In the 1932 novel, A Conquest of Two Worlds, Edmond Hamilton faced the dilemma of humans surviving the crushing gravity of Jupiter. His solution was to don his adventures with an inflexible metallic clothing that supported them from the massive planet’s pull. Similarly, Robert Heinlein clad his warriors in an enhanced exoskeleton to battle alien bugs in Starship Troopers (1959). Building upon these foundations, technologically advanced armor—mechanical or organic in nature—is a staple of science fiction. Whether employed as a defense against super powered enemy attacks, or aggressive weapons of offense, sci-fi armor often an author’s solution of choice. Therefore, without further ado, we present to you our list of the coolest sci-fi armor of all time.
Halo’s Forerunner Combat Skin
When the first Halo game hit store shelves in 2001, gamers loved the shiny suit of Master Chief. In subsequent games, equally iconic forms of armor became available, and one of the most efficient is the Forerunner’s Combat Skin. The origins of these Skins remains a mystery, but the Forerunners wore them in their war against humanity, and then used them in their struggle against the alien parasites known as the Flood.
Combat Skin provides many advantages to its wearer. It provides both physical and mental protection and provides needed medical treatments which allow for a nearly indefinite lifespan. The skin also delivers regular access to the Halo Universe’s version of the internet. Combat Skin is available in several varieties and can be used to indicate one’s status in society.
In Titanfall (2014), players pilot their own Mech-style machine called a Titan. While inside these battle tanks they can move around as if the Titan is an extension of their body. Pilots have access to invisibility cloaking, x-ray vision, and shields. A player can “rodeo” on top of his Titan, and if it is about to explode, a pilot can eject themselves.
There are three classes of Titans. The first Titan a player has access to in Titanfall is called an Atlas. At the completion of specific campaigns, a player gets access to the Titans called the Ogre and Strider classes. Traditionally, a Titan is equipped with 10 customizable weapons which vary from semi-automatic shotguns to the Smart Pistol Mk5. The latter is used to lock on multiple targets and can fire shots around corners.
Warhammer 40K’s Black Templar
The universe of Warhammer 40K has expanded exponentially since the miniature war game was released in 1987. There are multiple video games and a plethora of novels that delve into its 41st century cast of characters. The most prevalent type of warrior in WH40K is the brutal and powerful Space Marines.
The second founded Space Marine chapter is the legendary Black Templars. This crusading Teutonic order battles with a righteous indignation for the Emperor. They do not hold to the concept of a home world, and therefore take the war to the stars. Their Power Armor is nearly completely black, and they have black crosses on their shields and right pauldrons. The Emperor’s Champion fights with the Black Sword and wears the Armor of Faith.
Mass Effect’s Tali'Zorah nar Rayya
The third-person video game series Mass Effect began in 2007. Many gamer’s favorite character is Tali'Zorah nar Rayya, a member of the technologically advanced and synthetically intelligent species known as the Quarian. The Quarian have a nearly nonexistent immune system and live primarily aboard shielded space stations. When off ship, all Quarian must wear a hermetically sealed protective suit.
Originally a member of Commander Shepard’s squad, Tali must make repeatedly upgrade her suit. Its operating system continually scans the environment for pathogens and other toxins, and she must decontaminate all food and liquid she drinks. Tali’s suit also contains access ports and data storage drives, and can track objects through walls.
The video game Crysis (2007) takes place in the year 2020 and begins when a group of American archaeologists discovers a giant alien structure inside a mountain near the coast of the East Philippines. A squad known as Raptor Team is sent to evacuate and secure the island. Designed to reduce the disparity between humans and the alien race of Cephalopods, each team member wears a Nano-suit which enhances them with superhuman strength and abilities.
These Nano-suits exploit CryFibril Muscle fibers for a variety of purposes. Its four primary functions are to regenerate power supplies, absorb destructive kinetic energy, boost the strength of the wearer by injecting them with performance enhancing drugs, and increasing one’s speed by releasing nanobots into the bloodstream to increase blood flow and oxygen absorption.
Star Wars' Boba Fett
Boba Fett was little more than a side character in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Nonetheless, he developed a cult following and was given a larger role in George Lucas’ updated Star Wars Trilogy. In Attack of the Clones, it is discovered that Boba is an unaltered clone of the Jango Fett.
Boba Fett’s suit was originally designed to look as if it were constructed from several sources of scavenged materials. However, in Star Wars lore, his suit has become known as Mandalorian armor. His helmet features a macrobinocular T-shaped viewplate, a com-link, a rangefinder which enhances images when it is pulled down over the viewplate. The wrist gauntlets of Boba’s suit contain a whipcord and flamethrower, and on his back, Boba wears a Z-6 jetpack. The jetpack boasts of a top-loaded missile launcher and carries enough fuel for Boba to fly short distances during combat.
In Warframe (2013) players assume the alien persona of a Tenno warrior. After several centuries of cryogenic sleep, the Tenno are awakened in the middle of a war with the Grineer (a race of human clones), the Corpus (a mega-corporation), and the Infested (disfigured victims of the Technocyte virus). To channel their unique abilities, the Tenno battles this axis of evil with psionically controlled biomechanical suits called Warframes. Although they come in many forms, the Frost is one of the coolest.
The Frost is heavily armored but very slow. It allows its wearer the ability to absorb moisture from the environment and to use it in both defensive and offensive ways. These include a blizzard energy blast that freezes a target upon impact.
Metroid Prime 2’s Light Suit
With 11 games that began in 1986, the Metroid series provided fun for the owners of nearly every Nintendo game system. The series spans the saga of the bounty hunter, Samus Aran. Along the way, Aran fights space pirates and attempts to harness the power of jellyfish looking parasitic organisms known as Metroids.
In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (2004), U-Mos, the fifth Sentinel of the Luminoth, gifts Aran with a Light Suit. This sleek white suit is more streamlined than Aran’s previous suits and is fashioned from the combination of Luminoth and Chozo battle suit technologies. It is entirely immune to the effects of Dark Aether, and can move through dark water without impediment. It also allows Aran to travel across the light shafts through the Luminoth energy transport system.
Gantz’s Hard Suit
Even though mentioned in “The Westerners” (Gantz #252), manga’s Hachirou Oka did not make a full appearance until “Half-Awakened” (Gantz #259). Hachirou is a veteran Gantzer from the Osaka Team and has a large number of games under his belt. He is a genius tactician and an expert hand-to-hand fighter who battles with a wide variety of specialized equipment and weapons.
In “Ping Pong” (Gantz #270) Hachirou is fortified in an advanced Hard Suit which resembles a gorilla with multiple tentacles protruding from its back. Much more technologically advanced than a typical Gantz suit, the Hard Suit completely conceals Hachirou and protects him from psychic attacks. The palms of the suit are capable of firing explosive beams, and extending from the back of each of the suit’s elbows is a long and razor-sharp sword.
Warhammer 40K's Long Fang
One of the most commanding Space Marine chapters in Warhammer 40K is the Space Wolves. This ferocious faction was on of the original First Founding Space Marine Legions. The senior Veterans of the Space Wolves earn the honored moniker of Long Fang. Their numbers are few due to the massive casualties of war, and these seasoned Marines provide cover for their squad with their heavy weapons.
The Power Armor of the Long Fang is bulky and awkward to wear. However, the suit’s movements are controlled by bundles of fibers that mimic regular movement and enhance the wearer’s strength. This allows the Veterans to wield every weapon in the Armories of the Iron Priests with deadly accuracy. Long Fangs armor is white and black, and they adorn it with multiple honors, trophies, and wolf skins.
About the Creator
Richard is a writer and public speaker who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a life-long geek, an aspiring historian, and believes the awe-inspiring grandeur of the universe requires no supernatural explanations to be magical.