First and foremost, I am grateful to the PokĂ©mon Elite 2000 site for inviting me to put these reviews here. I was surprised that it will generate that much of an impact, when I didn’t think it will!
After seeing one person doing reviews about types (though he didn’t continue this, sadly) got me interested to do something similar with Ghost-types, since I like Ghost types. Now, I cannot go really in-depth on every aspect, because I am not familiar with the TCG, isn’t a manga reader, and certainly not an anime marathon watcher. If you have some things that I didn’t point out here, feel free to tell!
The first entry isn’t just about Generation 1 Ghosts, but Generation 2 is also added. Why? Because there are so few in each in both generations that it’s better to just put them together.
Gastly, Haunter & Gengar
Gastly, Haunter and Gengar are the first Ghosts any early Pokemon fan had met, due to them being the only ones in the first generation of Pokemon games. The first time the player meets these Ghosts are in the Lavender Tower, where, instead of meeting these Pokemon straight away, an item (Silph Scope) is required to “see” them, otherwise the player’s Pokemon are too scared to move due the very image of the most abstract ghosts in Pokemon history. The only ones the player meets there are Gastly and Haunter, as Gengar is a trade-evolution that cannot be obtained normally.
It’s actually cool that as Gastly evolves, he/she gets more body parts, because this is one of the things you could see happening in an evolution, where certain parts of the body grow through the growth stages, and one of the best ways to represent evolution, like a developing pupae or foetus.
It is interesting to note that in the anime, it was said that Ghost-types had an advantage over Psychic-types, but this wasn’t true in Red and Blue. In fact, it was Psychic-types that had the benefit over Ghosts, since Psychic was, at that time, immune to Ghost attacks. Luckily, Pokemon Yellow fixed that problem by “correcting” the type matchup, as now Ghost-type attacks has the advantage over Psychic-types. However, there weren’t many Ghost attacks at that time, with only Lick (low base power) and Night Shade (set damage) available, and because Gengar’s family are part Poison, Psychic-types still had the advantage over them, so there might still be problems with that statement. Good thing the 2nd Generation modified the type chart to reflect this matchup, so it all worked out in the end.
Another interesting thing to note is that Gastly’s family was the only Generation 1 pure trade evolution family to not appear in Hoenn, which his/her other companions Abra’s family, Machop’s family and Geodude’s family appear in. I am guessing that they were purposefully absent to make room for the new Ghosts that will be reviewed next time. Gastly and Haunter are also the lightest Pokemon in existence, and the best part is that they don’t gain weight upon evolution from the transition from Gastly to Haunter (Gengar is a lot heavier than them, though), which is a rarity that only Grimer shared. On the other hand, their Japanese names are not that impressive. Sure, these names are cool in English, but do you actually think that “Ghos” and “Ghost” are awesome names to the English speaker?
In competitive battling, this Ghost family is one of the most treasured Pokemon to exist, even from the first Generation, and as of now, are still one of the best Pokemon to use in their respective environments. One of their biggest selling points is their Ghost-type, which automatically grants 2 immunities to types that can be dangerous to be hit with, along with their ability Levitate, giving them a Ground immunity. Their second selling point is their stats, where their relatively high Speed and Special Attack make them fearful attackers. The third one is basically their movepool, which were suitable for them due to the great Speed. In the 1st Generation, they are the only Ghosts, so their immunities would be great for preventing Hyper Beams from wreaking havoc (Hyper Beam was a high risk, high reward move then, but now it’s a high powered move with a drawback), and Explosion would be wasted when they switched in. The 2nd Generation expanded their type coverage by giving them access to the elemental punches (then Special), which became TMs at that time. The 3rd Generation granted them with the treasured Levitate, giving them immunity to Ground attacks that they would otherwise be weak to, giving them a much needed extra survival tool.
The 4th Generation gives them a wider Special movepool to use (Focus Blast (Gengar), Shadow Ball and Hidden Power are notables), allowing them to make better use of their great Special Attack stat. For a while, they were one of the best Sleepers, because Hypnosis was 70% accurate, and because they were fast, it was the best move to use to get the advantage. Sadly, Platinum changed Hypnosis’ accuracy to its original amount, but on the bright side, as the games went by, they acquired Trick and Pain Split, further allowing them to disrupt the opponent. The 5th Generation doesn’t have much for them, but they can use moves that doubles in power if the opponent has status ailments (Hex and Venom Shock), not to mention Disable’s reliability improved. Despite the lack of notable additions, they would still be one of the best Pokemon, simply because of their Speed, Special Attack, and movepool.
I do like their shinies too, because two of them are cool, and one of them is funny (Haunter with a blue mouth is something you don’t see everyday!). All in all, this Ghost family had been THE Ghosts, since they were the first ones, and will always be, not to mention they are great Pokemon in competitive battling. As such, they are great representatives to the Ghost-type.
10 wisps out of 10!
The 2nd Generation introduced only one Ghost type, but this is the first pure Ghost-type to be introduced. Found relatively late in Gold and Silver, he/she is not known to the player for the most part. Like the previous Ghost family, Misdreavus’ inspiration is relatively easy to tell. It’s clear that he/she has qualities of a banshee thanks to the female look and the “necklace”, even more evident that he/she can learn Perish Song and Pain Split.
Misdreavus also presents a different way to create Ghost Pokemon, when there weren’t many, and as such, was a true Ghost because he/she is easily identified as one. In later games, he/she is relegated to the role of a version exclusive Pokemon, where he/she would only appear in certain versions, while being absent in the other versions with Murkrow as the counterpart. In FireRed, Murkrow appears but Misdreavus doesn’t, but in LeafGreen, it’s the other way round: he/she appears but Murkrow doesn’t. The same could be said in Diamond and Pearl, where Murkrow appears in the former and Misdreavus appears in the latter. Even in the recent games Black and White, they appear in different games. Through this, you could say that Misdreavus is the version exclusive Ghost.
The name Misdreavus sounds similar to the word mischievous, and this is the description that best describes him/her, based on the PokeDex entries. He/she takes pleasure in frightening people and screaming just for the sake of it. What’s even stranger is that his/her “necklace” is the place where he/she absorbs the energy of fright. Yes, that means he/she can learn Power Gem, but despite being the shreiker, he/she cannot learn Hyper Voice.
Misdreavus is a relatively weak Ghost, who was only a bit more defensive than Gengar, but one of the things that he/she can do is to use Perish Song and trap the opponent with Mean Look, effectively giving them the timer while leaving the Ghost unharmed, since he/she can switch out when the time comes. One of his/her main uses at this point from Generation 2 was that he/she was the only Pokemon to learn Pain Split, which meant that he/she is useful for giving this move to some other Pokemon like Koffing and Duskull, as this is one of the nicest recovery moves that can potentially hurt the opponent, and the fact that they have a relatively low HP helps too. The 3rd Generation didn’t give him/her anything special, except the ability Levitate, which is always welcomed. The 4th Generation finally bestowed him/her with an evolution, but he/she will be discussed in the future. That would mean that he/she is eligible for the Little Cup, meaning that he/she can finally be useful, and while there, he/she was too useful that players wanted a ban on her, because his/her stats were quite high for that environment, not to mention having Shadow Sneak to make sure that weaker opponents will be defeated and he/she isn’t easily picked off, as he/she was one of the faster Pokemon there.
Misdreavus is actually alright, because he/she looks really feminine, yet his/her gender is not biased to the female side. He/she is probably the precedent of Gardevoir, who is also not gender-biased, yet looks feminine him/herself. They’re interestingly in the Indeterminate Egg Group, so they can breed, and I think through this some would have some “sexual” thoughts…
6 wisps out of 10!
As a bonus, I go the extra mile to take a look at the literal ghosts found in Lavender Town I was talking about earlier, as well as Marowak’s ghost.
The literal ghosts were quite a fright (it rhymes!) when meeting them, as they do not even look like a Pokemon. It was also fittingly scary thanks to the atmosphere in the Pokemon Tower, with the music of the place and the lack of colour at that time. However, in FireRed and LeafGreen, they were much less scary (at least to me), because there were colours, and the literal ghosts were not so scary, probably because it is rather discernable as a messed-up Gastly. Still, it does give people nightmares till this day.
In the older versions of Pokemon, if the player somehow get to capture these literal ghosts, that will cause the game to be messed up, which no doubt adds to the horror of these ghosts, and not to mention not being able to perform normal actions (Pokemon attacks, catching the ghosts) itself is also partially scary, because they are literally helpless to deal with.
9 wisps out of 10!
(Point taken for being less creepy in the remake)
(Looks like an ordinary Marowak, no?)
The Marowak ghost encountered at the near-top of the tower at least looked like a normal Marowak, but unlike the Gastlies and Haunters met earlier, she cannot be captured. Also, despite being called a “ghost”, none of the type immunities and weaknesses apply to her. This ghost does have an interesting backstory, on how her spirit wouldn’t “move on” until defeated, and Team Rocket’s vile actions on her on their pursuit to riches.
The Marowak story was also a touch sad, so that’s a good job there too.
8 wisps out of 10!
Thanks for reading.
There you have it: the Ghosts of Generation 1 and 2. With that, stay tuned for the Ghosts of Generation 3! Feedback will be welcomed, and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I had writing them.
Thanks for reading.