Thursday, April 21, 2011

41. Zubat

Dusk! With a creepy, tingling sensation, you hear the fluttering of leathery wings! Zubats! With glowing red eyes no eyes to speak of and glistening fangs, these unspeakable giant bugs drop onto—

...What do you mean Zubats aren't bugs? They know Leech Life don't they? They number in the millions don't they?

Yes, it's Zubat, our friend from Every Pokemon Game Until Black and White. Of course, Zubat isn't alone in this; I'm bound to make this same complaint about Geodude and Machop. Really, Game Freak? For fifteen years, you couldn't think of anything that lives in caves besides bats and rocks? Zubats are far and above the most annoying however, probably due to their rate of encounter, and Supersonic at a point of the game where you're probably not fast or strong enough to give 'em the old OHKO. An annoyance on which I am far from the first person to comment.

You know what though? It's not even Zubat's fault. It's the fact that cave tiles throw at least as many pokemon at you as tall grass. Think about that. A cave in Pokemon is like an entire route filled wall-to-wall with grass. No wonder people are sick of Zubats. Would it kill them to lower the encounter rate a little? And don't even get me started on caves that make you learn Flash. Caves just suck in general. My favourite is when you finally get to the promised “Victory Road,” which sounds like a scenic, sunlit route that allows you to reflect on your journey as you take your final peaceful steps before meeting the elite f—NOPE IT'S A CAVE

Zubats are even worse for Nuzlockers. You always end up with about five of them, and if you're playing post-Gen I you're practically obligated to train one into a Crobat, since it's stronger than any Normal/Flying type and happiness evolution is super convenient. Training them is horrible, though. Leech Life does about 2 damage to everything. It takes forever to learn Bite (level 16 in Gen III), and even longer to get a single move with STAB. Take a moment to appreciate how little sense this paragraph would make to your parents.

Despite all this, Zubats aren't even that bad! If it didn't suffer from overexposure, it would be a great pokemon. I suppose it's not the most inspired design, but bats are cool, right? It's got a cool name. And it's got those weird dorsal guiding fins. And its lack of eyes is pretty cute. Except at that one angle where they cannot be unseen:

I have to admit, though, Woobat in Gen V is an improvement, unoriginal though it may seem. Partly because Psychic/Flying makes far more sense for a bat than Poison/Flying (poisonous bats? What's with Generation I's obsession with poison types anyway?), and partly because: have you seen real life Honduran white bats? They are the zenith of bat cuteness.

Do a Google search. You will be unable to tell them apart from the zoological fan art people make of them with cotton balls.

The Winner:
Ruby and Sapphire

Red and Green's sprite is one telescoping leg short of a tripod. I haven't played a Zubat in Black and White so I can't confirm this, but I'm guessing they chose Platinum's sprite just so they could alternate it with D/P's. Easy animation!

I was pretty sure I would go with a Gen II sprite here, since their dark palette suits Zubat best and I have fond memories, for some inconceivable and possibly masochistic reason, of battling Zubats in Gold. I don't even care that the back of its wing isn't solid like on the other Zubats.

But Ruby and Sapphire's sprite is just excellent. Its curvature gives it movement. Note the way its mouth hangs open into space, lower lip invisible. It is a mouth out of nothingness. And the wings! Too many flying pokemon suffer from stumpy wings. Not this Zubat. Those are way too narrow to provide an animal with any sort of lift, but it doesn't matter because they look cool.



    your 'from' link is broke bro :(

    also i always thought their EARS were their EYES- huge purple spaced-out eyes on either side of their head. i refuse to acknowledge their actual lack of eyes

    omg those tiny bats are so cute

  2. Aw jeez, ears for eyes is even better

    This link still works for me. Anyway it's just a dumb demotivational poster

  3. Calvin and Hobbes reference huzzah!

  4. By "what is generation 1's obsession with poison types anyway" you mean 'why do all the other generations hate poison types so much' right?

  5. Pokemon - Emerald - Hack (all pokemons) GBA ROM+SAVE+CHEAT