Nintendo put a terrifying Super Mario Sunshine Easter egg in Splatoon 3

Please. Don't remind me of that battle.

Image via Nintendo

One of Splatoon 3’s boss fights is a reference to a famous boss fight from Super Mario Sunshine—and the resemblance is uncanny.

Mild Splatoon 3: Return of the Mammalians spoilers beyond this point.

As reported by Polygon, the boss fight that references Sunshine takes place at the end of the campaign’s sixth area. The fight is a surprise battle against Big Man, the manta ray member of Deep Cut, the game’s new idol group. In the fight, Big Man swims underneath the floor of the stage, trailing paint wherever he goes. Spraying his silhouette causes him to split into several smaller manta rays, which then multiply further when shot. To progress to the next stage of the fight, players must spray many of the small manta rays.

Everything about the fight, from the smaller manta rays to the color of the paint on the ground, is a direct reference to Sunshine‘s infamous Manta Storm stage. In the first stage of that game’s Sirena Beach world, players had to fight a similar manta ray that split into increasingly smaller manta rays when blasted with Mario’s F.L.U.D.D. backpack. The level is regarded as incredibly difficult since players had to find and defeat every last tiny manta ray before achieving the stage’s reward. The only difference is that instead of putting paint on the ground, like in Splatoon, players were tasked with cleaning it up.

Known as Return of the Mammalians, Splatoon 3‘s story mode explores what actually happened to mammals in the world of Splatoon, where they’re thought to be extinct. It works in tandem with the game’s multiplayer mode and Splatfests to tell the story of the Inklings and Octolings in the new city of Splatsville.

Splatoon 3 is available now.