In appearance the Banshee is purple (with pearlescent green in Halo 3) and has two streamlined wings pointing diagonally downwards from the craft, on the end of which boosters are mounted. The rest of the Banshee comprises of two sections, the hood which covers the top and front of the vehicle is rounded at the front and stretches backwards to a rounded point, while the bottom section of the vehicle has two Plasma Cannons which stretch out in front of the hood then has a long rectangular section stretching backwards which ends in two large circular parts. The back of the hood rises to allow the pilots to enter and then closes us so the pilot is virtually held lying down inside the vehicle. The Banshee is used solely by the Elites and Brutes (in Halo 3) in the series although it is possible for Master Chief to steal one.
The Banshee is equipped with two Plasma Cannons (the equivalent of Plasma Rifles) as primary weaponry, while it has a 'Banshee Bomb' (the equivalent of a Fuel Rod Gun) as secondary weaponry. The Plasma Cannons could be used for quick, basic fire on enemies, while the Banshee Bomb could provide a single, but more powerful shot. The Banshee Bomb was however not available for use in multiplayer in Halo 2, but was again made available in the Halo 3 multiplayer. When confronting a Banshee players will most often use other vehicles, Fuel Rod Guns or Rocket Launchers to take it down, however in Halo 3 Spartan Lasers and Missile Pods provide better defense against Banshees, while in the campaign mode in Halo 3 Banshees are susceptible to fire from Anti-Air Wraiths and Scarab guns.
In Halo: Combat Evolved the Banshee could move in virtually any direction, move at extremely slow speed and even turn upside down. In Halo 2 the vehicle lost some of its maneuverability, but gained the ability to make quick and short boosts forward, brake into a descent mid flight and perform special stunts which allowed users to quickly dodge the fire of their enemies. In Halo 3 the vehicle was given a faster boost, presumably to balance with the new array of weaponry capable of taking it down. According to the Halo back story the Banshee propels itself along using a Boosted Gravity Propulsion Drive which emits a strange noise when the Banshee is flying.
Other features of the Banshee include being hijack able (or skyjack able as the game dubs it) in Halo 2 and 3 when nearby. In the Halo 3 campaign green Banshees can also be seen being piloted by Covenant Separatists. Banshees have also appeared in squads as a Covenant unit in the upcoming game Halo Wars, capable of stunts and boosting, as can be seen in a demo of the game.