedal, although some games have had them on all fours.

They usually have different behaviors depending on their shell color, with the most commonly used variations being green and red. Green Koopa Troopas are known for moving blindly ahead and can usually walk off cliffs, while the Red Koopa Troopas will turn at ledges and seem to be a bit smarter. Two variations, the Blue and Yellow Koopa Troopas, were only featured in Super Mario World. The blue ones were faster versions of the Red Koopas that, when separated from their shells, would kick other shells at Mario. The Yellow Koopa similarly has an effect when separated from its shell, as any shell it enters will flash and become invincible, and in this form it relentlessly pursues Mario.

A winged version of the Koopa Troopa has also appeared since Super Mario Bros. and is shown nearly as often. This type is known as the Koopa Paratroopa, and they have the same variations in shell color. The green ones will usually bounce around instead of actually flying, while the red-shelled ones will actually fly in a set pattern. Blue Paratroopas have also appeared primarily within the RPG games, where they are usually allies. Paratroopas will lose their wings and become normal Koopa Troopas after being jumped on. In Super Mario RPG, Paratroopas appeared often in place of standard Koopa Troopas and were known as Sky Koopas and Malakoopas. While the Green Koopa Troopa is the most commonly shown, with Paratroopas it is usually the red variant that is featured.

There have been several playable Koopa Troopas and Paratroopas within the RPG games. Paper Mario had the Troopa Kooper and the Paratroopa named Parakarry, while Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door had Koops.


Koopas have sometimes been playable in other sports games.

Within the Mario Party games, Koopas mostly appear as minor characters and usually run the Koopa Bank on various boards. A Koopa Troopa was also available as a partner for the Battle Mode of Mario Party 3. In the Story Mode of Mario Party 4, a Koopa Troopa with a bowtie appeared as one of the people throwing the player's character's birthday party. A Paratroopa Orb appeared in Mario Party 5 and 6 with different effects each time. A Koopa also plays a role in the story of Mario Party DS, where he enlists the help of Mario's friends to save his grandfather, Koopa Kreg, after he was trapped in a magic book. Once Kamek was defeated and Kreg freed, the Koopa thanked them with a Sky Crystal. The Koopa Troopa was eventually added as a playable character in Mario Party 9.


There are a variety of Koopa subspecies that have appeared throughout the games, with the most prominent being the following.

Additionally, although they do not have a proper subspecies, there are traits shared by Bowser, his children and Koopa bosses known as Boom Boom. They have more human-like faces, hair and spiked shells. They also seem to be more intelligent than normal Koopas, possibly due to being of a higher class.

Koopa Troopa/Paratroopa Variants

  • Ankoopa - This is a large and husky type of Koopa appearing in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. It blocks the brothers' path in the manner of an anchor and can only be knocked over using the Firebrand Bros. attack.
  • Bombshell Koopa - Unique Koopas found in Sarasaland in Super Mario Land. When Mario Stomps on their shells, they will explode in a few seconds. They originally went by the name of Nokobon.
  • Dark Koopa/Dark Paratroopa - Found in the Toad Town Sewers in Paper Mario, these dark-shelled Koopas can make Mario dizzy by spinning wildly. They were simply more powerful Koopas in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, with their dizzy effects being passed on to Shady Koopas, and Dark Paratroopas were introduced. In Super Paper Mario, the Dark Koopa and Dark Paratroopa are stronger, shadowy versions of the original enemies found in the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials.
  • Electro-Koopa - Only appearing in Super Mario Sunshine, these Koopas will launch their electric Shells towards Mario in an attempt to electrocute him. They have a different design than most Koopas and notably walk on all fours.
  • Gargantua Koopa/Colossal Koopa Paratroopa - These are the giant versions of the Koopas found in Big Island in Super Mario Bros. 3.
  • Glad Red Koopa/Paratroopa - This is an emotional variant from Super Princess Peach caused by the Vibe Wand's effects. Their behaviors are similar to Red Koopas but more gleeful. The Glad Red Koopa Troopa is known to skip.
  • Heavy Troopa - This is an obese version of the Paratroopa featured in Super Mario RPG. They are primarily found around Nimbus Land and some worked for Valentina. They are very powerful yet lazy and take several turns to prepare their attacks. Heavy Troopas have red shells, and a stronger green-shelled version known as the Tub-o-Troopa is found at Bowser's Keep.
  • Koopa Striker - Soccer-playing Koopas usually found in pairs, they kick soccerball-like shells towards Mario in hopes of defeating him. Paired versions are known as Toopa Strikers, and the more powerful versions are known as Soopa Strikers and Dark Strikers. They appear in Super Paper Mario.
  • Koopatrol - The most powerful Koopa subspecies. They have the ability to charge their attacks, and their pointy helmets makes jumping on them a bad idea. They are usually used as guards in the Paper Mario games. There is also a stronger version called the Dark Koopatrol. In The Thousand Year Door one known as The Koopinator was faced at the Glitz Pit, and in Super Paper Mario it was a stronger and shadowy version of the Koopatrol from the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials.
  • KP Koopa/KP Paratroopa - Gold-shelled Koopas fought in the Glitz Pit in The Thousand Year Door, they have no outstanding characteristics, and are basically the same as normal Koopas.
  • Mad Green Koopa/Paratroopa - An emotional variant from Super Princess Peach caused by the effects of the Vibe Wand. They are aggressive and will rush at Peach when she is sighted.
  • Shady Koopa/Shady Paratroopa - These are enemies faced in the Glitz Pit in The Thousand Year Door. They are blue-shelled and shown with a darker pigmentation. Shady Koopas can attack even when flipped onto their backs
  • Super Koopa - Koopas donning capes instead of shells. They appear in Super Mario World and soar through the air in hopes of defeating Mario. They will usually drop Cape Feathers upon defeat.
  • Terrapin - This is an armored green Koopa (in a similar vein as the later Koopatrol) from Super Mario RPG. The stronger red-shelled version is known as Terra Cotta. Oddly enough, the Terrapin design was even used for non-playable Koopas within the game such as Chef Torte.


Other Appearances

Video Games

  • Koopa Troopas and Paratroopas appear as enemies in the Adventure Modes of Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl, where they are dispatched in a similar manner as in the games. The Koopa and Paratroopa each has a trophy in Melee, while in Brawl there are two extra trophies for their color variations. A sticker of a Paratroopa using artwork from Super Paper Mario also appeared in Brawl.


  • In the Japanese version, Koopa (or as it is spelled there, "Kuppa") is used as the name for Bowser, and "Noko Noko" is used for Koopas instead. The name of "Kuppa" was apparently inspired by a Korean dish.
  • Koopa Troopas are usually humorously depicted with t-shirts and shorts under their shells.
  • In the Paper Mario games, the Koopa Troopa enemies are differentiated from the friendly Koopas by the enemies wearing shades.

See Also

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