This subject is related to the Combine era.

Combine Grunt

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This subject is related to the Combine era.

HLA Combine Grunt SMG.jpg
Combine Grunt
General information

Combine Overwatch


Transhuman soldier

Individual information
Game information


Voiced by

Jason Vande Brake

"Echo One is forcing compliance."
― Combine Grunt[src]

The Combine Grunt, referred to as Echo One in Combine terminology, is a low-ranking transhuman soldier class of the Combine Overwatch introduced in Half-Life: Alyx.


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 predominantly white outfits with grenades 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. Some Grunts have pistol magazines on their belt, suggesting that they carry a sidearm, however they are never seen using one.

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 lot 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. Grunts are also apparently able to voice their disgust and unsatisfaction from encounters with hostiles; such as Xen lifeforms; they often state that they hate headcrabs.

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.


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 sight lines. 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 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.

If the player tosses back a grenade that a Grunt threw at them, the grenades on the Grunt's grenade holster will disappear, and they will stop using any from then on.

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life: Alyx
Achievement Pro-Pain.jpg Pro-Pain
Kill a grunt by shooting their gas tank.
Achievement Deadliest Catch.jpg Deadliest Catch
Use the gravity gloves to intercept an incoming enemy grenade in mid-flight.

Behind the scenes[edit]

The Grunts' appearance underwent great change before the game was 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_gear.vmat and combine_grunt_body.vmat, suggesting the Recon may have been an early form of the Grunt.




List of appearances[edit]

Combine Grunt
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Combine Grunt
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