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I does sound like a HD corruption, hopefully I am wrong and a simple fsck can fix it. If you do have to reinstall, try and use separate partitions for the main root folders, means you loose a lot less if it happens again.
If so, select the Suse bootline and press E, then select the kernel line and press E again. Append single to the line that now appears on screen, after which you confirm by pressing Enter. Then you boot into single user mode by pressing B.
Do not mount anything at this stage; just run the fsck on any partition that may have been affected. It will scan your filesystems and try to repair them. This method can be a real saver but is not failsafe, though.
GRUB is a user space boot loader that does not need to be installed to the master boot record every time the config file is changed. Also the user can change the names of the devices. GRUB includes a shell, so you could access files from hard drive(s) and fix how GRUB boots the OS.
You have to run fsck on the desire partition. ReiserFS is not stable enough for server and for desktop use. I recommend either EXT3, XFS, or JFS, but never, never ReiserFS. ReiserFS has a higher degree of failure than other filesystems.
runlevel 1 is not safe mode. There is no safe mode in Linux. runlevel 1 is just another runlevel, but no programs are loaded.