The Phantom (Typhon anthrophantasmus) is a type of Typhon encountered on Talos I in Prey and Pytheas in Prey: Mooncrash. Four types of phantoms may be encountered, each of which has its own unique abilities and can be created by Morgan from human corpses through the two Phantom Genesis abilities. Science operators classify them all as "metempsychotic remainder organisms." The term "phantom" is used interchangeably to refer to either the species as a whole, or the "regular" subspecies that relies on kinetic orbs and melee for offense.
Phantoms are humanoid Typhon that Weavers are able to create from human corpses. Although they normally walk, once they are provoked, they tend to move extremely rapidly towards or around the player, seemingly dilating time. This makes them dangerous in a fight, as they can rapidly move behind Morgan if faced directly, as well as cover large distances almost instantly, even warping past motion-triggered traps. This is not true teleportation however, and phantoms rather "phase" very rapidly, or warp space-time, being unable to move through solid walls in the vast majority of cases. This attribute of theirs is probably not "active," like their main attacks, or even "quasi-active," as they are perfectly capable of warping even when they have their psionic potentials nullified.
It is widely known that Typhon can freely transform between a liquid, solid, and gaseous state independent from their other psi abilities. It is very possible that Phantoms "phase" by rapidly transforming into a gas then re-form into a solid at a different location. This is further reinforced by the quickly dissipating trail of gas they leave behind as they phase.
Phantoms exhibit human-like behavioral patterns and even talk (most easily noticed by turning subtitles on), indicating weavers may use the former humans as a "foundation", perhaps leaving some parts of the former humans' mind (no Typhon cortical matter can be harvested from Phantom corpses, regardless of modality of death, and even headless corpses may be transformed into fully functional phantoms). While they are the only Typhon to be able to reproduce human speech (other than the Poltergeist), they do not seem to usually communicate thus among themselves, as the phrases they tend to utter when idle and not alerted to enemies' presence, such as "What do you see in the glass?", do not seem to be parts of phantom-phantom dialogue, rather parts of individual monologues. Exceptions are "Did we make that in one of the labs?", and "Where do you suppose they came from?", which might sound like a sliver of a human mind questioning Typhon's origin. Once alerted, phantoms seem to become more coherent, uttering only contextually relevant phrases like "I swear I saw something..." if they make notice of the player being nearby, and may even exclaim "Morgan!" when they spot them.
Most of what phantoms say will tend to be mocking or threatening, and with the exception for phantoms created by the player using Phantom Genesis, all phantoms will be aggressive towards the player unless mind-jacked. One can argue that Phantoms may be one of few Typhon types able to perceive humans as sentient beings based on their dialogue, something mimics and other Typhon do not seem capable of.
Other human-like behavior includes their apparent frustration upon a detected enemy's eluding them, which they might show by splitting apart their arms into their constituent tentacles and waving them around quickly. While they flee combat relatively rarely when compared to most other species of Typhon, they sometimes flee even without an enemy having used backlash on them. This has been seen with at least three phantoms warping away from Morgan after being gravely injured by him/her, seemingly vanishing, only to be found crouching (perhaps trying to hide) and looking around nearby. Upon detecting Morgan, however, each of said phantoms regained its resolve and continued fighting Morgan to the death in spite of its low health. Some phantoms, including a thermal one, created by Morgan have also occasionally been seen crouching or squatting thus despite not being damaged, though it is unknown why. However, like Nightmare(s) and Technopaths, which appear even more courageous than them, phantoms seem to have weaker self-preservation instincts than mimic-based Typhon like Weavers and Telepaths.
Over the course of the game, Morgan may encounter a number of Phantoms that are past Talos I crew members that have been converted by the Typhon. These individuals will have the same tracking bracelets and names as they had when they were human, and some of these must be defeated to gain items linked to certain objectives.
- Regular Phantoms (Typhon anthrophantasmus) are able to use Kinetic Blast orbs to fight. They can be scanned for Kinetic Blast I and II.
- Thermal Phantoms (Typhon anthrophantasmus psychothermal) use superheated plasma to fight. They can be scanned for Superthermal I, II, and III, Thermal Resistance, and Thermal Absorption.
- Etheric Phantoms (Typhon anthrophantasmus psychoetheric) prefer close combat, but are able to use Kinetic Blasts like regular Phantoms. They may also split into two when fighting and leave behind a toxic ether cloud upon death. They can be scanned for Phantom Shift I and II, Ether Resistance, and Ether Absorption.
- Voltaic Phantoms (Typhon anthrophantasmus psychovoltaic) use electricity-based attacks. Even while not fighting, they generate electromagnetic fields that disrupt nearby electronics. They can be scanned for Electrostatic Burst I, II, and III, Electrostatic Resistance, and Electrostatic Absorption.
Phantoms are black, shadowy, humanoid creatures. They appear hunched over, have necks that are slightly elongated forward, and like all Typhon, appear to be made of a black, semi-solid tendril-like substance. They also possess twelve glowing white patches in place of their eyes, and their limbs are thin and slender. As a result of this and their tendril-like body structure, their arms appear to be almost tentacle-like. In fact, each of their arms is composed of three intertwined tentacles that occasionally separate; when intertwined, these tentacles' tips appear to be the phantom's digits.
Voltaic Phantoms have the addition of crystals sticking out of their backs that emit electricity. Thermal Phantoms are smoldering and engulfed in flames. Etheric Phantoms emit clouds of purple, poisonous gas.
Phantoms with the names of Talos I staff often have items related to Side Quests that the player is working on.
Talos I Staff
Some corpses of Talos I staff are transformed into Phantoms during gameplay.
- Enoch Kouneva (Phantom)
- Clive Lawrence (Phantom)
- Jorgen Thorstein (Phantom)
- Kirk Remmer (Phantom)
- Randolf Hutchinson (Etheric Phantom; does not always become a phantom)
- Regina Sellers (Phantom)
- Yuri Kimura (Phantom)
- Nicole Hague (Phantom)
- Helen Barker-Combs (Phantom)
- Volunteer 12 (Voltaic Phantom)
- Argenteno Pero (Phantom)
- Crispin Boyer (Phantom)
- Ivy Song (Phantom)
- Lane Carpenter (Phantom)
- Garfield Langly (Phantom)
- And possibly any corpses that are caught within a Weaver's line of sight; it's unclear why weavers don't always turn nearby corpses into phantoms
- The GLOO gun is extremely effective at pinning any non-thermal phantom down and allowing you to kill it with relative ease. Should it free itself, simply re-GLOO it and continue attacking. While trapped in GLOO the phantom cannot fire any kinetic blasts other than the ones they were already preparing just before being GLOOd.
- Shotguns are able to deal a lot of damage to them, especially after using the GLOO gun to help close the distance, making it easy to handle them. Just be conscious of your ammo. It is also effective since the player uses the shotgun at point-blank range; Phantoms will sometimes be stunned and fall down. If you have a phantom in your line of sight, line it up with your crosshairs and empty a pistol clip into it and it should fall pretty easily.
- Turrets are variably effective. While able to kill Phantoms in seconds, it is easy for a single Phantom to teleport to a turret's blind spot and destroy it just as quickly, or knock it over, rendering it useless. In contrast with Mimics, the player cannot simply rely on turrets to deal with Phantoms.
- All except the Etheric Phantom usually walk slowly towards their target while attacking. Keep your distance and use a pistol to dispatch them. The Etheric Phantom on the other hand should be met with a Shotgun. That being said, thermal and regular (kinetic) phantoms can also warp towards or around you, and are prone to doing so if their active abilities are nullified. In contrast, voltaic phantoms are completely incapable of warping.
- Excluding the Voltaic Phantom, all can be immobilized by the Disruptor Stun Gun. Use it if they attempt to attack turrets, as it will make them sitting ducks for the turrets.
- The player should be wary about Voltaic Phantoms around explosive canisters as their passive electricity generation will cause the canisters to explode.
- If the player has the Phantom Genesis ability, they can create Phantoms out of human corpses to fight for them. Voltaic Phantoms, in particular, are effective at dealing with Corrupted Operators and Military Operators because they disable them with their attacks.
- Curiously, it's also possible to create phantoms out of unconscious but living humans. However, according to employee status monitoring in the crew rosters on security terminals, the process results in their apparently dying. It's unknown whether or not weavers can similarly use unconscious humans for their work.
- The player may lure a phantom into the Cargo Bay microgravity chamber leading to the G.U.T.S. that does not attack them and simply lays immobile unless pushed out of microgravity, when it resumes its normal functions. Said phantom is labeled "[phantom type] (Stasis)." This may indicate that phantoms are not suited to zero-g conditions. Etheric phantoms can still bleed toxic clouds when damaged in stasis, however.
- The nullwave transmitter can neutralize the Phantoms' active abilities (i.e. their non-melee attacks) and quasi-active abilities (i.e. disrupting nearby electronics), but not passive abilities (i.e. warping). Be sure that you stay away from the blast that it also cause to disable your Typhon abilities.
- The EMP granades can temporarely deactivate the arcs of voltaic phantoms
- While using the Leverage III, lift large cargo crates and throwing at the kinetic phantom up close will kill it instantly. However, for the other phantoms (pyro, electric and etheric) they can be knocked down and their health is dropped at half using the same method. Use the large cargo crate as it protect against kinetic blast when lifted. Or can be used to hide behind it to make a sneak attack. Picking up an explosive canister and throwing it against any Phantom with the Leverage III will deal severe damage and some can be knocked down.
- While the player is at 50% progress in the campaign, using the wrench against kinetic phantom are easier to deal more damage as combined with the Combat focus II, Stealth II, Sneak attack II and Impact Calibration II.Thus it require a lot of Neuromods to make this sort of build in order to make the wrench more effective against Mimics and kinetic Phantoms.
- Much of the dialogue phantoms and poltergeists say can also be heard by a human in some way, shape or form. While some of the lines (Such as "Morgan..." or "What was that?") could be taken from many sources, they also have some dialogue that matches word-for-word unique things said by humans. It is unknown why they are able to recite these, even when not being derived from those humans' corpses, and why they show a preference for certain people's dialogues over others. It is hard to say if they are even speaking, or if it is just a figment of Morgan's imagination based on things they have heard or have yet to hear.
- Mathias Kohl says some of their lines in some of his sessions.
- "Shhh, hang on...someone's coming." is heard by Robert Gage in his audio log after the outbreak has started.
- Alfred Rose also says some of their lines when spoken to.
- "They want to live inside us, like a disease."
- "They could be anything. Anyone."
- "I used to wish we weren't alone in the universe..."
- "Even if we're dead, it won't be over..."
- There are numerous unnamed phantoms that roam the station. They are not Talos I crew members. If this is not just a respawning mechanic implemented for the sake of the simulation, it might suggest that at least some of the unnamed phantoms were derived from corpses of humans present on the station before TranStar started issuing employees and volunteers tracking bracelets, possibly from the days of Project Axiom.
- Alternatively, they may be derived from TranStar employees or volunteers that have had their tracking bracelets disabled or records wiped from the databases, though it is unknown why this would be done, as a phantom with a tracking bracelet would logically be easier to manage then one lacking one, as may have been the thought process of the psychotronists seeking to phantomize Volunteer 12.
- Alternatively, unnamed phantoms might be created by means other than T. geneocratis phantom genesis.
- The game's localization files mention another variant called "Solar Phantom". It could be a working title for the Thermal Phantom, although they are both dissociated in the files. Other variants might have been "gravitational" phantoms (perhaps like poltergeists, but without the invisibility), and vampiric.
- When the player first enters Cargo Bay, they will go into Shipping and Receiving. When the player goes upstairs, a cutscene shows Enoch Kouneva Being turned into a phantom. If the player avoids the area where the cutscene begins, Enoch's corpse will still be there.
- Moving Randolph Hutchinson's corpse into your office before you go into the Arboretum may cause him to still spawn in the Teleconferencing Center as a phantom, but his corpse will stay in your office. This may be the case with all corpses in the Talos I Lobby.
- Speculation (feel free to delete, but it might be interesting to consider): It might be implied that phantoms that do not disrupt electronics as much as voltaic phantoms do can use speaker systems, looking glass screens, and perhaps other electrical systems as shelters or means of transportation around the station. Minor spoilers ahead.
- When idle in the right place, a phantom may sometimes extend one of its tentacles to an overhead light source, and appear to somehow interface with its circuitry. This has only been observed with normal, thermal, and possibly etheric phantoms.
- Shortly after a particular phantom interfaces with a looking glass screen in Hardware Labs, a new phantom appears in the same room as Morgan even if the door to that room was sealed and no phantoms were previously there.
- Since said phantom may have been blocked from Dr. Calvino's lab upon or after Morgan's presence there, it may have been storing itself in the system somehow, or may have been on behind the screen Morgan later views it from.
- Even after the two phantoms (neither of them voltaic) materialize and are killed in the Yellow Tulip, a disembodied phantom voice can still sometimes be heard while in the club.
- The phantom in the main lift seemingly appears out of thin air shortly after a local blackout.
- A regular phantom has been observed walking through a locked door in the Hardware Labs.
- Phantoms and technopaths are the only typhon that cause electromagnetic disturbances to nearby electrical appliances, though only voltaic phantoms seem to be able to (quasi-actively) disable them entirely.
- Curiously, not even phantom types that have specialized in launching kinetic bolts, like regular and etheric phantoms, are immune to kinetic blast or any form of kinetic attack (e.g. projectiles, explosives, or blunt force trauma).
- Like mimics, they are able to manually open non-automatic doors.
- In the water treatment facility, a thermal phantom created by Morgan followed him when he jumped down from a suspended walkway. Interestingly, it did so not by taking the long way down, which most non-aerial Typhon would do, instead warping directly from where it was to a few meters below, almost as if it jumped down. Its warp trails was nearly vertical, as it would be from vertical translation, and not from the horizontal translation typically viewed during warping.
- In Cargo Bay B, if one were to stand in front of a side door before unlocking it, a Phantom will occasionally appear on the other side. It shall stare blankly at Morgan before walking away.
- The phantoms and weaver in Cargo Bay B appear non-hostile until the door is opened.
- All weaver-made phantoms have a potentially quasi-active (if it's active, it just can't be scanned) ability that makes nearby lights flicker and makes it impossible to interact with nearby computer screens, even when said phantoms are mind-jacked. This ability can be temporarily nullified along with their active abilities by nullwave or psychoshock, and cannot be scanned. It is called "EnergyLeech" in the game files, and that suggests the nature of the process, but there's nothing in the lore about it. If anything, greater mimics should have a similar ability, but they aren't shown to. Of course, voltaic phantoms differ as they simply cause nearby machines to become unpowered while in their presence.
- Human-made phantoms are different. They do not cause such electromagnetic interference ("energy leeching") at any point. That being said, human-made voltaic phantoms still cause nearby machines to power off.
- Phantoms occasionally inspect corpses by extending their tentacles at or into them, after which they retract them and continue patrolling. I've only noticed this being done by the normal phantom we first see in the Hardware Labs atrium, as well as one etheric phantom in the ventilation section of the Crater Area of Pytheas base. It's another interesting behavior that isn't explained anywhere in the lore.