One of the most memorable levels in Super Mario 64 has to be that of Big Boo’s Haunt. Not only is this area interesting for the way that you enter it (more on that later), but its dark aesthetic, gloomy atmosphere and haunted house design strike such a different chord from the relatively cheerful tone of the rest of the game.
Just like any good haunted house, Big Boo’s Haunt is filled with lots of secrets and unexpected surprises. The developers of Super Mario 64 leveraged this mind-bending mansion to create some truly unique and memorable stars. One that has always stood out to players is that of “Big Boo’s Balcony”, officially the fifth-star mission in the level.
However, as memorable as this star is, it can also be incredibly easy to miss altogether as you have to go out of your way in order to track down the Big Boo boss battle required to unlock the star. If you are struggling to get the elusive “Big Boo’s Balcony” star, then you are in luck, as this guide will tell you everything you need to know about completing this cryptic mission.
How to Enter Big Boo’s Haunt
Big Boo’s Haunt is chronologically the fifth level in Super Mario 64, although entering it isn’t as simple as one might think. Unlike most levels in the game, which can be entered through the paintings in Princess Peach’s Castle, Big Boo’s Haunt is accessed via entering a small cage located in the castle’s courtyard.
The player must first obtain 12 power stars in order to open up the courtyard before defeating the Big Boo. Just like regular Boos, Big Boo becomes transparent and invulnerable whenever Mario is looking at them. As such, the only way to deal damage to Big Boo is by ground pounding them from above or punching them from the side. Doing so three times will defeat the Big Boo and unlock the small cage.
Simply jump near this cage, and Mario will be whisked away to the spooky grounds of Big Boo’s haunt.
How to Complete Big Boo’s Balcony
You start off in the front yard of Big Boo’s Haunt. Enter the giant mansion in front of you, where you will find yourself in the main lobby. Ascend the steps to reach the second floor and walk to the right side of the balcony. There is only one door on that wall, so enter it, and you will find yourself in a room with a large bookshelf.
Look right past the bookshelf, and you will find a raised platform in the corner of the room. Jump on this platform. From here, you will need to pull off either a wall kick or a triple jump to access a hidden floor above the room with the bookshelf. Here, you will find a door, enter the door and continue to the next area.
The next room is a large one where you will find a double door on the right. Enter through these double doors to reach Big Boo’s Balcony. Now, before you can defeat this Big Boo, you would have already defeated them twice before. Once in the o on a Ghost Hunt” star, and the second time during “Ride Big Boo’s Merry-Go-Round”.
The strategy to defeating Big Boo the third time around – fourth if you count the initial battle in Princess Peach’s Castle’s Courtyard – is exactly the same as before. The main difference is that you are now on a much smaller platform than during those previous encounters. Be careful, as the balcony has no railings, meaning one wrong move will send you hurtling down to the front of the mansion once again. By the time you make it back up to the balcony, any damage that you had dealt to the Big Boo would have been reset. So, watch your step!
The most efficient way to deal damage to Big Boo is not to punch them from the side. It can be cumbersome to angle Mario appropriately without taking on any damage yourself or triggering the Big Boo to shy away. Instead, you want to crouch down to the ground with Mario facing in the opposite direction of the Big Boo. Once the Big Boo is close enough to Mario, perform a crouch jump to backflip over the top of the Big Boo before executing a ground pound to deal damage. Each time you land a blow, the Big Boo will gradually become smaller and smaller.
Deal three blows of damage to the Big Boo, and you will win the battle of the balcony. From here, you will see a short cutscene play of the power star landing on the roof of the mansion. To reach the star, you need to perform a long jump from the balcony to get to the roof of the house. The roof is slanted downwards on a fairly steep slope, so be careful not to slide down once you have landed.
Follow the slope of the roof as it leads you toward the flat center of the haunted house. Jump up and collect the power star for “Big Boo’s Balcony.”
Now that you have completed this elusive power star, you can continue filling out the rest of the missions for Big Boo’s Haunt and carry on with the rest of the game.
Big Boo’s Balcony is one of the most exciting stars in the whole of Super Mario 64. It requires you to think outside of the box, explore hidden corners of the mansion that you would otherwise gloss over, and test your skills against one of the most challenging boss fights in the game. While there are plenty of memorable moments scattered all throughout Super Mario 64, the many secrets of Big Boo’s Haunt remain a highlight, and “Big Boo’s Balcony” may just be the strongest example of inventive design choices in the entire level.