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The Top 10 Sphinxes Of 2017

by Jeff Cork on Nov 23, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the world’s most recognizable pieces of art. It’s stood vigil in Egypt for thousands of years, and its missing nose has been a reliable cartoon punchline for at least a few of those decades. While it’s appeared in countless video games over the years, the iconic statue – and the mythological creature that shares its name – has been particularly commonplace in 2017. Just as 2012 was referred to as the Year of the Bow thanks to the weapon's ubiquity in games like Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed III, and Far Cry 3, we’re ready to call this the Year of the Sphinx. Need evidence? Read on!

Editor’s note: The following Sphinxes do not appear in any ranking or order. Please do not consider the individual placement of a Sphinx to carry any significance in perceived quality or importance. Also, please do not cast any mummy curses on us. 

Assassin’s Creed Origins
Okay, fine. This is probably the best and most obvious Sphinx of the year. Ubisoft Montreal did a fantastic job of painstakingly recreating the Great Sphinx, right down to its historically accurate paint job. Also, nose. I’m going to guess that they took a little artistic license with what’s contained beneath the Sphinx, though if we’re being completely honest here I have never been to Egypt so for all I know a slideshow from a progenitor race of proto-humans and a sweet set of armor has been buried under the sands of Giza for millennia. 

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2
When Kang the Conqueror gained the power to control time, what did he do? Why, he built a weird mashup hub world containing a variety of historical settings, of course. One of the sections is based on Ancient Egypt and it features – you guessed it – the Great Pyramids of Giza. Also, the Sphinx. TT Games’ version of the statue has an in-universe Lego minifig head, so of course it doesn’t have a nose. It’s a pretty good Sphinx, all things considered.

Injustice 2
The Flash can run so quickly that he can travel back in time? I guess? Look, if Superman can reverse the Earth’s rotation to rewind events, this is barely less plausible. Okay. If you pick The Flash in Injustice 2, you beat up a bunch of people and possibly some aliens and gods. When you use your ultimate you A) Get to see The Flash run so quickly that he travels back in time and B) Get to see The Flash take his unwitting plus-one to Ancient Egypt! The Sphinx is still under construction when The Flash crashes the party, and he runs along some scaffolding and smashes his victim right into the Great Sphinx’s face. Then the Sphinx’s nose breaks off. This probably didn’t happen in real life, but again, I’ve never been to Egypt so who knows.

Super Mario Odyssey
A long time ago, when the Sphinx was still alive, it used to ask people riddles. If they couldn’t answer correctly, the Sphinx would do Something Bad (eat them? Bury them in sand? I don’t remember). Nintendo keeps that weird historical footnote alive in Super Mario Odyssey. Our titular hero runs into the Sphinx at several points, whereupon the Sphinx asks Mario a question. If Mario answers correctly, he gets one of those moon things he’s so excited about. Mess up, and … well, I don’t know. I’ve only run into him once so far, and I answered the riddle correctly. It was “flowers,” for what it’s worth.

Persona 5
Futaba Sakura has a conflicted relationship with her mom, Wakaba Isshiki. Long story short, Wakaba Isshiki shows up in the game as a big-ol’ Sphinx. She is a bit of an outlier here, because her in-game representation is more along the lines of the mythological creature than the statue. You know, wings, body of a lion with the head of a person, and all that? Anyway, she’s a Sphinx, even if she has a nose and glasses. 

The Mummy Demastered (Probably)
I haven’t played this yet, but it has to have a Sphinx in it. Right?

Skylanders Imaginators
Mysticat is another non-statue Sphinx. Yeah, I know this game came out in 2016, but it came to the Switch this year. For the sake of this list, we’re only counting that release. Do you think the Great Sphinx really lost its nose when the guy who was making the final touches on it with his chisel got distracted by a pretty lady? Seems reasonable.

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy
THQ Nordic rereleased this old classic PlayStation 2 game on Steam this year. This incarnation of the Sphinx has the head of a man and the body of a man, which makes him the ultimate outlier. It’s really creepy stuff, if you really think about it.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap
This Sega Master System game got a wonderful remake this year, with all-new hand-drawn visuals paired with a faithful recreation of the original game. You know what else it has? That’s right.

Cuphead (Honorable Mention)
The genie boss fight in Cuphead doesn't have a Sphinx, but it really should have. I’m going to put it on this list because it seems to have been designed AROUND the Sphinx, leaving a respectful Sphinx-sized vacancy. You’ve got scarabs, pyramids, curvy swords, mummies, sarcophaguses, scarabs, mummy cats, and just about everything BUT a Sphinx. For that reason, Cuphead rounds out the list. Congratulations.