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Video Game: Gruntz

"I don't want to hear ONE WORD about the pink gun!"
Average Grunt equipped with a Sponge Gun.

A strategy/puzzle videogame by Monolith Productions, published in 1999.

The Gruntz are a bunch of small creatures seemingly made of clay. They've strayed from home. They want to go back there. Only YOU can help them through the hellish puzzles, hordes of enemy Gruntz and downright Malevolent Architecture they need to go through.

For some reason, the only way to clear a level is to find a Warpstone piece, and get a Grunt to carry it to the castle where the King of Gruntz is waiting. There's no problem with some of your other Gruntz being left behind or worse. But you DO have to be careful, lest it becomes Unwinnable.

Thankfully, the levels are littered with random weapons, bizarre tools and fancy toys that will help your Gruntz go through them.

Definitely Needs More Love.

This game provides examples of:
  • Agony of the Feet: Said word-for-word as a random quote when your Gruntz step on Spikez.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The Gruntz, both yours and the enemy. The Toyz are special objects you can use on the enemy to distract them and act even more stupidly.
  • Bag of Spilling: You do not keep any of the wonderful things you get from one level to the next. You don't even keep your Gruntz!
  • Bottomless Pits: In various fashions according to the current world - tar pits, fall from very high, cooking plates...
  • Boring, but Practical: The Gauntletz, a tool to break things and fight other Gruntz, are in nearly every level, and very useful.
  • Breakable Weapon: Inverted somehow with the red breakable blocks, which will destroy your Gauntletz. Some other Toolz are a more straight example, like the Wingz that disappear if you use them too much.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Mixed with Level Ate in High On Sweetz.
  • Check Point: Several per level. You must have the required number of Gruntz with the appropriate Toolz/Toyz to progress. Otherwise, it's Unwinnable...
  • Cherry Tapping: Some of the Gruntz fights amount to this if everyone has no (or crap) Toolz. This will also happen in a fight against a Tool Thief.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Your Gruntz are orange. Enemy Gruntz cover a wide palette, each color denoting a different behaviour.
  • Cool Sword: Pretty cool, considering that it's a two hit KO and the strongest melee attack in the game.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Warpstone pieces.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Tool Thievez. They steal your Gruntz' tool and your bare handed Grunt has to fight them!
    • Toyerz are not above giving your Gruntz a toy and forcing them to play around. Even worse if it's a car, as your Gruntz will most likely drive into something hazardous.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Once you give a Toolz to a Gruntz, it keeps it until death or getting a new one. Especially grating if it's crap and you lost a good one to get it. The Warpstone holder has the worst luck - he's very slow, cannot attack or defend himself, and you must protect him until he gets to the end of the level.
  • Death from Above:
    • The birds in "Trouble In The Tropicz" drop bird poop that kill any Gruntz in a 3x3 radius.
    • The aircraft in "High On Sweetz" drop exploding packages that kill any Gruntz in a 3x3 radius.
    • The spotlight in "High Rollerz" forces your Gruntz to sing if it lands on them. Since your Gruntz can't sing properly, a trapdoor opens up underneath them and removes them from the game.
    • The UFOs in "Gruntz In Space" have two searchlights that instantly melt any Gruntz that come into contact with it.
  • Death Course: Each and every level.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: The "Easy Mode" disables the timed TrapDoors... which makes some of the later levels Unwinnable (you are supposed to push overpowered ennemies into them).
  • Escort Mission: Once you get the Warpstone piece, you have to escort the holder to the end of the level. If he dies, you lose.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: And then some.
  • Excuse Plot: Here's our story: the orange Gruntz were having fun with their toys. Then one of them found mysterious giant buttons on the ground. Pressing them opened a strange gate with a portal in it. At this moment, they were attacked by blue Gruntz. In a desperate effort to save themselves, orange Gruntz jumped into the portal, and blue Gruntz followed them. Cue them having to go through numerous puzzles to come back home.
  • Final Battle: The final stage of the final level has a TON of enemy Gruntz with different Toolz at the end. Fortunately, you have a large army of Gruntz with you. Don't expect most of your Gruntz to survive.
    • You can soften this a bit by having your Gunhat user pick off some of them first, though.
  • Floating Continent: High Rollerz, with a dash of Pinball Zone. Viva Las Vegas!
  • Forced Tutorial: Double subverted. The actual tutorial levels are completely optional, but the regular levels also have Hint Books, walking onto which causes a grunt to stop and read their contents. In some cases, you have to walk onto them to progress...
  • Gimmick Level: Most of them, but special mention to the High Rollerz one where you race against a rolling ball (in order to activate switches so that it continues rolling) for the whole level; a deliberate aversion of Take Your Time.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Used by yellow enemy Gruntz, which are appropriately known as "Hit and Runners".
  • 100% Completion: The WARP letters.
  • Idle Animation: No matter what tool your Grunt is holding, there's always some amusing comments they can say and things they can do with it while idle.
  • I'm Melting: This is how Gruntz die (if not blown up, crushed falling into hazards, or exploded). Also said word for word as one of their death quotes.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Where to start? The Gooberstraw, the Springz... every Toolz can be used as a weapon with various effectiveness.
  • Invisible Grid
  • Jungle Japes: Trouble in the Tropicz
  • Kill It with Fire: The Welderz' Tool.
  • Knock Back: Some of the weapons have this, such as the Boxing Glovez and the Sponge Gunz.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: When a Grunt carries a sword and is forced to walk around non-stop for longer periods of time, you can hear him saying this:
    "My name is Grunt Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: One of the quotes said by a Gruntz when he dies.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The welder's tool fires a fireball that instantly incinerates an enemy Gruntz (unless they are wearing a Gunhatz), but has a ridiculously long reload time.
    • The Timebombz destroys any Gruntz in a 3x3 radius when it explodes.
  • Random Events Plot: You gotta admit, there's no logic behind the progression between each world. While at first it's reasonable with the gruntz going from a forest to an ice world and then to tropics, it stops making sense when they somehow wind up in the clouds high above the ground, and then... in a casino? And then in a gigantic kitchen? And then on a big golf course? And then in space? (This could be rectified a bit if there were more cutscenes in the game than just intro and outro...)
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Destroying rocks, candies, bricks, dices and sugarcubes with the steel gauntlets is not just rewarding, it's very often essential to your progress. But beware of the hidden bombs...
  • Secret Level: Each level has areas accessible only with the use of red wormholes (which appear temporarily if you step onto a specific tile) and secret switches (which make parts of the terrain change temporarily).
    • Additionally, it seems that the game was intended to also have actual secret levels. They would be unlocked if a Grunt carrying a specific tool (most likely one that is impossible to get on the main level without cheats) steps on a specific tile. However, only one such level made it into the game.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The dark green enemy Gruntz always hold Shieldz.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The second set of levels.
  • Soft Reset: A Big Red Button, of course.
  • Spikes Of Doom: Only a mild annoyance, actually. You're more likely to die from rolling rocks, pitfalls, lava/water, slimes, UFO lights, etc.
  • Spring Coil: Springz, obviously.
  • Super Drowning Skills: The Gruntz normally avoid falling into water for a good reason (though there's a rare Toolz allowing them to swim). But if they do fall into water, they drown instantly.
  • Temporary Platform
  • Time Bomb: Timebombz, obviously. Both as a reusable tool that a grunt can use as many times as he wants, and as a surprise variant that can be uncovered when a rock is destroyed. Both types have the traditional look of a bundle of dynamite sticks with wires and a clock attached to them, and they start ticking faster when about to go off.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Wingz, which allow gruntz to fly over obstacles and bottomless pits. Nearly a Game Breaker if you didn't have to ration their usage.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: Tool Thievez steal your Gruntz' tools and fight them with it while they end up bare-handed!
  • Unwinnable: What the Big Red Button is for.
  • Victory Pose: And a victory dance, too.
  • Video Game Settings
  • Weaponized Headgear: Gunhatz, natch. They also provide extra defense against ranged attacks.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Everywhere, especially the Z for plurals.

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alternative title(s): Gruntz
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