War sphinxes were immensely powerful war machines used by Forerunner Warrior-Servants. Classified as midsize fighting suits, war sphinxes were versatile combat vehicles allowing an individual Warrior to operate seamlessly in space, air or a planetary surface. Their roles ranged from acting as capital ship escorts, overwhelming enemy ships in large numbers, or being deployed from orbit and conducting continental-scale bombardment operations, boasting firepower to level entire cities. In addition to their predominant air and space roles, they were also equipped with arms and legs, enabling them to operate on the ground as bipedal combat vehicles.
The war sphinxes were described as being ten meters high and twenty meters long, with an elongated tail that provided lift and power. From the "tail" rose a large rounded torso with a command cabin perched on top. The command cabin was designed to resemble a Forerunner face, with features arranged in an angry or stern expression and two viewports serving as "eyes". The joints of their limbs were composed of hard light. Much like Onyx Sentinels, two sphinxes could also merge to create a larger unit, which still retained a similar "face" at the forward surface.
War sphinxes were programmed to contain samples of their wearer's mental patterns and personalities before they were killed in battle. These preserved personalities were less complete than Durances, but could still be studied by a commander to gain useful information. The Didact kept the final impressions of his children, who were killed in battle, within their war sphinxes.
Ten thousand years after the human-Forerunner wars, Builder Security utilized a comparable type of machine known as the Seeker; these machines lacked the ornate design of the war sphinx and were easily capable of overpowering the Didact's ancient war sphinxes.
Warrior-Servants utilized war sphinxes in large numbers during the human-Forerunner wars. During the Charum Hakkor campaign, war sphinxes were deployed in the thousands against the human fleet in orbit over Charum Hakkor, swarming human vessels in spiraling cloud-like formations and forcing some to crash into Precursor star roads. Twelve of the machines, once piloted by the Didact's children, contained their partial essences after they were killed in battle. These war sphinxes were left to guard the Didact's Cryptum in the Djamonkin Crater after he entered his first exile. By the time Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting arrived in the Djamonkin Crater in the final decade before the Halos' activation, these suits were considered antiquated and outdated. The war sphinxes continued to serve the Didact, conducting their assigned duties after his revival, and accompanied him as he left Earth on his newly-constructed ship. When Master Builder Faber's forces attacked the Didact's ship over Janjur Qom, the war sphinxes attempted to defend the ship and the Didact to the best of their ability, but were outmatched and quickly destroyed by the superior Seekers.
Warriors continued to employ war sphinxes well into the Forerunner-Flood war. Several war sphinxes had been appropriated by Master Builder Faber's forces on Installation 07; Chakas and Vinnevra observed these machines herding an enormous crowd of humans to a Palace of Pain, overseen by the Primordial. Later, a war sphinx took a captured Chakas and a monitor housing Forthencho's essence to the Halo's Cartographer where Chakas would be linked with the ring's control interface.
Around 100,000 years later, in the mid-26th century, the Office of Naval Intelligence retrieved several Forerunner artifacts from Halo Installation 03. One of them was the eye of a war sphinx variant. It was designated "Specimen 1534" and studied aboard Ivanoff Station. The ONI scientists speculated that it might have been an imaging component and weapon sight belonging to a Forerunner vehicle. They also required the help of SPECWAR in order to analyse the object. By July 24th, 2557, the sphinx's eye remained in Doctor Halsey's former lab aboard Ivanoff.
- In one of the Halo 3 terminals, a recommendation of Forerunner armor by Mendicant Bias is accompanied by a mysterious image. This image depicts a bulky, rounded object with what appears to be a long tail and a humanoid figure inside. This seems to match Halo: Cryptum's description of a war sphinx. It could also be an image of the war sphinx's newer counterpart, a Seeker.
- The announcement trailer for Halo 5: Guardians features a large Forerunner construct which shares some features with a war sphinx, although it has been confirmed by 343 Industries to not be one.
List of appearances
- ^ a b c Halo: Cryptum, page 43
- ^ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 123
- ^ a b Halo: Cryptum, page 163
- ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 95
- ^ a b Halo: Cryptum, page 66
- ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 76
- ^ a b Halo: Cryptum, page 138
- ^ a b Halo: Cryptum, page 195
- ^ Halo: Primordium, page 316
- ^ a b Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Have S'Moa
- ^ Halo 4, campaign level Composer