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I was playing halo reach last week and there was a suicide grunt running at me. I ran away since I had no ammo or grenades and I sure as heck wasn't going to melee him. Well I ran around a rock thinking he would blow up on his own. 15 minutes go by and it still didn't die! He died when I thought he blew up but I was wrong!

Why did he not blow up until he reached me?
Do they actually blow up on their own at some point?

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Have you seen other suicide grunts blow up by themselves? –  murgatroid99 Dec 31 '12 at 2:59
    
No. They always blow up the second they get close. They are really annoying. Especially on legendary. That always just picks at my brain –  Andrew Eckert Dec 31 '12 at 5:28
    
So you're just asking why the game works the way it does? That sounds like a "why did they design it that way?" question, which is off topic on this site. –  murgatroid99 Dec 31 '12 at 5:39
    
@AndrewEckert - Presumably what they are doing is "cooking" the grenade. They trigger it, but are holding something on it that prevents it from exploding until it is released. This is why they don't blow up until they get close to you or they die. –  SaintWacko Dec 31 '12 at 5:47
    
Oh thank you very much for the really helpful answer @saintwacko. :) –  Andrew Eckert Dec 31 '12 at 14:09
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2 Answers

Suicide, or "Kamikaze" Grunts were added in Halo 3, and can be nasty little buggers if you're not paying close attention to them. That said, they do not run indefinitely. Each difficulty increases the amount of time that a Grunt can run. Mind you, on easy this distance still isn't short, especially if they are close. Here's a breakdown of the times and rough distances for each difficulty.

Easy

It took about 18 seconds from ignition of the grenades to explosion. Grunt was moving the whole time, though some repeated movements were made where it looked like the AI couldn't decide which way to go.

Easy Kamikaze Grunt Path

Normal

Normal also took about 18 seconds from ignition to explosion. Two grunts ran at me this time, both exploded apart from each other and at roughly the same time. Distance didn't seem to be much different.

Normal Kamikaze Grunt Path

*Note: The grunts did not explode at the same time, but they were pretty close to one right after the other.

Heroic

Heroic had an additional 6 seconds, bringing it up to a total of 24 seconds from ignition to explosion. That additional time adds a lot of distance and requires a lot of open space to run away from.

Heroic Kamikaze Grunt Path

Legendary

There was an additional 4 seconds in Legendary when compared to Heroic, bringing the final total up to 28 seconds. The distance covered here is very long for most any open stretch in Reach, and to run away, you will likely need to do a few circles (or jump on a platform, see below).

Legendary Kamikaze Grunt Path

Premature Explosion

Grunts will blow their payload if they die, are too far away from you or if they are unable to reach you. This means that, if you have a jetpack or a platform to jump on, they will blow themselves up immediately. Also, a simple headshot will drop them quickly.

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I was on easy. Because I am a bit of a noob at halo games. (Being the exception of halo wars.) –  Andrew Eckert Dec 31 '12 at 14:05
    
But thanks for the diagrams!:) –  Andrew Eckert Dec 31 '12 at 14:07
    
Very impressive answer. Did you take multiple screenshots and meld them together? –  SaintWacko Dec 31 '12 at 19:12
    
@SaintWacko Yes. Each difficulty is two screenshots which were then combined and overlaid with a path of travel for the grunt(s). The exception is normal, which was 3 screenshots because the grunts did not blow up at the same time. Screenshots are in my fileshare (no videos, sorry) –  Ktash Dec 31 '12 at 20:21
    
@Ktash Very well done. It's good to see people putting good work into answers. I wish I could upvote it again :) –  SaintWacko Dec 31 '12 at 20:25
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They blow when they feel they are close enough. If you run long enough away from them they will blow anyways. On different difficulties they blow after a longer or shorter time period.

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