It's close to midnight, and something evil's lurking in the dark...
Well, perhaps. Yes, Nintendo Switch has its fair share of true horrors, but there's a fair chance that any ghost you happen across on Nintendo platforms could be a Casper-like friendly phantom. With Halloween almost upon us and Luigi up to his eyeballs in ectoplasm in Luigi's Mansion 3, we thought we'd look back at some of the most memorable ghosts to appear on Nintendo systems over the years.
There are quite literally dozens of examples to choose from, of course, but these fifteen from (mostly) Nintendo games have really stuck in the memories of Team Nintendo Life. And while a handful of them might only be sated by the extraction of your eternal soul, most of this lot would be happy enough with a cup of tea and a cuddle.
So, grab a bedsheet, cut some holes for eyes and put on your best spooky warble as we look at the most memorable ghosts on Nintendo consoles...
Boo (Super Mario series)
The common-or-garden Boo debuted in Super Mario Bros. 3 and has gone on to appear in pretty much every Mario game since. They might seem evil thanks to their eyes, teeth and dogged pursuit of plumbers, but despite their big mouths and wicked tongues, they're actually shy when confronted head-on and cover their faces with their little T-Rex arms. Kind of like timid internet trolls, then.
Boos are the go-to ghosts on Nintendo systems, so of course we're going to kick things off with the ol' Boo Diddlys.
The Marowak ghost (Pokémon Red and Blue)
Despite appearing in Pokémon Red & Blue - hardly known for their bone-chilling horror - the story of the Marowak who died protecting its young Cubone from thieving Team Rocket embedded itself in our young minds and has stuck with us ever since. Using the Silph Scope to identify the spirit Pokémon and see her calmed by her adorable little Cubone is just one of the sombre touches in a series filled with moments of sadness and sheer terror, if you know where to look.
Phantom Ganon (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
A ghostly version of Gannondorf able to duplicate himself and ride into paintings, Phantom Ganon is the boss of the Forest Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and one of the most memorable foes you come across. He reappeared in Wind Waker (that's the problem with ghosts - how do you kill something that's already deceased?) where he continued to demonstrate enjoyment of a good rally as he chucks magical balls of energy at Link which must be hit back towards the fiend.
Despite his above-average return game, Phantom Ganon has yet to show up in a Mario Tennis title.
Polterpup (Luigi's Mansion series)
Luigi's trusted companion, we're talking specifically about the red-collared spectral good boi who helps out Mario's brother while he explores haunted mansions. Cute as a button, we also assume that he doesn't require house training due to lacking the biological functions native to most living beings. On the other hand, perhaps there's a whole world of 'Polterpoops' of which we're blissfully unaware. Probably best to stay that way.
Wrinkly Kong (Donkey Kong 64)
Wrinkly Kong first appeared alive and well in Donkey Kong Country 2 on the Super NES and would go on to feature in the SNES and Game Boy entries that followed. In Donkey Kong 64, however, Wrinkly had passed on. She was still on hand to offer hints, though and as the deceased wife of Cranky Kong - the original Donkey Kong, no less - she holds a special place in the Kong firmament. We also assume that her first name evolved along with her crow's feet. Kongs seem happy to change their given names to suit their appearance or demeanour, Cranky Kong being another example. Presumably Funky Kong must remain funky to retain his title.
Regardless, there's no need to expend mental energy wondering if she was named 'Wrinkly' when she was a child. Of course not - that would be weird! 'Donkey' is fine though. Video games, eh?
Phantom Rabbid (Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle)
An operatic boss from the excellent Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, it's hard to recall a time where we've grinned so much while fighting a boss battle. The Phantom has a penchant for the dramatic and his theatrical turn in the game is too good to spoil if you've yet to play it. If, however, there's absolutely no chance you're ever going to indulge in Ubisoft's turn-based Nintendo crossover, it's well worth checking out Phantom and his dulcet tones on YouTube.
The green Grublin-like ghosts from Banjo-Kazooie are known as Tee-hees and they're certainly persistent enemies. Being non-corporeal, walls and obstacles mean very little to them when giving chase to the bear and bird, and banishing them permanently from the land of the living requires Gold Feathers. Napper is a large version found inside the Mad Monster Mansion who Grunty has employed to protect a Jiggy, though his name might be something of a giveaway that he's prone to sleeping on the job. She might be a dab hand with a rhyming couplet, but perhaps she should give her employees' CVs a cursory glance before charging them with guarding her precious trinkets.
Ghost (Link's Awakening)
The odd pink ghost that follows you around in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (the original, the Game Boy Color version or the Switch remake - take your pick) might look frightful, but he just wants to take one last look at his old digs and rest. Fortunately, Link's an obliging boy and has had his fair share of otherworldly encounters. Also, laying the poor soul to rest is necessary if you want to progress in the game, so Link's got little choice. As is usual in a Zelda game, though, no good turn goes unrewarded and you can even get a snap of the happy chap as a keepsake.
Sticking with Link, there's another more ubiquitous group of ghosts that haunt the Legend of Zelda series...