If you’re a fan of classic side-scrollers, there’s no way you haven’t played a Mario game. From the very first entry on NES to modern giants like Super Mario Odyssey, the world’s most capable plumber (and his brother!) have starred in so many games that he’s quite possibly the most recognizable face in the industry. And if Pikachu from Pokemon is secretly the victor in that competition, then we can safely say Mario is at least the most recognizable mustachioed face in the industry, right? Good.
Even among gems, there are diamonds. The 1994 SNES launch title Super Mario World is one such diamond. Nintendo brought everything from the first few outings and then some, introducing the beloved dinosaur mount Yoshi and taking full advantage of new hardware to deliver something bright, poppy, and visually diverse. Add in some seriously eclectic gameplay and one of Mario‘s best soundtracks and you’ve got an absolute winner.
But even the best games can get stale after a while. That’s why “speedrunners” exist — they’re uber-fans who push their favorite games to the limit by racing each other to complete them in the fastest possible time. New records for Super Mario World are made even now, several decades later.
Do you want to get in on the action? Unless you’re willing to spend years learning the ropes you’ll likely want a guide to help you make the most of your time. This tutorial can teach you the basics and offer some helpful tips on the specifics, but ultimately the execution is on you! But don’t be afraid. With a little guidance from us, you’ll find yourself breaking through speed barriers left and right.
How to 100% Speedrun Super Mario World
Strictly speaking, there are multiple different ways to speedrun Super Mario World. Like most platformers with intense speedrun communities, there are separate categories for completing a game in record time: the ones where you can take advantage of glitches to your heart’s content and hit the credits doing as little as possible; the ones where you can’t take advantage of glitches but you still don’t need to do everything in the game; and the ones where you can not only not use glitches, but you have to finish every level.
It won’t come as a surprise, but if you’re seeking to 100% Super Mario World as swiftly as can be, your final time is going to be substantially higher than folks who just want to reach the credits by any means necessary. Conversely, speedrun guides of this nature can’t go into as much detail — but precious guidelines can still be your ticket to fame.
What you want to focus on first and foremost here is the Cape Feather power-up. The sooner you acquire a Cape Feather in each level, the sooner you’ll reach its end. This is especially true in the many outdoor levels, where the sky is quite literally the limit. You might be shocked to see just how many of these types of levels are clearly not designed to accommodate a clever player who finds just the right ledges to spring from, the precise momentum mandatory to go as high up as the invisible “ceilings” allow, and the sheer will to stay afloat the whole way through. So many obstacles in so many zones are totally bypassed with proficient use of the Cape Feather.
Indoor levels are not always so simple to outwit. Forts and castles are seldom vertical enough as often as you’ll need them to be, making Caped Mario’s limitations self-evident. In these cases, your best bet is frequently the Fire Flower. Indeed, even in Bowser’s many lava-filled fortresses there’s nothing quicker than toasting foes with flames. The trick here is to run through these areas enough times to remember enemy layouts so that you can shoot fireballs at foes the instant they appear on screen. This applies to the enemies who are pesky enough to truly get in your way; as is the case not only with every Super Mario World speedrun but most speedruns in general, it’s often better not to bother with baddies and find ways past them instead.
Not every hidden exit in Super Mario World levels is necessarily the fastest around. Some unlock access to hard-to-reach areas but might take you longer to reach than the traditional endpoint. That said, many of these hidden exits are well worth taking the time to find. A quick Mario Wiki tour ought to tell you about every last one of these, and if you’re serious about completing every level you may need to take advantage of the slower pathways regardless. It’s old hat but still remains true today: search and search and search until you stumble upon secret passageways and you’re certain to cut your Super Mario World time in half.
How to Any% Speedrun Super Mario World
This is where all those YouTube and Twitch all-stars spend the bulk of their time upping their game. Your goal is straightforward: boot up Super Mario World and beat Bowser in as little time as humanly possible, no matter how devious you need to be. It’s ruthless, but so is King Koopa himself.
This is also when our guide gets technical. Any% speedrun mastery is all about not only blitzing through every necessary stage without fault, but it’s ultimately a matter of knowing the best glitches and how to employ them. Fortunately, these glitches tend to crop up right near the beginning of the game. In Yoshi’s Island 1, the very first level of the game, there’s a Clappin’ Chuck enemy toward the end. Ordinarily, Clappin’ Chucks cannot be eaten by Yoshi, but you can alter that by using a fireball to turn the enemy just before it appears on screen into a coin, spin-jumping off of Yoshi directly into that coin just before Yoshi attempts to eat the coin for you, and bearing witness to one of Super Mario World‘s weirdest quirks. Since Yoshi is denied the coin, he defaults to eating the next enemy of the stage no matter who or what that enemy may be. In this case, it’s Clappin’ Chuck, the otherwise-inedible linebacker in Bowser’s army.
For whatever reason, Chuck turns into an item called the Orb. This Orb isn’t supposed to be found in the game at any point except the Sunken Ghost Ship. In Sunken Ghost Ship, finding and using the Orb instantly ends the level. Carry the Orb that the Clappin’ Chuck glitches into in Yoshi’s Island 1 all the way to the first World’s castle stage. This is a seriously long level, and you can finish it in just a few seconds by climbing into the metal fence at the start and grabbing that Orb. Fantastic!
It seems that Chucks are quietly Mario’s friends instead of foes, because the other greatest glitch in Super Mario World involves not the Clappin’ kind but the Chargin’ kind. This time, head to Yoshi’s Island 2. Hop onto Yoshi, have him eat a Koopa shell, spit out three fireballs, eat another Koopa shell, hang onto it, spit it out at the top of three tiny hills roughly 15 seconds into the stage, pivot Yoshi around so that you’re facing right immediately after spitting out one more fireball, and watch this third Koopa shell turn into a coin. Grab that coin just ahead of Yoshi’s tongue (your lovable friend is forever hungry) and Yoshi will essentially do the same thing he does in Yoshi’s World 1. He defaults to eating an offscreen enemy, the Chargin’ Chuck. This time you receive Lakitu’s Cloud… for some reason.
Lakitu’s Cloud is only intended to be accessible in a few stages. Hang onto it all the way until the final battle against Bowser. Keep flying on the cloud, repeatedly ramming into the top-left, which for whatever reason triggers Bowser to constantly toss out more Mecha-Koopas. These bomb-like baddies are how to damage Bowser, but he’s not supposed to toss them out like confetti at Mardi Gras like this!