Grenade crazy Grunts

Posted August 22nd 2011

Associated movies… BCM38, 39

Peppering to get him started

In the room after the first bridge there are four Grunts on high platforms around the inner chamber. On Legendary you can quite easily get any of these Grunts throwing grenades indefinitely at a rate of up to 20 per minute, as follows.

First let him come to the top of the platform, attracting him with a few shots if necessary. Stand a good way back and fire close to him while dodging about a bit. Preferably try to avoid hitting him as you don't want him to panic. If you're within the right distance range he'll probably soon throw a grenade at you. Keep firing a touch longer. As long as he didn't fall off the platform with his first throw (which is fairly common), what he often does next is back off as he continues to throw.

He just loves those plasmas

In such a case he can soon be at the base of the slope where he gets into what looks like a glitchy 'stumbling' state, which quickly works him to the right edge as you see it. When he's stumbling like that, going nowhere, he'll potentially throw non-stop even when he can no longer see you. Basically he throws at where he last judged you to be, as long as it's a place he's able to target. Once he's going, the barrage can continue indefinitely. I let one guy continue for a couple of hours. These critters have a lot of plasmas stuffed up their shirts!

If you want him to target a new spot, stand there and if necessary fire a shot to alert him. But he seems to sense your location for a few moments after your shot, so don't move clear until late.

If he ever stops throwing (and hasn't fallen off the side of the platform), it's usually easy to start him up again by firing a shot or letting him catch sight of you. One reason for stopping is if he can't target the last place he thought you were (too close, too far, or blocked). Another reason is if he sees you well off to the side, which can cause him to regain normal footing - probably because he tried to rotate to face you.

Bouncing off the glass walkway

There are also two platform Grunts in the room before the first bridge, who can likewise be made to repeat-throw, except that the first one only seems able to target a small area near the inner entrance, and things are less convenient because of the hazardous drop (though on the positive side, you can enjoy making incoming grenades bounce off a glass walkway and down into the shaft). Also you need to avoid triggering the Grunts in the exit passage else the platform Grunts seem to lose the ability to move back and forth on their platforms, which is no good.

Despite the countless times I'd been through the level previously, I only actually noticed this amusing Grunt behaviour in February 2011 - initially with the far right Grunt in the room after the bridge. Course, I don't usually let Grunts breathe very long, so that probably explains it!

Refined initiation method

Just as I was finishing the article and movies, I found a much more reliable way of initiating things, once your Grunt is up top. If you're suitably far away and not too far off to the side, firing close causes a backwards retreat regardless of whether he's doing any throwing yet, and he quickly ends up in the glitchy stumbling state, ready to do some repeat-throwing. Works like a charm! To remove the danger of him falling off with a grenade throw if he's very close to the front, be out of throwing range. Actually, if you get sufficiently far from him, your distance alone can cause a backwards retreat with no firing needed.

Previously I often had to make several tries each time I wanted to get a Grunt repeat-throwing, but with this refined method I can typically do it first time and with less concern about taking plasma fire because I'm at a safer distance. It came a bit late for my movies but you can see an indication of it in the last part of BCM39 at about 3:32. See how the Grunt starts backing off even before throwing? It was just such an occurrence (with that same Grunt) which put me on to the refined method.

Three on the go

Throwing rates and patterns

On Legendary a Grunt typically throws at a rate of 20 grenades per minute. With that sort of high rate an arriving grenade can get caught in the blast of the previous one, keeping it active longer and resulting in a pattern in which grenades go off in multiple spots, which is more interesting that just having grenades going off in the same place. Get grenades coming in to different places to see what patterns you can get.

The rate can be lower however, and there can be considerable irregularity in the throwing. Lower rates don't usually seem to go below about 15 grenades per minute - still pretty snappy - but I've seen it as low as about 8 per minute, sometimes featuring a gap of almost 10 seconds between successive grenades. I suspect that all this variability depends on the exact nature of the Grunt's stumbling and where he's targeting, rather than being randomness intentionally designed into the game, but I may try to get a better understanding later.

You can also get Grunts repeat-throwing on Heroic and Normal but the throwing rate seems to range from about 6 to 10 grenades per minute in those cases, so it's comparatively sedate and you won't get any interaction between successive grenades. On Easy things are no good. The Grunts just aren't aggressive enough. Most of the time they don't seem to want to throw at all, let alone throw repeatedly. The only repeat-throwing I got was very slow and irregular, and it took a lot of patience to even get it started.

Ready for some fun

Setting up with a handy checkpoint

To allow convenient replaying, set things up with a delayed checkpoint obtained after killing all enemies except one or more platform Grunts. You can see examples of this in my two movies. The virtue of leaving more than one platform Grunt alive is that you'll have a choice of Grunts to play with. Each can give a slightly different experience due to his location. When you start from your checkpoint you can quickly kill any you don't want, which can be enjoyable in itself. Tagging them is especially good fun. Sometimes they dive off to get clear, but then you can follow up with another grenade.

In BCM38 I set things up for the first room, delaying a checkpoint triggered near the start of the long middle section of the previous passage. Notice that I'm careful not to trigger the three extra Grunts in the exit passage. You mustn't go too far past the inner chamber. It's ok to go through the exit of the chamber's exit, but not much further. It seems relatively hard to get the first platform Grunt repeat-throwing but I left him alive for the set-up anyway. Even if I'm not going to use him very often, I can always enjoy quickly killing him after the checkpoint, such as seen in the movie.

Explosive elimination

In BCM39 I set things up for the second room, delaying a checkpoint triggered in the second section of the previous passage. If you prefer though, you could go and trigger the lift checkpoint instead (a short way up the ramp leading up to it), and delay that instead, using jumping and/or grenade throwing. Triggering that checkpoint also causes the music to stop, something you may or may not welcome. I left only two of the four platform Grunts alive. If you leave all four alive, things can be a little too hot to start with. Those critters can get pretty vicious with their plasma pistols!

In both cases I did the set-up work rather fast to keep the movie duration down and make for more exciting footage, but you don't need to do it with such haste. Try to keep full health for your later fun, just in case you take a grenade blast or a lot of plasma fire. I suggest carrying a pistol and plasma pistol. The plasma pistol is my preferred weapon for getting platform Grunts throwing. It's a bit dark in these rooms, so I suggest switching your flashlight on just before the checkpoint. In both cases I got the checkpoint outside the room, but you can actually get it inside if you can find a suitably sheltered place.

Hey grunty, what's cookin'?

Further remarks

You can go under the platform to get a closer view of the Grunt doing his throwing. For a better view you can skirt around behind to hop onto the platform itself, though he'll stop if you get too near (stay back from the dark line). Keep your flashlight off if you don't want to alert him.

If an enemy other than the throwing Grunt sees you, the thrower will pick up your location too and will react accordingly, targeting you if possible, or stopping his throwing if he deems you untargetable. Fiendish covie telepathy!

Occasionally when a Grunt restarts some throwing from his stumbling position, you may see an anomalous throw in which the grenade goes to some odd location. Maybe it's to do with him getting his footing, but I'm not sure.

In the second room, both of the Grunts used in BCM39 are able target a small area outside the inner chamber, threading their grenades through the opening nearest to them. The furthest Grunt in the first room can do this too, though you'd want to be careful not to trigger the extra Grunts or he'll probably soon stop.

Getting a bit shooty

As well as the throwing, a Grunt may sometimes shoot repeatedly. This generally occurs when he's been targeting a place on his side of the platform. In such a case, throwing tends to become interspersed with a bit of shooting, then degenerates into just shooting, during which he's continually stumbling. I think this progression is because he works himself to his left (up to a point), making shooting more viable as he sees it. Most of the shots tend to hit the platform, causing showers of green sparks and platform fragments, but some may fly forth because of his paw clipping through the platform, so that the gun actually fires from beneath the platform (see pic). Shooting can continue indefinitely but can be erratic, and might stop completely.

Disappointingly, I don't think you can get two Grunts repeat-throwing together. I tried, but when one is throwing, it seems like the other can only start up when the first one stops. In fact I suspect that throughout the campaign, enemy throwing is limited so you don't have to deal with more than one incoming enemy grenade at a time, or something like that.

You can have similar fun with a couple of platform Grunts in the room after the level's final bridge, though the room is rather cluttered. For grenade crazy Grunts in a rather different setting, see Danger! Falling Grunts in level 4 and the associated movie BCM14.