Mario may be short, but he's not short on starring roles in cherished Nintendo videogames. The iconic mascot's long resume features some of the greatest platformers to ever grace any home console or handheld, including hits like Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine - the latter of which was met by mixed critical reaction. The funny thing is, for its few flaws - a sometimes-troublesome camera and unpredictable framerate, not to mention some of the worst secondary character designs we've seen - Sunshine was still a remarkable game. In fact, as far as platformers go, it was unequaled on GameCube. And yet, as a follow-up to Mario 64, which simultaneously brought Mario to the third dimension and revolutionized the genre, it felt anticlimactic. Some gamers compared Mario 64 to the original Super Mario Bros. and Sunshine to Super Mario Bros 2, a sequel that, while very good, wasn't everything it could've been. Well, if that's the case, let us humbly submit Super Mario Galaxy as Wii's very own version of Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World. Just as these classics were the pinnacles of 2D platforming in their respective eras, so is Mario's trek through space and beyond the pinnacle of three-dimensional run-and-jump gameplay. Galaxy would seem to be the odd duck of Nintendo's 3D Mario trilogy. Both Sunshine and Mario 64 before it took place on land and water and not within the depths of space. But when you really compare and contrast the three games, you quickly discover that Galaxy and not Sunshine has more in common with the Nintendo 64 classic. It's not just some gimmicky marketing term designed to boost sales - Galaxy really does feel like the "spiritual sequel' to Mario 64. Take, for example, the setting and characters. In Sunshine, Mario journeyed to Isle Delfino and met up with the very lame Pianta, big-nosed characters whose heads sprouted trees (don't ask because we don't know). Save for more traditional (and rare) bonus stages, the majority of levels in the GCN game featured an island motif and many of the places and faces from the Mushroom Kingdom were nowhere to be found. Not so in Galaxy. Although Mario does indeed soar over planets and floats between stars, he also visits locales seemingly ripped directly from previous outings. You will see recognizable characters, levels, upgrades and challenges, yes, but you will also jump, swing, glide, and fly your way through an overwhelming amount of completely new scenarios and objectives. It is a marriage of old and new - a theme that extends beyond presentation and into the gameplay mechanics - but we'll get to that.