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Secret/Special Stages FAQ by BenjG

Version: 1.01 | Updated: 04/01/03

Secret/Special Stages FAQ
For Super Mario Sunshine
BenjG  kramar@prodigy.net
Copyright 2003 Benjamin Good
Last updated 2/25/03

Table of Contents

 I.    Version History
 II.   About Secret and Special Stages
 III.  Secret Stage Explanations
 IV.   Special Stages Explanations
 V.    Legal/Contact Information

Note:  This guide is meant only for secret/special stages in Super Mario
Sunshine, in which I'll discuss the stage and offer advice for completing
each one.  Therefore, I will expect you to know how to play the rest of the
game.  This guide isn't a walkthrough, but is based on the assumption you
know how to reach the various episodes.

I.   Version History

Version 1.0  2/6/03
Initial Version

Version 1.01  2/25/03
Added a 1-Up in one of the special stages

Version 1.02  4/1/03
Added another 1-Up

II.  About Secret and Special Stages

In Super Mario Sunshine, there are special challenges that have many names,
such as secret stages, hidden levels, special courses, mini-games, etc. To
remain consistent, I will call them secret stages (there's special stages
too, but more on them later).  Anyway, the secret stages in this game are
determined by the fact that the episode title contains the word "secret" in
it.  This is true for all secret stages, so you'll know when you have to work
your way through another one.  Secret stages are basically a large mass of 3-
D geometric shapes, platforms, cubes, and other moving objects which all
create one big challenge.  They require that you be able to do some very
fancy jumping and maneuvering.  You will begin at a specific point, and must
work through the challenge to reach the shine that you will find at the end
of the level.  Some are tougher than others are, but they all generally fall
into the same difficulty.  Just as you enter a secret stage, before it
starts, Mario will be displayed briefly.  Then, Shadow Mario will swoop by
and snatch Mario's water pack, FLUDD.  This means that you will not have the
aid of the water pack, and more specifically, you won't get to use the hover
nozzle.  This will make the challenge much more difficult, but makes it much
more fun.  If you were able to breeze through the stage by hovering over the
platforms, that would destroy the purpose of having these stages.  When you
return to a secret stage you have already completed, you'll find a big red
switch somewhere on the level.  Pound it, and eight red coins will be placed
in predetermined locations throughout the challenge.  If you can collect them
all within the time limit, you get another shine.

Special Stages are a little bit different.  To begin with, you can never
exactly tell by the episode title whether a special stage must be contended
with (unless you've played through the game already, of course), so they tend
to sneak up on you.  I call them special stages simply because the challenges
are a little out of the ordinary.  You may be surprised when you see some of
them.  That's not the only difference.  Special Stages do not test your
jumping/maneuvering ability nearly as much; some may take a little more
thinking.  Many are a red coin challenge, but you are not timed.  Special
Stages are much smaller and are very often limited to just one big structure
or a few platforms, and they are considerably easier in comparison to secret
stages.  Make a note that Delfino Plaza has many of these levels, so there
isn't an episode title for any of them.  Also, Shadow Mario won't steal your
water pack in these.  The stages also have different music, and they have a
sky background rather than a dark one.

III. Secret Stages

Here, I will discuss each secret stage in depth and will try to explain what
you're up against as well as I can.  I'll tell you what strategies and
techniques I found useful in completing the stages, but you can come up with
your own ideas.  For each stage, I will give the name of the episode it
appears in so you know exactly which stage you're in, as well as put the name
of the course the episode takes place in.  Knowing that getting through these
stages in one try is very difficult, I will also give the locations of the 1-
Ups in each stage.  Unless you want to go through the "Game Over" sequence, I
suggest getting the extra lives so you can keep on trying the stage again.
Luckily, the game will show you where the entrance to the stage is located,
so the need for explaining how to get there isn't necessary.

Bianco Hills

Episode 3: The Hillside Cave Secret

This first secret stage in the game is a medley of various challenges; some
stages are put together like this one, and others focus on a certain skill.
It begins with three large blocks that move slowly back and forth; jumping
from one to the other should not be a problem.  Then you'll come to a large
quantity of small brown cubes that are all moving slowly in various
directions.  Some move up and down, others move side to side.  You can jump
from cube to cube if you wish, but I have found that to be too risky.  I
prefer to run right onto the next cube when two cubes touch each other.
Using this technique will be very useful later on.  The next section involves
three large cubes with a pane of glass on each side that are too big for
Mario to jump over, which are traveling around a narrow platform.  The cubes
will push you off the platform if you get in their way, so wait for the cube
to pass, then run forward.  Two rotating star-shaped platforms are the final
thing you must deal with after the cubes.  Just jump on one, then the other,
and to the platform with the shine.


There's a 1-Up above the second star platform.  Jump to get it.

Episode 6: The Secret of the Dirty Lake

This stage is divided into a lower half and an upper half.  You will begin on
the lower portion.  From the start, red and blue square platforms are the
first challenge.  Every second or so, all of a certain color of squares will
flip over, and the other color will flip over after those (all the red flip
over, all the blue flip over, and so on).  Jump onto a square color that has
just flipped, and wait for the other color to flip over.  Right after it
does, jump on a square of that color.  Continue this pattern of alternating
colors of square platforms until you get to the other side.  A star platform
is placed on this platform.  Here, you will see a glass-paned cube that looks
just like the one in the last stage.  To get on it, you can do a spinning
jump (rotate the control stick 360 degrees, and press the A button), or fall
onto the lower platform and perform a wall jump on the cube first, then the
wall to get on the cube.  When you land on it, it will begin to rotate, so
that the top of it will turn downward in a direction, meaning you must run to
the point where the next side of the cube will be upright.  Ride the cube
until you reach a platform with two red triangles that shoot across it.  Jump
over these, as they are there to push you off.  Then you must board another
cube.  This one will travel upward, and is similar to the one you were just
on, only it doesn't stay on a side that is completely upright for any length
of time, with the exception of the 1-Up.  It is usually at a slanted angle.
Remember to run against the cube's turns (it's tough to explain; I'm doing my
best).  When you reach the upper half, you'll see another challenge with the
square platforms.  There are many more of them to jump on, but the same
strategy applies.  Grab the shine on the other side.


The star platform right after the first set of flipping squares has a 1-Up on
the very center of it.

While riding the cube to the upper half, it'll level out at a certain point
and a 1-Up will be perched exactly on the cube.

Ricco Harbor

Episode 4: The Secret of Ricco Tower

Long wooden boards with colored spokes on them are what this stage is
primarily composed of.  The first section of these boards is lined up in a
straight line, but it isn't one long board.  It's three different ones that
must be jumped to when you get to the end of a board.  They slowly rotate, so
while you must run forward, you must also run against the turning motion to
remain on the upright portion.  This section is easy, and you'll come to a
big platform after it.  Three large green gears should now be visible, and
they are moving left to right, as well as rotating.  You must jump from one
to the other while not falling off.  Wait for a gear to be right in front of
you before you jump to it.  After that, you'll come to more boards, but this
time, instead of being vertically lined up, they are placed horizontally and
diagonally.  Seeing where the next board is will be the biggest challenge
here, and trying to stay on the top portion will be harder than ever.  Try to
travel the board the long way rather than running directly into the rotation.
You'll need to jump to the next board only when there's a section that isn't
slanted.  Continue taking the boards the long way until you reach the end.


After the first set of boards, do one wall jump on the wall to nab a 1-Up
that is in the air above the platform.

After the gears, the third board has a 1-Up on it.

Gelato Beach

Episode 1: Dune Bud Sand Castle Secret

Without question, this is the easiest of all the secret stages.  Nothing
about it is particularly challenging.  It is constructed almost entirely of
sand blocks that, when walked on, will disintegrate into nothing rather
quickly.  It takes them about a second to disappear.  A long trail of these
sand blocks leads up to a curiously shaped mound of them at the end, where
the shine waits.  At many points in the sand block path, you must jump to
another set of them, but you can run along them when they're placed in a long
row.  When you reach the mound at the end, jump to the top where the shine is
located.  I should warn you, however, that when you're collecting red coins
in this area, not to let too many sand blocks disintegrate.  You need some
nearby to jump to, as the coins are located on the corners.  The red blocks
in this area won't disintegrate, so they act as a safety point.


On top of the mound structure, there's a 1-Up opposite of the shine's
location.  It rests on a red block.

Pinna Park

Episode 2: The Beach Cannon's Secret

The first section of the stage is a large collection of squares, triangles,
and other shapes that all fit together.  A randomly selected shape will
darken until it's black, and then it disappears.  They vanish quickly, but
reappear at the same rate.  You must quickly jump off a darkening shape to
anther one.  After this part, there is a long platform that extends outward
with some goomba-like creatures at the end.  Ignore it, and focus your
attention on the four brown squares that are at different heights.  When you
jump on one, Mario automatically jumps upward.  This is a bit tricky, as you
must aim yourself while you're in the air.  Mario has a habit of jumping in a
direction on his own.  Once you reach the top, you'll see those darkening
blocks again, only this time they're placed in a line.  The first one will
disappear, and the one right next to it will then begin to disappear as well.
You must move as fast as possible to get to the end without the platforms
falling from beneath your feet.  These platforms are long, which means you
must move fast.  There are two sets of these shapes, and the second has a
right angle in it.  Jump and dive as much as possible to reach the shine.


There are three crates next to the bouncy brown squares.  Destroying the
center one yields a 1-Up.

At the third set of disappearing shapes with the right angle, a 1-Up is
located in the corner of the shape.

Episode 6: The Yoshi-Go-Round's Secret

Six spinning crates are the first part of this stage, which has a jumping
challenge for you.  They spin at various rates, but if you jump over them
rather than run across the crates, you'll be done in no time.  Now the main
part.  It involves four sets of cubes with Yoshi-egg (or cow spot) designs on
them.  There are four colors of cubes.  All the colors of a certain cube
travel along a path that forms a square.  The red color is on the outside,
and then green, then black, and then blue is the innermost cube.  You must
jump from cube to cube and ride a certain color that will take you to the
other side.  Don't stay on a cube if it travels into the structure in the
center that will push you off.  Get to the blue cube and ride it until it
passes through the central structure.  Now jump on the cubes again to get to
the next part.  On the other side, jump on the platform that takes you to the
large mass of reddish blocks at the final portion of this stage.  Then take
another cube that is moving around.  Your goal is to get on the tops of these
blocks and grab the shine; it is perched at the top of this area.  Getting up
there is pretty self-explanatory: just do jumps and wall jumps.


If you ride the blue cube long enough, you will acquire a 1-Up that is
sitting underneath the central structure in a certain spot.

While on the platform over after the Yoshi block challenge, you should notice
a stack of three blocks: a brick one, an ice one, and a watermelon one.
Spray the ice block until it's melted, then jump in its place and jump to
break the brick block.  A 1-Up will appear.

Sirena Beach

Episode 2: The Hotel Lobby's Secret

First, jump over to the platform with enemies on it, and jump up to the
higher platform.  Flying goomba-creatures are found at the next portion of
this stage.  To get from platform to platform in the first section, you
should jump right on the goomba's head.  When you do, Mario will
automatically do another jump and will get to the next platform.  Jump to the
platform with the brick blocks.  When Mario jumps up and hits them, they are
destroyed.  These should bring back memories of Super Mario Bros. and related
games.  Do wall jumps to break the higher ones and eventually get to the top.
A long row of sand blocks is next.  Jump and run on them, and change the
camera angle when necessary.  The direction of the sand blocks changes near
the end of this part.  Run across the top of the brick and watermelon blocks
and jump down to a yellow gear.  It rotates like the boards with spokes do.
The gear takes you to a pyramid of sand blocks.  Carefully get past it,
making sure not to let the blocks fall beneath your feet.  The shine is after
the pyramid.


Jump under the first brick block at the beginning of the stage.  It's the
first block you can get under, and enemies are nearby.

At the far end of the large collection of blocks right before the gear, smash
the three watermelon blocks.  The third contains a 1-Up.

Right after the sand blocks, jump down into the area with several ice blocks.
Spray and melt the first two, then wall jump to a 1-Up that is above you.
Change the camera to see it.

Episode 4: The Secret of Casino Delfino

On the first platform, two massive glass-paned cubes are moving around,
trying to push you off.  They're at least twice the size of such cubes you've
seen before.  Get past them and jump to a smaller cube.  Take it to the next
platform; it'll rotate around, as usual.  The next platform has many more
cubes, and it also has a gap in it.  The cubes move in even trickier
patterns, and you'll die if you get squished between two of them.  Wait for
them to clear away and reveal a path.  Take another cube to a section with
brown boards that move in and out of a wall.  They do not move back in the
wall completely, so you the platform won't sweep beneath your feet.  Jump to
each one, and then cross one of those boards with spokes.  For the final
part, you will now ride a massive cube, which will rotate around and move
forward to the platform with the shine.  Here's the tricky part: It can be
very difficult to tell which direction the cube is moving because of its size
and slow movement.  You want to assure that it will be as close to shine's
platform as possible because you have a big jump to make.  Change the camera
to an overhead view, or an angle that allows you to see where the cube is
situated.  Then jump on over when the cube just starts to regress.


On the second platform with all those huge cubes, you'll see a 1-Up on the
right side.  You must wait for the cubes to move away; otherwise you'll get
squished.  That particular location is one where two cubes come together.
The gap on this platform should be jumped over to the 1-Up's location.

The long wooden board has a 1-Up perched above it.  You'll have to do a
backflip jump to get it, as it is high up.

Noki Bay

Episode 6: The Shell's Secret

This stage is enormous.  It is the biggest and longest of them all, and
you've really got to focus if you want to get through.  You begin in a box
with a large pane of glass in the side.  Do a few wall jumps to escape.  Jump
on the rotating rectangular platform, then on a square one that rotates by
flipping.  Then there are some platforms that jut out of a wall.  They do not
regress entirely, however; a portion of them remains exposed.  Do a backflip
and a wall jump to reach them.  After jumping on three, you'll reach a pole.
Climb it up to an area where you'll see a sloped platform with arrows on it.
A bouncy rope is located at the base.  Do about three jumps on it so you can
get high enough and reach a high platform.  Now you'll do a series of wall
jumps in the next area.  I can't really explain it, but when you reach the
top, you will see those boards with spokes in them again.  After two of them,
a rotating contraption with platforms jutting out of it needs to be climbed.
Then, after one final wooden board that is angled upwards, you'll reach the


After getting out of the starting box and jumping past the rotating platform
and square, jump on the nail near the corner.  It's the sixth one in the
course.  Jump on the nail and fully pound it into the ground to get a 1-Up. 
(Thanks to Abraham Lewis for that 1-Up!)

While on the platform right before the first board, you'll see a torch in the
corner.  If you extinguish it, a 1-Up appears.  This one in particular will
start to move away, so grab it immediately!

Pianta Village

Episode 6: The Secret of the Village Underside

There are many Piantas in this stage, and they make this secret stage very
unique in the fact that your jumping skills will not be tested at all and
there are no moving platforms or anything of that sort.  Each Pianta is
called a "Chuckster" and will throw you when you talk to them.  The direction
you face while you talk to them is the direction you'll be thrown.  Some
throw you upwards.  All you will do is rely on them to throw you from
platform to platform.  Talk to the pink Pianta on the initial platform to get
to the area where there's a small orange Pianta and a larger one.  Talk to
the small one to throw you to the next platform; the larger one throws you
much too far.  Talk to the Pianta there and he'll throw you way up into a pen
filled with goombas.  They are constantly being regenerated, so don't try to
kill them.  Get to the next platform and wait for the Pianta here to walk to
the area that is right across from the shine's location.  Talk to him from
the right angle to finish this weird stage.


In the beginning, talk to the blue Pianta, who will throw you in the air
where a 1-Up is perched.  An arrow sign pointing upwards indicates its

While in the goomba pen, talk to the Pianta in there at an angle so that he
throws you to a platform that is nearby a long, bouncy rope (you may want to
look around with your camera).  Put out the fire on the burning Pianta's back
here, and he'll reward you with a 1-Up.

On the platform that is right before the shine, there's a platform opposite
the shine's location.  Talk to the Pianta when he comes by, and have him
throw you over there.  The 1-Up is high in the air, and is extremely
difficult to retrieve.  You must talk to the Pianta to throw you in the air.

IV.  Special Stages

Now onto the special stages.  I'll follow a similar format as before,
describing the stages and giving an episode title (I made up the ones in
Delfino Plaza to give you an idea of what I'm talking about).  Since many
have red coins, I'll tell you how to get them, as it isn't as clear how to
get red coins in special stages compared to secret stages.  But they
shouldn't be much trouble.  1-Ups and any other items will be covered as
well.  Since many special stages appear in Delfino Plaza, I'll briefly tell
you where the stage is located, as the game doesn't show you exactly and
there aren't episode titles there.  Directions are taken from Mario's
starting point in Delfino Plaza.

Delfino Plaza

The Slide Stage

This is located in the northeastern part of town, near the entrance to Gelato
Beach.  You'll see a series of island platforms in the water, and one has a
pipe on it.  Jump inside this pipe to begin.

As I have written, this is nothing but a big slide.  All you do is slide down
the slope to the shine that waits at the end.  Try not to get moving too
fast, as you could fall off.  Avoid the holes that are located at various
points of the slide, and instead of trying to slide down those narrow boards
to the shine at the end, just jump.  You'll be able to travel a long ways and
can skip those boards altogether.

The Pachinko Board Stage

In the middle of the plaza, where all the waterways are located, you should
see a boat that passes under a bridge which is on the eastern side of town.
Jump on top of this boat, and when it passes under the bridge, you should see
a hole, jump up and get inside it.  Or, using the rocket nozzle, get under
the hole by finding its black shadow, jump out of the water, and rocket

A large Pachinko board, which is some sort of a Japanese arcade game, is all
this special stage is.  The board is placed vertically, with five holes in it
and a red coin in each.  Many silver things that resemble nails have been
placed in the board, and they can be stood on, but they are very thin and you
must land on it exactly to avoid falling.  There is a small square that will
bounce you up into the board when you jump on it.  On the way up, you can
collect three red coins that are placed vertically together.  You can
slightly move yourself as you descend into the board, but not much.  If you
fall to the bottom of the board, you'll fall and die.  You must either land
where one of the other five red coins are located, or land in the very center
of the board.  You will then take a series of slides in the back of the board
that will take you back to the base where you started.  When you lean the
control stick to the left right after jumping on the square, you should get
the top-left red coin; using a similar strategy should net you the center red
coin.  The lower left and lower right red coins can be obtained by falling
into them from a higher location.  The top right red coin is vicious.  I
cannot tell you how many lives I lost in attempts to get it.  What I did to
get it was to do a spinning jump right as I hit the bouncy square, which
propelled me just enough to the right to nab the coin.  If you know of
another strategy, let me know.

The Turbo Nozzle Stage

You will need the turbo nozzle to enter this special stage.  If you head to
the center of Delfino Plaza and go to the area with the shine on the ground
(which is the entrance to Noki Bay), you should turn right, then left, and
you'll see a pair of yellow doors to the right.  Two Pianta policemen are
standing next to the doors.  Activate your turbo nozzle and smash through the

This is another brief stage.  At first glance, it looks simplistic, as it is
nothing but many platforms, but they are spread far apart and require the
turbo nozzle to reach them.  At the start, fire up your turbo nozzle and
simply shoot forward and jump right before falling off the platform.  If you
have enough speed, you will land on the first square platform.  But do not
stop when you land on it; you need your acceleration to continue onward, and
the platform isn't long enough to serve as a runway.  Continue doing this
technique for each platform until you reach a much larger platform with
sprinklers on it.  Use them to replenish your water if necessary.  Then
gather your speed again and continue until you reach the shine's platform.
Stop immediately when you land on it; you don't want to overshoot the

The Grass Meadow Stage

This is the only stage in the game that does not test your
jumping/maneuvering ability much at all, and there are no places where you
can fall off and die (with the exception of one hole).  It's that easy -
you're just here to collect eight red coins.  It is a large square platform
that has grass and a few trees growing on it, and it also has some Piantas in
the stage.  I'll list out how to get the red coins, as each one is its own
little challenge:

1. Using your spray nozzle, extinguish the fire on the running Pianta's back.
2. Hose down the red bird in the sky.  It can usually be seen flying around
the brown block structure.
3. A red coin is perched on top of the block structure.
4. In the area furthest from the blocks, you'll see a watermelon block (use
the overhead view).  Smash it, and readjust the camera so you can see
yourself walk around and find the coin, as well as to avoid a pit.

The final four red coins are obtained by killing four enemies.  Each one is
placed at a corner in the level, and you get one coin for each.

The Poisonous Waterway Stage

It takes a long time to enter this stage.  Its pipe is located way out on an
island at the far south end of the water.  However, yellow goop covers the
pipe, which requires fruit juice to dissolve it, so you'll need Yoshi.
Remember:  Yoshi cannot come into contact with water.  Give him the desired
fruit and board the boat that travels under the bridge.  It'll take you to an
island in the western edge of the area.  A different boat will come by this
island; board it.  Ride this boat until you reach the wooden structure with
some bananas on it.  One final boat will come by this structure.  Get on that
boat, and it'll take you to the island with the pipe; spray the goop and get
in the pipe.

A type of waterway, with brownish colored water running through it, is what
this special stage is.  The water is extremely toxic; in fact, poison is more
likely what the substance is.  The instant you touch it, you die.  Eight red
coins have been placed along this waterway, and you will see a lilypad at the
beginning.  Jump on it and it will begin to move forward.  The first four red
coins are easy to get, as they are in a straight line.  By the fourth coin,
however, the current has picked up and your lilypad will not move in a
straight line.  In the event that you miss a red coin, you're supposed to be
out of luck, but you can actually leave the lilypad and hover over to the
edge of the waterway, which can be walked on.  Now slowly walk along the side
until you return to where you started, where another lilypad awaits.
Continue until you get all eight red coins, with one that you must jump to


Near the seventh red coin in the air is a 1-Up hovering above the poison.

Gelato Beach

Episode 4: The Sand Bird Is Born

A bird shaped out of sand blocks, covered in regular (yellow) and seven red
coins, slowly ascends higher as it travels around a central pillar in this
particular stage.  These sand blocks will not disintegrate.  You begin on a
cloud, but the sand bird is hardly a jump away.  When you land on it, you may
notice that the bird's body undulates, and some wind is present, so be
careful as you gather the seven red coins on its body.  Red coin number eight
is not on the bird; it is perched on the top of the central pillar.  You must
wait for the sand bird to fly high enough so you can get it.  Before you get
there, however, the bird will begin to do some stunts while flying.  It'll
flap its wings and will turn its whole body sideways.  Stand on the bird's
neck and walk to the upright portion of it so you don't fall off during this
maneuver.  It'll eventually resume its initial position.


One of the clouds in this level has a 1-Up on it.  It appears early on in the
stage, so don't let it get away from you.

I should also mention that there are three blue coins in this stage.  Each
one is on a cloud that you'll want to keep a lookout for.

Noki Bay

Episode 3: Red Coins in a Bottle

Mario is required to wear that demeaning fish-bowl contraption on his head in
this stage.  The stage is a bottle filled with water and, obviously, eight
red coins.  While wearing the fish bowl that is supposed to serve as an
oxygen mask, Mario's controls change.  You now use the hover nozzle to propel
yourself upward and downward, and the spray nozzle to move yourself left and
right.  Keep an eye on your oxygen meter, and collect coins to replenish it.
It may be slightly difficult with the new controls as you collect the red
coins, but with a little practice it won't be too bad.  The red coins are all
clearly visible.

V.  Legal/Contact Information

This may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal,
private use.  It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
publicly without advance written permission.  Use of this guide on any other
web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a
violation of copyright.

Before you send an e-mail, please remember that this guide only covers the
secret and special stages, and does not cover anything else about the game
(making it an in-depth guide).  E-mails about any other aspect of Super Mario
Sunshine will not be answered.

If you wish to contact me, you can at kramar@prodigy.net.  I won't answer an e-
mail that asks for information already provided in the guide.  If you know of
a major stage characteristic or 1-Up I've missed, e-mail me and I'll consider
including it in the guide and you'll receive credit.

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