Return to Bowser’s Keep Walkthrough for Super Mario RPG

Have Mario and the party head back to Nimbus Land and speak with the King and Queen at the throne room of Nimbus Castle. A cutscene plays where Mallow explains to the King and Queen that your party found the 6th Star Piece at Barrel Volcano.

Since you’ve searched the entire world for the Star Piece, You think that the 7th Star Piece is in Bowser’s keep which is currently inaccessible since Exor, the huge sword monster destroyed the bridge connecting it to the rest of the world. The King and Queen suggest that you use the Royal Bus to take you to Bowser’s keep which they had fixed while you were searching inside the Volcano for the Star Piece.

After unlocking the Royal Bus in the cutscene, exit the castle to take you back to Nimbus Town.

Table of contents

Map of Nimbus Land and Royal Bus Location

You can access the Royal Bus Terminal at the upper left side of Nimbus Land. The Bus will take you directly to Bowser’s Keep.

*Before doing that however, We suggest that you finish up all the quests that you haven’t finished up until now and grab the items and accessories that give you stat bonuses to make your gameplay much easier.

Please read our guide on Preparations for Bowser’s Keep to see the list of our recommended equipment for you to get before making your Return to Bowser’s Keep. After your preparations, head to the Royal Bus Terminal located at the left exit of Nimbus Land.

Royal Bus Terminal

Speak with the guard at the terminal and he tells you that the Royal Bus has finally been repaired. As soon as the bus arrives hop inside for the Royal Bus to take you to Bowser’s Keep.

Bowser’s Keep

A cutscene plays while the Royal Bus takes Mario and his party inside the keep. At the entrance, Bowser remarks that He is happy to be back home and vows that Smithy will pay for stealing the castle from him.

Enemies in the area

NameHitpointsAttackGold coinsExperienceWeaknessItem drop
Terra Cotta180120025NoneMushroom
Star Cruster721353036IceCrystalline
Big Bertha350170735LightningNone
Forkies350170732NoneSleepy bomb
Gu Goomba132115115NoneMid mushroom
Malakoopa95130323ThunderHoney syrup
Tub-O-Troopa5002001140ThunderRock candy

Bowser’s passive effect

Having Bowser in your active party gives you an advantage in mob battles. At the start of the battle, Bowser’s passive can scare or confuse some monsters at Bowser’s Keep that can cause them to flee the battle, Attack their party or do nothing for 1 turn. This is especially useful when facing groups of 5 enemies since they make fights go a lot faster and there are quite a number of enemies guarding Bowser’s Keep.

Bowser’s passive can also affect enemies even if he isn’t in the active party. His mood has a chance to confuse smaller monsters that make them attack their party when their turn comes. This passive seems to affect only Terra Cotta and Malakoopa mobs and does nothing to medium to large sized monsters like Forkies or Tub-O-Troopa.

Terra Cotta

Terra Cotta is 1 of the easiest enemies to beat in Bowser’s Keep. They guard the early areas of the keep and can easily be defeated with timed hits or basic attacks even when facing large groups of them with Bowser’s Passive playing a huge role in the fight.

Star Cruster

The crab-like Star Cruster is exceptionally weak to lightning. When facing a Star Cruster in a group of 4 to 5 monsters, Have Mallow cast lightning to one shot the enemy while dealing damage to the rest. Otherwise, just use timed hits to finish the fight.

One thing to note is that if you hit them with basic attacks and they survive the turn, Star Cruster launches their mini light beam Sp attack that puts a character to sleep when it hits. Finish them off quickly if you don’t have any accessories equipped to counter the sleep status effect like wake up pin or the safety badge in the party. If you have those accessories equipped, You can use basic attacks to defeat them to save your Fp for tougher battles.

Gu Goomba

Another mob that poses little threat in this area are Gu Goombas. They are fairly easy to beat and it usually takes 1 timed hit to take them out even with Toadstool when equipped with her ultimate weapon.


Malakoopa is a powerful version of Sky Troopas, the flying turtle monsters you’ve encountered previously. Although having higher base stats compared to Sky Troopas, they are weak to lightning attacks and will flee the battle once Bowser is in your active party due to Bowser’s passive. Use lightning if Mallow is in your party or deal timed hits to deal with them quickly.


*One thing to note when facing Forkies in battle is that they do not attack unless they receive damage from your party. They also have very high magical defense and have good physical defense stats and are immune to lightning based spells.

What makes them dangerous in battle is their Sp attack Storm which does high elemental damage. When facing them, focus on 1 Forkies at a time and don’t use AoE spells when facing 2 or more of them in a fight.

Big Bertha

At a glance, these cannon monsters look exactly like the Blaster mob that you faced in previous areas. Big Bertha is a powerful version of Blaster but still retains it’s look and color making it hard to distinguish unless your target indicator is pointed at them revealing their name. Use lightning attacks to deal massive damage to these enemies since they have very high physical attack damage that can pose a threat to your party.

Blazer, which is Big Bertha’s Sp attack is a mortal blow skill that can kill you regardless of Hitpoints or defense. Having accessory items equipped that nullify mortal blows (jinx belt, safety ring or Ghost Medal) are important when facing them so be sure to have those accessories equipped to at least 1 of your party members to avoid getting wiped out.

We suggest you read our guide on Mortal Blows in Super Mario RPG to learn more about the enemies using these skills and how to counter them effectively.


Tub-O-Troopas are powerful versions of the Heavy Troopas that you encountered in previous areas. Their attacks patterns are also similar that even their “Launch” Sp attack notification calls them Heavy Troopas.

Focus all of your attacks on Tub-O-Troopa and deal timed hits to defeat them in battle. It usually takes all 3 of your party members dealing timed hits to deal with them in a single turn.

Castle entrance

After Bowser finishes talking, make your way straight ahead to take you to the next area. Be sure to have Bowser in your active party to avoid long battles as you head deeper inside.

Area 1

The 1st area of the keep is a long corridor with a number of Terra Cotta guards roaming the place. Engaging them will get you a battle with a single Terra Cotta to up to 3 in a group. It’s best you avoid them since they don’t get you much experience compared to the other mobs in the next area. The exit is located at the top right side of the room.

Area 2

The next area is a room with a bridge and a pool of lava below it. This area is guarded by Gu Goombas and this is where Forkies make their appearance in battle. Remember not to use AoE effect skills when 2 or more Forkies are in battle since they only attack when they get hit and focus on them 1 at a time instead.

The last section of the bridge has 3 falling platforms that you need to use to jump across to reach the exit. You can easily cross if you jump at the edge of each platform but you have to be fast or else the platform you are standing on will fall off. If that happens, Head back to the entrance of the room, exit, and go back again. That will reset the platforms back to their original place where you can use them to get to the other side.

Once you reach the other side, use the door at the end to take you to the next area.

Area 3

The next room looks like a long courtyard with swarms of Malakoopa guarding the area. As soon as you enter the room, There will be 2 Gu Goombas guarding the door to your left and right side. It’s best that you swap Bowser to your active party for this one since both the Gu Goombas will have a full party of 6 enemies for you to deal with once they charge you from behind while you’re being swarmed by Malakoopas at the middle of the courtyard.

After clearing a path through the enemies in the area, Head towards the Statue at the end of the courtyard and go through it to reach the next area.

Area 4 (Dark Room)

The next area is completely dark. The image above shows the map layout for you to trace your steps to reach the exit.

Before getting to the exit, take a left past the 2nd statue and go towards the top left corner of the room to get the frog coin inside the treasure chest located here. Afterwards, retrace your steps and head to the right and follow the corridor towards the exit located at the top right side of the map.

Area 5 (save room and Croco’s Shop)

The next area is the save area for Bowser’s keep. Standing beside the save block is your old enemy Croco who warns you to save your game before proceeding and offers to sell you some of his items.

Restock your Fp and HP items from the shop before saving your game. Croco also sells Fire Armor for the group but you can ignore those if you already purchased the armor equipment at Barrel Volcano. Afterwards, Head towards the Exit which takes you to the next room with the 6-Door Challenge.

6-Door Challenge Room

The next area is the 6-door challenge room. Here, You will have to complete 4 out of 6 challenges to proceed further in. To make things easier, We have prepared a separate guide on all the challenges for each room which you can find in our guide on The 6-Door Challenge in Bowser’s Keep.

The 6-Door Challenge in Bowser’s Keep in Super Mario RPG

Area 6 (2nd save room)

After clearing 4 of the 6-Door Challenge rooms, you will be dropped into the 2nd save room deeper into the castle. Save your game and prepare to face the 1st Boss in Bowser’s Keep, Magikoopa in the next room.

Boss Fight Magikoopa

NameHitpointsAttackGold coinsExperienceWeaknessItem drop
King Bomb500000Jump, IceNone

Magikoopa does not deal any attacks that pose as a threat to the party. We suggest you have Toadstool and Mallow into your active party to make the fight much easier with Mallow dealing Ice damage and Toadstool as support.

*Note that If you have Bowser’s Ultimate weapon equipped (Drill Claw) then we suggest you have Bowser in your party instead of Mallow. Both he and Mario will be able to clear any summon monster with timed hits before the party ends a turn.

To learn more about Bowser’s Ultimate weapon and how to get it, Please read our guide on How to get the Drill Claw in Super Mario RPG(Coming Soon).

What makes this Boss fight especially troublesome is Magikoopa’s Summon ability which he uses a lot to shield himself from damage. You will have to defeat the summoned monsters as fast as you can to get to Magikoopa and damage him before he summons another monster to his side on his turn.

Start the fight with your party doing timed hits to lower his Hitpoints before he starts summoning. Use physical attacks only since they deal more damage since he has a good amount of magic defense on him.

After receiving enough damage, Magikoopa starts to summon allies in front of him. You won’t be able to deal damage to Magikoopa when a summoned monster appears so defeat the summon as fast as you can with timed hits.

King Bomb (summon)

Once Magikoopa summons a King Bomb into the fight, use timed attacks to quickly defeat it in battle. He doesn’t have any attacks but detonates and damages the party when it’s his turn to attack so be careful.

Big Bang

If you cannot defeat Big Bomb in 1 turn, Have the party defend instead. The Big Bang Sp attack deals massive physical damage to the party when King Bomb uses it. The good thing here is that He also dies after he detonates himself so have Toadstool heal the party on her active turn and have the rest deal timed hits on Magikoopa when the party’s turn comes.

Bahamutt (Summon)

Another monster he can summon is the dragon Bahamutt. Tap the A button before his attack hits to counter block his attacks since his physical damage is also high. Defeat him with timed hits and deal damage to the boss when you can to end the fight quickly.

Unlimited gold coin chest

After the fight, Magikoopa comes to his senses and tells you he’s been brainwashed and doesn’t know what happened. After a short cutscene with Bowser, He uses his magic to summon a gold treasure chest with unlimited gold coins inside. Each jump you deal on the gold chest gives you 1 gold coin so stock up on gold coins if you need to.

After getting enough coins, talk to Magikoopa to heal your party’s Hitpoints and flower points. Then, Take the door on your left to take you to Croco’s shop to stock up on supplies.

 Croco’s Shop

 By now, Croco would have stocked up on the best Armors that can be purchased with gold coins. Purchase the armor and stock up on HP and Fp items before heading out to the next area.

*Please note that the Lazy Shell and Super Suit armor is the best armor in the game. You might want to skip the armor being sold here for the characters who have the Lazy Shell and Super Suit equipped.

Area 7 (Big Bertha guard area)

You might want to swap in Mallow on this area. The stone bridge in this room will be guarded by Big Bertha Cannons that will shoot a barrage of bullets at the stone bridge. To make things worse, the Blue monsters dropping on the floor create mini earthquakes that can stun you if you are on the ground when they drop down.

Quickly navigate through by timing your jumps  and avoiding the bullets while you make your way across. The exit is located at the end of the stone bridge to your right.

Boss fight Boomer

NameHitpointsAttackGold coinsExperienceWeakItem drop
Boomer (red form)2000200055MagicNone
Boomer (blue form)2000200056PhysicalNone

The Boomer fight will be on top of a Chandelier in this room similar to your first encounter with Bowser at the start of the game. Boomer has 2 forms and each form has its own weakness. It’s best you switch Mallow and Toadstool into your active party for the fight for you to have a heavy magic damage when he changes to Blue Form and rely on Mario’s timed hits when he is on his red form.

Boomer Red form

Start the fight by dealing timed hits on Boomer. He is weak to physical attacks in his red form and will sometimes counter attack with skewer when hit by physical attacks. You can counter this by having Toadstool cast mute but the success of the skill to hit is pretty low so have her attack with her frying pan instead.

Boomer Blue Form

In his Blue Form, Boomer is weak to magic attacks. This form is a bit more dangerous because he switches his Sp skill from Skewer to Shaker which is a mortal blow skill that can one hit a character regardless of Hitpoints or defense.


This skill can be nullifies when having a party member equip any accessory that negates mortal blow damage like the jinx belt, safety ring or Ghost medal. To learn more about Mortal blows and how to effectively defend against these skills, please read our guide on Mortal Blows in Super Mario RPG.

Have Mallow deal magic attacks while Toadstool does healing or revive once you get killed by the mortal blow skill. Have Mario focus on timed hits until you defeat Boomer in the fight.

*Boomer switches between forms at random so be prepared to switch your attacks depending on his weakness. Use physical attacks when he is on his red form and damage him with magic once he shifts to Blue form.

After the fight, a funny cutscene pays where Boomer coughs and wheezes then let’s the monster holding his platform fall off.

Afterwards, another cutscene triggers where the Chandeli-Ho holding your platform helps you get to the top of the castle straight into the final Boss Fight in the Area.

Boss fight Exor

NameHitpointsAttackGold coinsExperienceWeakItem drop
Right eye500128030Jump,fireNone
Left eye300153030Jump,fireNone

Before we begin, there is an easier way to beat Exor in the game, please read our guide on How to deal 9999 Geno Whirl damage to World Boss in Super Mario RPG. The guide is for those who want to one hit Exor in the game.


The Exor Boss fight has 4 separate parts. Exor (pommel), left eye, right eye and Neosquid (hilt). The pommel does not do any attacks but can only be damaged when you remove Exor’s protection against attacks by destroying either of it’s eyes.

*Please note that the eye regenerates after a few turns so be sure to target Exor as soon as either of it’s eyes are destroyed.

Right eye

Exor’s right eye deal single and AoE magic attacks to the party. Use timed hits to quickly lower it’s Hitpoints and break Exor’s protection that leaves him open to attacks.

Have Toadstool heal the party once you receive damage to keep your health up during the fight. The skill Mega drain can sometimes deal high damage so be wary of this attack on party members not equipped with accessories that nullify magic damage like the safety ring.

Left eye

Exor’s left eye can be troublesome since it’s sp attacks and spells deal status effects on your party. This is also the best part to attack since it has only 300 Hitpoints and is easy to break.

*Please note that magic attacks do not do damage Exor’s eyes. You should use physical attacks or timed hits to deal damage to the eye until it breaks and removes Exor’s protection.

Have Toadstool use group hug each time your party gets hit by status effects from the eye. Some of these effects weaken your attack and defense or disable your Sp skills making the fight harder if you ignore them.


The hilt or Neosquid is the only part of Exor that can be damaged with magic attacks. This is also the part that deals massive AoE spells damage to your party and can also put party members to sleep with it’s sleep spells.

If you’re having problems with the Boss damage output, you might want to target Neosquid first and defeat the hilt before breaking Exor’s protection and damaging Exor. Remember that the hilt will regenerate again after a few turns so focus all your attacks on Exor when his protection is down to defeat him.

After defeating Exor, the Neosquid part opens it’s mouth and sucks you inside where you get transported through the gate are which connects Bowser’s Keep and Smithy’s factory.

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