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- "Echo One is forcing compliance."
- ― Combine Grunt[src]
Combine Grunts are the most common Combine foot soldiers in Half-Life: Alyx, 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 grenade and magazine holsters and carry a grey bodypack. Some of them have gas tanks strapped on top of their backpacks which, if their red valves are punctured by gunfire, will ignite and eventually explode, killing the wearer and damaging entities nearby. However, all Grunts encountered outside the Quarantine Zone (in the opening chapters) lack such tanks, their grenade holsters and the filter on the left side of their helmets. The lenses of their masks are blue and glow yellow in the dark. Grunts are armed with SMGs, and can throw Grenades to flush out enemies. At melee range they kick foes or bash them with the butt of their weapon.
Unlike the Combine units in Half-Life 2, which appear to be completely stripped of their humanity physically and mentally, the Combine soldiers in Alyx seem to retain a great deal of their human personalities while having undergone much more physical augmentations. The Grunt is the most apparent manifestation of these characteristics.
They are often seen "playing around" and chatting, such as when a Grunt can be seen kicking an incapacitated Strider until another tells him Overwatch ordered him to stop. Having the least distorted voice of all Combine units, they frequently break from their jargon and converse in colloquial language, sometimes even using explicit words. They are sometimes heard addressing Alyx Vance by name and even taunting her: "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.
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 underneath it is exposed mechanical wiring sprouting out of their eye sockets connecting to the eyepieces of their masks, implants embedded into their forehead seemingly connected to the inside of the face plate, and their skin is rendered pale and leathery. This unmasked facial appearance is also shared with the Charger, and presumably all other units.
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 use 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.|
|Use the gravity gloves to intercept an incoming enemy grenade in mid-flight.|
Behind the scenes
The Grunts' appearance underwent great change before the game is released. They originally featured a gray and yellow color scheme, and later changed into a white one with red insignias on their arms. These versions were absent from the release version of Alyx, and are exclusively seen in trailers and promotional material. Additionally, in one of the early screenshots Grunts are seen using Pulse Rifles instead of SMGs.
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.
Grunts accost a Citizen.
A Grunt at Fairview Junction.
A Grunt throws a Grenade.
Several Grunts caught by Barnacles.
List of appearances
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|Technology||Transportation · · · Weapons· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·|
|Locations||· ( ) · · · · · · · · · · · · ·|
|Other||· · ·|
|Leaders / key figures (cut)||·|
|Minor members (cut)||· ·|
|Humanoid units (cut)||· · · · · · ·|
|Synth units (cut)||· · · ·|
|Mechanical units (cut)||·|
|Weapons (cut)||· · · · · · · · · · · ·|
|Transportation (cut)||· · · · ·|
|Technology (cut)||· · · ·|
|Locations (cut)||· · · · · ·|