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Polterguys first appear as enemies in Mario vs. Donkey Kong. Like other enemies in the game, coming in contact with Mario will cause him to die and lose a life. They cannot be defeated, but they can be turned into blocks when Mario presses a button the same color as the ghosts. This will allow Mario to pass. Polterguys first appear in the Spooky House world. In the boss stage, Donkey Kong will hit one of three Color Switches to transform two unselected and unheld Shy Guys into Polterguys; these versions have auras and move in a different attack pattern.
In Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, they appear in the Spooky Attic stage. They function like in the last game for the most part, though now they are enemies to the Mini Mario toys, who serve as the game's playable characters. Once again, they can be turned into blocks when a certain button is pressed. This technique can be used to solve puzzles on the stages they appear. In the Construction Zone, Polterguys can be used in the Spooky Attic and Special Kit 3 sets. The latter allows them to interact with the game's new Mini Donkey Kong toys.
In Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!, Polterguys appear upright and have active wind-up keys on their backs like their walking counterparts. They also have a spherical aura of fire similar to Pyro Guys rather than transparent bodies, which also resembles their boss stage appearance from the first game. In addition, they remain in the same spot rather than move in a given pattern, even though they turn to face Mini Marios. They are first encountered in Room 3-5.
The name "Polterguy" is based on poltergeist, referring to its somewhat spectral appearance.
Names in other languages