Super Mario 64 The Missing Stars is the first official major ROM hack of Super Mario 64 ever created. It was initially released in April 2009 and contains 38 Stars.
In terms of difficulty, it is relatively straightforward, and in terms of length, it is quite short and not very cryptic. It is also one of the most unique hacks, making use of a large number of interesting and unique gimmicks in every one of its "levels". The format of the hack is also different, as most of the stars are not found in standard courses, but in small overworld areas. These areas are all large, flat areas with objects such as platforms put into them, which Mario or Luigi must traverse to reach Stars or coins.
This hack strives on changes during gameplay and progression through the hack. Oddly, the camera seems to focus on the center of the level when on Lakitu Cam, so using the Mario perspective is recommended. Beware that the various pipes and sections will change the camera. On a side note, the character selection and the final boss both require use of the directional pad, specifically the left and right inputs; because of this, you may need to ensure that you have these controls mapped.
The first noticeable change in the hack proper, past the title screen, is the ability to play as either Mario or Luigi. The character can be changed on the file select screen using the D-pad.
One of the most unique factors of this hack is the use of a dynamic day/night system. When Mario or Luigi transitions between parts of the overworld about five times, the time of day will change. This not only changes the aesthetics, but also changes the availability of some stars. The amount of stars that can be obtained during night and day are usually even, with some stars being obtainable during both. During the day, there are also fewer enemies and plenty of NPCs that Mario can interact with. Most of these give vital hints to where stars are and take the forms of various enemies, such as Goombas, Shy Guys, and Piranha Plants. At night, the layout is darker, enemies appear across the worlds, and mini bosses will appear. There are also two secret cap switches.
The levels are also handled uniquely. Besides the overworld areas and stars, there are two more levels which are handled similarly to normal Super Mario 64 levels. In Super Mario 64 and most other hacks of the game, most stars can be obtained out of order, during any mission. In Missing Stars, this is the opposite; most missions will change the entire layout of levels, adding or removing stars, blocks, and other objects. For the overworld stars, most require some sort of platforming challenge, but don't take long and are easy to get. Additionally, the main HUD display now includes a counter for stars in the overworld areas, barring those with an act selection screen.
The enemies in the game were also made more powerful and difficult to defeat. The Goombas' speed has been increased, and they now deal three points of damage on contact as opposed to one. Bob-ombs now instantly explode on contact and deal four points of damage. The mini bosses were also made more challenging, as they take more hits and some have extra abilities. Additionally, during the final battle, there are no bombs to throw Bowser into; Mario or Luigi must use fireballs instead.
The music has also been customized, as many tracks have been replaced with songs from other games, and different songs are used for the day and night versions of some areas. Most of the songs played at night, however, are used in more than one area.
A Goomba and a Piranha Plant tell Mario or Luigi that the Power Star was broken into 38 shards by Bowser, and were then spread across the land and town. These shards look identical to actual stars. This time, almost every resident wants to restore the star, including Goombas, Bob-ombs, and Piranha Plants, though there are still some evil ones out there. When Mario or Luigi collects about 4 stars, Princess Peach and Yoshi will appear to inform Mario of the troubles Bowser has been causing, as well as provide some hints.
When Mario or Luigi collects all 38 stars and recreates the Power Star, he learns that Bowser apparently stole it right out of the residents' hands, giving him even more power and easy ruling over the Mushroom Kingdom. However, it seems Peach has created a special fire suit, which allows Mario or Luigi to throw fireballs in order to defeat Bowser and restore peace to the Mushroom Kingdom.
|Name of level||Level(s) replaced||Location||Number of Stars available||Notes|
|Main City Area||Bob-omb Battlefield, Castle Grounds and Castle Interior||Starting point||6||The game always starts in this area. Selecting "Exit Course" from the pause menu will return you to this area.|
|House Interior||The Princess's Secret Slide||Near starting point||1||There are two ways to access this level: the front door, and a pipe on a floating platform. The pipe leads to an area with the Wing Cap switch and the area's only star.|
|Koopa's House||Whomp's Fortress||East of Main City Area||4|
|Outside City Area||Jolly Roger Bay||South of Main City Area||5||At least 4 Stars are necessary to gain entry to this level.|
|Abandoned Shack||Cool, Cool Mountain||North of Main City Area||3|
|Windy Temple||Tall, Tall Mountain||In the Abandoned Shack||2||This level can be entered by standing next to a lone mushroom. The Metal Cap switch is also found here.|
|The Undergrounds||Hazy Maze Cave||Through a pipe in Outside City Area||3|
|Inside the Volcano||Lethal Lava Land||Through a pipe in the Undergrounds||7|
|Secret Woods||Tiny-Huge Island||On the opposite side of the Outside City Area||7|
|Bowser in the Sky||N/A||Inside the House Interior||0||Once all 38 stars are collected, a pipe will appear in the House Interior leading to the final Bowser battle. In this battle, there are no bombs to throw Bowser into; instead, Mario or Luigi must throw fireballs at Bowser to deal damage.|
|Name of sequence||Game(s) with this sequence||Sequence replaced||Used in|
|Good Egg Galaxy||Super Mario Galaxy||Start Screen||Start Screen|
|Closed Garden||Seiken Densetsu 3||File Select||File Select screen|
|Moo Moo Farm/Yoshi Valley||Mario Kart 64||Title Theme||Main City Area (Day)|
|Original music by Messiaen||N/A||Toad's Message||Main City Area (Night)/Secret Woods (Night)|
|Piranha Plant's Lullaby||Super Mario 64||None||Koopa's House (Night)/House Interior|
|Athletic||Super Mario Bros. 3||Haunted House||Koopa's House (Day)|
|Butter Building||Kirby's Adventure||Slider||Koopa the Quick's Race|
|Forest Maze||Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars||Snow Mountain||Abandoned Shack (Day)|
|Milk Bar||The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask||Merry-Go-Round||Abandoned Shack (Night)|
|Looping Steps||Super Mario 64||None||Windy Temple|
|Zelda's Lullaby||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time||Inside the Castle Walls||Outside City Area (Day)|
|Boss Theme B||Star Fox 64||Dire, Dire Docks||Outside City Area (Night)|
|Boss Theme||Zelda II: Adventure of Link||Koopa's Theme||The Undergrounds|
|Lethal Lava Land||Super Mario 64||None||Inside the Volcano|
|Flower Field||Yoshi's Island DS||Bob-omb Battlefield||Secret Woods (Day)|