In 1996, Nintendo paired up with Square (once known as Squaresoft, now Square Enix, of Final Fantasy fame) to create one of the best games in the Super Mario franchise: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. For the first time, we saw a Mario game tell a story, and though we never saw another attempt at a straight-up Final Fantasy-style RPG, it did lead to the development of other RPG titles in the Mario franchise like the Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi games.
For those that don’t recall, the story isn’t what you’d expect: a new bad guy has shattered the sky, kicked Bowser out of his own castle, and developed a plan to reshape the world. As Mario, you must make new and unlikely alliances to do what you do best – find the Princess and save Mushroom Kingdom! If you’ve defeated Smithy, found the seven star pieces, and saved Princess Peach from getting married to someone else, you might think you’ve finished the game. The truth is, you’re far from finished with Super Mario RPG – you can feel it from your red cap down to your blue overalls. Well, luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of the side quests, easter eggs, and little-known development facts you might have missed on your mission to rebuild the Star Road! Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Super Mario RPG.
15. You can skip the first boss (Mack)
At one point in the game, Mario and Mallow return to the Mushroom Kingdom to find the town overrun with bouncing baddies. Holding the Chancellor captive is a springy pogo stick/blade-like bad guy named Mack. Now, Mario isn’t the kind of guy to back down from a fight, but who said he couldn’t just jump over it? If you’re trying for some kind of speed run or you just like short cuts where you can take them, there is a glitch (in the SNES version) where you can skip having to fight Mack at all. When you first enter the room with Mack, walk carefully to the Shysters on the left side. When you can, jump on their heads and walk across them. If you jump off onto the platform with Mack, and talk to the Chancellor, you’ll avoid the cut-scene altogether.
14. Soundtrack composed by Street Fighter II’s Shimomura
Super Mario RPG‘s soundtrack is good. Like, real good. We can still perfectly recall the theme of the Forest Maze, and that sound that occurs when you pick up a mushroom. The soundtrack was composed by Yoko Shimomura, who also worked on another SNES favorite: Capcom’s Street Fighter II. You may not be familiar with her name, but you are probably familiar with a few of the other titles she’s worked on, like Legend of Mana, or the extremely successful Kingdom Hearts games.. Shimomura considered Super Mario RPG a turning point in her career for two reasons. First, she was admittedly overworked at the time, also working on the original score for Front Mission, and secondly, she wanted to compose more classical-style music for console RPG themes and move away from the arcade game genre. Tying in themes from Super Mario Bros. and Final Fantasy, Shimomura was able to craft a soundtrack that was both fun AND dramatic, and really elevated the very unique story of Legend of the Seven Stars.
13. Most advanced 3D Mario at its release
The creators of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars wanted to try a lot of new things with its release. Given the unique story, the partnership with Square, and its RPG play-style, Legend of the Seven Stars was set to be groundbreaking. Unfortunately, it was finished on the tail-end of SNES’ creative lifespan, just three to six months (depending on whether you’re in Japan or North America) before the release of the Nintendo 64. Despite that, Super Mario RPG departed from hand-drawn characters to those that were 3D rendered on computer, and boasted the Super Accelerator Chip (SA1) which featured enhanced RAM and higher clock speeds for the isometric platform game. The first Mario game that allowed you to move forward, backward, left, right, and jump, it would not remain the most advanced game in the franchise for long. The “real” first 3D Mario game (rendered with polygons) was released just a few short months later – Super Mario 64.
12. Not originally released in Europe
SNES fans in Europe probably already know about this awful fact, but the Super Nintendo console isn’t the same in every country. In Japan, it is known as the Super Famicom (スーパーファミコン) and is basically the same machine internally as the SNES released in North America, but uses different shaped cartridges and looks different on the outside. In Europe, it looks a lot more like the Japanese console, but is very different on the inside due to the way analog televisions were made back then. Europe belonged to the PAL region, which displayed 25 frames per second (50hz), whereas North America and Japan both belonged to the NTSC region that used 30 frames per second (60hz). You might even remember having to select a country when watching a movie on early DVD players. Because of this, the European SNES was a very different machine, and each game released there had to be adapted from its original. Combined with Super Mario RPG‘s SA1 chip, and the soon-to-be-released N64, it was considered too costly to adapt the game for a European audience.
11. BeetleMania – One of the many games within the game
Though Super Mario RPG predated Mario Party, you can still tell that minigames were very much on Nintendo’s mind. There are over twelve minigames in Legend of the Seven Stars, and that’s not including all the puzzles in Bowser’s Keep. But there is only one minigame that seems to exist simply for fun and entertainment: BeetleMania. After you’ve acquired the fifth star piece from the Sunken Ship, return to the Inn in Mushroom Kingdom and you’ll notice a young toad playing a game on his gameboy. If you talk to him and interrupt him enough times, he’ll mention a new high score and offer to sell you the game. This opens up the “Game” list in your main menu, where you can play the Galaga-type shellshooter BeetleMania. This will be the only game in your “Game” menu, but there are many games throughout the world in Super Mario RPG. The Midas River Course, Grate Guy’s Casino, The Yo’ster Isle Mushroom Derby, and Goomba Thumping in the Pipe Vault are just a few of the countless in-game games available. Rewards like special items or Frog coins make these games a useful distraction when you need a break from the story.
10. It Spawned popular characters never to be seen again
A cloudboy who thinks he’s a tadpole can make it rain when he cries. A celestial spirit inhabits the body of a wooden doll and uses magical star weaponry to defeat his foes. Mallow and Geno, two characters unique to Super Mario RPG, have incredible backstories and abilities, but have never been seen again in another Nintendo game. Despite having a huge cult following, neither Mallow or Geno have seen another game, save Geno’s small cameo appearance in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga where he appears to host the mini-game “Star ‘Stache Smash.” Even Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of Super Smash Bros., has mentioned wanting to add Geno to the game since Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but not having the power to. This has led many fans to believe Square owns the rights to the original characters created for Super Mario RPG, and just isn’t interested. Instead, Super Smash Bros. saw a Square crossover with Cloud from Final Fantasy, who inarguably has a larger fan base. Geno fans will have to settle for just a DLC costume for the Mii Gunner in Super Smash Bros. 4. Mallow fans, meanwhile, can only suffer.
9. A tribute to Final Fantasy – Defeating Culex
In Monstro Town, you may have noticed a sealed door that won’t open. If you’ve acquired the Shiny Stone by trading Fireworks with the little mole girl in Moleville, then you can find out what’s behind that door… Culex! Culex is an extra boss in Super Mario RPG, a tribute to the kinds of bosses you face in Final Fantasy, even containing the crystals that epitomized the series at the time. Though he’s not actually from any game, he comes from another dimension (with a 2D world) to battle this world’s mightiest hero, Mario. His motives seem clear, and upon defeat, he jovially surrenders, saying, “Perhaps in another time, another game, we may have been mortal enemies… Let us part as comrades in arms.” But in the Japanese version, Culex has a completely different motive and attitude than its friendly North American counterpart. Known as “Crystaller, ruler of all evil of this world,” he seems a bit distracted by the world he now inhabits, and most of his speech is chock-full of puns referencing the advanced 3D nature of Super Mario RPG. Upon defeat, Culex exclaims “... the power of the third dimension is legendary…” that “far surpasses the waves of evil.” He vows to return one day, but, like Mallow and Geno before him, never does.
8. 100 Super Jumps for a Super Suit
As you know, Monstro Town is full of monster refugees from all over, and next door to Culex is a particular Chow who’s got his eye on you. Creeped out? Maybe just a little bit? If you talk to him, he’s actually keeping track of how many successive jumps you get with your Super Jump special attack. Learned at level 6, Super Jump is a timed attack that lets you continue jumping on your opponent as long as you’ve got the timing correct. Ever wondered how far it goes? There’s no counter when you’re actually doing the attack, but if you go back and visit the Chow, he’s keeping track for you. At 30 jumps he’ll reward you with an Attack Scarf, which will boost (you guessed it!) Attack and can be worn by any hero. But don’t stop there! If you’re persistent enough to keep jumping, you’ll eventually find that after 100 consecutive jumps the Chow will reward you with the Super Suit, one of the best armors for Mario in the game!
7. Meet Link and Samus on their journeys
Mario isn’t the only Nintendo hero to have ever gone on an adventure, but he’s definitely got the most comfortable beds. During different times throughout the game you can find both Link from Legend of Zelda and Samus from Metroid catchin’ some Z’s in the ol’ Mushroom Kingdom. After you defeat Bowyer, go back to the Inn in Rose Town and spend the night. When you wake up, a sleeping Link will be in the bed next to you. If you try to wake him up, you’ll hear the signature sound when Link discovers a secret. And if you’ve acquired the fifth star piece from the Sunken Ship, go back to Mushroom Kingdom and search the guest room in the palace. There you will find Samus wearing her armor to bed, saying she’s resting up for Mother Brain. This is a great time to return to Mushroom Kingdom for other reasons, actually, as you can also pick up the BeetleMania game in the same trip. Link’s appearance may be a nod to the many fan theories that the themes of Legend of Zelda and Super Mario are rather parallel: Link = Mario, Princess = Princess, and Gannon = Bowser. Though comparisons can be drawn, this is probably just a cameo from Nintendo’s second-most popular franchise. Samus, on the other hand, might be a more blunt reference to the progression of platform games as a whole. With its 3D rendered isometric platform, Super Mario RPG is supposed to be the next level in graphics, while Metroid was known for pushing the boundaries on scrolling and open world platform capabilities.
6. Mario can be forced into indentured servitude
There is nothing quite like the luxury of a honeymoon suite! And at the Marrymore Inn, hospitality is never ending… that is, unless you run out of funds. At the Inn in Marrymore, you can rent a regular room or the deluxe suite for extra cost. You can stay as many nights as you want, but if you go downstairs and don’t have the money for your tab, you’ll end up having to work for your bill! Oh how the tables have turned. You’ll work as a bellhop until you pay off your debt, explaining the suite (with pantomime of course) just like the toad bellhop did for you. And though most of the movement is automated, it can be a tiresome interruption in your world-saving adventure if you stayed many nights past due. Maybe your customers will tip you just like you tipped your toad bellhop? You did tip him, didn’t you? Unfortunately, you won’t be free to leave the Inn until you’ve helped one customer for every night you overstayed your welcome. Does that sound fair?
5. Star Egg, a Rock Candy that never ends
The Star Egg is one of the most maddeningly difficult items to acquire in the game, but some would argue that it is totally worthwhile.A Rock Candy that never gets used up? Sounds useful enough, but you might have beaten the game without ever knowing about it.
Return to Booster’s Tower after you’ve completed the Marrymore events and you’ll find a clown known as Knife Guy juggling on the stairs. He’ll want to play a version of the shell game, where you guess which hand is holding the yellow ball. Each time you guess wrong, it will deduct one win, and it gets progressively harder. But after you win 13 times, he’ll reward you with the Bright Card, which grants you access to Grate Guy’s Casino. Now you only have to find it. If you make your way to Bean Valley, find the area with five pipes, and defeat the Smilax at the top-most pipe, you’ll do what Mario does best – go down that pipe! At the bottom you will find three lizards and a golden Chomp. Defeat the Chomp and go the the very left corner behind him and jump three times. This will reveal a secret platform that lets you walk on top of the wall and into Grate Guy’s Casino. Now there is nothing standing between you and a raging gambling addiction! Inside, there are several games to play, including a version of blackjack and a slot machine block. The only one you have to master, though, is Grate Guy’s ‘Look Away’ game, where you have to guess which direction he’s going to look and do the opposite. If you win 100 times, he’ll finally give up a real prize: the Star Egg.
4. Mario is a Dojo Master
You’ve seen his jump attacks. You’ve even seen his uppercuts. You have even seen him throw fireballs. But did you know Mario is a Dojo Master? Well, only if he defeats Jinx in Monstro Town. When you first visit Monstro Town you’ll notice a door near the Save Block with a little ‘J’ above it. When you go inside, you’ll enter into a cut scene where Bowser is reunited with an old friend, Jagger the Koopa. He’s been training ever since they lost the castle, but he’s got a new master now, Jinx. He’ll challenge you to a fight, and if you win, Jinx will reveal himself and accept your challenge. Jinx is a difficult boss fight because he’s very quick and his attacks are capable of a one-hit KO. He’s known to be a little bit more susceptible to Jump attacks, but it’ll take some advanced armor and items to defeat him. Each time you defeat him his defense and his health will grow. After winning the third challenge, Jinx will finally recognize you as the new master of the dojo, and an ‘M’ will now hang above the door!
3. F-Zero and StarFox cameos
A very easy-to-miss easter egg involves the cameo appearance of Captain Falcon and Samurai Goroh’s ships from the SNES F-Zero, alongside StarFox‘s Arwing, in a private figurine collection. Now, you may remember the extremely eccentric Axem Rangers based on Japan’s Super Sentai series (which spawned North America’s Power Rangers). But do you remember the lava dragon boss right before? He’s actually who you get the sixth star piece from, but then it’s stolen by the Axem Rangers and taken to their ship, Blade. This part is especially difficult, because you only have one chance to save and resupply between fighting Zombone and the Czar Dragon, or you’d have to fight both all over again if defeated by the Axem Rangers. Before you face the Czar Dragon in Barrel Volcano, you’ll find the perfect place to resupply on Pick-Me-Ups and Mushrooms: Hinopio’s Place. The ‘HinoMart’ features two shops, for items and armor, as well as a fancy pile of crates creatively deemed an Inn. But if you venture to the far top right of the screen, you’ll see on display Hinopio’s own collection of starship models: the Blue Falcon, the Fire Stingray, and the Arwing.
2. Hard-to-get Best Weapons and Armor
For most of the characters, you’ll find their best weapons and armor as you work your way through Bowser’s Keep to fight Smithy, but there are three armor and weapon items that are best-in-slot found elsewhere and much earlier in the world, as long as you’re willing to work for them.
Remember the old man in Rose Town who is searching for the legendary Seed and Fertilizer? To bring him the seed you have to defeat Smilax in Bean Valley; a Shy Guy will then drop a piece of paper containing the Seed. After you defeat Valentina and return to Nimbus Land, you have to walk along the cloud’s edge on the far-right side and you’ll find a secret path – the same Shy Guy will be hiding there and will offer you the Fertilizer in exchange for letting him go. Take these to the old man in Rose Town and he’ll plant them. At the top of this magical beanstalk? Two ‘Lazy Shells’. One is Mario’s best weapon, and the other an extremely durable armor that can be worn by anyone.
The third item is Peach’s best weapon. Though she might not need to attack very often, sometimes you find her out of Flower Points or you know an enemy is close to being finished off. This calls for Peach’s Frying Pan! After you defeat Valentina, return to the item shop in Nimbus Land and talk to the toad. He will be offering some rare items. The third rare item is a ‘Metal Plate’. Purchase this for 300 coins and you’ll discover it’s actually a usable item, and a weapon for Peach.
1. It’s available on Wii and Wii U virtual consoles
If you grew up playing Super Mario RPG it undoubtedly has a place in your heart, but you may have run into a few problems when talking about the game with your friends. The game was released on the SNES just a short six months before the Nintendo 64 hit the shelves, and it wasn’t released worldwide. It may have been difficult in the past to share the love you have for the game. You may have even been faced with disbelief that it even exists. But no longer do you have to wonder if you’re suffering from the Mandela effect – the game DID exist and now it is more available than ever before. Now you can bring your friends into the fold! If you loved Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars but can’t find your old copy, rest assured it is now part of the Nintendo Virtual Console! Super Mario RPG was released virtually on the Wii in 2008 and has been available on the Wii U since June 30, 2016. Though there may be some slight changes (most notably colors in Moleville and textures in Land’s End) the game remains relatively the same. No need to scour eBay for an overpriced cartridge; it’s on the VC for $7.99. Now all the hours played, and the amount of brain space you devoted to this game when you were younger, will not go to waste!