Super Mario RPG remake brings back Final Fantasy-inspired boss

culex in super mario rpg remake

A new trailer has arrived for the Super Mario RPG Remake, and it features a surprise appearance from Final Fantasy 4 boss Culex.

Mario fans have lots on their plates with Mario Bros. Wonder introducing new characters and tue Super Mario Bros. RPG remake on the horizon. The latest trailer mainly highlights nostalgic elements that will be instantly recognizable to fans who have played the SNES original. It begins with the early-game, tiger-like boss Belome who gobbles up party member Mallow. It also features the iconic piano in Marrymore, which has a pianist who scolds the player if they jump on it. These classic elements seem to have been faithfully recreated in the game, as has the Final Fantasy boss encounter.

Culex, an optional hidden boss from another dimension, returns to Super Mario RPG in his original pixelated form. But where is this character originally from and how does he fit into the game?

Who is Culex from Super Mario RPG?

Culex is an optional boss in Super Mario RPG and its remake, serving as an homage to Final Fantasy bosses like Kefka and the Emperor.

In the original game, Culex lacked the pre-rendered 3D style of the other characters in the game. He also had a terrifying visage with dark purple skin, twisted horns, wings, and numerous crystals surrounding him. All of these were allusions to boss designs from classic Final Fantasy games.

It’s worth noting that the original developer of Super Mario RPG was SquareSoft, the company that created the Final Fantasy IP and is now Square Enix. Culex is not a Final Fantasy character himself but serves as an amalgamation of the tropes in the series to that point. Though characters like Aerith-slaying Sephiroth have recolored what people think of in a “Final Fantasy boss,” Culex is a strong demonstration of the series at the time.

The decision to retain Culex’s original form stays true to the spirit of Super Mario RPG’s Japanese version, in which Culex wonders why all the characters are in 3D except it. It also appears that Culex’s battle theme will be retained, as a brief segment of it can be heard in the trailer. This battle theme is a rearrangement of the boss battle theme from Final Fantasy 4.

The trailer also features scenes of Mario almost punching a cocky talking infant mushroom and transforming into his pixel-art Super Mario Bros. form, both of which are reassuring nods to the original SNES version.  

Concerns have been raised among fans about the 3D remake removing these pixel versions or changing some story elements that could be deemed inappropriate, but aside from Nintendo changing Mallow’s technique name from Psychopath to Thought Peek, it seems evident from the recent trailer that the game is staying true to the essence of the original game as much as possible.

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Written by Mohamed Hassan

Mohamed still treasures his time playing games on the original PlayStation, speedrunning through the Megaman X games and replaying acclaimed role-playing game Chrono Cross countless times. Since then, his love for JRPGs and platformers has only grown and is among the driving forces behind his passion for writing about video games. He has previously written for DualShockers and Same Old Gaming, and he can be found on Twitter / X at @Weltschmerz2887.

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