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- "Echo One is forcing compliance."
- ― Combine Grunt[src]
Combine Grunts are the most common foot soldiers in the Combine military and are often seen in squads being led by a Combine Ordinal, additionally supporting key Combine Charger or Combine Suppressor units. They wear a predominantly white outfit with light armor, armed with SMGs, can throw Grenades to flush out enemies, and can also kick or bash foes with the butt of their weapon when at close range. Some Grunts wear bodypacks with gas tanks strapped to them which, if their red valves are punctured by gunfire, will ignite and eventually explode, killing the wearer. The lenses in their masks glow yellow until they die, at which point they switch off to an unlit blue color. Upon taking extreme damage to the head on death, a Grunt's mask may be partially or even completely blown off, revealing heavy cybernetic surgery underneath. They appear to wear a second face plate under their masks, and if that's torn away, it exposes mechanical wiring sprouting out of their eye sockets, implants embedded into their flesh seemingly connected to the inside of the face plate, and their skin rendered pale and leathery. This unmasked facial appearance is also shared with the Charger.
Despite this, they (along with the other Combine unit types in Alyx) still seem to retain a great deal of their human personality. Unlike the Combine units in Half-Life 2, which appear to be completely stripped of their humanity physically and mentally, Grunts are seen "playing around" such as when a Grunt can be seen kicking an incapacitated Strider until another tells him Overwatch ordered him to stop. They regularly break from their standard jargon and sometimes call out Alyx Vance by name, even taunting her at points: "You can come out now", "It's almost over". At points, they will call out to Alyx that they are friendly in an attempt to lure her out into the open with her guard down. If they are successful (that is, the player reveals themselves and doesn't immediately begin firing), they will laugh and announce "Friend game effective" or "hostile is scrambled" over the radio while they begin firing. When critically injured, Grunts will sometimes call out "Help us!" or "I'm sorry-", suggesting that they felt remorse for their actions to some extent. Grunts have less distorted voices than the other unit types.
While overall being the weakest Combine type, Grunts could pose a serious threat when encountered in numbers. They usually attack in teams of two or more, and can maintain a crossfire on the player when spread out in a formation. They prefer to fire a few shots, then change positions while other units provide suppressing fire, either to get into cover or acquire better sightlines. When facing a covered player, they won't hesitate to spam grenades or to flank them in order to flush the player out. When combating melee-based foes such as zombies, they will try and hold their position. If their target disappeared out of sight, they will usually sustain gunfire on their last known location for a period of time before resuming to a scanning state. Despite being marked as their weak spot, the Grunts' helmets are actually surprisingly tough to Pistol rounds, but a strafe from the SMG or a tossed back grenade can easily kill them.
|Kill a grunt by shooting their gas tank.|
Behind the scenes
Grunts originally featured a more grey-ish color scheme that was absent from the release version of Alyx, as seen in trailers and promotional material.
In the unused model of the cut Combine Recon, the texture definitions point to the missing materials
combine_grunt_body.vmat, suggesting the Recon may have been an early form of the Grunt.
- All Grunts encountered outside of the Quarantine Zone (in the opening chapters) lack their grenade holsters, gas tanks and the filters on the left side of their helmet.
Grunts accost a Citizen.
A Grunt at Fairview Junction.
A Grunt throws a Grenade.
Several Grunts caught by Barnacles.