In Super Mario Bros 3, how can you break an underwater block if you don't have any shell to throw, and you can't swim up from underneath it? I'm thinking of the secret room in world 4-1 with the Big Berthas swimming around. There's a breakable block at floor level but I see no way to break it. You can't use the Tanooki tail to break blocks underwater.

(I'm playing the SNES version from Super Mario All Stars, but I assume the physics are the same as the NES.)

2 Answers 2


Rather than just simply say a boring "there's no way to break this block" I think I'll mention that the block appears to be there only to be in the path of the 1Ups that come out of the blocks to the left.

Presumably, if you fail to catch these 1Ups as they drop down they will bump into this block and return to you without having to cross paths of the nearby Berthas before collecting them.

Perhaps just a hint of mercy from the developers? On the other hand, they could have used a non-breakable block type for this to prevent any confusion about it's contents and we likely wouldn't be discussing it today.

  • Some levels also make you rush to such blocks while a P-Switch is active. I don't have a level map at hand though, so I don't know whether there's a hidden P-Switch somewhere in the level, or if there's anything behind that block.
    – Egor Hans
    Mar 17, 2021 at 13:17

In the NES version of the game you can hit them from the bottom, by swimming up. I don't know if this works on Mario Maker. (And yes, the pysics are the same)

  • The OP mentions there is no possibility to do so. Please read the questions (and other answers) carefully :) Welcome to Arqade!
    – Joachim
    Nov 16, 2021 at 14:31

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