While most of the expansions for the original Crash Bandicoot were standalone adventures with a series of puzzles to solve, the sequel Spiro brought a lot more to the table. Gone was the traditional pick-up-and-play of the first game and in its place was a much more structured narrative that drove the gameplay experience forward. One of the defining elements of the game was its setting – the whole game takes place in a living, breathing metropolis called Metro City, which was inspired by London and Paris, and you’ll find plenty of London and Parisian influences within its streets.
If you ever played the original Crash Bandicoot, you’ll be familiar with the game’s opening cutscenes, which are set in London. One of the best things about Spiro is that it takes place in the same universe, so you’ll see a lot of familiar faces and locations within the game. The most prominent of these is the Baker Street station, which was also featured in the opening cutscenes of Crash, and you can walk the entire length of the game and see everything from a different perspective. In Spiro, Baker Street is now called “Brucie”, which is short for “Brainie”, one of the playable characters. You can take a quick trip down memory lane by visiting the Baker Street tourist office and picking up a free map of the locations where you played as Brucie. You can also take the tube there and get off at the right stop.
The Eiffel Tower is probably the most emblematic structure of Paris, France, and it’s one of the first images that may pop up in your head when you think of Spiro. You can walk to the top of the tower and get a great view of the entire city, including the Seine and Notre Dame Cathedral. The best thing about this location is that you can climb to the top of the tower and look down upon a very long lever, which can be used to move the iron fences that surround the tower. Pull the lever to the right, and the whole top half of the tower will rotate open like a door, giving you access to the walkway that leads to the top.
The Notre Dame Cathedral
The spire of the Notre Dame cathedral can be climbed for an excellent view of Paris, and it’s often one of the first images that pop up in your head when you think of Spiro. You can look out over the city and see the Eiffel Tower sitting in the middle of it all. Notre Dame itself is an incredible structure that was, until the year 2019, the tallest building in Paris. In Spiro, you can use a nitro boost to pass under the archway and gain access to the tower’s spire. Once you’re at the top, you can pull the lever to the right to see the inside of the building.
The Shard Building
Located in the South Bank of the River Thames, the Shard is an incredible piece of modern architecture that juts out over the river like a needle, which is how it got its name from the architect who designed it. There is a lift that takes you to the top of it for a bird’s-eye view of London, but be careful not to rush – it only takes ten seconds to reach the top, and it’s a zero-gravity ride that will give you a great panoramic view of the entire city. It’s definitely a place you should visit at least once in your life. You can get there by train from Waterloo station or by tube from Southwark station.
The London Eye
The London Eye is a circular observation deck on top of the iconic and giant red rollercoaster wheel, with an area known as The London Eye Park between the blades. From here you can take in a 360-degree view of the city and it’s landmarks with the Eye’s restaurant serving light bites and alcoholic drinks. The London Eye offers a unique perspective on the city and it’s one of the first images that may pop up in your head when you think of Spiro. You can also take the tube to the top of the Eye and get off at the right stop for an unforgettable view of the city.
These are just a few of the most prominent locations within the game. There are also smaller details that you can find throughout the city that are also iconic – just look for the green goblin caricature near the railway tracks and you’ll know what I mean.
One of the most memorable sequences in the original Crash Bandicoot is when you play as Crash and have to disassemble various mechanical parts to gain access to a hidden area. What makes this sequence so special is that when you complete it successfully, you see the bandicoot wearing prosthetic limbs instead of its usual outfit. If you run out of lives, you’ll see the bandicoot without its limbs and you’ll have to start all over again. This is just one of the many examples of how much the gameplay loop was changed for the better by Spiro. The level of difficulty wasn’t as high as most modern games, and yet it was challenging enough to keep players engaged without resorting to cheap gimmicks like grinding (repeating the same pattern over and over to gain better results).
While most of the city’s inhabitants were busy preparing for the new millennium, the gyms of London were opening their doors to a whole new breed of trainers. It was in one of these gyms where you’d find the eponymous Gymkhana, whose motto is “Riding Light Into The New Millennium”. It was also in one of these gyms where you’d find an NPC by the name of Jimmy Greene, who’d be appearing as a commentator for the local bike races. He was looking for enthusiastic cyclists who wanted to take part in the upcoming New Year’s Day races. What made these races special was that the bikes were not your ordinary 2-wheelers but were instead powered by an internal combustion engine and hub dynamo. This made them illegal to drive on public roads, but that didn’t stop the racers from taking them out for some exercise during the week.
While on the subject of illegal motorbikes, let’s not forget about the Red Runners, an infamous gang that specialized in motorbikes that operated in the streets of London in the 1980s. The name “Red” refers to the color of their leather jackets, which were actually a dark shade of red. They were infamous for their aggressive driving and for the fact that they’d often times attack other bikers as well. If you fall under their murderous gaze, they’ll often shoot you without hesitation just to keep you from getting up again. A man named Tommy Vickers was responsible for starting the whole Red Runner phenomenon in London – he’d been convicted of manslaughter, was released from prison, and went on a crime spree that included a number of murders. The case also caused outrage when it was discovered that the police had been bribed to overlook Vickers’ activities. There were even calls for the official police helicopter to be retired and replaced with a bird that wasn’t controlled by a human pilot.
One of the most interesting aspects of Spiro is that while most of the levels are set in a city that looks like it came straight from a video game, a lot of historical sights and locations can be found hidden in its streets. In the case of Metro Speedway, this is a level based upon the old Olympic stadium, which was one of the first buildings that was constructed for the 2012 London Olympics. If you’re looking for classic British cuisine or want to experience a traditional English wedding, there are a number of venues that you can visit in London for the occasion. The most prominent of these is the wedding venue ‘Handel House’, which is located in the heart of London’s West End. If you’re looking for a more contemporary feel, you can check out the Cardiff Castle. This edifice, located within Wales, was the headquarters of the international law firm Allen & Allen until it closed down in 2017. Although the firm is no longer in existence, the building has maintained its original function as a castle, and you can still make use of this majestic structure as a wedding venue.
There are a lot of exciting things happening in London right now, and it’s definitely worth planning a trip to check them all out. One of the best ways to get around is on foot, and you can start your itinerary by visiting the London City Guide for more information on where to stay and what to do. You can get there by tube, bus, or on foot; the location is your own sweet discretion.