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Overview

Ghosts are the undead spirits of people or animals who have died. Generally speaking, ghosts are able to pass through walls and other solid objects as well as fly, providing a difficult opponent to escape from. Occasionally, ghosts are not hostile and simply require the player to solve a mystery surrounding their death before they are able to move on to the afterlife.

Types of Ghosts in Video Games

  • In Pac-Man the ghosts turn blue when Pac-Man eats power pellets which indicates that they are now edible. They are the only enemies in this game. They share none of the usual properties associated to ghosts and can be assumed to have been drawn in an identifiable "ghost" shape due to the graphical limitations of arcade games at the time.
  • The Boos of the Mario universe are fun-loving ghosts that like to trick people. They can be thwarted by simply staring in their direction, which freezes them in place. In most cases, they are invulnerable to harm and must be avoided. They are often lead by "King Boo", a large Boo with a crown.
  • In Fatal Frame the ghosts are almost entirely all hostile: Many were driven insane by an apocalyptic event that destroyed their village and lash out at anything still alive. The antagonists in each Fatal Frame were female ghosts that had died in a botched ritual. Most of these ghosts attack by strangling the protagonist with their bare hands.
  • In several RPGs, like Might & Magic and those based on the D&D system, ghosts are powerful undead enemies with a life-draining attack. The player usually needs to meet a special condition to fight these ghosts, either with magic or magically imbued weapons.
  • In Luigi's Mansion and Ghostbusters, ghosts can take many forms and must be eliminated with a special weapon. Combat usually involves lassoing the ghosts and keeping them on the line like in a fishing game.
  • In several RPGs and adventure games, like Oblivion, non-hostile ghosts will give the player quests to complete - most of these quests end with setting the ghost's spirit at rest. Sometimes these ghosts are guardians of temples and other holy sites (such as the ones guarding Andraste's urn in Dragon Age: Origins).
  • In Demon's Souls (and its sequel Dark Souls), ghosts of previous players provide hints on dangers ahead: The player is able to invoke the bloodstain of a deceased player character (provided they are connected to the network) to view their last moments.
  • In games like Geist and Ghost Trick, the player is a ghost and is able to use the various powers of ghosts (such as invisibility, flight and possession) to solve puzzles.

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