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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.

Gruntz is a strategy/puzzle PC Video Game by Monolith Productions, published in 1999.

The gruntz are a bunch of small creatures seemingly made of clay. They strayed from home, thanks to a mysterious portal that brought them to unknown worlds. Now they want to find a way back. Only YOU can help them make it through the hellish puzzles, hordes of enemy gruntz and downright Malevolent Architecture that await them.

The only way to successfully complete a level is to find a Warpstone piece - which is the only thing that can bring gruntz back home - and get someone to carry it to the fortress, where the King is waiting. There are no problems 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 deal with various obstacles.

Definitely Needs More Love.


This video game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Coins and WARP letters. Finding them all on all levels from a world gives you access to cheat codes.
  • Agony of the Feet: Said word-for-word as a random quote when your gruntz step on spikes.
  • Artificial Stupidity: This applies to both your gruntz and the enemy gruntz. Your gruntz will always walk in a straight line towards their destination, carelessly walking into any obstacle that is in their path. And both your gruntz and the enemy gruntz can be easily distracted by toys given to them, no matter what happens around them - if the toy is a mobile one, then it gets even better, since they will randomly drive into any instant-kill obstacle near them. On multiplayer levels, the enemy shows some remarkable amounts of stupidity, such as:
    • Walking straight into pyramids that are about to raise (instant kill), under rolling boulders (instant kill), onto bridges that are about to sink (instant kill)...
    • If they have giant straws and stand on a goo puddle, then they will glitch and just stand on the puddle instead of walking next to it to drink it.
    • They will break any bricks standing on their way to your gruntz, even if it means destroying their own fortress' defenses.
  • 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!
  • Bandit Mook: The appropriately-named Tool Thieves will steal your Gruntz' item and fight them with the stolen item. Fortunately, the Thieves drop the items they stole on death.
  • Bottomless Pits: All worlds have these in the form of holes your gruntz can fall into and instantly die, and which can be somehow filled by just swinging a shovel a bit. Worlds set high in the sky (or in space) also have areas that expose the ground down below. While not literally bottomless (except for space), they certainly make the fall fatal.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Gauntletz, a tool to break things and fight other gruntz. They are in nearly every level and are very useful.
  • Breakable Weapons:
    • If you attempt to break a red brick with your Gauntletz, it will destroy both the Gauntletz and the brick.
    • Wingz will disappear if you use them too much.
    • Ducky Tubes which will pop if you step on spikes.
    • Spingz that will also break if you step on spikes.
  • Check Point: Several per level. You must have the required number of gruntz with the appropriate tools/toys to progress. Otherwise, it's unwinnable...
  • Cherry Tapping: Some of the fights amount to this if everyone has no tools or crap ones. This can also happen in a fight against a Tool Thief, who steals your gruntz' tools and uses them against them.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Your gruntz are orange. Enemy gruntz cover a wide palette, each color denoting a different behaviour.
  • Cool Sword: The Sword tool, which looks like a pirate saber. It's pretty cool, considering that it only takes two hits to kill a grunt, which makes it the strongest melee weapon in the game.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Warpstone pieces. They're 4 pieces of a big circular rock with a spiral in the center, and getting them together is the only way the Gruntz can go back home.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Tool Thievez. They steal your gruntz' tools and use them against your gruntz, and your gruntz have to fight them bare handed!
    • Toyerz are specifically about giving your gruntz a toy and forcing them to play around. If it happens to be a mobile toy, then your gruntz will most likely drive into something hazardous.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Once you give a tool to a grunt, he keeps it until death or getting a new one. Especially grating if it's a crap tool 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.
  • Damage Reduction: Shieldz can completely prevent damage taken from bare-handed gruntz and gruntz wearing boxing glovez. Gunhatz divide all of the received damage by half.
  • Death from Above:
    • The birds in "Trouble In The Tropicz" drop giant bird poop that kills any gruntz in a 3x3 radius.
    • The aircraft in "High On Sweetz" drop exploding packages that kill any gruntz in a 3x3 radius.
    • The spotlights in "High Rollerz" force your gruntz to sing if any of those spotlights catches 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 them.
  • Death Course: Each level amounts to this, and they get harder and harder as you go. You have to get past enemy gruntz, floors decorated with sharp spikes, eternally rolling boulders, holes in the ground, pits filled with oil, tar and such, and that's not even half of it...
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: The "Easy Mode" disables the timed trap-doors in the High Rollerz world... which makes some of the levels unwinnable, since you are supposed to push overpowered enemies into them.
  • Eject The Loser: This happens to your gruntz in High Rollerz if they are touched by a spotlight - they're unable to sing properly, so a hole opens below them and drops them from a great height.
  • Escort Mission: The gruntz carrying Warpstone Pieces are this. They cannot defend themselves, they cannot pick up any tools, and if they die, you lose. And you have to bring them every time to the end of the level to win.
  • 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 some mysterious giant buttons on the ground. Pressing them opened a strange gate with a portal in it. This was the moment when they were attacked by blue gruntz who were previously spying on them. 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 tools at the end. Fortunately, you have a large army of gruntz with you as well. 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 world is basically a casino flying high in the sky, 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: Various, but a special mention goes to the one in the High Rollerz world 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".
  • Idle Animation: No matter what tools your gruntz are holding, there are always some amusing comments they can say and things they can do with them while idle.
  • I'm Melting: This is how gruntz die (if not blown up, crushed falling into hazards, or exploded) - they turn into a pile of goo that can be later sucked up to reuse for creation of another grunt. Also said word for word as one of their death quotes.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Almost every tool can be used to fight other gruntz. A few examples include giant straws, giant springs, wings, welder kits, ducky tubes, heavy boots, spy gears... their effectiveness varies, however.
  • Invisible Grid: The game uses a top-down view with a slight angle, with the levels consisting entirely of 32x32px tiles.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Welder's Kit tool. It shoots a fireball that is an instant kill to any grunt except the ones wearing Gunhats.
  • Knock Back: Some of the weapons have this, such as the Boxing Glovez and the Sponge Gunz. You can actually fire the Sponge Gun at a Bottomless Pit, then let your Gruntz walk there just as it hits them, which pushes them past the pit before they can fall in.
  • No Fair Cheating: The game has an odd variation where cheat codes work perfectly, but if you use any of them (except a select few), you can no longer save your game.
  • 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 grunt when he dies.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The Welder's Kit tool fires a fireball that instantly incinerates any enemy grunt (unless they are wearing a Gunhat), but has a ridiculously long reload time.
    • The Timebombs destroy any gruntz in a 3x3 radius when they explode.
    • There are also giant bombs that destroy both the grunt that holds them and everyone around them in a 3x3 radius.
  • Press X to Die: The Big Red Button on the interface is this. If pressed, it will start a countdown and will make all of your gruntz explode once it reaches zero. The game suggests to use it if you want to restart the level.
    • There is also the MPBOMBAGE cheat that does the same thing minus the countdown.
  • Random Events Plot: You gotta admit, there is 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 have actual secret levels as well. 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 shields (in the levels made by the developers, anyway).
  • Spikes of Doom: Usually only a mild annoyance, unless you must walk through a lot of them with no protection. Most of the time, you're more likely to die from rolling rocks, pitfalls, lava/water, slimes, UFO lights, etc.
  • Spring Coil: Springz, obviously. They allow you to jump over some obstacles.
  • Suicide Attack: The Bombz basically make the Gruntz holding it into a kamikaze bomber.
  • Super Drowning Skills: The gruntz normally avoid falling into water for a good reason (though there's a rare tool allowing them to swim). But if they do fall into water, they drown instantly.
  • Temporary Platform: There are two kinds of bridges that fall into this: ones that will crumble shortly after being stepped on, and ones that appear and disappear in a predetermined pattern.
  • 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 then fight them with those stolen tools while the victims end up bare-handed!
  • Unwinnable: What the Big Red Button is for.
  • Victory Pose: The gruntz do that if they manage to successfully end a level. Their king even dances when it happens.
  • Video Game Settings
  • Weaponized Headgear: Gunhatz, natch. They also provide extra defense against ranged attacks.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The Z for plurals, which is pretty much everywhere in the game.


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alternative title(s): Gruntz
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