Super Mario RPG Preview – Do Link, Donkey Kong, Samus, Final Fantasy, F-Zero, And More Still Cameo? – Game Informer

Back in the ’90s, Nintendo played faster and looser with its library of characters. Sometimes Yoshi showed up in The Legend of Zelda, and Kirby was whatever color he felt like at the moment, be it gray or pink. In 1996, that laissez-faire attitude was in full effect for the release of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for the Super Nintendo. Link, Samus, and even Donkey Kong (sort of) all had inexplicable cameos in the game, and one of my big questions about the remake was whether or not those would move forward. If you’re ready to learn the answer read on!

Impressively, the answer is yes! You can still fins Link sleeping in a neighboring bed and when you get close to him a “talk” option appears, and when you click it, a Zelda musical sting plays.

Donkey Kong’s cameo has always been questionable as to whether or not it is him, as he is just labeled “Guerilla”, but he sure looks a lot like Donkey Kong, just with a crown. Later in the game the enemy model also throws barrels at Mario, so I am not sure how you could misinterpret that.

Final Fantasy VI’s mech still makes an appearance on the ground floor of Booster’s Tower.

And on the top floor of Booster’s Tower you will find a box containing a Samus figure, a car from the Super Nintendo game Stunt Race FX, and Diskun. For the unfamiliar, Diskun was the mascot for the Famicom Disk System in Japan appeared in the pages of the hardware’s instruction booklet. If you come back to the tower later, the Peach figure will have been removed revealing a Famicom ROB the robot had been hiding there all along.

Samus in non-figure form also makes an appearance much in the same way as Link. She is sleeping in a bed apparently preparing for her fight with Mother Brain.

Another Final Fantasy cameo happens in the form of Bahamut in the Super Mario RPG style. He appears near the end of the game and is part of a fight against a villainous treasure chest.

At one point in the game you will come across a shopkeeper with an impressive collection of F-Zero vehicles including one that looks like a StarFox Arwing.

And finally, there is a very, very subtle reference to Luigi. He may not make a proper appearance, but he does at least exist in the world of Super Mario RPG in the form of Mario rudely reading his secret wish on Star Hill.

Follow the link for Game Informer’s Super Mario RPG remake review. You can read more about the secrets of Super Mario RPG to see how to access one of its most secret bosses.

How To Access Super Mario RPG Remake’s Impressive New Secret Boss

Super Mario RPG, the original and the remake, is full of secrets, references to other video game franchises, and a whole lot more. Arguably the most interesting secret boss of the original game was Culex. He is not a Final Fantasy character, but he looks and feels like one and features Final Fantasy music and sound effects.

Culex appears in Super Mario RPG remake as he did in the original game, which is to say he is a pixelated, 2D creature. He also features the original throwback soundtrack and sound effects. You access him the same way, too – by buying fireworks and trading them with the little girl nearby in Moletown for a shiny stone. You then use that shiny stone in Monstro Town on the locked door.

However, upon defeat, Culex teases another encounter in the future, which is where things in the remake get interesting.

The first thing you need to do to get on this path is beat Super Mario RPG remake. Once you do that, head to Merrymore and stay the night in the fancy suite. During the night, Geno will notice something happening on Star Hill. Upon visiting Star Hill, you will find new pink stars in the third area that seem to come from bosses you previously defeated looking for rematches.

Full transparency: I am not sure in what order you need to defeat these bosses or if it matters. Mallow’s frog father will provide additional hints beyond the stars to help you figure out where to go. These bosses can be tough, and though I will provide some hints that helped me, much if it comes down to everyone being max level 30 and equipping the right items.

In Monstro Town, you must go back to the school and show the teacher how to pull off the Triple Moves. Much of this fight comes down to pulling off Action Commands.

In Marrymore, you must fight the cake again. I had luck putting the non-cake enemies to sleep to prevent them from lighting all the candles.

In Belome Temple, you must fight Belome a third time.

In the Sunken Ship, you need to head back to the Pirate Base to fight Johnny the shark in a one-on-one fight as Mario. I kept Bowser and Geno in my party to take advantage of their upgrades, but this fight really comes down to pulling off Action Commands almost exclusively. Defeating him gave me an Extra-Shiny Stone.

Booster is back in his tower and has a devastating train attack that will wipe out your party. I had luck ignoring everyone but Booster, getting Geno’s speed as high as possible with Zoom Shoes, and trying to get hits in before he could work on his train.

Finally, I tackled Punchinello again in Moleville who ended up being my most difficult fight. He has low HP, but a powerful shield that only lets you do one or two damage at a time. The best strategy I found was using Mario’s Lazy Shell and Bowser’s Drill Claw to hit his bomb compatriots so that they turn around and attack him for 80 damage a piece. The bombs who continue to face forward will attack you, however, and often knock out party members in one hit.

Equipping Peach with the Enduring Brooch, which prevents the holder from going down once per battle, was valuable in all of these fights.

Once you defeat all those bosses and acquire their various items and weapons, head back to Monstro Town and Culex’s door will have reappeared, meaning it’s time for the rematch. Use your Extra-Shiny Stone to enter. This time Culex, his soundtrack, and sound effects are as remade as every other element of the game.

Good luck! And let me know if you have any tips, because I am still working on defeating him.

The Steam Deck OLED Review

The Steam Deck OLED releases today, providing a new avenue for game players (especially those with big Steam libraries) to take their gaming experience on the go. The new OLED models (one at 512 GB and another at 1TB storage) effectively replace the original release as the new Steam Deck flagship hardware. The older 64 GB and 512 GB LCD models are being phased out, while the 256 GB LCD will remain available at a reduced price.

Steam Deck OLED is not a fundamentally new platform. In many ways that matter, our review of the original still stands, and snagging one of the older LCD screen models is now an even more substantial value at the lower price. However, several of the concerns that surfaced in that review have been remedied by the new model – enough that a new evaluation is warranted.

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While I had few complaints about the original screen, there’s no doubt that the new OLED is a step up. It’s also slightly larger, by about half an inch, which is a pleasant bonus. The brightness of graphics on the screen is particularly noticeable, as are color gradations. A play session with the recent indie darling, Jusant, revealed breathtaking landscapes and a rich color palette that look just as good as they would on a great gaming monitor. Black levels were also impressive; a trip down the highway of Darkest Dungeon II was foreboding and pleasantly bleak. The detailed landscapes of Baldur’s Gate 3 popped off the screen, and character portraits looked lifelike. The HDR capability also impresses in games like Ori and the Will of the Wisps, making tiny shifts in shadow depth in dim environments appear realistic and beautiful.

One of my chief concerns with the original model was battery life. A portable gaming system is all well and good, but the fun evaporates quickly if you can only get a few hours of play. The original Steam Deck wasn’t terrible in that regard, but it wasn’t a high point. Thankfully, the new Steam Deck OLED makes major strides in this department. It’s hard to quantify, given that different use cases result in vastly different battery life. But, in general, I found game sessions lasting a good couple of hours longer before a charge became necessary, compared to my tests of the original model. Valve’s claims of 30% to 50% better battery life are, at worst, conservative estimates.

The form factor hasn’t changed substantially. Like with the original model, I don’t love the high placement of the thumbsticks, but the haptic feedback on the touchpads is quite cool. The curved grips comfortably fit adult hands and fingers. It’s a smidge lighter; I’ll admit that I barely noticed the difference, but given that one of my criticisms of the original was its size and weight, it’s worth a call-out. Overall, the OLED model still feels a little bulky in hand, but nothing that should scare away an enthusiast.

Steam Deck OLED Images

I also noted that the new OLED model doesn’t run as hot as the original; that was never a dealbreaker for me, but it’s a pleasant change. And while not every home Wi-Fi system will be able to leverage the advantage, it’s nice to see support for Wi-Fi 6E; when available, that adds up to faster downloads.

In the interim since our original review of the Steam Deck, Valve has also continued to expand its library of games that are “Verified” for Steam Deck. While not technically a part of our hardware evaluation, it’s notable here as you consider a possible purchase; players now have a vast library of verified games running well on Steam Deck. In practical terms, whether you play on the new OLED model or one of the older LCDs, a much more extensive library of enjoyable games makes it worth your time and money.

Steam Deck OLED Images

Over the months since the original Steam Deck’s launch, other companies have continued to push into this portable PC gaming space; we’re very enthusiastic about the ROG Ally, for instance. But Valve makes a potent argument for the value of its new Steam Deck OLED for those players who’ve still been waiting to snag a portable gaming PC. It looks and plays great, features better battery life than the original, and makes minor changes to an array of onboard systems, such as increased bass response in the audio or faster battery charging, that add up to a better overall experience. It’s an easy recommendation for those who have been waiting to take the leap.

The OLED model is a tougher sell for early adopters who purchased a Steam Deck in 2022. Undoubtedly, it’s a step up in ways that matter, but it’s a considerable expense for only incremental change. If you’re looking for the definitive portable Steam game player, it’s undoubtedly the way to go, but be prepared for only minor changes to the overall experience.

The Verdict

The Steam Deck OLED improves on almost all the features that were problems in the original model’s release and makes a strong case for being the portable gaming PC to beat – though the competition is steeper now than it was at the original model’s launch. A beautiful screen and excellent battery life are the chief attention-getters amid a slew of minor updates that add up to a big difference.


November 16


$549 (512GB), $649 (1TB)

The Game Awards Predictions And Super Mario RPG Review | GI Show

In this week’s episode of The Game Informer Show, the crew discusses our predictions for The Game Awards’ category winners and game reveals, Alex’s unofficial Modern Warfare III multiplayer review, Kyle’s Super Mario RPG remake review, and what it’s like starting the Like A Dragon series with The Man Who Erased His Name. Before diving into this week’s listener questions, which spark discussions about gaming room must-haves and the secret to long-lasting game franchises, Marcus tells us about The Last Faith, another Castlevania-inspired action game worth trying if you have time. 

Follow us on social media: Alex Van Aken (@itsVanAken), Marcus Stewart (@MarcusStewart7), Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard)

The Game Informer Show is a weekly gaming podcast covering the latest video game news, industry topics, exclusive reveals, and reviews. Join host Alex Van Aken every Thursday to chat about your favorite games – past and present – with Game Informer staff, developers, and special guests from around the industry. Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or your favorite podcast app.

The Game Informer Show – Podcast Timestamps:

00:00:00 – Intro

00:09:52 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III

00:20:27 – Super Mario RPG Review

00:31:56 – Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

00:38:53 – The Last Faith

00:51:16 – The Game Awards 2023 Predictions

01:33:44 – Housekeeping and Listener Questions

Resident Evil 4 Remake Is Coming To Apple Devices In December

At Apple’s keynote event last September, everyone expected them to announce the new iPhone, but nobody expected them to announce that multiple Resident Evil games would be headed to the device. Resident Evil Village hit the App Store just last week, and today, Capcom has let us know when Resident Evil 4 Remake is coming to the platform: December 20. You can see some screenshots from the Apple port below. 

The game won’t be available to all iPhone owners, however. Resident Evil 4 Remake will only be available on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, meaning you’ll have to grab the newest product in order to play this game on the go. That said, it will also be available on iPads and Macs with the M1 chip or later. If you’re a diehard Apple fan and have multiple RE4 Remake compatible products, you’ll be happy to know that the game also supports cross-progression between Apple devices, so you can start a save file on your Mac at home and pick it up on your phone when you’re on the go.

The game is available for pre-order on the App Store now, but players will be able to start the game for free before committing to a full purchase. Its recently released DLC, Separate Ways, will launch alongside it as well. While we haven’t been able to go hands-on with this version of the game quite yet, we like Resident Evil 4 Remake quite a lot: you can read our review for it right here.

86 Rapid-Fire Questions About Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

If you tuned into our announcement earlier today, you know that this month’s cover story is all about Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. To kick off the month of exclusive coverage, we sat down with game director Ditte Deenfeldt and associate game director Drew Rechner and flooded them with questions: How does co-op work? Can your ikran be killed? What’s the difference between an Avatar and a fursona? Get the answers to all that and more in the video below.

Watch The Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Interview:

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For more exclusive coverage of Ubisoft’s next big open-world adventure, check out the banner below. If you want to get a copy of the magazine later this month, you can do so here.

The Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora Digital Issue Is Now Live!

If you subscribe to the digital edition of Game Informer, you can now learn all about Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora! Following the cover reveal our digital issue is now live on web browsers, iPad/iPhone, and Android devices. Alongside the cover story, you will also find big features on gaming and AI, accessibility in the world of fighting games, our holiday gift guide, and much more. We’ve also got previews Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, Judas, a retrospective piece about the development and legacy of Papers, Please, and much more!

Individual issues are also now available for purchase at this link or in any GameStop store.

You can download the apps to read the issue by following this link.

Ubisoft Lays Off Over A Hundred Employees

Today, Ubisoft is the latest developer to join 2023’s wave of layoffs. According to IGN, the company laid off a total of 124 employees. 98 of them were based in Canada, which IGN calculates as roughly 2% of the company’s Canadian workforce. The cuts included administrative and IT workers, some of whom were employed at the Hybride VFX studio, a company that has worked on shows like Ahsoka and The Mandalorian.

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“These are not decisions taken lightly and we are providing comprehensive support for our colleagues who will be leaving Ubisoft during this transition,” the company told both IGN and Kotaku. “We also want to share our utmost gratitude and respect for their many contributions to the company. This restructuring does not affect our production teams.” Another quote obtained by Kotaku claims that the layoffs are to allow Ubisoft to “to optimize its resources to be more sustainable in the long term.”

This news comes after a year of several big Ubisoft releases, including Assassin’s Creed Mirage, The Crew: Motorfest, and Just Dance 2024, but that’s in spite of the fact that they canceled several games this year and delayed Skull and Bones… again. Unrest at the company has been ongoing as well: back in September, IGN reported widespread frustration after employees were suddenly called to return to in-person working conditions.

Ubisoft now joins Bungie, Media Molecule, Telltale Games, Team17, Epic Games, Naughty DogMicrosoft, and more on the unfortunately long list of companies that have laid people off in the past year.

[Sources: IGN, Kotaku]

Touring Japan’s Gundam Factory With Armored Core’s Chief Producer

Earlier this summer, amid an incoming typhoon, Game Informer visited the Bandai Hobby Center Shinkan, the 132,000-square-foot factory where the entertainment company manufactures its iconic Gundam model kits. If you purchase a new Gundam model kit at your local store today, it originated in this facility in Shizuoka, Japan. The factory contains 35 plastic color-molding machines – 25 electric and 10 hydraulic – all helping produce millions of models yearly.

Bandai Spirits employee Miyuki Nakagiri, the subject matter expert on how exactly the factory operates, escorts us through the building. Our translator during this tour is Atsuo Yoshimura, a video game production manager who’s worked at Bandai Namco for the last 17 years. Notably, Yoshimura worked on last year’s Elden Ring – Game Informer’s 2022 Game of the Year, and most recently, Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon. Additionally, Yoshimura was instrumental in helping to coordinate Game Informer’s recent Armored Core VI cover story trip. 

Watch Us Tour Japan’s Gundam Factory:

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Season 2 of Netflix’s ‘Arcane’ League Of Legends Series Drops Next November

If you’ve seen Netflix’s Arcane League of Legends animated series, there’s a high probability you really like it – the show’s great, even for non-League of Legends fans. It tells the heartwrenching story of sisters Vi and Jinx and their struggle to come to terms with each other in the high-tech (and magical) utopian city of Piltover and its seedy underbelly known as Zaun. The first season hit the subscription streaming service in November of 2021and now we know that Arcane Season 2 hits Netflix this time next year. 

More specifically, Arcane Season 2 drops on Netflix in November of 2024. To coincide with the news, Netflix has released a short teaser featuring Jinx. Check it out below: 

With roughly a year to go before Season 2, if you haven’t yet watched Arcane, which features voice actors like Hailee Steinfeld, Yuri Lowenthal, Ella Purnell, and more, you’ve got plenty of time to do so – and it’s well worth your time!

In the meantime, check out the League of Legends Jinx champion skin that was added to Fortnite to celebrate Arcane, and then read Game Informer’s review of Ruined King: A League of Legends story. Read about Convergence: A League of Legends Story after that. 

Have you seen Season 1 of Arcane? Let us know in the comments below!