Out of all the power-ups in Super Mario games, the ones that people remember the most are those that allow you to fly. Whether it is the Tanooki Suit in Super Mario Bros. 3 or the Cape Feather in Super Mario World, any ability that lets Mario take to the skies is a certainty to go down in the pages of history as one of the most beloved in the franchise.
When Super Mario 64 launched as the first 3D Mario game in 1996, fans were excited to see how the developers would tackle flight in the third dimension. The answer would be in the form of the Wing Cap, which gave Mario a set of Thor-like wings to the side of his head that allowed him to glide through the sky.
However, finding the Wing Cap in Super Mario 64 is not as easy as it may first appear. The power-up is hidden quite cleverly in a secret level that only be accessed in a very particular way. No doubt, many players would have had no idea about this secret level when first playing in 1996, and now that a whole new generation of gamers is playing for the first time through Super Mario 3D All-stars, the head-scratching about where to find the head wings has continued.
Here is how to find and use the Wing Cap in Super Mario 64.
How to Find the Wing Cap in Super Mario 64
The first thing to know about finding the Wing Cap in Super Mario 64 is that you will need to obtain at least 10 power stars before you have any hope of unlocking the secret level.
These stars can be obtained in the game’s early levels, such as Bob-omb Battlefield or Whomp’s Fortress. Most of the power stars in these levels are fairly easy to obtain as you are still learning the ropes of the game, and it shouldn’t be long before you have 10 of them at your disposal.
Now that you have 10 power stars, you want to make your back to the main lobby in Princess Peach’s castle – this is the big room that you first enter when stepping into the castle. In the middle of the lobby is a large rug. While this rug has previously only been lit by the lights inside the castle, there is now a bright sunbeam illuminating the entire rug now that you have the 10 power stars.
Stand in the middle of this sunbeam on the rug and press forward on the right analog stick to point your camera to look directly up into the source of light. You will hear a little jingle, and the screen will turn white as you get transported to one of the most cleverly hidden secret levels in all of gaming.
Completing the Tower of the Wing Cap Course
The secret level that you will be transported to is called “Tower of the Wing Cap Course,” and straight away, you be granted the ability of flight. That’s right – Mario starts the level with the Wing Cap, meaning you can begin flying straight away.
The level is based on the sky, with circular rainbows enveloping a tower in the course’s center. It is a striking setting that feels incredibly heavenly and ethereal and really gets you excited to be so high up in the sky.
While it can certainly be tempting to just glide around to your heart’s content, in order to unlock the Wing Cap for the rest of the game, you will first need to complete this course. To beat the level, all you need to do is collect the 8 red coins that are scattered throughout the sky. To find these red coins, head in the direction of the yellow coins on the right as soon as you start the level. Keep on following these groupings of yellow coins in a corkscrew fashion, and you will eventually come across each of the 8 red coins.
Once you have collected each of the red coins, the star will appear at the top of the tower in the middle of the level. Here, you will want to ground pound on the switch to activate all of the Wing Cap red boxes spread throughout the game.
Using the Wing Cap in Super Mario 64
Congratulations! You have unlocked the Wing Cap in Super Mario 64, granting you the ability to glide through the skies. However, the ability is only available in certain courses throughout the game and can only be used to obtain certain power stars. Even with its limited use, however, the Wing Cap is still an incredibly fun power-up that really shows the potential of flight in a 3D space.
After you have unlocked the Wing Cap in the “Towe of the Wing Cap” secret level, you will be able to use it in the following courses:
- Bob-omb Battlefield
- Lethal Lava Land
- Shifting Sand Land
- Wing Mario Over the Rainbow (Secret Course)
- Snowman’s Land (Super Mario 64 DS Only)
- Tall, Tall Mountain (Super Mario 64 DS Only)
Finally, there is a Wing Cap red block on the roof of Princess Peach’s castle. This block is accessed after you have collected all 120 power stars in the game, and a cannon becomes available to you. Simply use the cannon to shoot up the roof, activate the Wing Cap red block, and glide around the castle yards to your heart’s content.
Overall, the Wing Cap is one of the most exciting parts of Super Mario 64, and a large part of that excitement comes down to how difficult it is to find the item in the first place. Hidden behind one of the most devious secret levels in all of gaming, flying around with the Wing Cap for the first time is an experience gamers will never forget.