Pokemon games have always stayed away from featuring terrifying-looking Pokemon. After all, they are also marketed for kids. They are products of Nintendo after all, and the company has always had the most success when targeting a younger audience instead of pleasing the mature crowd like a lot of franchises today – Far Cry, Fallout, Call of Duty, etc. However, things are different when it comes to Ghost Pokemon, which are really designed to be terrifying. Of course, ghosts are commonly associated with fear and Ghost Pokemon can’t really project that by being cute and cuddly. Say hello to the Ghastly evolution line.
Like the Dragon type in the first-generation of main Pokemon games, the Ghost type is also represented by only three Pokemon, which all belong to only one family tree: Ghastly, Haunter, and Gengar. However, Gengar can only be acquired by evolving Haunter, which is achieved via trading with another player. So, yes, if players had no friends to play the first-gen Pokemon games with, their ghost experience stops at Haunter. (Actually, that still holds true for subsequent main Pokemon games because Gengar is still only available via trade.)
The perks of being a ghost
One of the main advantages of Ghost type Pokemon is that they are immune to Normal-type and Fighting-type moves, two of the more common move types. The reasoning for that immunity is actually quite obvious: you can’t really “hit” a ghost, can you? And that would also explain why Ghost Pokemon are weak to Ghost-type moves – only an intangible can affect another intangible, so to speak. However, Ghost-type moves are not exactly very common, giving them additional protection. The bad news for Ghost Pokemon is that Pokemon Go stripped away their immunities to Normal and Fighting, making them more vulnerable in the game (they’re not exactly known for having great defense parameters). But aside from Ghost-type moves, Ghost Pokemon are only weak to Dark-type moves. In the first-gen games, it was mistakenly thought that they’re also weak to Psychic, but as it turned out, the three original Ghost Pokemon were only getting punished by Psychic-type moves was because they also had Poison as a subtype – Poison is weak to Psychic. Interestingly, Psychic Pokemon are weak to Ghost.
Ghost Pokemon “haunting grounds”
In the first-gen games
Ghastly can be found in the first-gen games at the eerie Pokemon Tower, which is home to dead Pokemon buried by their loving owners. The Pokemon Tower still stands as one of the most haunting places in the entire Pokemon games, especially considering its similarly eerie background music. It consists of several floors littered with tombstones and fog. Initially, players won’t be able to see Ghastly because, well, it’s a ghost. But upon acquiring a special item, players will be able to see the purple aura of the Ghost Pokemon. Once players can see Ghastly, they can catch as many as they want because they are the primary residents of the Pokemon Tower.
Haunter, on the other hand, is only available in the wild in Pokemon Yellow, appearing on rare occasions at the Pokemon Tower alongside its sibling. Alternatively, players can evolve their Ghastly into a Haunter, which was a bit hard to do since Ghastly isn’t exactly built for battle and is only equipped with very weak moves. And lastly, Gengar, as mentioned, can only be acquired by trading a Haunter to another player and getting it back after it has evolved. Players can also ask their friends to send over a Haunter, which will evolve into Gengar upon arrival.
In Pokemon Go
Since Pokemon Go allows Pokemon in their final form to be available in the wild just like all other Pokemon, Gengar is now easily accessible to everyone else, whether they have real friends or not. So, players who were bummed out in the first-gen games because of Gengar’s evolution requirements can now rejoice. Still, Niantic could do better by introducing other evolution requirements, if only to diversify things. There is still no concrete proof of where Ghost Pokemon appear more often in Pokemon Go, but it’s now proven that they don’t call cemeteries as their home, as previously believed. (It’s unethical for people to flock in cemeteries for the sake of a video game. That’s just wrong.) So, where could they be hiding?
Try churches. Yes, as in the place of worship. It’s been sort of confirmed that Ghost Pokemon appear more often near churches and their appearance is boosted under the cover of the night sky. They are also appearing in residential areas at night, which raises the suspicion whether they are really trying to haunt people in their sleep. Haunter and Gengar, of course, can also be acquired through evolution, which requires a good number of Ghastly Candies. Considering Ghost Pokemon aren’t exactly common compared to all the Pidgey and Rattata that make a habit of greeting players every day, it would be wise to only evolve a Ghastly or Haunter with an excellent set of Individual Values (IVs). If you’re a bit lazy repeatedly catching and hunting for the best possible IVs, you can buy Pokemon instead.
Where are the other ghosts?
Again, like Dragon Pokemon, Ghost Pokemon saw their number rise in subsequent Pokemon games. Of course, they all look hideous and terrifying, especially the marionette Pokemon Banette. It can be argued that the Ghost type was nerfed in Pokemon Go because of the stripping of their two immunities. If you play League of Legends or planning to buy an account to play it, you’d know all about nerfed characters. Also, one of Gengar’s strengths is that it has access to a varied set of moves, which allows it to go into battle with an air of unpredictability. Of course, one of the main differences of Pokemon Go with the main games is that all Pokemon are only assigned two moves, so Gengar’s other advantage goes down the drain. Still, the fact that players can now get their hands on Gengar without the need to have real friends is a step up from the first-gen games. Finding Ghost Pokemon in the corners of churches at night is another thing, however.