BCM87 - Grunts versus Flood

(5:39) Level 9 ('Keyes') on Legendary and Heroic. Relating to my article Grunts versus Flood, this comedy action montage shows four Grunts fighting some Flood at the start of the level, just around the corner after I've got cloaked to watch. The footage is on Legendary except for just a few Heroic clips mixed in.

Released November 29th 2013, gameplay recorded November 18th-25th.

Commentary

00:02 (Clip 1 - Opening wipeout) This opening clip sets the scene. After killing the armless Flood chasing a Grunt, I've just got cloaked and got a checkpoint approaching the corner, handy for reverting to. I crouch to get a viewing angle down at Grunt level, as things look better that way. In this very brief fight the Grunts get quickly overrun, partly thanks to a couple of Grunts panicking, and things are finished with an amusing shotty blast. C'mon fellas, you've got to do better than that!

00:20 (Clip 2 - Kill you) Grunts hop about, trying to hold the line. This was actually the last clip I added. I wanted a bit more grunty vigour near the start here, and this short bit of footage filled the bill nicely.

00:25 (Clip 3 - Eat grenade) On Legendary the Grunts are very keen on grenades, so you can consider this "Eat grenade!" clip a taste of what's to come. There was also a grenade throw in the opening clip of course, but there it was ineffective.

00:31 (Clip 4 - Combat Flood tag 1) A first grenade sails over the advancing combat Flood, but another Grunt scores a direct hit on the plasma rifle guy. Unfortunately the tagged Flood charges up to the thrower, and the blast sets off an impressive chain reaction which leaves only one Grunt standing.

00:43 (Clip 5 - Pretty) The main Flood have already been taken care of here, and the carrier comes in for an explosive spot of needling. A Grunt admires the sight, saying "Ooh, pretty".

00:48 (Clip 6) - Spore tag Another case of a plasma grenade returning to the thrower. A leaping spore gets tagged and then lands on a forward Grunt, who then takes the grenade back to share with his pals.

00:54 (Clip 7 - Victory) A combat Flood is tagged, and thankfully doesn't charge. The blast takes out both attackers, and the Grunts win the day. One guy shouts "Victory, ha-ha!" in delight, while pumping plasma into a body.

01:08 (Clip 8 - Carrier blast 1) When a Grunt tries needling a big combat Flood, he gets a nasty slap for his efforts and prompts the carrier to settle down for a pop. The resulting bang amusingly takes out the Flood plus a Grunt who'd started running into the attack. (Heroic)

01:15 (Clip 9 - Ba-bye) As well as featuring one of two possible "Ba-bye!" lines, this clip also shows a Grunt skilfully popping a couple of spores as he backs off. Nice work I thought.

01:21 (Clip 10 - Woo-hoo, ya ha-ha) Couple of quirky lines here, as the Grunts win again. There's something which sounds like "Ooh dead!" when a red Grunt zaps a spore, then there's a victory line, "Woo-hoo, ya ha-ha!".

01:31 (Clip 11 - Shotty kill with lashing) Here the Grunts are initially occupied by a leaping attack, which they soon take care of. But meanwhile the shotty guy has been closing in. A Grunt gets a nasty lashing, then a finishing blast. The Flood is briefly silhouetted against the plasma blast beyond.

01:40 (Clip 12 - Who's the man?) This Grunt wipes out almost the entire Flood threat with a couple of early grenades, so it's no wonder he gives a satisfied "Who's the man?". There were just a few spores left to mop up after this, but it was a disaster. Fifteen seconds later he was dead from a nasty nibbling, closely followed by two of his pals. Only one Grunt lived to tell the tale.

01:51 (Clip 13 - Boooom) The advancing shotty guy gets needled, and the resulting bang gets an appreciative drawn-out "Boom!" from the shooter. Also in this clip, a Grunt to the rear seems to get killed from friendly fire.

01:56 (Clip 14 - Combat Flood tag 2) A Grunt gets killed and thrown backwards by plasma fire, then one of his buddies steps forth and throws a grenade, tagging the shooter. But the Flood runs forth and the blast wipes out the rest of the Grunt squad. Oh dear. (Heroic)

02:04 (Clip 15 - In da face) A spot of needling causes an explosion, sending a Flood flying overhead, and a Grunt gives a satisfied cry of "In da face!".

02:09 (Clip 16 - Cold fusion) I deliberately put this victory clip here to make it seem a follow-on from the previous one. A Grunt gives the victory line "Yeah, nice job guys, cold fusion on me, hah!", while getting to work on the distant carrier Flood.

02:14 (Clip 17 - It's right here) A worried Grunt yells out a superfluous warning of "It's right here!", and gets a shotgun blast in confirmation. Yep, that Flood guy is definitely right there.

02:17 (Clip 18 - What you thinking?) More trouble for the team. A Grunt lets fly with a grenade, only to be pounced on by a couple of spores. Fleeing in panic, he's quickly killed by friendly fire aimed at his assailants. One Grunt is not impressed, reprimanding one of the shooters with "What you thinking?" (or maybe "What are you thinking?"), before all three survivors get nibbled to death.

02:27 (Clip 19 - This'll leave a mark) After a successful grenade throw on the combat Flood, the thrower cries "This'll leave a mark!".

02:34 (Clip 20 - Kill you dead) The frontmost Grunt does a quick bit of zapping with his plasma pistol, shooting one of two spores. The second either pops in reaction or catches the grenade blast, I'm not sure which. But anyway, the Grunt is happy: "Kill you dead!".

02:38 (Clip 21 - History) This is another case where I positioned a victory clip to follow on from some successful grunty action. There's a nice vicious laugh from a Grunt at the back, then the nearer one says "We're gonna go down in history!".

02:42 (Clip 22 - Wacky throw) A grenade throw from the rear causes the frontmost Grunt to dive forwards, just after popping the carrier. On getting up, it's as if he's temporarily lost his senses, or at least his sense of direction. He throws a grenade against the wall right next to him and it explodes prematurely, sending him flying. As for the grenade thrown from the rear, it sounds like that was a bad throw (perhaps like in clip 30), as a Grunt can be heard saying "Idiot!".

02:49 (Clip 23 - Who's the winner?) Another victory for the Grunts, with plasma fire finishing off a charging Flood. One guy says "Who's the winner? Oh, yeah, that's right, it's us! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!". I think it's the guy doing the needling.

03:00 (Clip 24 - Friendly tag) Every now and then you'll see one Grunt accidentally tag another in these confined surroundings, and this is an excellent example. The blast kills three of the squad, though one was already a gonner due to spore attack (and he's the one who cries out in anguish, not the tagged guy).

03:06 (Clip 25 - Plasma rifle kill) Just a brief clip showing a Grunt getting killed with fire from the plasma rifle guy. I added this clip quite late.

03:10 (Clip 26 - Spore trouble) This shows an amusing sequence of Grunts running around while being nibbled by spores. It's a very popular pastime, so it seems. When the third guy was almost dead, I was already thinking that this was good footage, and that it would be nice if the fourth guy got attacked too. And right on cue, he did - obligingly following a similar circular path to the last guy.

03:31 (Clip 27 - Glory) Even before this Grunt's second grenade goes off, it sounds like his first did the job of killing the plasma rifle guy - an event which elicits a cry of "Glory!". Chalk another victory up for the team!

03:41 (Clip 28 - Friendly fire 1) When this Grunt raises the alarm with "More enemy!", he picks up a nibbling pest, then gets caught in between enemy and friendly fire, knocking him back and forth until a friendly shot finishes him off.

03:49 (Clip 29 - Me your friend) A foolish Grunt makes the grave error of trying to plead with a combat Flood - "Me, me your friend" - and gets a close-range shotty blast in return. This clip was obtained using the same set-up as for clip 17. It was a set-up in which the Flood had spawned amid the Grunts, and which gave me repeated opportunities for rounding the corner and seeing this orange Grunt get gunned down in various ways, with various lines involved. I found this example especially comical.

03:52 (Clip 30 - Bad throw) A grenade throw gets intercepted by the corner and amusingly detonates prematurely, killing three of the squad. (Heroic)

03:56 (Clip 31 - We bad) The remaining Flood get wiped out with a grenade - "Swallow this!" - giving rise to a cute victory cry: "Yeah, yeah, we bad, oh yeah we bad!".

04:07 (Clip 32 - Wheee!) Two Grunts fire needles towards a spore nibbling one of their buddies. They seem pleased with their explosive work, the first saying "Got one!" and the second doing an amusing "Wheee!".

04:18 (Clip 33 - Backpack nibble) Just as a Grunt makes an odd throw at the corner of the passage, a spore leaps onto the tip of his backpack. It makes a funny sight, and I follow the Grunt's flight as he gets blasted by his own grenade, which he didn't quite manage to get clear of. (Heroic)

04:27 (Clip 34 - Medals) The previous clip ended with a throwing cry, so for faux-continuity I followed it with this one in which a grenade is already sailing towards the enemy. The blast seems to do the job nicely, and the shotty guy comes flying out of the corridor. Then there's a cute victory line: "We'll all get medals for this!".

04:37 (Clip 35 - Double shotty blast) I rather enjoyed this double shotty blast at point-blank range. Especially the second one in the face, sending him backwards. You'll notice another Grunt throwing a grenade before the clip ends. Suffice to say, that little episode didn't turn out too well.

04:41 (Clip 36 - Carrier blast 2) On Legendary it's rare for the carrier to get through to the Grunts like this, but the result can be spectacular. Here, the bang finishes off the final three squad members.

04:47 (Clip 37 - Friendly fire 2) This event is quite similar to the one in clip 28, but I've got a different view. The nibbled Grunt takes plasma from friend and foe, but it's the friendly fire which appears to kill him.

04:53 (Clip 38 - I'm the man) An explosion signifies the end of the immediate Flood attack, and the grunty celebrations begin. I'm not sure exactly what the first guy says, but the main reason I included the clip was for the second line: "Oh I'm the man, whoa ha-ha!".

05:01 (Clip 39 - Needle action) This clip just shows a bit of general action, partly there to lead into the final clip. The shotty guy gets needled and the bang sets off loose grenades. There's still a spore left though, and one of the Grunts unleashes a grenade. But I end things on a moment of comedy when the other Grunt amusingly tries to dive clear. The spore was killed with a needle shortly afterwards.

05:10 (Clip 40 - We win, we win) Some vigorous firing finishes off the remaining combat Flood, and a Grunt rejoices with an excellent line, "Ha-ha-ha, we win, we win!". But it's not quite all over yet. Plasma fire pops the carrier, and the spores get dealt with. I especially like how the final spore gets absolutely creamed, with all four Grunts going for it. With final victory attained, there's another nice line: "Whee, ha-ha-ha yeah!".

Closing remarks I decided to make this action montage after noticing an HBO forum thread asking about favourite AI battles in the Halo series. This grunty skirmish is a nice example of somewhere you can have fun just watching, and I knew it would make an amusing movie. I would've made such a movie sooner or later, but that thread gave me a prod to get busy, and I'm glad it did because I think this movie is going to be a personal favourite of mine. Not surprising really, as I'm such a big Grunt fan. I ended up putting a lot of hours into getting good footage, and I also took a lot of care in trying to sequence clips together nicely, e.g. keeping the views changing about and keeping any identical lines (notably grenade throw lines) separated as best I could.

As you probably guessed, I made an effort to include a lot of Grunt combat lines, and especially victory lines such as "We'll all get medals for this!". That was a key feature, as dialogue is a big part of the Grunts' comic appeal. The movie certainly doesn't feature all the victory lines, but I may well do a sequel sometime, in which case I'll try to feature other lines.

Bearing in mind the randomness of the Flood spawning positions, I obtained the clips over many set-ups (i.e. preparing with a checkpoint), to get more variation. But I mainly used set-ups in which the main Flood spawned far down the corridor, giving the Grunts the best chance of survival (indeed, on Legendary they're actually favourites to win).

If you're wondering why I included some Heroic clips instead of using Legendary only, that stems from the fact that initially I wasn't sure which difficulty level to use. I soon decided on Legendary because the action is at its most vigorous and the Grunts have the best chance of victory (I was especially interested in capturing victory lines), but in the meanwhile I'd been recording some test play on Heroic. I got some amusing clips there, and it seemed fine to include them alongside the Legendary action as they didn't look out of place at all. There are just 4 such clips out of the 40, making up about 8% of the action.

The opening clip is a very brief fight, but it suited my purposes as an introduction and to get the comedy rolling (I liked the Grunts jumping in surprise, and the shotty ending). I wanted something fairly brief so I could fill most of the movie with choice clips.

You may've noticed that it was mostly red Grunts who did the grenade throwing. That's partly explained by the fact that on Legendary the randomized Grunt squad rarely has more than one orange guy. But perhaps also the reds are more aggressive about throwing too? Maybe I'll check into that.

With all the crouching I had to do to get my cinematic low view, maybe that's why my S-controller bust. Towards the end of the recording, the crouch suddenly stopped working unless I pressed the joystick extra hard. Dang! But I switched to an older controller and that worked fine. Even if it hadn't though, I've actually got at least two unopened S-controllers stocked up for future play, so I could've used one of those.

Finally, let me just mention that if you liked this movie you should check out BCM37, the second half of which is a similar comedy montage affair except featuring Marines against covies.