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In Super Mario 64, I'm able to fly with the Wing Cap. I'm having trouble gaining altitude though. (I'm trying to get the star in the Wing Cap course, and it's hard to get the coins that are higher than my initial altitude, since I can't fly up.)

How can I make Mario go higher while he's flying?

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On the Wing Cap Course, if you turn right as soon as you gain control, you'll see a coin path leading to a coin ring, in the center of which is the first pair of red coins. The path spirals down and around the tower, leading you through three more coin rings with two red coins each. If you follow this path all the way down, you should be able to get all the red coins before you ever touch down. If you miss any of the first six coins, you might as well ground pound to your death; you won't be getting back up there any other way. –  75th Trombone Aug 30 '11 at 3:09
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Gaining altitude with the Wing Cap can be accomplished several ways.

Your initial height is achieved by launching yourself with a triple-jump or by firing yourself from a cannon; the cannon can naturally get you much higher than a triple-jump can. You may also be able to use whirlwinds in certain stages, but it's been long enough that I can't recall.

Once you're airborne, you can gain addition height by swooping. Push forward on the stick in order to dive, then pull back again once you've built up a little speed. It takes some practice, but once you've gotten used to diving and then smoothly ascending again, you'll find you can gradually increase your altitude. The real trick is gaining enough altitude before the Wing Cap runs out of time.

Practice makes perfect! Good luck!

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