Shifting Sand Land is the eighth course in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS. It consists of a desert with a pyramid in the middle. The pyramid can be entered via the doorway on the near-bottom front side of it and there are Power Stars to obtain both outside and inside of it.
Star 1: In the Talons of the Big Bird
For this Star, Mario must grab the Star away from Klepto, who is seen flying around in the entire level but is mainly seen flying around the pyramid. Once Mario bumps into Klepto, usually by standing on top of the pillar closest to the Oasis, the Star will be his.
Star 2: Shining Atop the Pyramid
As the name states, Mario must now head toward the top of the pyramid to get this star by following a path that goes around it that gets narrower as it gets higher. Alternatively, Mario can use the Wing Cap.
Star 3: Inside the Ancient Pyramid
Mario must now head inside of the pyramid. Once there, Mario must carefully navigate through the course on the inside and avoid Grindels and other potential threats and stay on that same path to eventually reach the star.
Star 4: Stand Tall On the Four Pillars
For this Star, Mario must run across the four large pillars that surround the pyramid. One misstep will land Mario in the treacherous quicksand so the Wing Cap is the safest way to reach the top of the pillars. Once Mario has done so, the top of the pyramid will explode leading to a new entrance. Mario must descend using the elevator until he reaches a room where he must fight Eyerok, the guardian of the pyramid. After defeating Eyerok, Mario is awarded with a star.
Star 5: Free Flying For 8 Red Coins
Mario must search the entire level for the red coins.
- The first one is located at the very edge of the level, behind the starting point.
- The second one is found inside of a block under where the first Wing Cap is found near the start.
- The third one is found on the stone walkway teeming with Tox Boxes near the cannon.
- The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh ones are found in the air between each of the stone pillars.
- The eight and final one is located near the two pillars on the left side of the pyramid, in the oasis.
The Star Marker can be found at the same location where the second red coin is collected.
Star 6: Pyramid Puzzle
This star is considered by many to be one of the most notoriously difficult stars in the game. Mario must navigate himself inside of the pyramid and follow the same path that he followed in Inside the Ancient Pyramid. Only this time, he must make a tiny jump off of the side of the final platform just before the corresponding star to locate a very small platform. Said platform holds a coin that triggers a number when collected; this coin is but one of five necessary to complete the Pyramid Puzzle mission and spawn the star-- much easier said than done.
After collecting the first coin, Mario must calculate his next jump to the left of the platform barely past the sandfall to locate the second platform and thus collect the second secret coin. The third and final platform is located at the lower right side of the second platform and again is barely past the sandfall. The third secret coin lies there. Then, Mario can simply walk to the left of the platform and fall safely off to find a trail of slow quicksand created by the aforementioned sandfall and follow said trail to collect secret coins #4 and #5. Mario can still drown in the quicksand, so he must jump continuously while following the sand path. Once the player collects all five secret coins, the star will finally spawn just at the very end of the quicksand trail. The quicksand trail hinders Mario's jumping abilities and in turn makes it easy to miscalculate the jump for the star; doing so causes Mario to fall off of the trail and plummet directly into quicksand below, costing Mario a life and wiping the player's entire progress.
Star 7 Tox Box Switch Star
Only playable in Super Mario 64 DS.
- Shifting Sand Land is one of the levels in the game that doesn't contain a true painting leading to the level, the others being Big Boo's Haunt, Dire, Dire Docks, Snowman's Land and Rainbow Ride.