As well as the stars in every level in Super Mario 64, there’s a handful of stars hidden elsewhere.
These stars appear in a few different ways, but all come under the general heading in the menu of Castle Secret Stars, which is quite different to the other levels in the game. In addition, there are special Cap Switches which you’ll need to turn into flying, metal or invisible Mario – and these are required in certain levels in order to get all of their stars.
On this page we run down the hidden Cap unlocks – which aren’t mandatory to complete the game – plus the Castle Secret Stars. If you need help with the rest
of the game, we’ve got stars walkthroughs for all Mario 64 courses – just hit the link to see our ultimate guide.
How to unlock the Red, Blue and Green boxes to get the Wing, Metal and Vanish Caps
The most traditional Mario power-ups aren’t present in Super Mario 64, but he still does have three power-ups to use – and they’re represented this time around by different caps Mario can put on. You’ll see these represented in stages by Red, Green and Blue boxes that can’t be opened – they’re transparent and not interactive. Turn the caps on, however, and these become boxes you can smash to get the power ups.
The interesting thing is that you can finish Mario 64 without these caps – it’s just that without them you won’t be able to get certain stars. But you don’t want that, so here’s how to unlock them:
Red ! Switch for the Wing Cap
After you get 10 stars across any of the game’s levels, a light will begin to shine onto the lobby floor of the castle. Stand on the picture of the sun and look up at the sun – it’ll transport you to a special level, Wing Mario over the Rainbow.
There are 8 Red Coins to grab in this level, and doing so gets you one of the Castle Secret Stars, but also there’s a giant ! switch in red to hit. By hitting it, the Wing Cap boxes will now be usable in any levels where they’re found.
Green ! Switch for the Metal Cap
Metal Mario is formidable – rock solid and able to walk and breathe underwater – but he can’t jump very well. You get this inside another level – course 6, Hazy Maze Cave. Head to the area where Dorrie the dinosaur is swimming about. Climb on her head and steer her to where there’s a red grate at the edge of a little outlet with double iron doors. Go through.
When you jump into the liquid metal here you’ll go all Teminator and briefly become Metal Mario. Use this to walk underwater against the current and make your way to the huge green ! switch. After hitting it, you can use the newly unlocked Metal Cap to pick up 8 red coins for another Castle Secret Star.
Blue ! Switch for the Vanish Cap
Last but not least is the Vanish Cap. This, too, is found down in the basement. Stand in the main basement area. Facing away from the door that leads to the Hazy Maze Cave entrance, hook a left and then a second left. You’ll find a wooden door, and inside an area with 2 platforms you can jump on. Ground pound these platforms. This actually drains the moat out in the castle courtyard.
There’s now a hole in the Castle Courtyard that you can fall into – and this is a special stage. There’s 4 red coins if you jump from platform to platform on the slide down, plus another 4 throughout the rest of the stage. At the end there’s a blue switch – and once pressed, a blue box that you can use to get a vanish cap to get inside the cage where the red coin star appears.
Castle Secret Stars
As well as the seven stars per stage, there are 15 “Castle Secret Stars” that appear on your main menu. These stars are exactly what they sound like – secret stars hidden across the castle or that don’t otherwise belong in a specific stage. Here’s how and where to get all 15.
Of the 15 secret stars, 9 are in areas or obtained in ways you won’t necessarily encounter during the critical path of the game:
- The Princess’ Secret Slide: In the top right of the main castle lobby, there’s a 1-star door which leads to a room with stained glass windows of Princess Peach. Jump through the right-hand stained glass window to find The Princess’ Secret Slide. Finish it to get a star – as slow as you like! That’s because…
- The Princess’ Secret Slide Speedrun: Now go back to the Princess’ Secret Slide and finish it in under 21 seconds for a second star.
- The Secret Aquarium: On the far right of the lobby is the 3 star door that leads to Jolly Roger Bay. In this room there is a black window you can backflip up to, and it leads to an entirely underwater stage with 8 red coins. Collect all 8 for a Castle Secret Star.
- MIPS the Rabbit’s Loot: When you first go down to the basement where you find courses like Lethal Lava Land, Hazy Maze Cave and Shifting Sand Land with 20 stars or more, you’ll find a Yellow Rabbit who runs away from you. Chase and catch him and he gives up a star. MIPS was one of the first characters made on N64, and so was rewarded with a role in Mario 64.
- Basement Toad’s Reward: In the area where there’s the metal water pool that leads to Hazy Maze Cave, there’s a Toad. Talk to him when you have 20 or more Power Stars to just be given a star!
- Second Floor Toad Reward: Once you climb the stairs to the second floor of the castle with worlds like Tiny-Huge Island and Wet-Dry World, there’s another Toad who just gives up a star, so long as you have 30 Stars.
- Return of MIPS the Rabbit: Once you have 50 stars, return to the castle basement. MIPS is back, and if caught a second time, he has another star.
- Top Floor Toad’s Reward: On the very top floor of the castle where you find Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Ride, there’s another Star. He gives you a star.
- Wing Mario over the Rainbow: Opposite the entrance to Rainbow Ride is another identical entrance that leads to this special stage. There are 8 red coins to collect here.
Beyond these, there are then another six Castle Secret Stars that are attached to existing levels or the Cap Switches, as described above. We’ll repeat them here though, so when combined with the list above, you have all fifteen – use it as a checklist if you like!
- Red Coins in the Tower of the Wing Cap: In the stage where you unlock the Wing Cap, get the red coins.
- Red Coins in the Metal Cap Cave: In the area where you get the Metal Cap, grab the red coins.
- Red Coins under the Moat: In the area where you unlock the Vanish Cap.
- Red Coins in Bowser in the Dark World: Get the 8 red coins in the first Bowser stage. There is also the compulsory progression star for beating Bowser and completing the stage.
- Red Coins in Bowser in the Fire Sea: Get 8 red coins in the second (basement) Bowser Stage. There is also a mandatory star when you beat Bowser and finish the level.
- Red Coins in Bowser in the Sky: Get 8 red coins in the third (3rd floor) Bowser Stage