If you haven’t gotten sick of my posts on Mario enemies yet, maybe you will once you’ve read this entry about the Hammer Brothers, or “Hammer Bros.” as the games call them. For some reason, “Brothers” is pretty much always abbreviated “Bros.” in the Mario series, but I don’t think this means they wear Ed Hardy shirts or force each other to guzzle cheap beer. Then again, what they do on their private time is their own business. While on duty, though, the Hammer Brothers are elite Koopa forces who hurl hammers (of which they somehow have an unlimited supply) at foes. The ones in the original Super Mario Bros. made me think of stereotypical Indians throwing tomahawks, but such was probably not the intention.
When they reappeared in SMB3, the graphical representation was improved, but for some reason they now threw mallets, which I would imagine wouldn’t be as effective as projectile weapons.
So why hammers? I don’t know for sure, but they’ve been a significant part of Mario’s universe since the beginning. Donkey Kong presented Mario as a carpenter, and grabbing a hammer would let him temporarily smash anything in front of him. While Mario Bros. switched his primary vocation to plumbing, it’s still not uncommon to see him utilizing hammers. In SMB3, you can use hammers to smash rocks on the map screen. Some of the role-playing games (I know Super Mario RPG and Superstar Saga fall into this category) give Mario and/or Luigi hammers to use as weapons. So it’s not too surprising that there would have also be enemies who put these tools to use. They’re not the only tool-using enemies, either; we can’t forget about the Rocky Wrenches.
SMB3 introduced some new varieties of the Hammer Brother type. Most prominent were the Boomerang Brothers, who were interestingly sort of predicted by the Super Show. In the episode “Crocodile Mario,” the Koopa Troopas in the quasi-Australian Down Under Land threw boomerangs.
Also inhabiting this country were Birdoroos, which have yet to appear in a game, and most likely never will.
The Fire Brothers can spit fireballs, which might well make them the only Koopas outside Bowser’s immediate family who have this power. Don’t quote me on that, though.
The Sledge Brothers are enormous, to the extent that their jumping can cause earthquakes, and of course they throw sledge hammers.
In addition, SMB3 was the game that brought us Hammer Brothers and relatives who would patrol the map screen. Running into one would force Mario or Luigi into a mini-stage where they have to fight one or more of these turtles, getting a prize if successful. I remember especially hating the Hammer Brothers in Water Land when they fought over water, making it difficult to move around.
Most of these enemies did not appear in Super Mario World, but the Hammer Brothers themselves were back again. This time, they were billed as “Amazing Flyin’ Hammer Brothers,” but this wasn’t entirely accurate. It was the platforms they rode that flew, not the hammer-hurlers themselves. Then there were the Sumo Brothers, who produced flames simply by stomping on blocks.
Oddly enough, New Super Mario Bros. Wii applies this name to what are obviously Sledge Brothers. Sure, they’re big enough to be sumo wrestlers, but what sumo match sanctions sledge hammers? This game also gave us another sort of elite Koopa minions, the Chargin’ Chucks.
These guys were everywhere in Dinosaur Land, dressed in football gear and attacking in many different ways. They could charge, tackle, kick footballs, and even throw baseballs. I’m not sure why they’re using that latter attack when wearing football uniforms, but maybe there were no more baseball uniforms available. I have to wonder why Bowser was using his football team as troops. Maybe their airship crash-landed in Dinosaur Land on their way to a game, and the Koopa King decided they’d do for special forces. Considering how adaptable and sturdy they are (it only takes one stomp to take down a Hammer Brother, but for Chucks it takes three), he might not have been wrong on that. It looks like the only other game they’ve appeared in since then is Yoshi’s Safari, so I’m not sure what happened to them. You’d think they would at least show up in the Mario sports titles, wouldn’t you? If they ever reappear, maybe they could expand into even more sports. What about a Dribblin’ Chuck with a basketball, or a hockey-playing variety?
Games after SMW occasionally introduced new sorts of Brothers, including ones who attacked with ice, Chain Chomps, and yo-yos. Super Princess Peach has the royal heroine battling the Hammer Brothers’ leader, known simply as the Army Hammer Bro. I have to suspect his rather uninspiring name was the result of poor translation.
Most interesting to me, however, is the brief reference in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door to Business Brothers. I can only hope they actually appear in a later game. Maybe Mario has to battle his way through the headquarters of the Apook Corporation, or he somehow ends up at the Koopa Kingdom’s administrative building and has to fight Bureaucratic Brothers. It could happen, right? For now, I leave you with this clip of the L33T HAMM3R BROZ. from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.