|“||I don't think the word 'who' is applicable here...||„|
Ghosts are a paranormal phenomenon found throughout the Moscow Metro and the surface. They appear as the shadows of people who have died in the subway and are unable to cross over due to what Khan describes as an "atomised purgatory". They are currently perceived as the ultimate fate of everyone in the metro.
The exact nature of ghosts is unknown, but as far as can be determined, they appear to be of supernatural origin. Ghosts are dangerous yet mostly inert and non-hostile entities, capable of damage upon listening to the sound of them in pipes, and capable of killing upon physical contact. Ghosts can only be seen and avoided when using the flashlight; and even then, visually, ghosts appear faint. In general, ghosts bear a strong resemblance to the "blast shadows" created when a nuclear bomb explodes and burns an outline of a body caught in that blast into a wall or other surface. With nowhere to go, these souls of the dead haunt the lost tunnels and ruins of Moscow for eternity, forever forced to live out their last moments over and over again.
These specters do not seem to understand that they are dead, and some of them continue to faithfully perform the duties that they had in life - for example, ghostly defenders can be seen at a barricade. Ghosts are not always of human origin, in Metro 2033, a train is seen passing the tunnel it crushed over and over again. Also, mutants and Dark Ones might turn into ghosts.A ghost can also appear more or less bloody instead of a plain black color. However these Bloody Ghosts, despite looking threatening, are still non-hostile.
Like anomalies, ghosts are more of a neutral phenomenon, instead of the more hostile kind that most of the metro perceives them as. To the wise, or more spiritually attuned, such as Khan, however, they can vary. While evil spirits such as the Great Door are present and seek only to kill or turn any that approaches them insane, other entities such as the River of Fate hold more of a benevolent stance to humanity.
According to Khan, when earth was destroyed, heaven and hell were atomized as well. While little additional information is given, it can be thus assumed that these spirits of the dead are unable to cross into the afterlife. Thus, they are forced to relive their death over and over again.
During the Dead City chapter of Metro: Exodus it's hinted that the ghosts sightings alongside some anomalies could be caused by radiation poisoning acting on the user's mind. It is also confirmed that the "no flashlight areas" are indeed radiation hotspots.
The Darkness is an unofficial term for a type of ghost-related phenomenon found in Metro: Last Light. It is encountered in three levels of Metro Last Light: most prominently in Undercity, and briefly in Khan and The Dead City. While there are areas present in the Volga level of Metro Exodus that interfere with electronics, they are distinct from the Darkness, being caused by high levels of radiation and lacking the characteristic vision distortion.
The anomaly is invisible, shapeless, non-hostile, and otherwise unnoticeable, with exception to its effect. Upon entering and exiting the designated area of darkness, Artyom's field of view becomes fragmented and distorted for several seconds, and an electric zap is heard, an effect similar to electromagnetic interference. In Exodus, it also causes Artyom's watch alarm and Geiger counter to randomly go off before shutting down completely. If the player attempts to utilize any light besides Artyom's Lighter or the few torches and candles scattered throughout the areas the Darkness is found in, the screen will once again distort, and the device will not turn on.
It is worth noting that the disruptive effects of the anomaly are not tied down to any one location, and can apparently appear and disappear at a moment's notice. When encountered during the level Khan, the darkness suddenly takes hold in an area that had previously been unaffected, causing the lightbulb on a discarded-but-running headlamp to go out. This hints that the darkness moves, as sort of a cloud of mist. A ghost story told by a group of enemies in Bandits seems to corroborate this, with the bandits explaining that they encountered the darkness in the form of a black mist in a dark tunnel.
Moreover, it would also appear that the effect of disabling electrical illumination is not indiscriminate, as IRNV scopes, laser sights and reflex sights continue to function normally while flashlights and night vision goggles are entirely disabled. In one case, the lights illuminating a drainage tunnel still continued to function despite being within the affected area.
The darkness acts as a tool and signal for the developers to forcefully and intentionally signal a slow-down in pace and a build-up in atmosphere. Artyom is thus forced to proceed into an area with only the dim flame of the lighter or the claustrophobically narrow field of view of the IRNV scope to show the way, which has the effect of making the player pay closer attention to their surroundings and take notice of details that might otherwise have gone ignored.
Damned Souls is one of many fan-terms for ghosts appearing on the surface in Red Square. Damned Souls manifest as the upper body or arms of restless, immobile beings trapped in a limbo between life and death and gathered to the "centre" of Moscow - where all roads lead to. The Dark One states that they do not know they are dead, and they are terrified and lonely, grabbing onto anyone that ventures near because they wish for someone to stay with them. As such, the Damned Souls are the only type of ghost that could be considered "hostile" to Artyom, as well as the only ones in Last Light capable of hurting or killing him: should he not follow the the Dark One at a fast enough pace, he will start to take damage (as a warning sign to follow the Dark One more closely), and eventually die. Upon first contacting the Damned souls, the Dark One saves Artyom from the damned souls and leads him out of their domain. Later, after viewing Pavel's memories, Artyom and Pavel are dragged into a pit of damned. Here the player is given a choice to have Artyom save Pavel, or leave him to join the damned, killing him. Leaving Pavel to die at the hands of the damned souls might serve as a metaphor for Artyom simply not putting a new filter into Pavel's gas mask, and as a result he suffocates.
In the NovelEdit
Ghosts do not appear in the Metro 2033, however early on Artyom hears a tale in which one wanderer ventures to cross from Tulskaya station to the end of the line that is completely abandoned. Once in the Sevalstopolskaya Station, the wanderer sees a silent but completely functional train with its blinding lights, passing away from the platform to the tunnel, full of ghosts. Only the laugh of a child can be heard from the ghost train. This is proven to be false in Metro 2034, as Sevastopolskaya is inhabited. It is, however, from time to time implied that ghosts exist, but it is never confirmed nor denied.
When Artyom reaches Polyanka, he meets two friendly men with a cat, who smoke around a bonfire. After a brief philosophical chat with them, Artyom is forced to cross the last tunnel to Polis. The Council explains to Artyom that the station is completely abandoned and nobody can live there; Polyanka seems a ghostly station and projects strange visions when some people pass through. Because of this, it is suspected that the two men, along with the cat, at Polyanka were ghosts, though Artyom finds it difficult to believe.
Though ghosts are never directly seen, several seemingly supernatural events occur. While traveling to Rizhskaya station from Alekseevskaya, Artyom starts hearing singing pipes, while all of his companions gradually become incapacitated. Artyom, who seems to be immune, is forced to rescue them. The event is later explained as the crew having a reaction to a strange gas coming from the pipes. After hearing about the event, Bourbon hires Artyom to escort him along the Sucharevska line, since he seems to be immune to the gas. During the trip, both Artyom and Bourbon start to act weirdly: Artyom becomes very talkative while Bourbon starts to chant a very odd text, which later in the novel turns out to be an excerpt from one of the books that Polis' Brahmins are searching for, finishing the speech with "I've died, there is no more me," then dropping to the ground - lifeless. Artyom tries to drag the man's body to the nearest station but to no avail. When Artyom is about to lose himself, Khan comes to the rescue, taking Bourbon's backpack and convincing Artyom to follow him, leaving the other man's body behind. At Sucharevskaya, Khan convinces the men camping there to travel with them, after one of their comrades runs into the southern tunnel and is seemingly killed by an unknown entity. After they reach Turgenevskaya, Khan claims they must travel through the left-hand tunnel to avoid "a darkness". All of the men besides Ace refuse to accompany Khan, as traveling through in the opposite direction of a tunnel is considered a bad omen. It is implied that the men that went into the right tunnel were killed, as their screams are heard from the opposite tunnel. Later, Ace and Khan sense the darkness approaching, and the three men start running. They make it safely to Kitai-Gorod. After searching through Bourbon's belongings, Artyom discovers a small Metro map on a postcard. Khan is very interested in this map for its supposed magical qualities. He trades Artyom a real map of the Metro for the smaller one.
However, Metro 2034 sheds light on the existence of phantoms at Nagornaya. Very little is known about their appearance, except that they are giants partially obscured by the fog of the station. The Nagornaya phantoms will try to confuse any who enter the station, and kill the youngest of a group to supposedly consume their life force. It is unknown if the Nagornaya phantoms are truly supernatural beings or simply mutants who have developed an ability to somehow create fog.
Homer and Hunter also visit Polyanka, and both have different visions in the station. Homer sees the station as it was before the war, full of people going about their lives, though he eventually realizes the all the people are his deceased acquaintances. Hunter, on the other hand, pulls out a knife and starts having a fight with an invisible opponent, which Homer interprets as Hunter's human and savage nature battling. Hunter seemingly "dies" during the fight and then continues on to Polis with Homer, while Homer wonders which side won.
Ghosts appear as non-hostile, but deadly phenomenons in Metro 2033. When encountered, they are always reliving the final moment of their life, and when they are killed, any unlucky soul near it will die as well. All ghosts seen are black shadows, and require a flashlight to see them clearly.
- Chase - Artyom collides with the ghost of a Dark One, causing him to pass out and dream, where he sees Hunter shoot one. There are also many ghosts of men and children around the edges of the tunnel while on the cart in the bypass tunnel.
- Since there is a ghost of a dark one here, it might possibly mean that someone killed one right here, and it is infinitely reliving its final moments. Since Artyom sees Hunter shoot it, it is likely that Hunter killed this dark one on his way to, or from Exhibition. Colliding with it, if it is in fact a ghost, and entering its mind games proves that even its ghost still has telepathic powers or maybe the contact with a ghost may cause the person to see the ghost's last moments.
- Lost Tunnels - Though many players miss/forget about the encounter, ghosts can be heard by sitting and listening to the pipes Bourbon points out. The pipes in Ghosts contain child's laughter. This pipe can be listened to again in the level: ghosts. There, if the player does not heed Khan's warning about not staying for too long, the player will be confronted with a loud, tormented scream from a child and is pushed away from the pipes.
- Dead City - In Metro 2033 Redux a new area is added near the river leading to Dry Station. Instead of crossing, turn left and up the slope and there will be a ghost of a person who hanged himself. Getting close to the ghost will disable the flashlight and entering the room behind him, Artyom will witness a flashback of two children watching TV as the war began. After the flashback, the two children will appear at the entrance and ominously stare at Artyom before vanishing. A journal entry is also found in this area.
- Ghosts - Throughout the whole level, Khan gives Artyom some background on them. Here they encounter the ghosts of people, soldiers, nosalises, and even a ghost train. This dates some of these ghosts back to the nuclear incident that scorched the Earth, since the tunnel this ghost train uses is intact, then it suddenly crashes.
- Many ghosts seen in this level may be former citizens of Cursed Station, due to the fact that the defender's ghosts may have been a militia of sorts, the other people may have been forced to the surrounding tunnels during mutant attacks and were killed by other means (bats, mutants, other ghost i.e. the train, etc.) Khan mentions that those killed by the ghosts often become part of their repeated final moments.
- Cursed - Three of them are blocking a small passage, opposite of the barricaded side of the station, and disappear when Artyom demolishes the tunnels.
- Alley - In Metro 2033 Redux, if Artyom chooses the far left, icy river path, he will end up in the sewers. He will hear a child's laughter and witness a ghost of a child running while being chased by a ghost of a Watchman.
Metro: Last LightEdit
Found solely in The Dead City, black ghosts differ than their equivalents in Metro 2033 in that they are detected differently. In The Dead City, never are ghosts seen best by shining a flashlight directly upon them, as doing so makes them fade into invisibility. Instead, ghosts are alternatively best seen on the edge of the flashlight's field, or, more easily, yet far briefer, in flashes of lightning. Black ghosts can also be seen with night vision goggles. - appearing denser with sharper details, though at the sacrifice of bright surroundings. Ghosts remain non-hostile, and cannot harm Artyom at any time. Bloody ghosts too, act in a similar capacity to ghosts - but are notable for their reddish hue, more corporeal nature, and distinct dissolve after materialization. While bloody ghosts are still not a threat to the player, the areas where they are seen in have tense atmospheres with rather disturbing and unsettling noises as ambiance - which, as meta incentive, may deter many from staying for prolonged periods of time.
- Echoes - Can all be briefly seen while exploring the side tunnels - before waiting for the watchmen to pass. In one of the rooms to the side, a pay phone mysteriously falls off the receiver when Artyom walks by, and a brief flash of lightning reveals a single black ghost on the wall. Going here awards a moral point.
- Regina - While driving Regina, Artyom can stop and investigate multiple rooms (this also gives a high amount of positive moral points). In one of them a very disturbing scene plays: Artyom can see multiple ghosts on what looks to be like broken hospital beds. While walking between them one can hear whispers, and bottles of medicine will crash onto the walls. On the far end one can see a surgeon stand with another ghost. Going there will give a moral point.
- Undercity - One can encounter multiple bloody ghosts in the catacombs. Also a darkness anomaly is present here for the first time.
- The Dead City - This level is a desolated settlement with ghost encounters as a primary set piece.
- Red Square - The damned souls can be found in this level.
- Khan - Numerous black ghosts can be found early in the mission, in and around the ruined subway car. A third, unique kind of ghost is also seen, which is three-dimensional like bloody ghosts but flickers instead of fading away, and is either monochrome or normal colored. The ghosts of two children in a small side passage in front of the subway car are seen in this form. Mobile black ghosts can also be seen inside the train, running toward Uhlman before vanishing into thin air.
Ghosts appear in The Volga and The Dead City levels. They are first able to be found in a small, lone building in the Volga. These ghosts will not appear immediately but when Artyom goes to exit the building. They take the form of various adult figures. They all appear sad or distressed in some way, this combined with objects present such as an IV drip stand and a diary note suggest the building may have been a hospital of some kind. They are later encountered by Artyom and Miller in the Novosibirsk Metro, in the form of children who are standing over the corpses found in the train carriage. They are later present after Artyom exits the metro. They cause him to have a vision of a group of soldiers firing a HE shell into a group of civilians trying to enter the metro.
- The noises from the pipes are assumed by many Metro dwellers to be the voices of the dead, however in the novel, the noises in the pipes (around the Kievskaya/Park Pobedy area) are actually the low, ghostly chants from the Savage Cannibals of the Great Worm cult, whose chants can be heard in the pipes to attract children.
- One of the specific "death messages" in Metro 2033 warns you of ghosts and suggests to keep your flashlight on at all times. This is greatly exaggerated, since the player only encounters a handful of ghosts in the game. Additionally, the message seems to be triggered by a number of hazards other than ghosts, such as being hit by the railcar in Front Line. This is probably due to these events all killing the player using the same method.
- In Metro 2033, the screen starts turning grey upon getting closer to a ghost, a good indicator to that a ghost is near.
- In the level "Ghosts" in Metro 2033, one will see a child ghost, being killed by what appears to be a nosalis ghost. This suggests that the nosalis died shortly after killing the child.