BowserBowser possess various abilities, the more prominent of which being his fire breath. He can produce continuous flares or flurries of individual fireballs, and as seen in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Super Paper Mario, he can even use his fire breath underwater. He has been shown to cause fiery rain in Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros U, while in Super Mario 64 and New Super Mario Bros., he can produce blue flames that home in on Mario. Bowser is very proud of his fire breath, and is immensely displeased to find himself temporarily unable to use his flames in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. In the PC version of Mario is Missing!, Bowser is immune to fireballs, however this is not the case in most other games. Similarly, while lava defeats Bowser in many games, including the original Super Mario Bros., or New Super Mario Bros. (in which it skeletonizes him into Dry Bowser), in other titles, he appears to be resistant to it, such as New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
Bowser's near immunity and the fact that he always recovers from his defeats is another hallmark of his capabilities. As well as being submerged in lava, Bowser has also fallen great distances, been blown up, crushed, electrocuted, flash frozen and shattered, yet not one of these defeats has been permanent, with Luigi once remarking that "Bowser's survived far worse" after the Koopa appeared to sacrifice himself to save the others from a collapsing roof in Super Paper Mario. Bowser's playable side-scrolling sections in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door show him to have infinite lives, which may explain his durability.
Another hallmark of the Koopa King is Bowser's raw physical strength and power. Bowser is often the most powerful character in sports games, and in Super Paper Mario, his attack stat as twice that of the other heroes. He can easily break through boulders and topple enemies many times his own size, and in Mario & Luigi Bowser's Inside Story, when Mario and Luigi stimulate his muscles with minigames, Bowser can move islands and lift giant stone statues, among other things. Like his fire breath, Bowser takes pride in his strength, and is quick to use punches, claw swipes, tackles, stomps, body slams and other physical attacks in battle.
Unlike his strength, Bowser's speed and agility is not consistent between games. Bowser is usually slower than Mario, like in Super Paper Mario, the Super Smash Bros. games and most sports titles, although despite being the slowest runner in the Mario & Sonic summer Olympics, with a 2/10 stat, in the winter games, he has an 8/10 stat. In Super Mario 64 Bowser can jump incredible heights and make short charges as Mario, and while he can't climb ladders in Super Paper Mario, both it and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door show him to be a good swimmer, although the later reveals that he dislikes the activity.
In the original Super Mario Bros., Bowser throws hammers at Mario, like a Hammer Bro, and this ability reappears in various games, including Super Princess Peach, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and New Super Mario Bros. 2. Several games also show Bowser causing shockwaves with his ground pounding, and he can also duck into his spiked shell and spin or roll around to attack. In Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Bowser can attack his enemies using bites, with the latter game giving him the ability to poison others with his fangs, while the former gives him a poisonous claw attack. Like these poisonous moves, another uncommonly seen skill is Bowser's lightning power, which only appears in Hotel Mario and the opening cutscene of Super Mario Galaxy. Both games also make use of Bowser's teleporting ability, as he uses it to bring Peach to his hotel in Hotel Mario and teleports away after his first two defeats in Super Mario Galaxy; he also teleports across the battlefield if the player comes near him in Super Mario 64.
According to the Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet, Bowser is a skilled user in dark magic, using it turn the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom into blocks and other items. While this aspect of Bowser's abilities is not seen in many other games, he makes use of similar magic to shrink players in Mario Party 4 and turn a Koopa Troopa into a frog in Mario Party 2. He also teleports himself away after being beaten at the Bowser's Star Reactor and Bowser's Dark Matter Plant in Super Mario Galaxy. Finallly, Bowser can transform himself, such as turning into a giant boulder during his final fights with Mario in Super Mario Galaxy, or changing into Giga Bowser in the Super Smash Bros. games, which grants him numerous new powers, such as the ability to freeze opponents. In the anime film, Super Mario Bros.: Pīchi-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! he has the ability to shapeshift into anything he desires, and he can drastically change his size in various games.