[Community Showcase] - Top 10 Ghosts in Video Games

Posted on October 31, 2011 - 11:00am by Woodyman

Top 10 Ghosts in Video Games

In honor of Halloween, I wanted to do something befitting of the holiday... even though it’s snowing as I write this.

I already mentioned a few of my favorite horror comedies to watch this season, and I should have a collaborative Top 20 Orange Video Game Characters soon, but for now, I want to talk about something scary!

Therefore, let’s countdown the very best ghosts in video games.

However, we need to set up some ground rules before we begin.

1.) All characters are from games I have played

2.) If you don’t like the list, that’s fine just don’t be a dick about it.

3.) Ghosts are generally the soul/spirit of a deceased being.

4.) Some selections in this countdown break rule #3

5.) The order of this countdown is based on how the ghosts affected me, and their significance to gaming as a whole.

Alright let’s begin!

Now I usually don’t do this but here is an Honorable Mention.

HM.) Simon “Ghost” Riley – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Now Ghost is one of the most iconic characters in the Call of Duty franchise. I don’t really know what it is, but most CoD fans cannot get enough of this badass soldier. Ghost was a lieutenant in the British Special Forces. He is the second in command of Task Force 141, and is seen wearing dark red sunglasses and a skull patterned balaclava along with headphones with a mic. I guess that’s why most people like Ghost so much, he is one of the most ultimate badasses ever, and his skull-patterned balaclava just adds to the badassery.

SPOILER ALERT!
Now I’m sure many of you are annoyed by this entry! Even though the character’s name is Ghost that doesn’t make him an actual ghost. Remember rule 3? Ghosts are generally the soul/spirit of a deceased being. Well in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Ghost unfortunately dies. Now Modern Warfare 3 hasn’t been released yet, but many fans are hoping and rumoring that Ghost will return… even if it is just his spirit.

10.) Aeris/Aerith’s Ghost – Final Fantasy 7

I’ve learned from previous lists that if I don’t include at least one Final Fantasy entry, I’m going to get ton of hate mail… which I’m fine with. However, I need to include Aeris on this list just because of the situation in which she appears. One of the most tragic deaths in gaming occurs when the evil Sephiroth stabs the kind and vulnerable flower girl, Aeris. She is instantly killed, and given a decent and heartfelt water funeral by Cloud. However, just because Aeris is dead doesn’t mean she is gone forever. You can hack the game and bring her back or… you can see her ghost… sometimes.

The details in which Aeris’ ghost can be seen are a bit vague. Some say it depends on how well you treated her in life, others say its all luck, but either way one thing is for sure. Aeris’ ghost was deliberately put in the game by the programmers and when you see her spirit, your heart flutters for a second with hope, even if that hope is destroyed when you realize she is simply an apparition.

9.) Stay Puft Marshmallow Man – Ghostbusters Series

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man doesn’t sound like one of the spookiest ghosts in gaming, but let me give you a bit of a story here. In the original Ghostbusters movie, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is created by Gozer the shape-shifting ghost of immense power. He/she claims thatthey are going to read the ghostbusters’ minds and take the form of whatever they are thinking of. Most of the ghostbusters make their mind blank, but the idiotic Stantz imagines the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man claiming he thought of “something that could never, ever possibly destroy us” well… he was wrong and the giant Marshmallow man starts destroying the city. Now this Marshmallow Man is one of the most popular characters in all Ghostbusters media and appeared in numerous games, but there are two that I must talk about. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man appears in the new Ghostbusters video game released for a ton of different platforms and is pretty damn scary climbing up a building, but nothing compares to the Marshmallow Man’s appearance in the SEGA Genesis version of Ghostbusters. In the game you travel to a series of homes while zapping some minor enemies and then usually facing off against a few boss ghosts. In one level, the high rise apartment building, you just keep traveling higher and higher through the apartment building as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man stares at you from the windows outside and occasionally attacks you by punching through the building itself.

It’s the anticipation that is the worst thing about this battle. You know that you are going to fight the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man when you reach the top of the building, you know he’s pissed off, and you know he’s strong enough to punch through a building and yet you still jump out of your pants the second he crashes through the wall. Any game that can make a giant smiling Marshmallow Man look scary deserves to be on this list.

8.) Sissel – Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Ahh… here we go! The sleeper on the list… except maybe for my next choice.
Anyway, Sissel has amnesia… (I know… I know… it’s a cliché used in so many games that I lost count) either way Sissel had amnesia, but he is also a ghost!
The game begins with Sissel already dead. His corpse lies between a mysterious man with a gun, and a woman. Despite his amnesia, Sissel deduces that the stylish corpse is actually his body. A mysterious voice that introduces himself as a ghost named Ray tells Sissel that his memories will begin to return if he saves the woman held up by gunpoint. He can save her using Ghost Trick, which is the ability to possess and manipulate objects and the ability to rewind time 4 minute before a person’s death. After he saves the girl, they team up to save more people and discover the truth. I don’t want to give more away, mainly because I only played a little bit of this game (my fiancé lost her copy) and don’t want anything spoiled, but I recommend you play this amazing DS game for yourself. ASAP! Also how can you go wrong with a character like Sissel, who Joystiq describes as a "sarcastic smooth talker who's cool enough to wear sunglasses even after death".

7.) Ghost Commander and Knights – Legend of Dragoon

(Sorry about pic quality)

Now it’s true some ghosts are scary, but I often see them as just sad. They are the spirits of the dead that are doomed to haunt the planet until they are finally at peace. The Ghost Commander from Legend of Dragoon (my favorite game and favorite RPG) falls into both categories. He is fearsome, and a bit sad. About halfway through the game our protagonist, Dart, and his friends find themselves aboard the Queen’s Fury aka a haunted Ghost Ship. This ship is fallen apart, decrepit, and of course… haunted. The main ghosts who haunt this ship are the Ghost Knights and their leader, the Ghost Commander. While aboard the ship these apparitions will pop up in front of you numerous times telling you to GET OUT! Of course, you continue exploring until all Ghost Knights and their commander surround you. This is fearsome in itself, however once you start fighting the Ghost Knights and commander you realize that you need to defeat them all at the same time, otherwise they will rise up again to attack. They are ghosts after all and it’s pretty damn hard to kill a ghost with a sword… IT’S ALREADY DEAD!

Here comes the tragic part. You find out that before the Queen’s Fury was destroyed and everybody on board was killed, that the Knights and Commanders were on the ship and ordered to protect Princess Louvia. They must have ultimately failed, but nevertheless they continue to follow orders and attempt to protect the deceased princess after they themselves have passed away. Even in death they try to do their duty. They only attack Dart and his group because they thought he was the Black Monster and was going to hurt the princess. If you defeat these Ghost Knights you feel the joy of victory, and yet the sadness of a pointless battle.

6.) Eyeless Woman – Fatal Frame

(Look in the background)

Fatal Frame is one of the SCARIEST games I ever played. I hate it… but I love it. The game follows Miku a Japanese girl who searches for her brother in a haunted mansion. Miku finds her mother’s old camera, and finds out that she is locked in the mansion. Now she must find a way to escape, and her missing brother. Miku’s only weapon against the swarms of ghosts is her camera, which somehow has the ability to put the souls to rest.
Basically Miku is the Frank West of ghosts.

This one is going to be difficult to explain but the ghost that freaked me out the most in this game wasn’t the creepy giggling kids, it wasn’t the woman with the broken neck, it was the eyeless woman.

There is something scary and creepy about eyes in general.
The eyeless woman, has black empty eye sockets that seem to be dripping in blood. I don’t know what happened to her or why but she blindly lurches towards Miku over and over again swinging about madly trying to find her. All the while, the eyeless woman’s scream pierces you soul and makes you evacuate your bowels in fear.

5.) Phantom Gannon – Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

There are many ghosts in the Legend of Zelda series, but the one that tops them all has to be Phantom Gannon. Then, there are many versions of Phantom Gannon, but today we are going to mention Phantom Gannon in Ocarina of Time.

Phantom Gannon is a ghostly puppet, who is completely under the control of the real Gannon. He is the boss of the forest temple and takes the appearance of Gannon in order to frighten and confuse Link. In this amazing boss fight Phantom Gannon rides into one of four identical paintings that surround Link on all four sides. He then charges on his ghostly steed toward Link ready to attack. But what’s this? There is another Phantom Gannon in another picture! What do you do? Well link has to shoot his bow and arrow at the real Phantom Gannon while avoiding his attacks and without being tricked by the illusion. If this is done enough times, then Phantom Gannon leaves his horse and begins to float around the room shooting projectiles at Link. Try as you might, once Phantom Gannon leaves his horse bows and sword strikes do not phase him. Instead you must slice at his projectiles and send them back to Phantom Gannon. Once you defeat him, the real Gannon’s voice booms through the dungeon as he calls the Phantom a worthless creation and then sends it away. Then he threatens Link and claims that he won’t be defeated so easily… This battle gets you pumped, and yet scared at the same time. If you struggled a bit with Phantom Gannon (as I did) and then Gannon calls the Phantom worthless, you begin to question your skills and become anticipated for the fight ahead. Plus, any ghost that takes the form of the King of evil… has to be on this list.

4.) Gengar – Pokemon Series

Now there are a ton of ghost-type Pokemon (Misdreavus, Shuppet, Banette, Duskull, Dusclops, Mismagius, Dusknoir, Yamask, Cofagrigus, Ghastly, Haunter, Drifloon, Drifblim, Spiritomb, Giratina, Litwick, Lampert, and Chandelure) so there must be a reason Gengar is on this list.

First of all, while many people consider Pokemon to be a kid friendly game and series, Gengar is ANYTHING but. Sure he plays the occaisional prank and tries to be humorous, but Gengar’s humor fails in comparison to its maliciousness. Gengar is dark-purple in color with sinister red eyes, and its mouth is always curved into a wicked grin. Its back is covered in sharp spikes. When a Gengar is around it sucks away the heat from the environment and makes it 10 degrees colder. In addition, Gengar is a master of stealth due to the fact that it can hide in any shadow and mimic the shadows of humans. Gengar enjoys pretending to be someone’s shadow and then enjoys when the victim notices that its shadow isn’t responding to his own body movements. Gengar can curse anyone it doesn’t like or who crosses him, and the results of these curses are quite vague… and above all else it KILLS PEOPLE! I’m not kidding according to the maker of Pokemon games, Game Freak Gengar “is said to emerge from darkness to steal the lives of those who become lost in mountains.”

In addition, Gengar is one of the mascots of the Pokemon series. Most kids who got into Pokemon started with Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue. Now if you played that game, you remember that the opening cinematic showed two Pokemon fighting each other. The mysterious and badass looking Pokemon with its back turned to us was obviously Gengar. Immediately after that, all of us kids wanted to catch a Gengar and have it on our team… unfortunately the only way to obtain a Gengar was to evolve a Haunter… and the only way to evolve a Haunter was to trade it with a friend. It made Gengar a legend among us Pokemon addicted kids and its elusiveness only added to its popularity.

3.) Chozo Ghost – Metroid Prime

I don’t wanna go into a lot of history here especially because I could be wrong, but this is my current understanding.

Samus Aran was a human. Her parents were killed when she was just a young girl by the Space Pirate, Ridley. I think she was almost killed too, or got sick and therefore a race of peaceful bird-people known as the Chozo fused her DNA with their own and thus saved her life. They then raised Samus teaching her all they knew and imparting on her, their advanced technology (Samus’ suit was designed by the Chozo). Essentially, what I’m trying to show with this brief history, is that the Chozo and Samus have a very close relationship. They practically raised her, and were stand-in parents. Fast-forward to the future and all the Chozo are wiped out (IDK why but I blame Ridley). So Samus lost her parents again! However, the Chozo still left behind technology and help to Samus on her quests.

In Metroid Prime, Samus is on the planet Talon IV. As it turns out, the Chozo lives on this planet as well and left behind ruins and lore from when they were still alive. It’s spooky, just seeing the remnants of an extinct people. Then once Samus gets to the ruins, she is attacked by Chozo Ghosts. Now, why would the Chozo Ghosts attack Samus if they raised her? Well they were corrupted by a substance called Phazon. They can only be seen with the X-Ray visor and are invulnerable to all weapons besides super missiles.
Now, imagine that your parents are dead and that their ghosts have been corrupted and are trying to kill you. Now imagine the only way to proceed is to destroy your parents’ ghosts… that is MESSED up.

2.) Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde – Pac-Man

Now I’m sure that when you read the title for this list, you were sure that these Pac-Man ghosts would be in the number one spot (so did I at first)… but you’re wrong.
Pac-Man is an arcade game, developed by Namco, and released in the US in 1980. It’s one of the most popular games of all time. In the game you play as a yellow semi-circle named Pac-Man (Insert Scott Pilgrim reference here). In the game you traverse a maze while attempting to eat all the pellets. There are four ghosts trying to stop Pac-Man and they are known as Blinky (red), Pinky (pink…duh), Inky (blue), and Clyde (orange). Is these ghosts touch Pac-Man once… he is dead (I wonder if he then turned into a ghost himself?) However, Pac-Man can turn the tables and eat the ghosts if he eats a power pellet first.

The ghosts in Pac-Man move faster than Pac-Man himself, so careful strategy is involved in clearing every maze. In addition, they are not just color swaps. Each has a distinct personality and tactic to take down Pac-Man. Blinky is the leader of the ghosts and the most aggressive, he has no strategy except find Pac-Man and then ATTACK! Pinky is sometimes a girl ghost and sometimes a boy ghost, depending on which media is portraying her/him. Pinky likes to ambush Pac-Man for a sneak attack. Inky is shy but also unpredictable. He takes on the strategy of all other ghosts. Sometimes he just attacks, sometimes he ambushes, and sometimes he just wanders around. Inky is tough because you never know what he’ll do. Clyde is…. Well he’s an idiot. Clyde wanders off and does his own thing, following a random pattern unless Pac-Man is nearby.

These ghosts aren’t in the number 2 spot for being fearsome, or tragic but they are the antagonists in the highest grossing game ever and are one of the first characters you think of when you hear video game ghost. For being timeless, and such a big part of the gaming culture… they deserve the number 2 spot.

1.) Boos – Mario Series

I was dreading putting Boos on this list because I’m sure this entry is going to be pretty damn long.

Boos are some of the most iconic enemies in the Mario games. After Boo was introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3 a version of Boo has appeared in nearly every Mario game since, including main games, sports games, Kart games, and Mario Party. Boos are EVERYWHERE.
In addition, Boos have the largest number of sub-species out of all Mario enemies.

Stretch Boos appear as long platforms and then wait for Mario to walk or swim by. Then they pop out of the platform and attack.

Boo Buddy Blocks appear in Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Story. These Boos pretend to be normal gray blocks. However, if Mario or Luigi turns their back to this block, it transforms into a boo and goes on the attack.

Fishin’ Boos are the spirits of deceased Lakitus. Yep! All Boos used to be living creatures! Rule #3 prevails! Fishin Boos carry a Fishin Pole with a blue flame attached at follow Mario or Luigi through the ghost house.

Broozers are essentially Boos with Boxing Gloves. They don’t fear and hide from Mario’s gaze like most other Boos, but they punch and attack without any fear.

Bomb Boos are black ghosts that can be grabbed by their tongue, but watch out, these boos explode… IDK who though of an exploding ghost, but I like it.

Now there are plenty more but I don’t wanna be here for days so lemme describe normal Boos for a bit. Boos are generally white although there have been pink, red, and blue boos and are nearly invulnerable. They tend to hide when looked at and then go in for the sneak attack when your back is turned. They are extremely vulnerable to light and can be defeated by certain power-ups. The Boo only has one natural predator, a Clubba named Tubba Bubba who likes to eat boos for a meal.

Now Boos people usually agree that Boos are evil, but that may not be the case. Boos usually don’t follow Bowser’s order but instead they follow King Boo, more on him later. Sometimes the Boos help Mario, like Lady Bow in Paper Mario and sometimes they try to stop him.

Now King Boo is an entirely different story.

King Boo isn’t the largest boo, but he is the leader of all of them. In addition to having all the abilities of a regular boo, he also has magic powers that increase when the number of boos around him increases. One of his most notable powers is the ability to materialize objects out of thin air. King Boo generally allies himself with Bowser, but is also seen as an intelligent and cunning villain who can come up with plans on his own. If Bowser is Mario’s rival, then King Boo is Luigi’s rival. In Luigi’s Mansion the cunning King Boo sets up a trap in which he sends a letter to Luigi telling him that he won a mansion in a contest. Mario goes to investigate and gets captured and trapped in a painting. Then it’s up to Luigi to save the day… A lot can be said when King Boo captures Mario after Bowser fails so many times… a lot can also be said when you lost to Luigi… so yeah… mixed message.

“Seriously, though, who would actually believe that mansions get given away in contests?! Talk about stupid! What do they feed you Mario brothers anyway... gullible soup?”
—King Boo, Luigi's Mansion

Either way Boos are an enigma and definitely in the number one spot. They are tragic creatures because they are the spirits of deceased Mushroom Kingdom residents, and they follow an oppressive leader. They are scary because they are sneaky and attempt the sneak attack, plus they are smart enough to set up traps to use on the Mario brothers. And they are timeless, Boos have been around since SMB3 and will probably be around for years to come. They embody what it means to be a ghost, and in my opinion, there is no competition.

Well g1s, that was my list expect a big Top 20 soon. Besides that I’ll see you at the ScrewAttack Community Party on 11-1-11 ALL DAY!

Happy Gaming!

NOTE: This blog is dedicated to Lucky and Chelsi at The Filter. If you don't know The Filter is an amazing video game podcast that you must listen to ASAP! Or else you will be haunted tonight by the eyeless woman!!! 

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