When a certain object gets old, eventually it must be replaced with a new one. However, what many forget is that sometimes newer doesn’t always mean better. In the Halo Universe we are introduced to the Spartan II’s, super soldiers who were augmented biochemically and mechanically and trained at an early age to be the best soldiers Earth had to offer. Even though they were few in number, these Spartans were the first line of defense against the Covenant when they attacked and their efforts prolonged the war for over thirty years. Present day, the newest elite soldiers are the Spartan IV’s. Created for the sole purpose of continuing the fight, but in greater numbers and better technology. However, there are major differences between the two generations of Spartans, which I will discuss. Fair warning this article may contain spoilers, and forgive me if I sound bias is this article.
In the beginning the Spartan program’s main objective was to quell any Insurgency while it was still in its infancy. There was a theory that if the Outer Colonies were not stabilized then the government would collapse, civil war would break out ripping Human society apart. The Spartan’s job was to make sure that didn’t happen. To start, the physiology of the subject had to be taken into account. The Spartan II’s were selected from the most genetically perfect specimens humanity had to offer. The children were already faster, stronger and smarter than most of their own age group and even adults. Dr. Halsey mentioned that children’s minds were more susceptible to indoctrination, which in turn would make them more manageable. The augmentation process was a major danger. Back in the Orion Project, which was the first super soldier program and the same program that our favorite Sgt. Avery Johnson is from. The subjects from the Orion Project did not survive long so it was suggested that the Spartan II’s be augmented at adolescence, which proved more fruitful even though many died. But because their bodies were pushed to their absolute limits by the augmentation, once they recovered they were reborn as gods. Spartan IV’s are a different story altogether. These were adult volunteers who underwent an augmentation that was not as deadly as the Spartan II’s, but it was advanced enough to have lower death rates. Spartan IV’s are fast and strong, but it doesn’t seem to be on par with Spartan II’s performance. From the novel Halo: New Blood, Edward Buck compared the Spartan IV’s as nothing more like the demigods of old, but the Spartan II’s and III’s were the Titans and Gods of Greek mythology.
Next difference is the armor that both generations wore. The Mjolnir Battle Armor was created to increase physical strength, speed and increased reaction speed. The first generation armor was created to enhance the Spartan II’s already superior skills. The second generation worn by the Spartan IV’s was created to compensate the wearers sub par augmentation. I noticed a lot on Halo 5 Guardians that they use a lot of propulsion in their suits to help them leap, lift, flip and strike. As amazing as they look though, a Spartan II in first gen armor can do all those things without assistance from his suit, which has shown plenty of times and mentioned in the novels. The novels have even mentioned that the armor is like a second skin to Spartan II’s.
Another difference to discuss is the psychological aspect for both parties. Spartan II’s were trained as children because it would be easier for them to forget their old life and name along with keeping them loyal to the UNSC and kept them emotionally strong. However, because of the hardships they went through together they did not converse with other soldiers of the UNSC, which made them seem antisocial or just robots. But that never stopped them from doing their job. The death of another Spartan II would sadden them but they would press forward no matter the cost. For when you are on the battlefield all other emotions are irrelevant. Spartan IV’s however, have had a good many psychological problems in the time they have been active. Because the Spartan IV program consisted of adults, they were susceptible to some form of morality that’s caused some of them to betray the UNSC and their fellow Spartans. So far there is a record of three betrayers, one being Mickey Crespo, ODST demolition expert from the game Halo: ODST, if you remember him. Last I checked though Spartan II’s did not have any betrayers in their ranks.
Overall, if you haven’t noticed it seems that even though the Spartan II’s are an old program they are far better than Spartan IV’s. If you take a look at all the games and novels that have been shown over the years, we had Spartan II’s that kept the human race alive in a thirty-year long war. A single Spartan II destroyed the Halo Array, Spartan II’s that destroyed the Unyielding Hierophant shipyard that would have sent five hundred ships to destroy Earth. Spartan II’s that saved the last of the Spartan III’s, Spartan II’s that won the war and a Spartan II that stopped the return of a zealous Forerunner. Haven’t really seen Spartan IV’s step up to the plate. Dr. Halsey and Cortana have both claimed the Spartan IV’s as nothing more than children pretending to be Spartans. In Halo 5, Master Chief John 117 fought Spartan Locke and won proving his far more superior skills. And if there is anyone who is a fan of Spartan Locke and would suggest to me that he wasn’t even trying or holding back well he did a good job at losing. Even the Master Chief was a little wary of the Spartan IV’s based on the interactions he has had so far. In the end, just because something is new it doesn’t mean that it's better and many fans would more likely lean towards the Spartan II’s than the IV’s.
Thanks everybody, and stay Kultured!