Square Soft, developer of Chrono Trigger and the popular Final Fantasy series, brings us Mario's longest adventure yet. Super Mario RPG is set in an isometric world that breathes excitement. True to the style of previous Mario games, a good amount of action and puzzles are present, although they are mixed with something new to the Mario universe: role-playing elements.
This huge, 32-megabit adventure is the first and only Mario game powered by Nintendo's SA-1 chip. The smooth, rendered graphics give us a fresh look at familiar characters and places, and easily make SMRPG one of the best-looking Mario game on the Super NES.
Bowser has kidnapped Princess Toadstool once again! Mario goes to "Bowser's Keep" and defeats Bowser as usual. But just when Mario is about to take back Princess Toadstool, a giant sword falls into Bowser's Castle. The force of the impact sends Mario, Bowser, and the Princess flying in different directions.
During Mario's search for Princess Toadstool, he meets Mallow and Geno. Geno tells us that the same sword that smashed through Bowser's Castle has damaged the Star Road, scattering seven Star Pieces into our world.
After a few plot twists, Bowser and Princess Toadstool team up with Mario and the gang to find all seven Star Pieces, and to defeat Smithy, the monster behind all this madness.
Since this is a role-playing game (RPG), fighting enemies is a little different than normal Mario games. When you fight an enemy, you'll start a turn-based fighting system. Mario and the enemies have a certain amount of hit points (HP), which is how much damage you can take before you're dead. When you defeat an enemy, you earn experience points and sometimes Coins. Your defense, attack, HP, and other stats are raised after you earn a certain amount of experience points. Stronger weapons, armor, and items can be bought with the Coins you find in Treasure Boxes or earn from battle.
Culex and Final Fantasy
Using the "Shiny Stone" on the sealed door in Monstro Town reveals a hidden boss named Culex. Contrary to popular belief, the Culex character is not from any particular Final Fantasy game and instead simply represents a sort of generic Final Fantasy-esque boss.
The Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water Crystals that accompany him originally appeared in both Final Fantasy II (IV in Japan) and Final Fantasy V (which was never released in the US). During the fight with Culex, the Final Fantasy II boss music plays in the background. When Culex is defeated, the generic Final Fantasy "victory fanfare" plays, and the Final Fantasy "introduction" music plays during Culex's conversation in the overworld.
SquareSoft, the company that developed Mario RPG, is also the developer of the Final Fantasy series.
Spend the night at the Rose Town Inn, and you'll awake to find Link (from The Legend of Zelda series) snoring away in the other bed.
Samus (from the Metroid series) can be found in two places. Her first appearance is as a doll in Booster's box of dolls. Also in the box is a Princess Toadstool doll, and two other big-eyed unidentified dolls. (Samus is in the left part of the box.)
The "real" Samus can be found resting in the Mushroom Kingdom Castle's guest room after you beat the second Belome, but before you go to Nimbus Land.
Starfox & F-Zero vehicles
Models of a Starfox Arwing and two F-Zero racecars sit atop crates in the back corner of Hinopio's Shop. The Arwing is the first on the left, and next to that is the Blue Falcon and Pink Stingray.
Door #3 in Bowser's Keep features an obstacle course that is an isometric version of the original Donkey Kong arcade game.
Super Mario Bros.
When Mario walks behind a curtain on the fifth floor of Booster's Tower, he emerges as Mario from the original SMB. The 8-bit SMB theme music plays in the background.
When Mario tries to approach Bowyer in the Forest Maze, Mallow says "Who do you think you are, Bruce Lee? You can't just go in there with your fists flying!" Lee was a famous star of many martial arts action movies during the 70's. This joke is one of the rare instances in which a Mario character acknowledges the existence of a real-life figure from our world.
Mallow's grandfather is named "Frogfucius" in a parody of the famed Chinese philosopher.
The gold coin-filled "Midas River" evokes the name of King Midas, a mythical figure from ancient Greek legends who possessed the power to turn anything he touched into gold.
Name of the treasure chest enemy "Pandorite" evokes this classic Greek myth about a magical box which contained all of mankind's sins.
The five Axem Rangers are based on the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, who are the lead characters of a self-titled show in the United States. The five colors of the rangers are the same, and like the Power Rangers, the red ranger is the leader and the pink ranger is a female.
The Tadpole Pond composer "Toadofsky" is based on this 19th century Russian composer.
Using Mallow's "Psychopath" power on the Goombette enemy reveals the quote "Me speak soft, BIG STICK!" This is a bastardized version of US President Theodore Roosevelt's famous line "Speak softly and carry a big stick."