Super Mario RPG is full of secrets and easter eggs (including some from other Nintendo games!) but none are as fabled as Culex. This secret boss is unique in a lot of ways, taking full advantage of the game’s role as a partnership between Nintendo and Square Enix. Now that Mario, Geno, and Mallow are teaming up once again on Switch, Culex too is able to return!
Read on to learn more about this mysterious dimensional traveler, including how you can encounter him for yourself.
Who is Culex?
More than anything Culex is a medium-blending anomaly in this version of the Mushroom Kingdom. While there are plenty of Final Fantasy flourishes that accentuate and inspire SMRPG, Culex feels like he’s pulled directly from FF’s earliest entries in both visuals and demeanor.
Most striking is his nature as a pixelated 2D sprite in a world of isometric 3D characters. He also looks different on the game’s overworld compared to how he looks in battle — another callback to his inspiration. Speaking of Final Fantasy motifs, he’ll also be joined in battle by four crystals.
Unlike the Smithy Gang and other original antagonists like Croco and Booster, Culex doesn’t really have a place in Super Mario RPG’s world and story. He’s a cross-dimensional interloper and “Dark Knight of Vanda” that’s isolated to a single location that’s likely not of Mario’s world either. Seeking a challenge with a worthy opponent and perhaps a little perplexed by the party’s more polygonal nature, he represents perhaps the game’s greatest challenge.
Where is Culex?
Culex is found behind a locked door in Monstro Town, next to the item shop. In the remake they’ve even made it a little more distinct!
How do I unlock Culex’s door?
Opening the door to Culex involves a little detour to Moleville. In the town you’ll find a Mole in green overalls and a hat inside one of the buildings that will sell you Fireworks. They’re pretty expensive at 500 Coins, but well worth the experience (and reward) of taking on Culex.
Once you have the Fireworks, take them outside (but still in Moleville) to a different Mole standing behind some boxes. She’ll ask you to trade the Fireworks for a Shiny Stone. This item is your key to Culex’s door, so once you have it and are feeling up to the task, take it back to Monstro Town and step through to this extra difficult encounter.
What do I get for beating Culex?
For beating Culex, you’ll be gifted a Quartz Charm accessory. It’s a pretty dang good one too, as it halves damage from enemies and provides a 50% attack increase to its wearer! It also has the added bonus of protecting them from instant death attacks.
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