Munch’s Oddysee: Eggs? Eggs. Eggs!

Perhaps I’ve just been inattentive, or failed to read between the lines. It would be easy to do in a game where the story and gameplay are so separate. I can keep the Lulu side of the plot straight because it’s integrated into the levels, but there’s some purely interstitial story as well. Mostly it takes the form of headlines on a newspaper displayed after you complete a mission. The top story is generally the mission’s aftermath — “GLUKKON DONATES PROFITS TO LULU FUND! MAGOG MOTORS OUTA GAS!!!”, for example — but there’s also been an adjacent series in smaller type about the impending auction of the last remaining can of Gabbiar. Gabbiar is the roe of the Gabbit, which is to say, Munch’s species. Munch is generally assumed to be the last of his kind (hence his side of the rescue missions involving Fuzzles instead). So that roe, if still viable, could be the last hope for the continuation of his people.

I hadn’t really paid much attention to this plot thread before, assuming that it would assume prominence when it was ready, but there’s something else that’s got me thinking about it: the emergence of Labor Eggs. I had seen the phrase “Labor Eggs” in the game’s help text before, when it explains that the ending will depend on how many Mudokons, Fuzzles, and Labor Eggs you rescue. But only now, in the last few levels, do I get an explanation of what the phrase “Labor Eggs” means. It just means the eggs of Mudokons, kept by the Glukkons to be hatched into laborers. Which raises questions about where these eggs come from. As I’ve noted before, every Mudokon we’ve seen appears, at least, to be male — although these are aliens, so who knows?

Now, there is at least one specifically female character, also mentioned only in the newspapers: a Glukkon queen, who requires Gabbit lungs for some medical purpose. Which, now that I think about it, shows extreme short-sightedness on the part of the Glukkons. They have a desperate need for Gabbits, but Gabbits have been hunted to near extinction, so what do they do with the last clutch of viable Gabbit eggs? Package them as food. This is really par for the course for Glukkons, though. Their domination of the planet is based on ruthlessness, not good planning.

At any rate, the deal with the Labor Eggs is that they’re in boxes, which you have to pick up with a crane and drop into a hole. In the level where they first appear, there are 22 such boxes, all in the same area. You can’t access the crane until you’ve got rid of some guards, but once you’ve done that, there is nothing at all interfering with the task. This moment is pretty much pure repetitiveness, lacking challenge or interest. And that’s a distillation of the worst aspect of the game as a whole: its tendency to give the player busywork, to fill out scenes with activities that aren’t challenging or interesting. “Labor Eggs” may be a doubly accurate name.

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