The Combine Grunt (also known as Echo One in Combine phraseology) is one of the four Overwatch units that are apart of an Overwatch branch that are tasked with all operations relating to The Vault, stationed in the Quarantine Zone and subsequently deployed throughout City 17 during the events of Half-Life: Alyx. They are, however, a lower-ranked soldier class among the four Overwatch units.
The Combine Grunts are the most common type of soldiers found within the The Vault's Overwatch Branch, and are usually seen in squads lead by a Combine Ordinal with additional Combine Chargers and Combine Suppressors for support, stationed within the Quarantine Zone. Unlike the rest of the Combine Military, they are not wearing the standard-issue combine body armor, as they are notably wearing a white hazmat-type bodysuit with relatively light armor, which is due to them being located in the hazardous Quarantine Zone, the area where The Vault is located in. These light-armored bodysuits have the Combine insignia on their right sleeve and another insignia on their left, which appears to be a rectangular box with some letters below it, along with a circular line going around, which isn't the traditional insignia of standard Overwatch soldiers, most likely indicating that it is the symbol of the The Vault's Overwatch branch. They are also sometimes equipped with an air-canister, which provides oxygen to the wearer.
Another thing worth to note is that Combine Grunts use the Pulse SMG as their primary weapons, not the Standard Issue AR2 Pulse Rifle, or the MP7. They are also equipped with unique variant of the Combine Grenade. They are typically encountered throughout the Quarantine Zone in squads, working along with Combine Chargers and / or Combine Suppressors, under the tactical command of a Combine Ordinal. Combine Grunts, when encountered at close ranges, they will stay behind cover and fire from their position, while others stay relatively out in the open to pressure the player. At close range, they kick or smack them with their butt of the SMG. Some Grunts that wear the bodypacks with air canisters strapped on their back are prone to explode if the red valve is shot. Although they are the easiest opponents to face, they still provide a challenge for Alyx, as they are encountered in squads, and despite the light-armored appearance, they provide resilient protection, capable of withstanding numerous headshots.
Throughout the game, some unmasked Grunts (as well as other types of Combine units in the events of Half-Life: Alyx) are encountered, revealing their true faces. Their faces appears to be inhumanely disfigured from their original form, as the eyes have gone missing, along with unknown modifications to the face and head in general. This seems to either suggest that these are the result of having to undergone transhuman surgery, or this might be a result of a post headcrab infection.
Interestingly, unlike other Overwatch Military units such as Combine Soldiers or Overwatch Elites where they all maintain a strict, professional and military-like manner, grunts can be seen "joking about", although still maintaining a strict military-like fashion. In Chapter 10, in the aftermath of The Vault's crashing into the ground, two Grunts can be seen inspecting a seemingly fallen Strider. While one of them radios in and inquires with Overwatch Command about either repairing or extraction of the strider, the other grunt is kicking it until another Grunt tells him to stop it. They show disgust when spotting enemies like zombies or headcrabs, saying "I hate these things," or "gross."
The Grunts usually break from their gestures or procedures and will sometimes call out Alyx Vance by her real name. They even will taunt at her by saying " You can come out now " or "It's almost over ". At points, they'll call out to her that they're friendly and try to trick her to have her guard down, if they're successful (only if the player actually reveals themselves and they don't instantly start shooting the player) they will announce that "Friend game effective" into their gas mask as they shoot at Alyx. Usually when there is a hoard or a bunch of Standard Zombies the Grunts (Like the Captain) will run to a more open area to try to shoot at them from a distance.
Behind the scenes
Grunts have voice lines for being encountered, avoided, and being stunned from Rollermines even though none are ever seen in Half-Life: Alyx. As seen in the trailer, grunts once had a grey suit.
|Kill a grunt by shooting their gas tank.|
List of appearances
- Half-Life: Alyx (First appearance)