The November 17 release of Nintendo’s Super Mario RPG Switch remake will see the return of a classic meta joke from the 1996 original, involving the 2D nature of a Final Fantasy-inspired optional boss.
Nintendo’s long awaited remake of the beloved Mario RPG got a brand new trailer earlier this week along with a TV spot that showcased the game’s updated graphics and turn-based combat, along with multiple biomes, minigames, bosses and characters from the SNES classic.
Eagle eyed fans were quick to notice the unique appearance of one optional boss known as Culex, who was represented in the oftentimes isometric 1996 game by a 2D sprite. His flat appearance, animations, aesthetic, and accompanying musical score are thought to be nods to the Final Fantasy series of games.
In the Japanese Super Famicon version of the Super Mario RPG, Culex openly references his 2D nature in a relatively 3D world, and it would appear from the new TV spot that Nintendo has opted to keep the almost three-decade-old meta joke alive by maintaining Culex’s flat appearance. While some fans embraced the decision, others were left disappointed by the lack of a 3D glowup.
they actually kept culex a sprite to keep his story from the japanese version where he’s questioning why the other characters are 3D
we won pic.twitter.com/zQKMWvkwWC
— Anthony (@KirbyCheatFurby) November 2, 2023
I get why they did it, but man i was hoping to see him in 3d
Post game rematches are a thing tho, maybe culex finally harnesses the power of the 3rd dimension and comes to challenge Mario again
— Tristama (@Tristama_) November 2, 2023
The design decision has left some fans wondering whether the joke will make its way to the Western version of the game, and has left others wondering how much of the dialogue from the classic English version of the Super Mario RPG will be altered.
Whilst Culex’s appearance remains charmingly 2D, Nintendo has seen fit to make a number of changes to the original Super Mario RPG’s content and gameplay. This includes the ability to re-fight some bosses encountered on Mario’s journey, the need to time button pressesfor greater damage, and the chance to pull off a new type of attack that uses all three members of the party.
A monster list containing information on enemies, and a ‘sound player’ has also been added to the game. IGN gave the Wii U version of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars a 9.5/10, describing it as a “classic, deep, fun and cult-appealing installment in the Mario series that no Nintendo gamer should go without playing”. Check out IGN’s Super Mario RPG: The Final Preview for more.
Anthony is a freelance contributor covering science and video gaming news for IGN. He has over eight years experience of covering breaking developments in multiple scientific fields and absolutely no time for your shenanigans. Follow him on Twitter @BeardConGamer