You don’t have to know me for long before you figure out that I love Pokémon. The games captivate every facet of my imagination. There are so many wonderful places from the series I could pick, but what fun would that be? Instead I will introduce you to a place that I have hated ever since I crawled out of the exit. Rock Tunnel, I choose you!
Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow Version are established classics that bring back found memories, but one place is filled with darkness – literally. Rock Tunnel was one of the first major challenges in the game. The giant cave stood between you and Lavender Town as an obstacle you must overcome. With 19 trainers, non-stop random encounters, and a two-floor maze, there was a reason a Pokémon Center was right next to the entrance.
Like most classic games, Yellow Version didn’t hold your hand, leaving you to your to their own devices. If you forgot to talk to the right NPC, you could miss out on critical knowledge. Rock Tunnel is pitch black and requires you to use Flash to illuminate the cave. If forgotten, it would leave you walking around in the dark and inevitably getting lost — to the point where you might have to reload your last save because you couldn’t locate the ladder to escape. If you were smart, you remembered, but there was another problem. Finding a Pokémon to learn Flash could be challenging if you didn’t want to sacrifice a move slot for a Pokémon already in your party. Shuffling from box to box trying to find a Pokémon capable of learning Flash was a chore. Without even making any progress through the mountain pass, Rock Tunnel already had the player against the ropes.
Once the place is lit up like a Christmas tree, the scope of the cavern comes into perspective. Hikers and Lasses are littered around every corner, ensuring your worn-down Pokémon never miss a battle. Onix and Geodude absorb attacks like a sponge. Then there is the constant threat of getting lost. The walls also contain a major condition that can break the will of anyone who enters. Zubats.
Annoyance is an understatement for these blind pests. With a 55-percent appearance rate, about every three steps lead to another encounter. With a high-speed stat and a life-sucking attack, they leave your team crippled one way or another. The constant barrage of Zubat after Zubat while trying to navigate a natural maze leaves you running around in circles while crippling your spirit and team. The very powerful and distinct hate for these bats is born in these brown pixel walls.
After a perilous journey, you are greeted with the wonderful light at the end of Rock Tunnel. Standing at the foot of Lavender Town, which happens to have a cemetery, you take a look back and pray that you never have to enter its depths once again. The cave is a soul-draining hike that many new trainers black out in and have to be dragged to the nearest Pokémon Center.