Grunty fun with Shades

Posted March 24th 2005

One thing you can rearrange in the level is Shades. Moving Shades around may not alter battles much as they're so easy to deal with, but it at least adds novelty and can be fun. Here are some things I tried in the cavern (the dark underground bridge area), where there are three to play about with. See elsewhere for advice on moving Shades.

Triple-Shade delight

In one set-up I moved the Shades in the cavern, making them form a tight row of three across the entrance, just in front of where the pacing Elites will be. This turned out to be quite entertaining. As I reach the scene the Shades are initially empty; but from across the area, the relevant Grunts come running to man them. One poor fellow has to toddle all the way across the bridge, which is pretty funny to watch with a sniper scope; I love the way those little guys move. When I kill those first Shade occupants, more come running.

And here's something I've done with this situation a few times. After dropping several occupants with a pistol and likewise killing the Elites, the ground gets nicely littered with grenades and I add another to set off a chain reaction. BOOM! I've never seen Shades fly so high and spin so fast!

Running alongside a Grunt

That set-up gave me another novel experience. I'd killed most of the enemies and was on the far side of the bridge. Then I sniped a Shade occupant, and a Grunt not far from me set off to fill his place. I was then able to run close alongside him as he toddled across the bridge. He was so focused on reaching the Shade that he pretty much ignored me. It was welcome fun for a Grunt fan like myself. You can easily duplicate the experience if you're interested; just make sure Grunts have to run a long way to get to their Shades.

Grunty need sleep

Just how sleepy are these Grunts? One guy on that triple-Shade arrangement gave me a vivid demonstration. From high up on a pipe across the bridge, I lobbed a plasma grenade that blew his Shade over and ejected him still alive from his comfy seat. The moment he stopped skidding along the ground on his feet, he sat down and fell asleep. Impressive! All in a day's work for a Grunt, I suppose.

When you see a sleeping grunt, you can have fun waking him by bouncing a sniper round off the ground nearby. He'll leap up comically and run around in panic for a while. You can also rouse him with a nearby grenade or just by peppering him with fire of course. Have fun depriving him of his forty winks by repeatedly giving him a wake-up call. Gets pretty funny.

Run Grunty run

After all that fun with the line of Shades, I created a set-up in which each Shade was moved to the opposite corner of the cavern, so that all the Grunts would have to run for miles to man them. I like to fly in and land up high on a pipe for a good view. Sometimes two Grunts run for the same turret, and when the first one gets there, you might see the second go to sleep. Other grunty behaviour to notice is that Grunts seem to have a magical ability to sense when their Shade has become empty and needs manning. They can even sense this when asleep! Watch the right dozing Grunt after sniping the Shade occupant, and after a few seconds he'll probably spring into action. Run Grunty run!

An evil trick I like to play on a Grunt as he's running towards his Shade is to kill an Elite near him, causing him to turn tail and run back to where he came from. Another fine bit of comedy is to lob a plasma grenade or send in a rocket just as he's getting there. He barely has time to settle into the seat, then BOOM! It's a tough old life being a Grunt eh?

Outta sight man

In yet more experiments with the cavern Shades, I moved them completely out of sight, placing them in the tunnels leading into and out of the area. And sure enough, those grunty fellows still went running to man them! But when I tried putting one at the top of the rising tunnel towards the next area, that seemed too far as nobody went to man it. I don't know what the actual limits are. I had more luck with moving Shades to previous areas, for the fun of running alongside a Grunt for ages. I moved one Shade out into the snow of the previous area, and a Grunt still went running to man it. Maybe it would even attract a Grunt if placed back at the crashed Pelican site? Go find out, if you're interested.