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Super Mario 64 is a massive presence in the speedrunning community. The game’s intricate movement, tight controls, and satisfying glitches have allowed the classic platformer to stay around decades after its release.
The game also works well for beginner and experienced runners, so whether you are looking for a first title to run or try your hand at a classic, here is everything you need to know.
Key Info Up Front
- Speedrun Category: 120 Stars
- World Record Holder: Cheese
- World Record Time: 1 hour 37 minutes 50 seconds
A side flip is inputted by building some speed, making Mario start turning around, and then inputting a jump. This will cause him to quickly jump back toward the way he was going, allowing players to get high jumps and change direction simultaneously.
However, side flips can also be used to jump in any other direction by inputting the third direction after getting Mario to start turning around. This allows the side flip to be a potent tool for getting a high jump in small areas or deftly maneuvering Mario through more complicated jumps.
Mario does a kick when players press “B” in the air, as long as he isn’t moving too quickly. So, to do a grounded kick, players need to input the kick as they input the jump, making Mario kick just as he leaves the ground.
They are used to fulfill a few purposes. The first is to pick up speed in smaller areas where a long jump isn’t viable, as kicking gives Mario a slight speed boost. The second is to set up double and triple jumps, as the kick stops Mario’s upward momentum, making the jump he performs very small and fast.
Aerial Kicks can only be done after performing a single or double jump, and he isn’t moving too quickly. These are mainly used to add a little more horizontal distance to one of those jumps. However, you’ll need to pull back on the joystick to ensure that Mario isn’t moving too quickly and dives instead.
Aerial kicks can also be used for a technique called kick stalling. Kick stalling allows Mario to perform multiple double jumps in a row, which is excellent for sections of the game with very particular spacing.
This happens because an aerial kick changes Mario’s fall state to trigger a double jump when he lands, allowing players to continually aerial lift after each double jump to perform the maneuver.
A rollout occurs when Mario meets the ground after diving. Usually, Mario slides to a stop and then stands up, losing all of his speed in the process. If players press either “A” or “B” before getting up, however, Mario will roll and jump forward instead.
This means that inputting a rollout as soon as possible helps you save more speed, as it prevents Mario from sliding on the ground and losing it in the first place.
Backward Long Jump
The backward long jump glitch is most commonly used in the 16 Star run category. It is not allowed in the 70 Star category and is thought to not be overtly valuable in the 120 Star category.
It will enable players to repeatedly perform long jumps while heading backward, accumulating the speed boost the move grants them. To do this, players have to have the long jump interrupted before the deceleration effect from moving backward can be applied, such as using a slope or set of stairs.
Below you can find the level order that I recommend using for this run, and some tricks you’ll need along the way. I also recommend getting each level’s red coin star and 100 coin star with your routes to help you learn the levels and have more fun, so I have not detailed those below.
Bob-Omb Battlefield 1
1. The first star you should go for from there is the one locked behind a gate by the Chomp Chomp. To get to it, you’ll need to do a glitch known throughout the community as the Bomb Clip. The Bomb Clip is used to get the star locked in a cage behind the Chomp Chomp.
To perform it, players need to grab the nearby bomb. They then need to run toward the cage, drop it to the left of the right side of the mountain, and land behind it.
You can pick it up again to gain backward momentum toward the cage. Finally, you can go toward the gate, keeping the stick neutral, and throw the bomb away from you to clip through the gate and reach the star.
1. The first star for this level is at the top of the fortress at its center. To get up there, grab onto the tree before jumping from it to the stone wall behind it. Use dives and rollouts to climb the ramp before reaching the top with wall jumps.
2. Start the same way you did for the star above. Once you get halfway up the stone ramp, however, jump to slant to the left and from there to the grey bridge. You can jump onto the wooden bridge and walk off it to land on the star below.
3. Follow the same starting path as the two above stars. Instead of wall jumping up to the platforms, dive off the wall to reach the small floating island. Jump from there to the floating cage, which you’ll need to wall jump off and then drift back into to grab the star inside. Just ensure you don’t get a first-frame wall jump, as that will push you too far away from the cage.
4. Reach the top of the fortress as you have been. Instead of platforms, however, this time, there will be a Whomp boss fight. To defeat him, stay in front and do a ground pound whenever he starts to fall over to crush you. This will allow Mario to phase through and land on his back, dealing damage.
5. Jump on the tree by spawn before jumping above, but head left instead of toward the stone slope this time. Continue left until you reach the blue button. Jump off the wall to get the lower of the two stacked platforms to grab the level’s last star.
The Secret Aquarium
1. The only star in this level is for collecting red coins. To do so, swim around the tank in two circles, one near where you spawn and another at the tank floor.
Jolly Rodger Bay
1. From spawn, you need to get over to the pirate ship as quickly as possible. one method of doing so is backward long jumping up the stone formation sticking out of the water to launch Mario in that direction. Then, swim down, and you will see a cave with a massive eel hiding in it. Go to the hole and wait for the eel to leave before swimming in and claiming the star.
2. Enter the level again and launch Mario in the same way. This time, swim toward where the eel’s cave was but swim through the secret cave entrance there instead. Run to the left side of the cave as quickly as possible until you come across four treasure chests. Open them up, and a star will spawn in the middle of them.
3. The next time you enter the world, you’ll spawn on a beach. Run and dive into the cannon to be launched onto a stone platform. There, you’ll find another star to grab.
4. From the beach, run and jump off the stone housing for the cannon to get as far into the water as possible. Swim down to the sunken pirate ship and swim through the wall beside the eel hiding within it.
Inside you’ll need to open three of the four chests and go over to the box on the other side, which will disappear to spawn the star.
5. Start the same as you did for the Pirate Ship Star above. Instead of swimming to the ship, swim down to the open net with bubbles rising out of it, where a star is floating.
1 & 2. Go to the slide inside the castle. From the start, bounce off the right wall and head to the left wall. Ride the left wall until the slide opens up.
Then, bounce off the right rim of the slide to head toward the left rim. Jump over the left rim and dive to land on the final section of the slide below. If you do it fast enough, you’ll get one star for finishing the slide so fast and a second for finishing it.
3. Looking to the ceiling of the castle lobby will unlock the secret wing cap tower level. Once you’re at that level, you’ll need to collect red coins in rings positioned in a circle around the central tower. To get them as quickly as possible, you should fly low before arcing up just enough.
Then, dive back down and arc up to barely reach the second ring. There are two red coins in each ring, so there are only four to collect. Then, head to the central tower and hit the big button to finish up.
Bowser in the Dark World
1. Running through the Dark World is an unusually linear level for Super Mario 64. There is no 100-coin star, so you only have to worry about collecting red coins.
2. Once you’re done with the Bomb Clip, you should go for the star earned by defeating the Big Bob-omb on the top of the mountain. The fastest way to get up there is by kicking the gray slope near the Chomp Chomp and jumping onto the ledge to the left.
This will take you to a path with metal balls rolling toward you. You’ll need to get into a hole in the wall with a long jump to avoid them.
From there, you can use wall jumps to reach the top. At the top of the hole go to the left and run around the bend.
You’ll see another hole to your right that you need to jump into to be teleported further up the mountain. Once you’re teleported, you’ll be able to side flip to the top of the mountain to face the Giant Bob-Omb.
3. When you’re ready to get the Koopa Footrace star, you can quickly reach him from the start of the level with two long jumps. This will position you in front of him so that you can start the race faster without him having to turn.
To beat him in the race using the same path to get to the mountain described above. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you’ll need to go back to the start of the level and activate the cannon there to beat the Koopa in the race again. This is necessary so that the cannon will be unlocked for two of the remaining stars.
4. For this star, you’ll need to obtain the Wing Hat from its box near the bridge. From there, a triple jump will get you over the stone wall and use jump kicks to get up the hill there.
Get to the top before turning left and sliding down it to pick up speed. Using that speed, you’ll be able to triple jump off the stone housing for the cannon to fly up to the island with the star.
5. Once you get back on the floating island, you need to get into the cannon or land directly into it. Once you’re in the cannon, adjust the reticle down so it is next to the first ring’s center coin, and then shoot. Pull back on the control stick after Mario is launched, and you’ll make it through all five rings and get the star.
1. Once you’ve gotten the key from defeating Bowser and gone through its associated door, you’ll find a rabbit named Mips. Catching him rewards you with a secret star. With dives, rollouts, and other advanced movement techniques, you should be able to catch him with no problem.
Shifting Sand Land
1. From spawn, long jump to the left to pick up speed and jump to the first pillar. Run up it until you can jump off and onto the nearby shy guy. Bounce off the shy guy to jump onto the nearby vulture before running to the other side of the pyramid to grab the star.
2. Grab the bomb-omb that is near the spawn and use it to clip through the top of the pyramid, similarly to the very first star of the run. Inside the pyramid, jump off the elevator as it lowers to reach the platform with the star resting.
3. Once you finish collecting all of the 100 coins to get that star, you can quickly make your way up to a middle platform where the star sits in the quickest way possible from where you end your path to collect the coins on the way down.
4. After spawning, head over the dune to the left behind of you to the left. On the other side, you will see a smaller pyramid you need to enter. Inside, head straight forward and jump through the hole in the pillar at the center. Going down this will lead you to a boss fight with two magic stone hands with eyes in their palms.
Mash through the dialogue as quickly as possible and alternate between them, kicking them in the eye as soon as it opens. Once they are defeated, jump on the shrine they were next to and grab the star once it spawns.
5. Follow the same route as the star above, but instead of entering the cave, jump into the alcove near the top and grab the star there.
Hazy Maze Cave
1. Enter the level again and follow the left path. Go through the door and wall jump off the wall to your right to reach the platform floating above.
Then, jump across the room to the corner with the image that looks like a map. Go through the door there and jump down to a tunnel. Go through the tunnel to the door, leave, and take the door there. Turn left again and take the second elevator, this one heading upward. The star will be in the nearby corner.
2. Take the left path again, but when you pass through the door, follow the wall to another door and head through it to enter a room with an elevator.
Triple jump and wall jump off the right wall to pass through the wall opposite the door. This will send you falling to a watery cave below. Land on the button as you fall to reveal a door and go through it down a hallway to reach a star at the end.
3. Follow the path of the above star but start the elevator before jumping down. Get off the elevator as it lowers and walk into the wall until the elevator falls on top of you. This will push Mario through the wall, allowing him to fall down to an island with a star on it.
4. Follow the path of the star above, but instead of jumping to the corner, jump to the platform to the left to grab the star on it.
5. Talk to Toad outside the entrance to the level for a secret star.
Lethal Lava Land
1. Get the green shell from the box straight ahead when you spawn and use it to ride to the volcano in the level and jump through it. This drops you into another level section with a linear path you need to follow to reach the star.
2. Go backward from the spawn to break a red block and get a wing cap. Turn back toward the spawn and get a triple jump to start flying. Fly over the cage in front of you and drop into the corner to pick up the star behind it.
3. From spawn jump to the left into the lava and used the burst it gives you to get on top of the cage by the eyeball. Jump from there to the brown mound, the moving ring, the fire shooter, and the platform with the bomb on it. Let the bomb run into the lava, and as it does, jump over to the black pillar to get its star as it spawns.
4. Follow the same path as the star above, but once you reach the big bomb, jump to the cage to the right and then to the platform with three smaller bombs on it. Kill all three smaller bombs to spawn a big one. Kill that one, and a star will spawn in the middle of the ring of coins.
5. At the start of the level, go forward before jumping over the lava to reach the brown bridge faster. then jump onto the rotating ring before hopping into the volcano.
Inside the volcano, using the height from jumping into the lava to reach the platform above you. Just as the platform moves a bit, jump over to the pole and climb up it and the pole after it to reach the platforms with the star.
For this star, you’ll need to catch Mips a second time to get another star. This time, he is found by the entrance to Lethal Lava Land and is once again easy to catch with dives and rollouts.
Cool Cool Mountain
1. From the start, jump off to the left to the lower level. Go by the edge and do a backflip over it. After you fall for a while, drift in toward the mountain and dive. Then, turn right and find the star on an icy platform.
2. Jump backward from the spawn to the lower level. There, follow the path heading around the right of the level. Follow it until you find the cabin and jump down its chimney. Talk to the penguin there to start the race. You don’thave to do the race the old-fashioned way, but it is an excellent way to get 100 coins if you want to get two stars out of the way at once.
3. This time, you’ll spawn next to the cabin and can jump down its chimney right after you spawn. Then, jump off the right side of the ice slide to reach the final stretch below and head out the door after entering the last room.
4. Once you spawn by the cabin again, grab the baby penguin above it. Jump over the ledge to the right and slide down the slope. Jump off at the bottom and slide down the next pitch to reach the baby’s parent penguin sitting in a pool. Give it the baby, and you’ll get the star.
5. Head to the left to talk to the snowball. Race it down the path by sliding to reach the bottom first. Once the snowball arrives, it will make a snowman, and you’ll get the star.
Big Boo’s Haunt
1. Make your way to the center room with the large boo in it. Push the boo to the back corner of the room and jump on it to kill it. Then, you can use the height from jumping on the boo to reach higher where the star spawns.
2. Enter the front door at the start of the level, and use wall jumps to reach the second level. Jump to the balcony to the left and go through the door on the right there. Use a wall jump to reach the second door in that room above the one you entered through and go through it. Run toward the camera and go through the image of boo on the wall to find a secret room. Kill the giant eyeball in the room to get its star.
3. Enter through the door and wall jump up to the balcony on the left. Then, go through the leftmost door. Then, jump across the gap to the opposite balcony to reach the star there.
4. Follow the same path as the Eyeball Star, but go through the double door to the right instead of going through the boo painting. This leads to a big boo that you need to kill before going to the roof to grab the star.
5. Go through the door to the right after entering the mansion and jump over the ledge to fall into an area with water. Go through the door in front of you and then ground pound boos as they come out of the yellow boo image. After six boos the star will spawn nearby so go grab it.
Dire, Dire Docks
1. Swim down from the start of the level and open up all the chests on the floor of the pool there to get the star to spawn.
2. From the start of the level swim into the wall behind and to the left of you to find a secret path. Swim along the path until you see a stream of bubbles. Reach the bubbles and swim down toward its center until the star spawns.
3. Follow the same path as the above star, but instead of going to the bubbles swim upwards to a platform with a blue box. Break the box and then swim back down to pass through a red cage with a star inside of it.
4. Repeat the path of the previous two stars. Once you reach the main chamber climb the submarine and grab the star sitting on top of it.
5. Swim through the bubble rings left by the manta ray in the first body of water. Swim through them and catch up to the manta ray to get the star.
Bowser in the Fire Sea
This Bowser fight is the same as the first, so you shouldn’t have a problem beating it.
Wet Dry World
1. From the spawn, head left and stand on one of the two wooden platforms so that it starts to fall. Drop down and go through the hole in the cage before wall jumping up inside of it to reach the star at the top.
2. Go from spawn to the slope, to the top of the black cage, to the spinning platform, to hit the box to get the star from it.
3. Jump over the first black cage in the water to reach the tunnel and swim through it. Drain the water and hit the blue box before passing through the curved cage in the corner.
4. Run to the two conjoined pillars behind where you spawn this time. Run into the corner to warp to the top and then run off one side to drop to the star below.
5. Run to the left from the spawn and push the red block into the wall past the blue spider. Then, push the block to your left and use it to jump, and hit the yellow block in the corner. Turn around and jump up the levels back to the large black cage. Get to the top of it to hit the yellow box there to spawn the level’s last star.
Tiny Huge Island
1. Jump over the wall in front of spawn with a triple jump and hit the first mini goomba as it walks through the mouse hole.
Run forward to reach the red bomb and get the mini goomba there too. Then, turn and jump up the cliffs to get another one. Run around the left of the mountain to get more before climbing over the hill to reach the other side for the star to spawn.
2. Go straight from spawn and jump up a level to go through the green pipe. Run forward and jump up both ledges to the left. Then, run into the stone center to be warped to a hidden area down below. Defeat the wiggler there to get his star.
3. Follow the same path as the above star, but go over the top of the mountain instead to hit the yellow box on the far side of it.
4. Follow the above path but the pipe will take you to a different area this time. In that area, a few piranha plants will spawn that you need to kill for the star.
5. Take the Wiggler Star path, but after leaving the second pipe go forward over the ledge to find a koopa to start the race. Drop over the edge behind him to stomp the smaller koopa and ride its shell. Ride the shell to the flag for an easy victory.
Tall, Tall Mountain
1. Talk to the Toad outside the painting to the level to get a secret star.
2. Head around the corner to the left of the spawn and wall jump the wall to your right to reach an alcove with the star in it.
3. Run straight and jump into the cliff. Run up it for a short while and you’ll clip through the wall and be warped further up. Jump off the ledge after warping toward the log.
Bounce off the wall and use that to turn back and reach the ledge to the right of where you warped to. Run and jump up the slope to your left and wall jump off the wall by the waterfall to reach the cave behind it and get the star.
4. Follow the path of the Waterfall Star, but climb up the wall to the right of the waterfall to reach the top of the mountain.
5. Follow the path of the above star, but at the top grab the small monkey. Head back the way you came and throw it at the cage above the waterfall that has a star in it. Then, drop down below the cage to be there when it falls and breaks.
6. Run straight from spawn building up as much speed as possible. Then, perform a triple jump and dive to reach the star on the big mushroom in front of you.
1. Go straight from spawn and use dives, wall jumps, rollouts, and double jumps to quickly scale the first few ledges. Jump to the thin path and then side flip to make it to the top of the structure to get the star.
2. Follow the same path but instead of jumping to the thin path fall down to the igloo and enter it. Head through it to the blue box and then turn around and phase to the star at the back of the igloo on the raised wooden platform.
3. Go left over the green rocks. Make it over them to find two yellow boxes and break the first one for the star.
4. Turn left and jump to the top of the ice block there to go through a hole in the top and grab the star.
5. Go right to find a large blue monster on some ice. Push it off the ice to kill it and make the star spawn near you.
This secret level only has a red coin star to collect.
Tick Tock Clock
This level is especially vertical, so there are a lot of different paths you can take. Because of this I highly recommend finding your own paths to the various stars spread throughout the level. This will also allow you to mix in getting the red coins and 100 coins however you wish. The locations of the stars are below:
- Thwomp alcove
- High cage
- Behind the higher pendulum
- In the treadmill cage
- In the alcove above and across from the red coins
1. Jump on the yellow slop above the lakitu and use it to reach the pole. Climb the pole and then jump to the one above it and climb that one as well. Then, jump on the rainbow to the gray block, to the quilt block, and finally to the star on the ship.
2. Follow the same path as the star above but go to the cannon at the back of the ship. Break the block on the island the cannon shoots you to.
3. Find a route to quickly make it to the magic carpet and then ride it to the end of its path to find another star at the top of the level.
4. From the spawn jump to the spinning platform by the pole and wall jump off it to reach the gray platform. Jump to the platforms by the brown wedge and then head right. Run until you can jump on the gray oscillating platform and jump past the red mist turret. There you’ll find another star.
5. Follow the path of the above star but head left instead of right. Hit the button and then jump up the upside-down pyramids to reach the level’s final star.
Bowser in the Sky
The final Bowser fight is identical to the other two, but you have to throw Bowser three times to defeat him. I recommend doing this in the same order every time so that you can practice it until it is muscle memory.
Question: What is the Fastest Super Mario 64-Speed run?
Answer: The fastest speed run of the entire game was set in early 2022 by a speedrunner named Kanno, who beat the whole game in six minutes and 27 seconds.
Question: What is the World Record for Getting Every Star in Super Mario 64?
Answer: The world record is currently held by a speedrunner name Cheese, who completed the category in one hour, 37 minutes, and 50 seconds.
Question: How Long is Super Mario 64?
Answer: An average playthrough focused on beating the game and not collecting everything takes 12 hours, while collecting everything takes closer to 20.
Super Mario 64 is a classic platformer in its own right, but it is also a classic speedrunning title. Its community has been alive and well for years now, and it has also thrilled countless viewers thanks to its complicated movement tech and entertaining glitches.
There are also various platforms and methods to get the game on, allowing speedrunners to try their hand at the game even if they don’t want to trudge out their dusty old Nintendo 64 to do so.
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