|First game||Mario Bros. (1983) (As Shellcreeper)|
Koopa Troopas, or Koopas, known in Japan as Nokonoko (ノコノコ), are a fictional species of anthropomorphic tortoise-like creatures from the Mario series, as well as its sister Yoshi series. Although the term 'Koopa' is a blanket term for the entire species of anthropomorphic tortoises in the series, to which creatures such as Lakitu, Hammer Bros. and Bowser belong, the term is often used to refer colloquially to this particular enemy. First appearing in the 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System game Super Mario Bros. Along with the Goomba, the Koopa Troopa is among the oldest recurring enemies in the series, and have appeared in some form in all of the main games, and most of the spin-off games. When defeated, Koopas may flee from or retreat inside their shells, which can usually be used as weapons. Koopa shells are a recurring weapon in the series, particularly popularized in the Mario Kart series, in which they can be fired as projectiles against other racers. Despite making up the bulk of Bowser's army, known as the "Koopa Troop", Koopas as a species are often shown to be peaceful, some teaming up with Mario. An undead Koopa Troopa becomes a Dry Bones.
Concept and creation
A tortoise-like enemy first appeared in the 1983 arcade game, Mario Bros., called Shellcreepers (simply called "turtles" in Japan). Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto had a fellow designer draw the enemy, but the result was far too realistic to fit in with the tone of the game, so Miyamoto designed the enemy himself. While the design had quite a large head, Miyamoto validated it by suggesting it looked like a tortoise. In Mario Bros., Shellcreepers could only be defeated by hitting the platform on which they were stood from underneath, thus flipping them on their backs allowing Mario or Luigi to kick them off the screen.
In Mario Bros., the color of a Shellcreeper's shell indicated how fast it was - green being the slowest, purple being faster, and red being the fastest. This trait would be inherited by Koopa Troopas ("Nokonoko" in Japan), named as such in 1985's Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System, in which they were the troops in Bowser's (known as "King Koopa" in Japan) army, hence "Koopa Troopas": they are Koopa's troopers. In Super Mario Bros., green-shelled Koopas wander aimlessly along platforms and even fall into pits, whereas those with red shells patrol their platforms, turning around when they reach the edge of it. Super Mario Bros. also introduced the Koopa Paratroopa ("Patapata" in Japan), a Koopa Troopa with wings which jumps up and down or flies, thus making it harder to dodge and defeat. The design of the Paratroopa came from Mario developer Takashi Tezuka in an attempt to add a flying character to Super Mario Bros., but there was not enough space to include such a character. Tezuka suggested that they put wings on the Koopa Troopa and call it "Koopa Paratroopa", which Miyamoto did not think would work. However, once it was finished, Miyamoto felt that it looked cute. Jumping on a Paratroopa causes it to lose its wings and become a normal Koopa Troopa, whereas jumping on a Koopa Troopa would cause it to retreat into its shell. The shell can then be kicked, causing it to slide quickly along a platform, defeating any enemy in its path (or Mario, should he stand in its way). These attributes have been present throughout most of the games.
In video games
Koopa Troopas have appeared in some form starting with the original Super Mario Bros. in 1985 where it also introduced the Paratroopa, a version of the Koopa Troopa with wings designed by Takashi Tezuka.
In Super Mario World for the Super NES, the Koopa Troopa's design was changed slightly, as it was given shoes according to the color of its shell and made bipedal, and although quadrupedal Koopas would be seen in Super Mario Land (albeit as "Bombshell Koopas" - which were similar to Koopa Troopas except their shells exploded) and its sequel, they would not be seen again until Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, with bipedal Koopas remaining the most common design throughout the series. Super Mario World also introduced the concept of knocking a Koopa out of its shell by jumping on it (something outside the anatomy of real turtles and tortoises), causing it to go in search of a new shell. The game also introduced blue and yellow Koopas; blue Koopas essentially being faster versions of red Koopas that kick their shells at the player when knocked out of them, and yellow Koopas chasing after the player. New Super Mario Bros. returns blue shelled Koopas but it also drops a blue shell after its death that the Player can wear (more or less like a normal power-up) and gives the Player the ability of a Koopa such as retreating into the shell that can be kicked by another player.
Super Mario Kart for the Super NES marked the Koopa Troopa's first appearance as a playable character, as well as introducing the character to the Mario spin-off games. Although Koopa Troopa was replaced by Wario on the roster of Mario Kart 64, he would return as a playable character again in later games like Mario Kart: Double Dash, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. A friendly Koopa was given the role of the host of Mario Party for the Nintendo 64, proving that Koopa Troopas aren't necessarily all loyal to Bowser. Since then, both Koopas and Paratroopas have appeared, either playable or not, in a vast number of spin-off games in the series, and Koopa shells have become popularized as a weapon by the Mario Kart series (often mistakenly referred to as "turtle shells"). Koopa Troopas also have appeared in Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and Paper Mario series. They appear in Super Mario Odyssey, where for the most part they're friendly mini-game organizers who give a Power Moon to Mario for beating their game, similar to Koopa the Quick in Super Mario 64. Here the only Koopas that are part of the Koopa Army are the ones found in the 8-bit inspired sections reminiscent of the first Super Mario Bros.
In other media
Koopa Troopas have also made appearances in the various cartoons and comics based on the Mario series. Although Koopas didn't appear in the 1993 Super Mario Bros. film, early artwork had the film's version of Goombas labelled as "Koopa's Troopas". They appear in all the games of the Super Smash Bros. series, appearing as background elements, stage hazards, items and regular enemies. They appear in different titles of the Skylanders franchise, being summoned by their king during his special moves. Koopa Troopa appears later in Mario Tennis Aces and gets their own trailer. It also appears in Super Mario Party. Koopa Troopa gets its own Amiibo along with Goomba.
GameDaily listed Koopa Troopa as the eighth best Mario enemy, calling them the most common enemies in the series next to the Goomba. IGN's Audrey Drake listed Koopa Troopa as one of the best Mario enemies, saying that it is one of the most "iconic Mario enemies out there. In fact, they're pretty much synonymous with the franchise."
Since their introduction, Koopa Troopas have become the iconic enemy of the Mario franchise, often referenced in popular culture relating to the series: in 2007's The Simpsons Game, a Koopa Troopa appears as the apparent bride of the eccentric geek Professor Frink after Bart and Lisa rescue him from Donkey Kong in a parody of the popular arcade game. A satirical article was written by The Pitt News columnist Ben Korman, criticizing the Mario series for its offensive treatment of the Koopa Troopas, stating that the character Mario was rewarded for his slaughter of "innocent, healthy turtles".
A variety of Mario-related merchandise depicting Koopa Troopas have been produced over the years by Nintendo; this merchandise includes plush dolls, mini figures, bottle caps and plush keychains. The various merchandise given out on King Koopa's Kool Kartoons was often adorned with the name Koopa Troopa as well. Their signature shell was included as a player piece in the Nintendo version of the Monopoly board game.
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