A brother to the Life Meter
and Mana Meter
, the Sprint Meter
is a graphical depiction of some aspect of a character's condition other than his remaining health. In most cases, this is his ability to run at high speed; when the meter is empty, he must walk until it is recovered. This allows a game to put a limitation on a player's ability to flee from danger, which makes such meters popular for Survival Horror
A Sprint Meter
can also be used to indicate the capacity for a swimming character to hold his breath (where it's called an Oxygen Meter
) or other quantities. The defining characteristic of the Sprint Meter
is that it refills automatically over time
when it's not in use. Since dashing while swimming is often impossible anyway, the sprint and oxygen meters can share real estate on the screen.
Where Life Meters tend to be red, and Mana Meters tend to be blue, the Sprint meter will often be green or (less commonly) yellow to round out the color trio.
See also Run Don't Walk
; compare with Nitro Boost
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- Shadow of the Colossus has a variant that indicates your stamina: your ability to hold onto stuff without falling off, your ability to hold your breath underwater, etc. An interesting example as more often than not this meter is considered to be more important than the Life Meter.
- Tomb Raider has a sprint move (and meter) from the third game until Legend. Underworld brought back the sprint with no visual gauge (although you can still only do it a certain amount of time).
- Averted in Mirror's Edge, where Faith can sprint for as long as she needs to and never gets tired. Instead, it simply takes a short time for her to accelerate to a sprint (save for abuse of a certain glitch which allows you to instantly achieve full speed from a stop). There is also a less obvious meter that fills up when sprinting and allows you to briefly activate Runner Time for tricky jumps or disarms. This meter is not visible on the screen, but your screen will flash blue once it is filled.
- As a first in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has a general Stamina Meter used for sprinting (which lets you run a short distance up walls to reach somewhat higher ledges and go up steeper hills), climbing, spin attacks (but not regular attacks), and keeping yourself afloat in sand. Drain it completely and Link can't do anything but move around slowly until the bar refills, even things that don't normally run off the meter. There's a specific potion that slows how fast stamina is burned for three minutes, which conveniently only becomes available after you complete a dungeon with a large number of stamina-based puzzles that would be broken by that potion.
- Mass Effect 1 had an odd example of this: The ability to sprint (ie, move faster than normal) was only available during combat (ie, once enemies were actively trying to hurt you). Shepard could then sprint for a short period until the bar was depleted or combat ended, abruptly turning off your ability to sprint. This was changed in Mass Effect 2 so that Shepard could sprint on command, in or out of combat, but still at the mercy of a Sprint Bar. Still helped get around faster. Mass Effect 3 removed the Sprint Bar, allowing the player to sprint as long as they pleased.
- Jade Empire has a variant. Instead of your character speeding up, time slows down, enabling the player to run around pretending they're Keanu Reeves.
- The World of Mana series (as well as Secret of Evermore) combined the Sprint Meter with the Charge Meter — you couldn't attack effectively immediately after running, and you couldn't even walk at full speed while charging for more powerful attacks.
- Monster Hunter features this, along with a potion or two that will make it unlimited for a minute or two. Bonus: If you're carrying a heavy object and you deplete your sprint meter (called 'stamina') entirely, you drop the item, it shatters, and you have to start over again. It should be noted that "sprinting" while carrying a heavy object is akin to the speed of walking when not carrying one, so...
- In Demon's Souls and its Spiritual Successor Dark Souls, the stamina meter goes down with everything your character does except magic and walking. Attacking, blocking, rolling, and running all drain stamina. Stamina is based on Endurance, which is why most players make raising Endurance a high priority.
- The Quest for Glory hybrid RPG/Adventure games had stamina that would run out the more strenous activity your character would partake in without stopping to rest or drinking a stamina potion. Stamina also ran out faster if you ran instead of walking, and upon reaching zero the game would start taking from your health meter, and you would get messages saying things like "you're so tired everything you do hurts" and repeatedly warning you to get some rest before you died of exhaustion.
- In the first two games, running out of stamina in battle was instantly fatal. The explanation was that, being exhausted, you would be unable to attack or defend effectively, or even run away, resulting in a quick death. From the third game on, fighting with zero stamina does, in fact, drain your health. In the third game in particular, it drains remarkably fast, meaning you can fight yourself to death.
- The fourth was a little more kind, simply preventing you from attacking if stamina was nearly gone. Of course, since the in-combat stamina regeneration is tied to the computer's CPU power, any modern system will completely regenerate the hero's stamina in seconds.
- In Baten Kaitos: Origins you have a bar that represents the power of your "wings of the heart" which allow you to dash around. If the bar runs out your wings disappear and the character has to stumble around until the bar refills.
- Lunar: Dragon Song is an extremely odd example in which the Sprint Meter and the Life Meter are the same — because running depletes your health. Characters start panting at about 2/3 HP, and your party can no longer run if a member hits 1/3 HP.
- In Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, a sprint meter appears when Barkley is running, indicated with a sneaker image. It depletes quickly and recharges slow, forcing the player to walk aside from running.
- An unusual Fighting Game example, the Mortal Kombat 3/UMK3/MK Trilogy games had a Run meter, which allows you to dash forward for a brief while until the meter runs out. It also worked as a Cap for combos, so that you (supposedly) can't do a combo or run immediately after doing the other.
- In Def Jam: Fight For New York, the player's Momentum (which controls when you can use the character's "Blazin'" (super) move) also controls how long they can run. Apparently, you can only run for long periods with the consent of the crowd.
- Magical Battle Arena has a Sprint Meter that doubles as a Mana Meter for your normal ranged attack. When Fate switches to her Sonic Form, not only does her speed increase, but her Sprint Meter's rate of consumption while dashing drastically decreases as well.
First Person Shooter
- Half-Life 2 made the odd decision to have running, the flashlight, and oxygen be a single "Auxillary power" meter. Dashing causes your flashlight to run out, swimming with the flashlight on reduces your time underwater, etc. In Episode 2, however, the flashlight energy is separated, to allow the player to run in a certain underground section when they are expected to have their flashlight on.
- A way to Hand Wave the former decision is that, since the suit power's auxillary power is used to help Gordon Freeman both sprint and use a flashlight; Freeman doesn't want to tire himself out and make himself incapable of fighting, and so, refuses to sprint outside of being aided from the suit. The flashlight regaining a separate meter is similarly handwaved as it being a backup after the original was broken by the Citadel's explosion at the end of Episode One.
- The team-based, online FPS Tremulous has a sprint meter for humans, but not for aliens. This is to capitalize on the aliens' amazing mobility vs. the humans' lack thereof. Jumping also takes 'stamina'.
- Far Cry has a Sprint Meter that also functions as a Jump Meter and Oxygen Meter. If it depletes your character won't be able to sprint, jump, or hold his breath underwater until after it at least partially restores itself. Jogging also slows down the meter's regeneration speed.
- The "sequel", Far Cry 2, has a Sprint Meter that functions much like the above. While it's not actually represented by the interface, you can tell you're about to tire out when the edges of the screen start to blur, resulting in the entire screen becoming blurry when you're completely exhausted.
- The game also gives a convenient explanation on why the player character, who is by all accounts a badass, can't sprint for more than 50 meters. It's because you are dying of malaria, the amount of sprinting you can do decreases as your disease worsens.
- In Crysis 2, sprinting draws energy from your nanosuit's energy reserves.
- Present in FEAR 2, although only really useful for the sliding kick. Running in this game is a good way to get shot up.
- Halo: Reach features a meter that gauges the energy of armor abilities, one of which is a sprint ability. Like most examples, it recharges with time.
- Call of Duty: United Offensive and then Modern Warfare onward add the ability for the player character to sprint for short durations, which is useful as your AI allies have always typically run faster than you can and rarely wait for you to catch up. The perks from multiplayer's Create-A-Class also have frequently included ones that allow you to sprint faster and/or longer than normal.
Hack and Slash
- One of the unlockable abilities in No More Heroes is the ability to run on a Sprint Meter, stopping in exhaustion for a few seconds should you sprint the meter completely empty. The Sprint Meter shares real estate with the beam sword charge gauge, so you can't actually run while in battle. It's still a good way to get around the alleys in town that a bike has trouble maneuvering in.
- Let's put this in perspective: sprinting makes Travis cannonball forward with enough velocity to outrun a car for about fifteen seconds. And he's winded for three.
- The sequel doesn't have one, mostly because Travis doesn't need to sprint at any point, but Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize he can't because he hasn't done anything for three years, and as such is somewhat out-of-shape.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
- Inverted with some character archetypes in the MMORPG City of Heroes who have inherent powers — like Domination for Dominators — that have corresponding bars on the interface to indicate their level of effectiveness. Most of the the time these bars run down if the player isn't doing something to keep it up (such as engaging in combat for Brutes).
- Sprint, itself, was a toggle power all characters had immediately upon starting, and drained the Endurance bar as any other. For the lower levels, draining the bar to nothing was fairly easy, meaning a player could neither flee quickly nor fight until it recharged. At higher levels with the right builds, players could easily have Sprint activated permanently, in addition to their other travel powers.
- Running in Runescape goes on a sprint meter, which refills faster as you level up in Agility. Your character can also recover "run energy" by resting, listening to music (by bards), drinking potions, or getting help from a SUMMONED BIRD.
- EVE Online has a general-purpose capacitor gauge which effectively functions as a sprint meter when using an afterburner or a microwarpdrive. In addition, warping to a celestial object uses a chunk of the energy stored in the capacitor up front. If you don't have enough, the game drops your ship out of warp prematurely.
- Vindictus' stamina meter goes down when you sprint, pick up heavy stuff, use magic as Evie, block attacks as Fiona, or use smash attacks.
- Star Trek Online features a sprint meter in ground missions but only when you're actually in combat. Out of combat, it never appears, allowing you to sprint to your liking.
- The Turrican homage game Hurrican uses a regenerating meter to limit use of the energy wheel.
- Freelancer and the Freespace series of Space Sims have a meter showing how long you can use the afterburners on your ship. The meter refills over time. (Wing Commander had a similar meter for its afterburners, but they wouldn't recharge during a mission.)
- Like the space sim examples mentioned above, Air Rivals has a boost bar that allows players to temporarily fly faster.
- Wolf has an Endurance meter which is used for running at top speed for a certain distance; it's represented by what looks like a green liver, and refills any time you're not running (it refills faster if you sit down). However, you can trot for days at a time with absolutely no need to rest except for stopping to eat or drink; sleep is one thing you can do without.
- Just about every sports game features some variation on this trope.
- In Backyard Baseball, you have a juice meter which measures your stamina.
- In both the NES and Wii Punch-Out games, Little Mac's stamina is indicated by a heart gauge with a number. Blocking a punch the opponent throws or having one of your punches blocked takes away one heart, and getting hit takes away three. When the gauge hits 0, Little Mac becomes tired and can't throw any punches. He has to either dodge the opponent's punches or recover from a knockdown for the heart gauge to refill. There's nothing special that having stamina enables you to do, so it's more like one half of a Sprint Meter.
- NBA Jam has the "turbo" button that makes the character run faster, pass faster, and jump higher for a short time.
- Project Zomboid: No meter is shown, but if you run too much, your character will be forced to walk, and your melee attacks will become weak.
- In Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, you don't have a visible meter. You have different characters, and the amount of time each can sprint is roughly proportional to the size of the person's health bar.
- It's really tied more to each character's condition. Bianchi and Max are both rather hefty and consequently can't sprint for long. Pious is strong enough, but he's in heavy armor and exhausted; he also can't run for long. Anthony is immortal during his chapter, but his curse cripples his sprinting progressively, regardless of his health meter. Characters like Karim or Michael, on the other hand, are strong and unencumbered, and thus able to run for a long time. Even Peter can (& has to) book it for quite a while, aided by his youth and weight.
- The protagonists of the Silent Hill games have a hidden stamina statistic that would eventually force you to walk. It is only really noticeable in Silent Hill Origins, as the protagonist had the misfortune of being a smoker AND having a sedentary job of a truck driver. Suffice to say, it limits his running time A LOT.
- SCP Containment Breach has not only one for running, but also one for blinking, since actively watching SCP-173 is the only way to prevent it attacking you.
- In Deadly Premonition, York has a general stamina gauge that monitors his heartbeat, which is also why it raises when he peeks into people's houses, though very slowly.
Third Person Shooter
- Star Wars Battlefront II has a sprint meter for both on foot and in vehicles.
- In S4 League, you have a SP gauge which allows you to perform tricks like sprinting, dodging, wall jumping, and using skills. Because such usage of the skills makes it hard for any player to be hit, when carrying the ball, your SP is depleted so that it would be easier for the opposing team to kill you.
Turn Based Strategy
- The Jagged Alliance series feature an energy bar beside the life bar. Running for too long, carrying too heavy a load, or getting hit by stun grenades and tear gas would deplete it. (In the latter two, almost all in one shot.) If it ran out, your character would pass out until it refilled, though you could drink water to speed up the process. In JA2, the maximum energy would deplete over time, representing how tired your character was. You could only raise the maximum back up by sleeping.
- One of the rewards in the flash game Amorphous+ allows you to sprint and outrun the nastier Blob Monsters. Unfortunately, that took up your sprint bar, which would only recharge if you stood still.
- In Diablo 2, competely depleting the Sprint Meter means having to wait for it to fill up completely before sprinting again. Potions exist to temporarily nullify it. (Also, the game is kind enough to freeze the meter in the non-combat areas, allowing you to sprint all you like.)
- Evil Islands: Curse of the Lost Soul combined the Sprint Meter with the Mana Meter: it was depleted by either spellcasting or running, and it only replenished when the character was motionless.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura had separate meters for Hit Points and Fatigue. The latter would run down when running, fighting, heavily encumbered or casting spells, justifying the Robe and Wizard Hat since robes were among the lightest non-technological apparel in the game.
- The Elder Scrolls has a Fatigue meter in all games, which works somewhat differently between entries. Common between them, however, is that it drains when you sprint or use your weapons.
- Arena and Daggerfall have a Fatigue meter that drains slowly but surely over time and can only be restored by resting, casting a spell, or drinking a potion. Sprinting makes it drain much faster. Running out of Fatigue makes your character fall unconscious for an hour. Also has a minor interface version of Damn You, Muscle Memory in that Fatigue is the red bar with the green bar indicating health, unlike the later games.
- Morrowind changes it so that Fatigue regenerates when standing still, and running out makes your character collapse when struck with a fatigue-draining attack (usually hand-to-hand) for a few seconds. Low Fatigue also makes melee attacks less accurate and less damaging.
- Oblivion is mostly the same as Morrowind...except that there's no longer a sprint button in the first place. Instead, moving slows the Fatigue regeneration rate based on your Athletics mastery level. Higher mastery levels reduce and even outright remove the regeneration penalty once mastered.
- Skyrim brings back a Fatigue-draining sprint (which drains faster than Morrowind sprinting), and is otherwise similar to Oblivion. The same meter also covers your ability to perform power attacks, and to zoom in while aiming a bow.
Wide Open Sandbox
- In Grand Theft Auto, your character does not have a visible sprint meter, but he will get winded if you force him to run for too long (there's a similar effect when riding pedal bikes). This distance gets longer as your Stamina stat improves, and can become unlimited by finishing the Paramedic side missions.
- There's a Stamina meter in the Saints Row games, and in IV also allows you to glide in the simulation. Upgrades increase the size and eventually give you unlimited meter.
- The endurance meter in STALKER works for sprinting and jumping, if exhausted you can do neither. It refills slowly when walking and much faster when standing still. However, if you are encumbered by exceeding the weight capacity for your inventory, it will refill even slower and even start running down just from walking if you don't shed some weight.
- Done somewhat differently in Minecraft. Your Hunger Meter (which can be refilled by eating) is made of ten muttonchops. If the top one is not empty, you'll slowly heal. If three or less are full, there's no way to sprint. If it's empty, you start to starve to nothing (in Hard [or Harder Than Hard Hardcore] difficulties only)