Shifting Sand Land

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Shifting Sand Land
Shifting Sand Land 64.png 
How to unlock Defeating Bowser in the Dark World 
Boss(es) Eyerok 
Level(s) Super Mario 64
In the Talons of the Big Bird
Shining Atop the Pyramid
Inside the Ancient Pyramid
Stand Tall On the Four Pillars
Free Flying For 8 Red Coins
Pyramid Puzzle

Super Mario 64 DS
In the Talons of the Big Bird
Shining Atop the Pyramid
Inside the Ancient Pyramid
Stand Tall On the Four Pillars
Tox Box Switch Star
Pyramid Puzzle
Free Flying For 8 Red Coins
Stars Super Mario 64:
Star SM64.pngStar SM64.pngStar SM64.pngStar SM64.pngStar SM64.pngStar SM64.png
Super Mario 64 DS:
Star SM64DS.pngStar SM64DS.pngStar SM64DS.pngStar SM64DS.pngStar SM64DS.pngStar SM64DS.pngStar SM64DS.png
Map of Shifting Sand Land in Super Mario 64 DS.

Shifting Sand Land is a desert-based portrait world appearing in Super Mario 64 and its remake, Super Mario 64 DS. It is the eighth course in both games. It can be found in the basement of the castle, although the entrance to it is disguised as a wall instead of a portrait. This level is called the Shifting Sand Land due to the fact that much of its ground terrain appears to be a type of quicksand. This course is the first one to have its entrance disguised as a wall; it is followed by Snowman's Land. Four Pillars stick out of the ground at different points in the level. Three of these pillars can be reached via sand, while the other one is surrounded by quicksand and must be reached with the Wing Cap or Koopa Shell. The most prominent feature of the level is the great pyramid in the center. Three Power Stars are found inside the pyramid. One of these is in the possession of Eyerok, an ancient spirit which lives inside the pyramid. Eyerok serves as the boss of the level.

Other notable locations include a small oasis (consisting of a palm tree, a small pool of water, and one Red Coin) located in the corner of the stage. A stone gazebo can be found near the beginning of the level, under which are two Goombas and on top of which is a Red ! Block (? Block in the DS version), a Koopa Shell in a Yellow ! Block, and a Star Marker. There is also a maze path which rests on top of quicksand and is traveled on by rolling Tox Boxes. This maze is one of a few ways to traverse from the east to the west side of the level. Other ways include a Wing Cap, a Cannon hidden in the maze of the Tox Boxes, and the Crazed Crate at the beginning of the level.

The level also features the first appearance of Klepto the vulture; (in the Nintendo 64 version, this was Klepto's only appearance, but the DS version had him in multiple levels). Shifting Sand Land is the only course in Super Mario 64, along with Tall, Tall Mountain, where Mario can lose his cap without the help of the wind.


The level titles and numbers correspond to Super Mario 64 unless otherwise noted.

Star 1: In the Talons of the Big Bird[edit]

Mario meeting Klepto.

This level is the same in both Super Mario 64 and its remake, Super Mario 64 DS. While exploring the area, Mario will come to see a large vulture, Klepto, holding a Power Star in its claws. To snatch the Star from its claws, Mario can climb a pillar and wait the buzzard flying over him to do a jump and take away the Star. Other way to obtain the star consists of taking the Wing Cap to reach Klepto when it's flying high. Once the buzzard is hit, the Star will float over to the left side of the pyramid's main entrance.

It is possible to complete all subsequent stars (other than Pyramid Puzzle in the DS remake) by playing on this star. By doing so, Klepto will be holding the star the whole time, and as such, will not attack the player.

Names in other languages
Language Name Meaning
Japanese いたずらハゲたかジャンゴ
Itazura hagetaka Jango
Teasing Vulture Klepto
French Dans les griffes du vautour In the clutches of the vulture
Korean 장고야!장난하냐?
Jango ya! Jangnanhanya?
Klepto! Are You Teasing Me?
Chinese 还给我星星 秃鹫[1]
Huángěiwǒ Xīngxīng Tūjiù
Return The Star To Me, Vulture

Star 2: Shining Atop the Pyramid[edit]

Shining Atop the Pyramid.PNG

The next star requires Mario to get on to the pyramid. This can be achieved by either using a Wing Cap, using a Koopa Shell, or using the Ramp on the far side of the course by long jumping. Mario must walk on the platforms around the Pyramid to get up to the platform at the top of the Pyramid. The Star is located in a small alcove.

Names in other languages
Language Name Meaning
Japanese ピラミッドの てっぺんで
Piramiddo no teppen de
At the Top of the Pyramid
French Au sommet de la pyramide At the top of the pyramid
Korean 피라미드꼭대기에서
Piramideu kkokdaegi eseo
At the Top of the Pyramid
Chinese 金字塔顶的闪光[1]
Jīnzìtǎ Dǐng de Shǎn'guāng
The Flash On Top Of The Pyramid

Star 3: Inside the Ancient Pyramid[edit]

Mario in the pyramid.

Mario needs to enter the pyramid through the main entrance. To get to the entrance, Mario needs to cross the quicksand and go around the course to the pyramid. Then go up the small ramp. He can also fly over the cage-fence by the pyramid to get in.

Once inside, Mario has to go up in the pyramid to reach the Power Star. Mario can go around the perimeter of the inside, or fall into quicksand. On his way, there is a platform surrounded by the quicksand. Mario must jump from there and to the next platform, or get stuck. Afterwords, he will have to go up the stairs and move on right, crossing enemies and even walking across a Grindel. Then he will come up to a bar that must be climbed up to reach the next floor. Once up, Mario should continue on and climb across the cage-bars nearby, leading to large stairs. Then, Mario will meet a large, rolling enemy which he can jump over or hide in a space in the wall to avoid. Once passed, Mario will go up the moving platforms and go across the narrow walkway, then go up a bar and climb it. Mario will then see another Grindel, whom he will have to go under, and then go up the ramp. The star will be there and Mario can finally grab it.

Names in other languages
Language Name Meaning
Japanese きょだいピラミッドのないぶ
Kyodai piramiddo no naibu
Inside of the Huge Pyramid
French Dans l'ancienne pyramide In the old pyramid
Korean 거대피라미드내부
Geodae Piramideu Naebu
Inside of the Huge Pyramid
Chinese 法老的珍宝[1]
Fǎlǎo de Zhēnbǎo
The Pharaoh's Treasure

Star 4: Stand Tall On the Four Pillars[edit]

Mario on one of the pillars.

In this mission, Mario must stand over the four pillars surrounding the pyramid. To do so, the plumber needs to be Wing Mario or use the Koopa Shell to reach at least two of the pillars over a pool of quicksand. The other two pillars can be reached by just running onto them. After Mario has stood atop all the pillars, the top of the pyramid will collapse, revealing another entrance which Mario then enters. This entrance will lead the plumber to the chamber where the fourth Power Star awaits.

However, the star cannot be gained yet because Mario has to fight against Eyerok, the monster of the pyramid. In battle, Eyerok will attempt to push Mario off the platform into a Bottomless Pit, or even try crushing him with its rock hands. Mario must hit Eyerok's eyes three times each to destroy him and gain the power star.

An unintended shortcut exists in this level. Mario must go on the platform near the sand duct. He must fall down in the center of the side with the quicksand. If the player tilts the control stick towards the screen, Mario can access the hole that leads to Eyerok. In the DS version, Luigi can make another "shortcut" by going into the normal entrance of the pyramid and then backflip to the orange block to fight the hands. Also, Yoshi can make use of the flame seen in Eyerok's battlefield to attack the boss, or he can also use kicks. In addition, Wario only needs to hit Eyerok's eyes twice.

Names in other languages
Language Name Meaning
Japanese 4つのはしらにたつものへ
Yottsu no hashira ni tatsu mono e
Dear whom stands on the 4 pillars
French Les quatre piliers de la foi The four pillars of faith
Korean 4개의기둥에올라선자
4 gae ui gidung e ollaseon ja
The Person Standing on the Four Pillars
Chinese 立于四柱之巅[1]
Lì yú Sìzhù zhī Diān
Stand on Top of the four Pillars

Star 5: Free Flying For 8 Red Coins (N64)/7 (DS)[edit]

Free Flying For 8 Red Coins.PNG
The DS version of Shifting Sand Land.

For this mission, Mario must pick up the eight Red Coins scattered throughout the level. All of these coins are in the desert surrounding the pyramid. The first coin is located near Mario's starting point. He must walk a narrow path, taking care not to fall into the quicksand. The second coin is found inside a Brick Block beneath the raised stone platform near the beginning of the level. Mario must break the block to obtain the coin. The third coin is located in the pit of the Tox Boxes. The fourth coin is underwater in a pool on the side of the pyramid opposite where Mario begins the level. The remaining four coins are in the air. Mario must become Wing Mario to obtain these. It is helpful to launch Mario from the four pillars at each corner of the pyramid, creating a good distance from the desired coin. Once Mario has obtained all of the Red Coins in the level, the Star will appear on top of the raised stone platform where Mario found the second coin.

This level is the same in both Super Mario 64 and its remake; however, in Super Mario 64 DS, only Mario can be used as he is the only playable character who can fly. It is also possible to complete the mission with Luigi's backflip. It was moved to Star 7 instead of being Star 5.

Names in other languages
Language Name Meaning
Japanese とびまわれ 8まいコイン
Tobimaware hachi mai koin
Fly high, 8 Coins
French Vol vers les pièces rouges Flight toward the red coins
Korean 날아올라!코인8개
Naraolla! Koin 8 gae
Fly high! Eight Coins
Chinese 为了8枚红色硬币自由飞翔[1]
Wèile 8-méi Hóngsè Yìngbì Zìyóu Fēixiáng
Fly freely for the 8 Red Coins

Star 5: Tox Box Switch Star (DS)[edit]

SM64DS Shifting Sand Land Star 5.png

In this Super Mario 64 DS-exclusive mission, Wario is required to break a hard Brick Block located near to the Cannon in the trap of Tox Boxes, where he reveals a Star Switch beneath the block. As Wario has the lowest speed stats among Yoshi, Luigi and Mario, the red or green-capped plumbers are the best options to reach the Power Star. Once pressed the switch, the Star appears in the Star Sphere located right after the pit of the Tox Boxes and the oasis. In order to reach the Star, Mario can hit a red ? Block to obtain a Feather and become Wing Mario, then using the cannon near to the switch to fly directly to the spot where the Power Star lies before it disappears. The player can also flutter jump over the Tox Boxes as Yoshi to the star or long jump. To reach the star with Wario himself, when the Star Switch is pressed, the player have to walk to the plate on the opposite of the cannon underneath the item block which can teleport them near a palm tree near the Star, where Klepto is with the oasis.

In the DS remake, this level replaces Free Flying for 8 Red Coins as Star 5.

Names in other languages
Language Name Meaning
Japanese オニマスクンの スイッチスター
Onimasukun no suicchi sutā
The Switch Star of Tox Box
Korean 되도깨비의스위치스타
Doedokkaebi ui seuwichi seuta
The Switch Star of Tox Box
Chinese 鬼面的开关星星[1]
Guǐmiàn de Kāiguān Xīngxīng
Switch Star of the Ghost Face

Star 6: Pyramid Puzzle[edit]

Mario in the pyramid.

This mission takes place inside the pyramid. Mario must go up in the pyramid to find five spots marked by a Coin. Two of these spots are platforms near a sand duct, below where the third Power Star was found. Following the sand path, other three spots are located in a duct where the sand moves to the sand pit of the first floor. If Mario manages to collect the coins in each spot, the Star will appear at the end of the sand duct. In Super Mario 64 DS, Silver Stars mark these spots and the Star Sphere appears at the sand duct's end. As Luigi, the player can spin from one coin to another, avoiding the sand. Also, one location was changed, so that when the player gets to the very top, they can collect the Silver Star before falling. Other than that, the mission is the same as it is in the original.

Names in other languages
Language Name Meaning
Japanese きょだいピラミッドのナゾ
Kyodai piramiddo no nazo
Riddle of the Huge Pyramid
French Énigme de la pyramide Enigma of the pyramid
Korean 피라미드의수수께끼
Piramideu ui susukkekki
Riddle of the Huge Pyramid
Chinese 金字塔之谜[1]
Jīnzìtǎ zhī Mí
Puzzle of the Pyramid


Map of the Pyramid in Super Mario 64 DS.
Eyerok's room within the Pyramid.

Inside the Pyramid are numerous levels and enemies. There are enemies both unique to this course and ones found in other courses. Unique enemies include Grindels and Spindels. Common ones are Amps and Goombas. Using conventional methods, it can be quite difficult to reach the power star at the highest reaches of the pyramid, considering that if one falls, they must start all over again. Occupying a large portion of the center of the pyramid is a large body of shifting sand. In the center of this body of sand is a structure with a passage leading to Eyerok's platform.

The music played when inside the pyramid is the Cave Dungeon theme, the theme used in Hazy Maze Cave and Wet-Dry World. However, unlike Hazy Maze Cave and Wet-Dry World, where a different variation of the theme is played depending on where Mario is, both variations of the theme are played simultaneously. This music is shared with the igloo in Snowman's Land and Wiggler's Cave in Tiny-Huge Island.


Statistics from Super Mario 64[edit]

  • Total Number of coins: 136
  • Caps Found: Wing Cap (3)
  • Spinning Heart: Inside the pyramid, on the fourth level, after the rolling stone, and before the raising and falling platforms.
  • Cannons: 1
  • 1-Up Mushrooms (9):
    • Homing Mushroom : #1 In the tree near the lake.
    • Static Mushroom : #2 Floating in air above quicksand right after the start point. #3 Over the hill left of the start point, next to the big chain fence. #4 Inside the pyramid, above Grindel on the left path. #5 Inside the pyramid, above the metal hanging grill near the Amp.
    • Triggered Mushroom : #6 Inside the pyramid, appears after the player steps on all five platforms on the quicksand at the back of the pyramid.
    • Box Mushroom : #7 On the pyramid near the entrance. #8 Inside the pyramid at the end of the left path. #9 Inside the pyramid, on the back. Can be seen from #8.
  • Warps:
    • Standing under the palm tree next to the small oasis warps will warp Mario near the cannon on the metal platform above the quicksand.
    • Standing just to the right of the hole in the pyramid's second floor (at the top of the pole) warps Mario to the top of the metal hanging grille. This is meant to be one-way, but can be reversed by standing on the slightly higher edge [2].

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese あっちっちさばく
Acchicchi sabaku
Hot Hot Desert
Spanish Arenas Ardientes Burning Sands
French Sables Trop Mouvants Too Quicksands (pun on "too quick sands" and "quicksands").
German Wobiwaba Wüste Wobiwaba Desert
Italian Deserto Ingoiatutto All-swallowing Desert
Korean 앗뜨거!사막
At-tteugeo! Samak
Ahh-Hot! Desert
Chinese 酷热沙漠[1]
Kùrè Shāmò
Extremely Hot Desert


  • The golf course Shifting Sands, which appeared in Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, may have been based on this level. The area also appears in the Mario Party 6 minigame "Pokey Punch-out," complete with Klepto in the background.
  • The Blue Coin Switch inside the pyramid produces three blue coins. This is the only blue coin switch in the game that produces exactly three, instead of four. However, in the DS version, it was changed to four.
  • Pyramid Puzzle is the only Silver Star challenge in the game that does not have "Silver Star(s)" in the title.
  • The pyramids in the background are actually based on the Great Pyramid of Giza.
  • The name of the level may be a reference to the "Shifting Sands", one of the magical, impassable deserts in L. Frank Baum's Oz books.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h From the score sheetMedia:SM64DS course list in Chinese.png and the star menu of Super Mario 64 DS as localized by iQue.
  2. ^