[[quoteright:324:[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/LifeMeter_3298.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:324:Just don't get it down [[CriticalAnnoyance too low]].]]

A meter, usually a coloured bar, that displays the HitPoints of a character. If this shrinks to nothing, CriticalExistenceFailure is the result.

In single-character games, this is found on the {{HUD}}. In strategy games, this appears next to selected units, often over their heads, and by their portraits in the {{HUD}}. Sometimes, they are invisible most of the time, only appearing for a moment whenever your character loses or gains health.

The color of the life meter is often determined as a major stylistic point for the game. Red is a very common color, being strongly associated with blood and flesh, as well as the ubiquitous red-crossed [[HealThyself health packs]]. SciFi life meters often change color as health declines, from green, to yellow, and down to red. Other colors usually indicate something unique about the character or game. The life meter may also change color to reflect status ailments, such as poisoning. An alternate menu may note how many HitPoints that meter reflects. Fantasy games tend not to have the meter change color, and will instead have it remain a blue or green color. It may flash red when the PC reaches a critical threshold.

A Life Meter may also be made of a line of symbols rather than a bar. Frequently, [[HeartsAreHealth hearts are used for this purpose]]. Some games may even use a "life counter" with numbers instead.

Bosses, especially a DamageSpongeBoss, will usually have a layered meter that has to be depleted several times, often changing color as each one goes down.

If your life meter [[CriticalAnnoyance also comes with an alarm sound to indicate low health]], that alarm will likely be the MostAnnoyingSound.

Running out can either lead to a GameOver, or simply losing one of the VideoGameLives.

HitPoints are the supertrope of this trope. This also has a sister trope in ManaMeter, which is the equivalent for {{Mana}}.

!!Video Game Examples:


[[folder:Video Games]]

* All of the ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney'' games, save for the sixth one, use a life meter to determine the judge's patience with you. Screwing up costs you some life and an empty bar results in a guilty verdict/Game Over. Some screw ups can cost you your entire life bar and sometimes a character in the courtroom wants to up the ante by '''increasing''' your possible penalty (life bar loss). They are also used in the Magatama segments, where it's implied that they show Phoenix's soul state. (If you empty it Pearls says you should stop before your soul shatters, and if you finish the sequence you regain energy).
** [[Videogame/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney The first game]] had 5 "Exclamation Marks" with 1 being removed when Penalized, and 2 when Double Penalized. The other entries had a Green Bar with a very dark red background, likely to allow penalties to have varying strength.
** Oddly, how well you did in court effects how much health you have in your Magatama investigations, and every time you start the trial the next day, your health is full again. However, during the last case, your Magatama health is restored in the middle of your investigation... but doesn't recover when you go to court the next day. Considering how troubling the last investigation segment is, you're likely only going to have a smidge-higher than half health, making almost all mistakes fatal.
** The "one health bar" was actually a mistake in ''Justice for All''. It was fixed in ''Trials and Tribulations'', where the Magatama meter is totally separate from the court meter (though the graphics do not reflect this). Meaning, in JFA, if you had 80% life at the end of an investigation, you'd start off the court session with 80%. In T&T, if you ended the first day investigation with 80%, you will not start Day 2 Trial with 80%, but with a full health bar. Only mistakes and health on its own section carries over to the next respective session. Taking the T&T example, if you ended the first day Investigation with 80% HP, you will start off the Magatama session in Day 2 Investigation with 80% health. Same goes for trial sessions.
* In ''VideoGame/AladdinVirginGames'', depending on the platform, Aladdin's health is measured by a trail of smoke coming out of the lamp in the top left corner of the screen--or by a hourglass with sand being drained, accompanied by an increasingly nervous face of the Genie.
* ''VideoGame/TheAngryVideoGameNerdAdventures'' and [[VideoGame/TheAngryVideoGameNerdIIAssimilation its sequel]] measure the Nerd's health in beer bottles.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Astal}}'', Astal's HitPoints are represented by fruit.
* OlderThanTheNES: [[Creator/{{Rare}} Ultimate's]] ''AticAtac'' featured a graphic of a chicken, which decreased down to bare bones as you lost energy. (Eating food replenished it.)
* In the old ''Batman: The Movie'', the Life Meter is Franchise/{{Batman}}'s face, gradually replaced by the Joker's face as the hero receives damage.
* The first ''VideoGame/BlakeStone'' game (''Aliens of Gold'') has a percentage meter and an EKG graph which changes faster if the player character has less health. This is accompanied by a heartbeat sound effect (which can be toggled on/off) which also is played the more frequently the less health the hero has. The second game (''Planet Strike'') only has a percentage meter.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bug}}'' has a can of "Bug Juice". Taking damage greys out a fraction of it, and when it becomes depleted, Bug dies and the can "melts". The sequel ''Bug Too!'' had a glass bottle of Bug Juice instead, the amount inside depended on your character's current health.
* [[AvertedTrope Averted]], surprisingly, in a FightingGame. ''VideoGame/BushidoBlade'' and its sequel ''Bushido Blade 2'', is a game based around duels with melee weapons that's very unusual in the fact there are no life gauges whatsoever. You can literally be killed with a single blow.
* Most ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' games have one for the player character, either as hearts or as a bar. Older games had one for bosses too.
* ''Catacomb 3-D'' has a human face which is slowly replaced, from the bottom up, by an image of a skull.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Colobot}}'', all units have a yellow life meter, including the human character, the robots and the buildings. The human is able to regenerate on his own, but robots need to use a special building to be repaired, and buildings cannot be repaired at all.
* In ''VideoGame/TheConduit'', not only does the life meter change from green to flashing red when the player's life meter is low, but the game also desaturates the colors and turns down ambient sounds when the player is low on life. This is needed because it is possible to play the game without a HUD (thus hiding the regular life meter all together).
* The early ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' games, and some of the new ones, feature a hovering mask pickup instead of the dragonfly. Pick up a mask, and you can take an extra hit. Pick up two, and your mask turns golden, meaning you can take two hits. Pick up a third one, and you're invincible for a short while.
* ''Franchise/DeadSpace'': It's InUniverse and {{Justified|Trope}}. Every adult has a device called a RIG attached to them. One of a RIG's main features is a spine-mounted bar that scans the user's body and gauges their overall health.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Dex}}'', all enemies have a red bar below their sprite displaying their health, and there's also a percentage just to the right of it doing the same.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'':
** The first game has a globe filled with red liquid, the same color as the life potions. The color changes to green if the character is poisoned.
** Also, in ''VideoGame/DiabloII'', the globe is held up by a little demon statue, characters turn green when poisoned, and other things (gas, throwing potions, damage stats) are [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience green when they relate to poison]].
** The same color convention -- red changing to green when poisoned -- was later used in ''Videogame/{{Nox}}''.
** And a similar convention and life meter was used in the first ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'' although in this case, it's fairly clear what the liquid is supposed to be, since he's a vampire and all.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' games combined a percentile health meter with a central character face portrait that got progressively more bloody as your health decreased.
** Same deal with ''VideoGame/Wolfenstein3D'' and the ''VideoGame/{{Catacomb|FantasyTrilogy}}'' games (the sequels to the original ''Catacomb 3D'').
** And with ''VideoGame/Nitemare3D'', but rather than getting bloody, the skin wore away like in ''Series/{{Knightmare}}''. You'd be down to a skull when you were on your last 10% health, and when you died, the skull went dark.
* The UsefulNotes/{{NES}} {{port|ingDisaster}} of ''Videogame/DragonsLair'' infamously subverts this, as you have a life bar but almost everything is instant death.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII:'' Party members have a health bar and an HP counter (e.g. [=200/350=]). Their character models will also change if their health is very low. However, none of this applies to enemies -- there is no way of telling if they have 1 HP or 1000.
* ''VideoGame/DungeonsOfDaggorath'' for the UsefulNotes/ColorComputer had no visual indicator of the player's health, just a heartbeat sound that would quicken as the player got closer to death.
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' shows HP as numbers on tumblers, like they were on a mechanical counter. Taking damage or being healed doesn't take full effect immediately, it sends the tumblers rolling towards their new values. Characters who take mortal damage don't die until their HP rolls down to 0, and they can be kept standing by healing them before it does. The characters' stats even affect how fast their tumblers roll, and using the Guard command slows down the drop.
* ''VideoGame/EchoNight: Beyond'' uses an EKG monitor; Richard's heartrate jumps whenever he encounters ghosts, but will even out if the ghost is friendly. ''Hostile'' ghosts, on the other hand, along with other disturbing phenomena, can push his heartrate up much higher... Reaching 300+ immediately kills him.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline'' has three bars for [[SprintMeter stamina]], [[HitPoint health]] and {{ma|na}}gicka. The health bar in particular is one of your visual cues for understanding your current buffs and debuffs. For example, it will crack when your resistances are lowered, it will glow white when your damage is buffed or its borders will thicken if your resistances get buffed. The bar also shows shields applied on you by dyeing a part of your bar in pink.
* ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' features a SanityMeter, an affectation borrowed from Lovecraft-inspired role playing games. It effectively acts as a second Life Meter (shocking but not physically harmful experiences deplete it, and physical damage occurs when it is fully depleted), but is also tied to the game's "insanity effects", where unexpected visuals, such as insects crawling across the screen, would simulate the player's decline into insanity. Of course, after finishing such mentally stressing levels, a HeroicBSOD (as opposed to an actual BSOD, which is one of the insanity effects) is expected from most characters.
* In ''Videogame/{{Evolve}}'', the hunter's health is show as a bar to the left of their screen. Portions of it will be greyed out as you take strikes, reducing your maximum health. Other hunters' health can be seen above their heads and the monster's health is a bar at the top of the screen, regardless of side.
* In ''Videogame/{{Flink}}'', Flink's life meter is the big red bottle in the corner of the screen, labeled "MAGIC" since it doubles as his MagicMeter.
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}} and his Nine Lives'', Garfield's health is represented by [[TrademarkFavoriteFood lasagna]].
* In the Brazilian game ''[[http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/guimo/screenshots Guimo]]'', the life meter is a pair of eyes, that get bloodshot with every hit (when they're completely red, the player dies).
* ''VideoGame/GenpeiToumaDen'' has a row of burning candles to represent the player character's life meter.
* ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' and ''VideoGame/RockBand'' play with this by having a "Rock Meter" (Guitar Hero) or "Crowd Meter" (Rock Band) that tells you how much the crowd is liking your performance; it increases with notes hit and decreases with notes missed. While not technically a "life meter" per se, it serves the same purpose; if the meter hits bottom, you fail out of the song and either must restart it or must be saved by a bandmate, depending on the situation.
** ''VideoGame/RockBand'''s crowd meter isn't a straight life meter in multiplayer, either - if the meter itself hits bottom, the entire band fails out automatically. However, each member has a slider on the meter, and if a member's slider hits bottom, they fail out, and the meter starts being drained until all failed members are recovered. The amount of the meter that is filled is around the average of the band member's positions on the meter.
** Averted with ''VideoGame/DJHero'' and ''VideoGame/GuitarHeroLive'', neither of which feature a life meter.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Gungrave}}'', your character has two meters--a red bar for his vitality and a blue bar for his regenerating shield. The shield will recover if Grave takes no hits for a few moments, however, explosions and some boss attacks will break the shield completely. Once his shield is gone he will lose his health rapidly, and will fall if the red bar reaches zero.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'', ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'', and ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'' have no Life Meter per se. Instead, there's a meter for your energy shield. When it reaches zero, your now-unseen health bar can be diminished, obviously enough hits on you after the shield bar is depleted will result in your death. However, if not hit in a set amount of time, your health and shields will regenerate, the shield bar filling up again (Interestingly enough, Master Chief's health regenerates slower than his shields in ''Halo 3'', meaning that if his health is low enough, but his shields have fully regenerated and were promptly depleted, he'd still have very low health. See the [[WordOfGod word of Bungie]] [[http://www.bungie.net/News/content.aspx?type=topnews&cid=13233 here,]] under the OMG Fix Mayleeey, Bungle! section, sub-section The Nitty Gritty).
** The original ''VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved'' has the energy shield in addition to a traditional Life Meter. Master Chief's health only drops once his shield runs out, and health can only be restored by [[HealThyself medkits]] scattered around. ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' also reverts to this setup, being a {{Prequel}} to the other FPS games, and only differs in that the medkits tend to be mounted on walls rather than lying on the floor, as well as the Life Meter having very minor regeneration at certain levels of injury.
** In ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'', your non-recharging heath has a meter, but this game's version of energy shields (referred to as "Stamina") has no meter; your screen just starts turning red when it starts to deplete.
** In ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'', your shields and health go back to having separate meters, but both of them still recharge.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Hellsinker}}'', enemies that don't die in one hit and bosses have percentages displayed over them when their health falls below 70%. Certain bosses feature a health bar alongside their percentage.
** The pre-FinalBoss, Unnamed 290, inverts this: it has a "Satisfaction Gauge" that starts ''empty'' and needs to be ''filled'' to at least Level 1 before [[TimeLimitBoss time runs out]] by shooting it.
** Inverted again with the Level 3 FinalBoss, Garland. It starts with an empty boss meter that is filled up by shooting Garland. If the meter is filled and the "Did you forget something?" dialogue triggers before the time limit runs out, the game moves on to the TrueFinalBoss; otherwise the game just ends there.
* ''VideoGame/{{Heretic}}'' had a numerical life meter, but also a red gem on a chain that moved from right to left as health decreased. This interface was carried over to the first ''{{Videogame/Hexen}}'' game as well.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Ib}}'', the characters carry around colored roses that are tied to their life force and appear in your inventory. A number in the corner of the screen indicates how many hit points they have left. The more damage they take, the more the rose wilts. If your rose becomes a bare stalk, it's Game Over.
** As a twist, the connection also works in reverse - rejuvenating a rose in water will heal its owner, and directly damaging it (by plucking out petals, for instance) will harm them.
* ''VideoGame/{{Illbleed}}'' has three different life meters. In addition to your regular strength meter (you die when it runs out, natch), you also have a heart rate monitor and a bleeding gauge that appears when you take damage. If your bleeding gauge becomes full, you die by bleeding out. If your heart rate exceeds 250 as a result of [[JumpScare Jump Scares]], you die of a fear-induced heart attack. If your bleeding gauge fills past a certain point, your heart rate will begin to decline; if it reaches 0, you flatline.
* ''VideoGame/IndianaJonesAndHisDesktopAdventures'' has a circle-shaped life meter, initially completely green. As you receive damage, the circle loses more and more "slices" (like a pie graph), gradually turning yellow. Once it's completely yellow, the yellow begins to peel away in the same way, revealing red. Then, once it's all red, it begins giving way to black. Once it's all black, guess what happens.
* In ''VideoGame/JazzJackrabbit'', the playable characters have a colourful bar which changes colour depending on how much health he has left (blue is full health, glowing red is when it's about to lose a life if takes one more damag) in the first game. In the second game, it's represented by hearts (5 hearts means full health and every damage he gets makes him lose one).
* In ''VideoGame/JurassicParkTrespasser'', there is no HUD; your health is instead displayed by glancing down at a heart-shaped tattoo on your left breast (a rare example of a [[ThirdPersonSeductress First Person Seductress]]).
* While ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' and all following games used a green bar with green squares underneath representing the amount of health bars left for enemies, ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI'' and the GBA game ''Chain of Memories'' used colored, multi layered health bars. This was kind of a problem in [=KH1=] with [[BonusBoss Sephiroth]], as he had so much health the developers ran out of colors to use, so he has all the normal colors up to purple and an additional invisible bar.
** While playing as the main protagonist, their face is shown in the middle of the HP Circle with a healthy expression. Whenever they take damage, the face temporarily changes to a [[FlashofPain flinch]] before reverting back again. However if the protagonist hits [[CriticalAnnoyance Low HP]], the character's portrait will remain in a gloomy pained expression until their health is restored.
** In the case of the player and their party, the health bar circles around and over their portrait, then straightens out once it passes below it (Games past the first simplify the party member HP into a half circle).
* The above was directly lifted for the classic kid's TV show ''Series/{{Knightmare}}'', except that it was a human face instead of a skeleton and the skeleton would eventually also disintegrate away into nothing. That one also used green to yellow to red backgrounds as a more general measure.
* ''VideoGame/{{Kolibri}}'' averts this, having no status display. Health is instead indicated by the number of small hummingbirds that fly out after taking a hit.
* ''LastNinja'' uses a bar, but twisted into a spiral.
* ''VideoGame/LegendOfSuccessJoe'' gave the player a three-part life bar; half-empty bars would refill between stages but not fully empty ones.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games, with the notable exception of ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' which uses a bar meter, use a heart system in place of a regular life meter. Link starts most games with three hearts. Unlike most games, he can acquire more by locating a HeartContainer; the more of these he gets, the longer his string of hearts becomes and, therefore, allows him to take significantly greater damage before dying. Early versions of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' had the color of Link's tunic and shield change to indicate his health. Of course, the final version just used collections of hearts like previous titles.
* ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' uses a health meter like most other Valve games. What sets it apart from other games is that as your health decreases, your mobility because more compromised: you start off able to run at a brisk pace, but as you sustain damage, your movement speed decreases until your left with a limp barely faster than walking. Pain pills can grant a temporary boost in health, as can adrenaline shots (not as much health, but it increases your movement speed back to normal for a while), but the only way to actually recover health is by using medkits, which are far and few between.
* ''VideoGame/{{Lugaru}}: The Rabbit's Foot'' has no HUD, but Life Meters for two types of damage which affect the same pool of HitPoints: Temporary damage, caused by blunt impact, is indicated by the character limping and the camera's view becoming blurry and shaky, it fades with time. Permanent damage, caused by cuts and stabs, which is only healed between levels, has the additional indication of pain skins (visible wound texturemaps).
* ''VideoGame/LuxarenAllure'': HP is depicted with a green bar that depletes from right to left.
* The ''Madou Monogatari'' [=RPGs=] for the UsefulNotes/{{MSX}}2, UsefulNotes/GameGear and UsefulNotes/PC98 did the furthest to avert conventional analog or digital representations of the player character's health, which is represented instead by changing facial expressions.
* ''Mad Professor Mariarti'' has a bubbling flask in the status display which drains as the professor's health is damaged.
* ''VideoGame/MadStalkerFullMetalForce'' has its life meters represented by energy bars that changes from green to red to empty as the player(s) take damage.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'' combines this with NinjaProp when one of Deadpool's Hyper Combos has him attack his opponent with both his health bar and hyper combo meter.
-->'''Deadpool''': HEALTH BAR IN YOUR FACE!
* ''VideoGame/TheMatrixPathOfNeo'' just like in ''VideoGame/EnterTheMatrix'' the lifebar is represented in a darker shade of the Matrix's code.
* Many ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' games feature bosses that strike a cool pose whilst their life meter fills up before they fight.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManLegends'' features a yellow health bar, as well as a "life shield". When the shield is active (the health bar's background is black), taking a hit will disrupt it, causing the health bar to glow red. Any attacks received before the shield can repair itself will hurt more than usual. If the shield is disrupted too many times (or if Mega Man takes a really heavy blow), it will "break" and won't regenerate until you use a shield repair item. The sequel just deals damage normally.
* In ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'', Samus Aran always begins with 99 points of energy, usually displayed as a simple white meter on the HUD, and adds 100 more points with each [[HeartContainer Energy Tank]] she finds, displayed as boxes above the meter.
* In ''Franchise/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' (SNES), the lifebar seems to max out when it's green and full, but if you collect more health refills at that point it will change to blue and eventually purple to indicate additional health.
* ''VideoGame/{{Nightfire}}'' features an interesting design for the life meter: it's based on the James Bond Gunbarrel. As you start to lose life points, the damage eats away at the barrel, wedge by wedge, as the remaining wedges change from green to yellow to red. After the last sliver falls, the "game over" screen is represented by blood pouring down from the top of the screen.
** If only in the PC version, armor is used in the place of healthkits, with simple armor plates restoring two or three wedges and a bulletproof vest restoring the entire meter. So perhaps the wedges signify undamaged armor plates, and Bond uses BodyArmorAsHitPoints?
* The ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden'' franchise represents Ryu Hayabusa's health with a life bar. In the NES games, the life bar is presented Franchise/{{Castlevania}}-style, showing sixteen hit points for Ryu as well as each level boss throughout the game.
* ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' has Travis' health represented by an 8-bit heart, with each "pixel" being a unit of health (though if his health is upgraded, some of the pixels change color to represent more than one health unit.) Enemy life meters are a ring of "pixels" around the enemy, with each pixel getting smaller in a clockwise pattern as the enemy takes damage.
* ''VideoGame/OperationFlashpoint'' has no life meter; to determine the extent of your injuries, you simply check your body for wounds. Any wound to a vital area has a good chance of [[OneHitKill killing you outright]], and wounds to the limbs affect your movement and accuracy. Though there aren't any health packs as such, you can get the wound treated by a medic if you can find one.
* ''VideoGame/{{Pepsiman}}'' has a three-hit life meter displayed by the spinning Pepsi logo at the top of the screen. It gets smaller as he takes damage and [[HealingFactor grows back]] over time.
* ''VideoGame/PitfallTheMayanAdventure'' had an alligator creeping up on a picture of Harry, getting closer as he took damage. You lose a life if the alligator chomps him.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' with it changing colors from green to yellow to red.
** And a very annoying [[CriticalAnnoyance looped beeping noise]] when it's in the red.
*** In ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'', this is replaced with the looped beeping noise remixed into awesome music.
** It also has numerical values with HP being a stat that can be increased, but you can only see the exact value for your own Pokemon.
* In ''VideoGame/PrimalRage'', the energy bars are veins connected to a heart at the end, and the special bar below is a nerve linked to a brain. Winning a match causes the loser's heart to explode and the brain to melt into ashes. It gets better in the subsequent rounds.
* The life meter in ''PrinceOfPersia'''s "Sands Trilogy" is aqua blue, indicative of the use of water as life replenishment.
** In the original game, it was a set of triangles, like in Jordan Mechner's previous game ''VideoGame/{{Karateka}}''. Later ports (for Japanese home computers, the UsefulNotes/AppleMacintosh, SNES, UsefulNotes/TurboGrafx16 and UsefulNotes/SegaCD) changed this to a set of potions, identical in appearance to the games' {{healing potion}}s.
* The original UsefulNotes/{{MSX}}2 version of ''VideoGame/PsychicWorld'', titled ''Psycho World'', had the red H.P. bar intertwining with the green ESP bar to form a double helix. The UsefulNotes/SegaMasterSystem and UsefulNotes/GameGear ports used normal-shaped bars instead.
* The platform games Creator/{{Rare}} developed for the UsefulNotes/Nintendo64 has an idiosyncratic, unique life meter each:
** Honeycombs in ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'' and its sequel.
** Watermelons in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64''.
** Chocolate units in ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Rayman 2}}'' introduced the series to the life meter. Before this, Rayman used a HitPoint system.
** Something funny used in ''Rayman 2'' is an image of Rayman's head in the upper left corner turning from happy to sad when low on life.
* The older ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' games had an EKG set as the player's health bar (only visible if the player pauses the game), and it would both change color (green-yellow-orange-red, or purple if poisoned) and decrease in heart rate as the player gets hurt; playing up the realism more is if the character was poisoned, his or her heartbeat would become irregular. Generally, though, the player could die in five hits or less (and {{Mooks}}, namely zombies, could instantly kill you without some serious button-mashing). Starting with ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'', a more traditional health bar took place of the EKG.
* Some {{Rhythm Game}}s' life meters [[OurTropesAreDifferent are different]].
** ''VideoGame/{{Beatmania}}'', ''Beatmania IIDX'', and ''VideoGame/PopNMusic'': Your life meter starts at 22%, and you must build your life up to (by hitting notes) and finish the song with at least 80% of your life intact to clear it. On the plus side, a drop to 0% life (or 2% on ''IIDX'') won't result in a fail. There's also the gauges for Expert mode, [=Pop'n's=] Extra Stage, and [=IIDX's=] Hard modifier, in which you start full and any amount of life left results in a clear, but running out of life will kill you.
*** More recent versions of ''IIDX'' have the Easy, Assisted Easy, and EX Hard modifiers. Easy is the regular life gauge, but it doesn't drain as much on a missed note; Assisted Easy does this and also lowers the passing life requirement to 70%. EX Hard is denoted by a yellow life gauge (as opposed to the regular blue or Hard red) and functions the same as Hard, but with a ''much'' harsher penalty for missing notes; it takes just 6 misses to drain it completely.
** ''VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution'' traditionally uses a life meter called "Dance Gauge", in which you have to keep it filled for the duration of a song or else the stage is failed. Later games and course modes use a battery gauge, which gives a player at least 4 lives. Lose all 4 lives with a couple of Misses and it's Game Over.
** ''DJMAX Technika'': In Technical mode, you must finish with at least 75% life on stage 1, 50% life on stage 2, 25% on stage 3, and simply live to see the end of stage 4. It's harder than it sounds because on each successive stage, it takes more notes to recover your life.
** ''VideoGame/OsuTatakaeOuendan'' and ''VideoGame/EliteBeatAgents'': Your life meter (called the "Elite-O-Meter" in ''EBA'') continously drains, even if there aren't any notes to hit. This can lead to some cases where you fail the song ''in mid-combo''.
** Averted outright in ''VideoGame/ReflecBeat'', which simply require you to obtain at least 70% of the maximum score to clear the song.
** ''VideoGame/{{jubeat}}'' also has the "70% of maximum score" (or in this case, 700,000 out of 1 million) passing condition in place of a life meter, but there is also a bonus that increases as you hit notes accurately, up to 100,000 points even if hitting notes would otherwise cause the bonus to continue increasing. Missing causes the bonus to decrease, to a minimum of 0 points. In a sense, there is still a Life Meter of sorts, but it's used for score bonuses.
** ''VideoGame/{{Cytus}}'' also requires a score of 700,000 out of 1 million.
** ''VideoGame/SoundVoltex'', much like ''beatmania'', has a meter called the [[CallAHitPointASmeerp Effective Rate]] that starts off low (in this case, 0%) and must be filled to a specific quota (in this case, 70%) before the song ends. However, it also plays this trope straight with the Permissive Rate and Excessive Rate meters; the former is used for Skill Analyzer courses and the latter is an optional challenge. There's also the Alternative Rate meter, which begins as an Excessive Rate meter, but rather than fail the player at 0% left, it instead turns into an empty Effective Rate meter at that point; however, Alternative Rate is only available if you choose the most expensive Online mode option.
** ''CROSS×BEATS''[='=]s and ''crossbeats REV.''[='=]s standard lifebar not only don't fail you instantly if your life hits 0%, but you clear the song as long as you have even a sliver of life at all when it ends; do note, however, that it takes a sufficient combo to raise your life by a signle tick. There's also the Survival lifebar, which starts at 100% and gives you an immediate stage failure if you ever hit 0%, and the Ultimate lifebar, which depletes on anything below a Flawless, not just combo-breaking judgements, meaning that it's entirely possible to fail a song ''without a combo break''.
** ''VideoGame/GrooveCoaster'' uses a Groove Gauge similar to ''beatmania''[='=]s, but it's not used to determine whether you get your next stage or not. Instead, it's used only for a 50,000-point bonus in arcade charts.
** ''VideoGame/{{maimai}}'' normally averts this trope -- you only need to earn an [[ScoringPoints Achievement]] rating of 80% or higher to clear the song -- but invokes this when you're playing a [[BonusBoss Challenge Track]], in which you're given a "LIFE" indicator at the center of the screen showing you how many more non-Perfect judgements until the game throws a GameOver at you. If you attempt a Challenge Track as soon as its out, you will only have ''[[OneHitPointWonder one life]]'', i.e. you must get an All Perfect or it's shutters for you.
* In ''VideoGame/RogueSquadron'' there is a small icon of the current starship on screen. Damage taken changes the icon's color. It's blue (After obtaining a powerup to increase them) and goes through green to yellow as your shields take damage, then orange to red if you continue to get shot up before your shields recharge. In the following sequels, the icon was converted into a small, fully 3D wireframe of the ships (humans for on foot missions) surrounded by a thinning circle which would swerve as you moved around, but would spin if you took any damage, the speed and intensity which increased depending on how strong. This would result in incredibly erratic spinning if you were continuously taking fire, though it gets kinda funny when it happens to the human wireframe. Both games feature an instant shield recharge option if you were low while using a ship that had a R2 unit. Though if you get hit again, you'll lose it before you can press it.
* In the ''VideoGame/XWing'' series, your ship's status is indicated with a colored silhouette of your fighter, that changes from green, to yellow, to red as the hull takes damage. Additionally, in fighters with deflector shields (that is any of them but the standard TIE fighters, Interceptors, and bombers), each shield facing is represented by an arc that goes through the same color progression and dim as they're depleted. Once the shield arc is gone, that shield has collapsed and incoming fire will strike the main hull. Shields can also be doubled on one or both arcs if provided with enough power, further increasing the fighter's health. Only the shields can be recharged during a mission. Hull damage cannot be repaired.
* The arcade game ''VideoGame/RollingThunder'' has a segmented life bar, though this feature is hardly necessary: colliding with or getting punched by {{Mooks}} takes out half of the bar, and getting hit by any projectile kills the player outright!
* ''{{Sapiens}}'' uses a single symbol as a Life Meter. When you're in perfect health, the meter depicts a large heart. As you receive damage, the heart decreases gradually, then disappears, then is replaced with progressively larger skulls.
* ''VideoGame/ShadowWarrior1997'' has a percentage meter for the player and bars for the bosses.
* "VideoGame/ShounenKinindenTsumuji" starts with Tsumuji having 3 flames which can go up to 12 flames after collecting enough Life Candles to increase his health.
* All ''Franchise/SilentHill'' games except ''4'' and ''Homecoming'' avert the onscreen lifebar tactic, instead letting you gauge how much you had left by a colored screen in the pause menu, or a percentage in ''Downpour''.
* ''VideoGame/SlyCooperAndTheThieviusRaccoonus'' had horseshoes Sly could pick up to get more than one hit. Get one, and a silver horseshoe would appear on his backpack. Get another, and the horseshoe turns gold. Dropped outright for a standard health meter in the sequels.
* ''VideoGame/TheSmurfs1994'': The player can take up to four hits (displayed as hearts) before he loses a life. But watch out for the Bzz Fly or the Black Smurf in the Super NES and Mega Drive versions, for running into them is a OneHitKill.
* ''VideoGame/SpyroTheDragon'' and its sequels had a creative, if basic, adaptation: The dragonfly Sparx literally served as a health meter, changing colors from Gold at full health down to green, and then disappearing entirely. After that, a single hit would kill you. The game explained this by way of some vague protective magic Sparx generated. The later games stopped using Sparx as a health indicator and reverted to a conventional health meter, but for a good reason: The new combat system requires Spyro to have way more health than in previous games, which would have been difficult to show with Sparx.
* The ''VideoGame/StarFox'' games have a life bar for your character and most of the bosses (the general exceptions are some of the Final Bosses, such as Andross [[spoiler:except in ''Adventures'']] and the Slot Machine in the first game's alternate ending). In ''VideoGame/StarFox64'', Slippy provides the boss life meters and if he isn't around, either due to him being down or Fox being alone to fight Andross, the life meter will not show up.
* ''VideoGame/StickFight''[='s=] stick figure combatants have no life meter and simply take hits until they die or suffer a OneHitKill. However, in the boss stages that occasionally show up, the player that becomes the flying boss does get a life meter that stretches across the top of the screen.
* Shows up in the games ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'', ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'', ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'' and ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'' as a colored ball divided into three to eight wedges, depending on the game. The one in ''64'' doubles as Mario's health meter ''and'' OxygenMeter, leading to a [[GoodBadBugs glitch where you can completely refill Mario's health by dunking in some water and coming up for air.]]
* Your life meter in the ''VideoGame/SuperStarWars'' series is displayed as a lightsaber.
* The second and third ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage'' have a standard health bar for players and {{Mooks}}, but a boss' health bar is slightly different from the player's. In game 2, the boss' health bar was shown in blue and the number of stars under their name showed how many health bars they had. By the 3rd game, they changed the stars to a number next to the health bar, which makes it look like the amount of "lives" the boss had. Once all the extra bars of health were gone, the boss' life bar would be shown in yellow/red like any other enemy. On higher difficulty levels, even some {{Mooks}} can have multiple bars of health like a boss.
* The swordsmanship MiniGame in ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheSamurai'' has an interesting spin on it, in keeping with the game's feel, which is to contain absolutely no anachronisms. Each time a combatant takes a hit, a brush draws the strokes in the kanji for 'life'; when it is complete, they die.
* The ''VideoGame/TokyoXtremeRacer'' racing game series has life meters, but not for how much more your car can take; rather, during races, you lose life when you are trailing behind your opponent or run into something. Whoever runs out of life first loses the race, as opposed to whoever reaches a goal first like in most other racing games (although this is an alternate way to win in ''Kaido Battle'').
** The original ''VideoGame/WanganMidnight'' arcade game, being based on ''Shutokou Battle'', also has this system, but you can also win by [[HoldTheLine being ahead of your opponents when the time runs out]]...unless you are on the last stage's second phase, in which case the time limit is disabled, so the only way to win is to run down the bosses' meters.
** The ''Kaido Battle'' spin-off also featured a twist in this system. Running out of life does not equal an instant loss if you're either ahead of your opponent, or are following close enough so the meter won't start draining. Also, as there are both defined start and finish points, you could also win be [[HoldTheLine crossing the finish line first]].
* In the early ''Franchise/TombRaider'' games, it's only visible, if you get hurt or heal yourself.
* In ''VideoGame/TheTwistedTalesOfSpikeMcFang'', Spike's hitpoints are represented by tomatoes, while enemies' hitpoints are represented by garlic cloves (whether or not they're made of garlic).
* ''VideoGame/ViewtifulJoe'' had bosses with multi-layered life meters; deplete the topmost layer, and you start working on the next one of a different color. Stronger bosses had more and more meters to whittle down.
* ''VideoGame/TheWarriors'' uses a standard life meter designed as a circle around your character. It starts out at green and changes colors from yellow to orange to red as you get injured, and the characters themselves also suffer bruises and cuts and grow in number and intensity when their health grows lower. Strangely enough, all those visible injuries magically vanish once you use some Flash.
* ''VideoGame/{{Whizz}}'' has the Energy Mushroom, which loses color from the top down.
* The life meters in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' are vertically-oriented bars, and extend into both screens along the right side. Either half of the meter could be gone, gone, gone, but you're both still fighting until the whole thing is empty. It refills after every battle (counting a chain reduction battle as a single one). The bar itself is green, with empty sections of bar as gray. Bosses also have a life meter that depletes from each side of the screen and has a second, yellow bar over the green one.
** The colors for bosses go farther, too.
** Players can easily be confused by the life bar. It's shared by both Neku and his partner... but the gap between the two screens is not counted in the bar. If you do poorly with the top-screen character, the life bar will fall into the bottom screen, and if you do poorly with Neku, it will rise into the top screen. So, you can't ignore one of the screens because it will still kill you. The characters do make specific comments when their portion of the life meter is exhausted.
* Ever since ''Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain'' and ''WWE Day of Reckoning'' (at least), the WWE-based ProfessionalWrestling games on consoles have had a variant on the health meter: it's represented by a humanoid figure with four sections (head, torso, both arms, both legs). As each region gets worked over, the meter goes from no damage to, normally, yellow-orange-red. Submission holds have better chances if you're working them on a red region, and if the head is red (on a male), certain headshots will cause bleeding.
* ''VideoGame/TheJungleBook'': Mowgli has one, and so do all the bosses. In most versions of the game, the bar is an image of the characters head, of which the color slowly drains every time they take a hit. In the NES version, it's a red heart that slowly drains of color whenever a character takes a hit.
* It's yellow and measures HP, and is displayed at the bottom half of the screen, above the ManaMeter.
* VideoGame/{{Germination}}: Shaped like a flower.


!!Non-Video Game Examples:

[[folder:Anime And Manga]]

* Duelists in ''Anime/YuGiOh'' have meters to keep track of their life points.
* Contest Battles in ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' feature one, but it's not limited to the physical state of the trainer's Pokémon. Rather, its their performance and style in battle. After a time limit, whoever has the most points advances to the next round/wins the contest.
* ''Anime/SwordArtOnline'', taking place in VRMMO games, naturally has these. In the Aincrad arc, the HP meter's presence is an ominous reminder of the player's potential mortality, as [[DeadlyGame a game over in SAO means death in real life]].
* Fights taking place under the regulation of the DSAA in ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'' use the Crash Emulate system, which not only gives characters health bars, but simulates the pain that they would feel were they not under its protection (such as concussions or broken bones). For some reason, SpinOff series ''Anime/VividStrike'' does not use Crash Emulate despite all the fights being in DSAA regulated tournaments. This results in characters receiving actual injuries, [[spoiler:like Mirua's ribs getting shattered.]]


[[folder:Fan Works]]

* ''Roleplay/WeAreAllPokemonTrainers'',
** Pallad the shiny Metagross is unique through having his health represent as an actual life bar, rather than in prose like most of the other Pokémon.
** Zrone's Sectopod, a giant spider-like robot, uniquely also comes with a life bar.


[[folder:Live Action TV]]

* In ''Series/KamenRiderExAid'', all of the Riders have this. Known as the Rider Gauge, it is the energy bars that are located on the Rider's chests. The bar gets decreased in response to taking damage and increased after picking up a Recovery token. They also sound a CriticalAnnoyance warning when they get low. If the bar drops to zero, [[CriticalExistenceFailure the Rider(s) will die]], but there's an emergency function that will forcibly de-transform the Rider to prevent this from happening. [[spoiler:Kuroto Dan/Kamen Rider Genm gets around this by using a SurvivalHorror game to give himself the power of undeath, allowing him to fight with an empty gauge. Said form also has a jammer that disables the emergency rescue function, which allowed him to murder Kiriya Kujo/Kamen Rider Lazer. Eventually, Ex-Aid uses his MidSeasonUpgrade to hack Kuroto's powers, restoring his lifebar and rendering him mortal again.]]



* In ''Magazine/{{Cracked}}'' #297, focusing on ''Film/StreetFighter'', M. Bison's Life Meter goes down easily when the handicap setting is set to handicapped. [[HarsherInHindsight Not so funny]] considering the death of Raúl Juliá.



* The saucers in ''Pinball/AttackFromMars'' have life bars which once depleted, open up the hole to destroy the saucer. In the VideoMode, the mothership has a life counter.
* ''Pinball/TheChampionPub'' has the player fighting various opponents, both of which have life bars. You start out with three points and have to get more by training; filling it up completely lets you start a fight.
* ''Pinball/{{Hyperball}}'', a ShootEmUp pinball game, requires the player to defend his base from attacking lightning bolts. The game ends when all of his [[CallAHitPointASmeerp "Energy Centers"]] are destroyed.
* Samus has one in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimePinball'', and can die instantly if it is depleted.
* The {{pinball}} machine ''Pinball/RevengeFromMars'' uses these during the "Secret Weapon" mode, which is an UnexpectedGameplayChange to a FightingGame.
* In Creator/SternPinball's ''[[Pinball/StarTrekStern Star Trek]]'', the ''Vengeance'' is shown with a Life Meter during "Vengeance Multiball"; it takes damage based on how many points the player scores.
* Used during the Jedi[=/=]Sith duels of ''Pinball/StarWarsEpisodeI''
* Creator/{{Capcom}}'s unreleased ''Pinball/{{Kingpin}}'' has the Power Meter, which is built up during regular play by making Power-Up shots. At the end of the last ball, the game enters "Sudden Death", where play continues while it runs down, with the flippers becoming slower and weaker as it decreases. Making more Power-Up shots add more Power and playtime, but once it's depleted, the flippers die and the game ends.


[[folder:Web Original]]

* Parodied rather well at the climax of ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth''. [[spoiler:The final boss, Demonhead Mobster Kingpin, has three forms, each with its own health bar. The first regenerates slowly. The second has two which regenerates two times faster than damage can be inflicted. The third, however, starts with three bars that literally must be broken themselves. Right before Problem Sleuth can activate his Bad-Ass FinishingMove, DMK literally GROWS an infinite number of life bars, which are physically real and break through the Earth's surface all the way down to {{Hell}}.]]
* Webcomic/AwfulHospital has the traditional hearts for Fern.
* An interesting variation from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'': Health is represented by a colored bar suspended inside a clump of gel, called a "Health Vial". As you take damage, the bar is forced out of the gel, and falls to the ground and shatters when your health is depleted. When leveling up, instead of gaining a longer health bar, you get a more viscous gel.
* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', Scrolls have an app that shows a person's remaining Aura, and it is used to this effect.
* In the OriginalCharacterTournament ''WebOriginal/SanctumOCT'', every contestant has one above their heads, which is visible to other contestants. Justified because they're in a virtual reality tournament of sorts.