Fear Factor Phony (Japanese: エスパーＶＳゴースト！真夜中の決闘！？ Psychic VS Ghost! The Midnight Duel!?) is the 1st episode of Pokémon: Battle Frontier.
On the way to the next Battle Frontier facility, Ash and co. are lost. They soon come across a ghost town which is haunted by Ghost Pokémon. They are soon befriended by some friendly Psychic Pokémon who dance the night away. Will Ash and co. stop the ghosts from ruining the town, and does Ash and the rest of the crew sound different to anyone?
The gang has come to woods. Still, they got lost, the night is here, and Pikachu senses something and goes away. Ash gets Pikachu, but sees an abandoned town. May is scared of the idea of ghost town, but Max tells her it is called a ghost town when nobody lives in the town. As they walk, they begin to be more and more frightened, but they spot a tunnel. They want to spend the night inside for a shelter before it rains, but they see two purple eyes. When the eyes come to them, the body appears as Haunter, but much scarier, and it scares them alive, so they run away. As they run away, so does the ghost disappear. Team Rocket is bored, but they do hear the gang screaming, so they bet something is inside the tunnel. When they arrive, they see nothing, but scream and run in terror when the same ghost comes.
The gang is inside a house. They hear something, so Ash goes to check. He sees nothing, except it started to rain. Brock tells they have not much choice but to be here, so Ash agrees, as they will be okay as long as they are together. Still in the mine, Team Rocket wakes up, so they see the rain falling. Meowth and James think it was really a ghost, but Jessie denies this, as she tells them hunger made them see illusions. James and Meowth agree, so they dance to feel better. They hear a sound from the tunnels, with the same ghost appearing. They are all terrified, with Wobbuffet being frightened and it runs away. Jessie sends Seviper and James Cacnea to deal with the ghost. Still, they are afraid, but Cacnea uses Pin Missile. The missiles go through the ghost, so Seviper uses Poison Tail, but with no effect. Jessie throws Meowth to deal with it, but Meowth is thrown through the ghost and onto the electric cord. The lights are turned on, so the ghost feels the pain and is banished.
Team Rocket spots the Duskull, Gastly, Haunter and Shuppet nearby. Team Rocket is angry, but the Ghost Pokémon tell their story. The gang went to sleep, except May. May suddenly hears a sound of an instrument, so wakes everyone up. The others hear the instrument as well. They go inside a room, seeing some Alakazam, Kadabra, Hypno, Drowzee, Kirlia and a Ralts having fun. They also see an Abra sleeping from all the fun it must have had. May bumps into Ash and Max, so everyone runs away. They do see Abra still sleeping, using Safeguard to absorb the noise. Max sees a picture and shows it - it are the Psychic Pokémon with some miners. Brock believes that the Psychic Pokémon were used to help the miners. They suddenly see Abra showing its dream - the miners left the Psychic Pokémon, as they couldn't get them with. Abra runs towards them, but is too late and cries in sadness. So, the gang plans to get them a party to cheer 'em up.
The gang has set up the table, play the music and the Psychic Pokémon come inside. Meanwhile, Team Rocket hears that the Ghost Pokémon were having the tunnels as the home until the miners came. After the miners went out of town, the Psychic Pokémon were having parties, so the Ghost Pokémon made the illusion to scare them away to have some peace. Team Rocket plans to have the gold, so decide to help the Ghost Pokémon. Wobbuffet flees and comes to the house where the party is, and seeing Kirlia dancing, falls in love. Wobbuffet comes inside, gives a flower to Kirlia and is super-psyched about the response. The gang suddenly feels the earth shaking, so they come inside, seeing the ghost from before, but much bigger. It takes all the Psychic Pokémon (except Wobbuffet) and Pikachu. Wobbuffet comes inside and the ghost disappears, revealing the Ghost Pokémon and Team Rocket's machine.
Team Rocket says the machine is Psychic and Electric-proof. May wants to know why the Ghost Pokémon have allied with Team Rocket, so they tell the Psychic Pokémon have only caused trouble and noise. Wobbuffet tries to destroy the bars, but not much effect has been caused. So, Wobbuffet charges and destroys the bars. The Psychic Pokémon run away, so the Ghost Pokémon create a Shadow Ball. Kirlia goes and uses Reflect, redirecting the attack to Team Rocket and blasting them off. The only thing left is the conflict - the Ghost Pokémon and Psychic Pokémon go to attack, so Pikachu uses Thunderbolt to stop them. They still look angry, so when seeing the Abra still sleeping, Brock has an idea. The next day, the Psychic Pokémon are having fun, but they are surrounded by Safeguard, so the Ghost Pokémon don't hear a thing, so they are happy as well.
- As of this episode, dubbing has been taken over by Pokémon USA (now Pokémon International): as such, there is a new voice cast:
- Ash Ketchum is voiced by Sarah Natochenny
- May and Jessie are voiced by Michele Knotz
- Brock is voiced by Bill Rogers
- Max is voiced by Kayzie Rogers, who also keeps her role of Jessie's Wobbuffet.
- James and Meowth are voiced by Jimmy Zoppi.
- Zoppi adopted the role of Meowth from Maddie Blaustein, who passed on some time after this episode aired.
- This was the season premiere of Pokémon: Battle Frontier.
- The music is changed when the episode name is announced.
- After Pokémon was cancelled on Kids WB!, it was moved to Cartoon Network.
- Matt Mitler (Falkner, Sparky and others) returns after being on hiatus after Pokémon: The Johto Journeys.
- Rodger Parsons reprises his role as the Narrator.
- In one scene, Cacnea's black spots were colored dark green.