How Mt. Moon Taught A Generation Of Pokemon Fans To Hate Zubat

The Pokemon series is teeming with a variety of memorable moments, from the climactic battle with Red in Pokemon Gold & Silver to taking down a Legendary Dynamax Pokemon in Pokemon Sword & Shield. However, Pokemon is also famous for its frustrating moments, and few things are as frustrating as the painful trek through Mt. Moon in Pokemon Red & Blue.

The version of Mt. Moon that appeared in the Pokemon anime was filled with wacky alien adventures involving Clefairy and Moon Stones, but the Mt. Moon of Pokemon Red & Blue was never quite so spectacular. Instead, it’s a boring slog that forces you to endure one of the most irritating random encounters of all time: Zubat.

Related: “Slow Life” RPG Picontier Gives Off Major Pokemon Red And Blue Vibes

The Frustrations Leading To Mt. Moon

It’s a wonder that Pokemon became one of the biggest video game franchises of all time when the opening hours of Pokemon Red & Blue were so famously frustrating. After leaving and backtracking to Pallet Town, you had to endure the grindfest of enemy trainers who used stall tactic Pokemon. Viridian Forest was filled with enemies boasting legions of Caterpies, Metapods, Weedles, and Kakunas. This meant you had to fight through numerous String Shots, Hardens, and Poison Stings, which involved some torturously long and frustrating battles. Luckily, a glitch in Pokemon Yellow allowed you to avoid one of the trainers — but the rest were still a pain.

Pewter City wasn’t much of a problem for trainers who chose Bulbasaur or Squirtle as their starter, but the Charmander players had to grind some more in order to find a Pokemon that could take down Brock’s Geodude and Onix. This usually meant tediously grinding a Metapod to level 12 so that it could evolve into Butterfree and learn Confusion, which isn’t easy considering how awful Metapod is on the battlefield. Nidoran (both the male and female versions) learn Double Kick at level 12, which is also useful against Brock’s team, but it takes a lot of grinding to get there.

The First True Pokemon Dungeon (Is Way Too Big)

You need to pass through Mt. Moon in order to reach the second Gym at Cerulean City. The main issue with this universally dreaded cave is its size, as it’s easy for players to lose their place and forget which way they’re going, especially with the absurdly high encounter rate. The size of the first floor alone meant that people scouring for items could easily become lost, as everywhere looks the exact same.

Mt. Moon also has its fair share of annoying trainers who used the usual suspects of Caterpie, Weedle, Metapod, and Kakuna. There are also Rocket Grunts/Super Nerds hanging out who love to use Pokemon with Sand Attack and poison-inflicting moves, just to ramp up the frustration factor even further.

Zubat Encounter Rates

The true horror of Mt. Moon lies in its ridiculous encounter rates for Zubat. Everyone who played Red & Blue quickly grew sick of seeing this bat flying into view and interrupting their game every five seconds. On the first floor of Mt. Moon, Zubat has a 79% chance of showing up in Pokemon Red & Blue and a 75% chance of showing up in Pokemon Yellow. On the second floor, it drops to 60% and 65%, respectively. On the third floor, it drops to 49% and 60%. It would help if Zubat was an awesome Pokemon that you would want in your team, but Pokemon Red & Blue had no shortage of Poison-type or Flying-type Pokemon, and they were all better in battle than Zubat or Golbat in battle. Sure, Gold & Silver introduced Crobat — but in Gen 1 the Zubat line was basically useless.

Once you leave Mt. Moon, your real Pokemon adventure begins. The wild Pokemon you encounter are more varied and enemy trainers use dozens of different types in their teams. The problem is that it’s so difficult to get to that part — the Mt. Moon slog is an endlessly frustrating section that is mandatory for getting to the part of the game that’s actually good. And so it’s no wonder that the Pokemon fans who grew up with the original games still hate Zubat to this day. It may seem a bit more innocuous in recent games, but for us Zubat defines the worst part of an otherwise excellent game — and anyone who was forced to embark on that awful Mt. Moon slog back in the day will probably agree with us.

Next: Pokémon Red & Blue: The Best Pokémon To Catch For Each Gym In The Original Games

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Scott has been writing for The Gamer since it launched in 2017 and also regularly contributes to Screen Rant. He has previously written gaming articles for websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, and TopTenz. He has been gaming since the days of the ZX Spectrum, when it used to take 40 minutes to load a game from a tape cassette player to a black and white TV set.

Scott thinks Chrono Trigger is the best video game of all time, followed closely by Final Fantasy Tactics and Baldur’s Gate 2. He pretends that sorcerer is his favorite Dungeons & Dragons class in public but he secretly loves bards.

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