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Charge Meter

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A close cousin to the Mana Meter, the Charge Meter is an indicator of how much resource you've accumulated, or how long you've held down a particular button in order to build up to the capability to perform a special, powerful action, usually a more powerful form of attack.

Often it isn't even a meter per se, but simply the character glowing or flashing faster or brighter as you hold down the button. Often also has an audio component, usually a sound effect that rises in pitch as the charge builds. Unless the player has an Invulnerable Attack, the Meter can be reset with Collision Damage.

Video Game Examples:

  • In ANNO: Mutationem, defeating enough enemies will fill up a meter that will allow Ann to awaken her Super Mode that'll vastly increase her stats to deal severe damage to opponents.
  • Another World lets you charge your gun by holding the fire button. A small blue ball appears at the end of the barrel which turns into a shield if the fire button is released, otherwise it turns into a larger blue ball which results in a devastating (but highly draining) Wave-Motion Gun-esque blast.
  • Another Century's Episode actually has two versions: standard charge-up weapons like high-power cannons get a standard meter, while multi-lock weapons like homing missiles have a number of marks that fill up to indicate the number of targets acquired.
  • Bad Dudes let you do this with your punches. Hold down the punch button long enough, and your dude growls while flaming. Release, and you get a loud kiai and a flaming punch.
  • In Battle Zone 1998 and the sequel, charge attack weapons such as the MAG Cannon will generate a rising pitch and indicate their charge level with colored lights on the crosshair.
  • Black★Rock Shooter: The Striker guns on the Black Trike require to fill up a meter by defeating Armaments before the guns can be used.
  • The Monk Shadow Class in Blue Dragon allows you to charge up your attack power, in most cases doubling your inflicted damage, but you usually have to wait four or five turns for the Charge to take effect.
  • Later games in the Deception games make traps recharge between uses.
  • In Descent, the Fusion Cannon is charged this way. It starts making noises and the screen turns purple, then yellow, then white. At that point you better let the weapon fire, as it starts making banging noises and damaging your shield.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • In the first game, equipping an elemental weapon (such as Alastor the lightning sword) allowed you to charge your gunshots with energy. Also, the flame gauntlets allow you to charge every attack for added damage.
    • The prequel Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening assigned the gun charging to the Gunslinger class, and also allowed you to charge its gauntlet weapon, Beowulf.
    • In Devil May Cry 4, Nero's "Red Queen" sword has a motor in it designed to super heat the edge, activated by repeatedly pressing a button or using a precise input to unleash powered up versions of his regular moves. There is a meter next to the health bar to keep track of this. Similarly, Nero's double-barrelled revolver "Blue Rose" can be upgraded with charge capability to let it knock the enemy back/set them on fire/cause a shockwave. This is done with a more traditional "hold the button down" input, and the glow surrounding the Devil Bringer changes colour according to the level of charge achieved.
  • Fable:
    • Fable has one for the bow, but it doesn't have an in-game indicator; Instead, the longer you hold it, the more intensely the controller vibrates. It's interesting to note that this charge meter doesn't have an upper limit either, so if you, say, hold the button down and surf the internet for 5 minutes before finally releasing the arrow, it will kill anything in one shot.
    • Fable II will slowly zoom in on your target when you hold down the button.
  • A lot of borgs in Gotcha Force have charge attacks. When charging, a charge meter appears and your borg starts to glow.
  • The Gundam Vs Series gained Charged Attacks in Alliance Vs. ZAFT, with this located on the ammunition indicator for the weapon to which it was linked. In return for infinite ammunition and high damage, these attacks tend to force the Mobile Suit to stay still for a second or two. One common strategy is to mostly charge the meter, release to fire a normal shot, then press and hold the button again and quickly snap off a charge attack.
  • The Gauss cannon in Half-Life can also be charged. When doing so, the muzzle starts spinning, the weapon starts humming, and you can see your energy gauge decreasing. Hold it for too long, though, and the cannon will backfire and hurt you.
  • Halo:
    • Holding the trigger of the plasma pistol makes the gun glow more and shake. A fully-charged shot will completely drain any shield, even a fully-charged overshield, and also gain some tracking. From Halo 3 onward, a fully-charged plasma pistol can also temporarily immobilize any vehicle it hits.
    • In Halo 5: Guardians, holding the trigger of the Incineration Cannon will also cause it to glow and shake, allowing you to fire a more powerful shot.
    • The Spartan Laser and Railgun require each individual shot to be charged before they can be fired, with your reticle indicating how much time you have left before your shot is ready.
  • The Bryar Blaster Pistol in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and its sequel Jedi Outcast can be charged with the right mouse button. The effect is pretty much the same as before: the pistol shakes, and an energy orb appears at the muzzle. The DL-44 in Jedi Academy has this, as it is pretty much the same weapon as Outcast's Bryar.
  • The King of Fighters ('94 to '96 anyway) is basically the Trope Codifier for this in fighting games. The gauge fills when you hold down three buttons (anyone who has played '94 to '96 DOES (not can do) it on instinct), block or get hit, taunts decrease it, and you can sacrifice a fully charged gauge to stop a combo on you when blocking either by side-stepping or punching the opponent away.
  • In the Hurricane Pack Downloadable Content upgrades to Ninja Gaiden, Ryu's ultimate attacks could be charged up (whereas in the original version of the remake they could only be used by sucking in orbs from dead enemies) to two or three levels, and every time you hit another level it was accompanied by a sudden burst of energy and a sound effect, with the final level indicated by a change of color in the energy Ryu was absorbing from his surroundings. This ability carried over to the two Updated Rereleases and the sequel.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails series, CP is accumulated by attacking enemies or receiving damage. Once it reaches 100, an S-Craft can be used in battle, using it with 200 CP will double the damage dealt to enemies.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In the Left 4 Dead series versus mode, the special infected Hunter has to crouch for several seconds before it can execute its powerful pouncing attack. The survivors can interrupt this charge-up by meleeing the Hunter.
  • Mass Effect 2 has this for several of the heavy weapons, such as the nuke launcher.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has glowing, white streaks when either the One-Hit Kill or flying is charging.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man: Battle & Chase: A meter in the upper-left corner of the screen fills on its own. Pressing R1 when it's anything but full will use the Car's default skill. A fully charged meter flashes blue, and will execute the Car's Charged Skill.
    • Mega Man X: Command Mission: Instead of the traditional glowing/flashing, X uses a meter to show how much WE is put into the attack.
  • The railgun, gained late in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, has a charge meter. At its highest setting, it will kill anything in one shot.
  • Metroid:
    • In the first Metroid, Samus Aran's arm cannon charges in almost the exact same fashion as Mega Man's buster.
    • The games in the Metroid Prime Trilogy not only include the glowing cannon but also include an actual meter around your target.
    • Metroid: Other M gives Samus an actual meter and enhancements that increase her weapon charging speed.
      • It also gives Anthony Higgs a plasma cannon that "takes forever to charge".
  • [PROTOTYPE] has crimson-black biomass-things appear on Alex when charging, with a second flash of biomass-thing when fully charged.
  • Secret of Mana is an example of this actually being in meter form, though combined with the Sprint Meter.
    • In Secret of Evermore, after getting the Jaguar Ring, charging at least three levels and then sprinting allows you to run indefinitely.
    • Legend of Mana, the super attack at the end of the charge meter could go to Limit Break levels depending on which item you had and how much Item Crafting you had done. Or you could use Blackpearl as your NPC assistant as her synchro ability immediately fills your charge bar and spam super moves at will.
    • In Children of Mana, holding down one of the weapon buttons will charge up a special attack, such as sending the flail in a straight line to push an object towards the character. Collision Damage will stop the charge and the special attack.
  • SNK is the Trope Maker for fighting games - attacking (or getting hit) will fill a rage meter, and it's been used in just about every fighting game since.
  • Spider-Man 2 has one for Spidey's jump. Tap the jump button, and you'll get a short hop. Fully charged, you can jump straight to the top of some buildings.
  • Street Fighter:
    • In Street Fighter III, one of Ryu's super moves lets him charge his Hadoken. The bigger you make it the harder it is to dodge, but you give your opponent more time to prepare/interrupt you. The upside to this is his fireball is unblockable and generates a very high amount of stun.
    • Sakura's Hadoken had a similar property in the Street Fighter Alpha series, where hammering the punch button while "charging" the fireball would result in a large and more damaging (but much shorter range) blast.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: When the player holds down on the directional pad, Mario (or whichever character the player controls) flashes while preparing for a super jump. This ability is also present in the GBA versions of the original Mario Bros. that come in GBA Mario games.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: There is a meter that builds up depending on how long you run. Run long enough and, with the right power up, you can fly for short periods.
    • Geno of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars has a Geno Beam attack. Hold the Y Button to charge; let go at three stars for maximum power. Two is weak; four is overheating.
  • In Super Smash Bros., a ball of energy charges up on the tip of Samus' cannon. The larger it gets, the stronger it grows.
  • In System Shock 2, the PSI-Disciplines meter consists of three-quarters normal part on the left and a one-quarter part of the right, and releasing the charge on the latter with result in the stronger effect.
  • The R-Type series is one of the first shmups to let the normal shot charge up. Usually, it's not really worth it to use the normal shot on anything but the weakest of enemies. Taken to the logical extreme in R-Type Final with the Giga Wave Cannon that has 7 charge levels and takes 45 seconds to be charged fully during which you need to rely entirely on dodging enemies, but in return you're rewarded with a shot as big as the screen that takes out any boss in a single hit regardless of difficulty level. It's also the methoid used to finish off the Big Bad in the default ending.
  • Team Fortress 2
    • The Sniper's Sniper Rifle has a charge meter that fills while zoomed in on the scope. As of the Tough Break Update, The Sniper's Cleaner's Carbine has a "Crikey" meter that increases upon doing damage to enemies. Once full, Secondary Fire guarantees all weapons a Mini Crit for 8 seconds.
    • The Medic has a healing gun that when used, will slowly charge a meter over time. When the meter is filled, the medic can then unleash an "ubercharge" which will make both him and his target either invincible or have constant critical hits until the meter drains.
    • The Soldier has three "banner" items (Buff Banner, Battalion's Backup, Concheror) that replace his shotgun, with "Rage" meters that fill up based on damage done. When it's full he can use the item to temporarily grant a buff to any teammate within a certain radius, himself included. The Battalion's Backup used to be filled by damage taken and the Concheror by both damage done and taken, but this was changed because it made playing with them frustratingly counter-intuitive.
    • The Pyro's Phlogistinator has an "Mmph!" meter that increases as he does fire damage through any method. When it's full, secondary fire fully restores his health, and the weapon gets guaranteed Critical Hits for 10 seconds.
    • A different kind of charge meter: the Demoman's Chargin Targe meter is filled up by default when a player is spawned, being depleted when a player uses the Alt-Fire button to make the demoman "charge" forward towards the enemy; the meter indicates when a player can charge again.
  • Jehuty in Zone of the Enders can charge up its dash and burst shots; the dash shot locks onto more targets and shoots more homing lasers the longer the button is held, while the burst shot grows larger.

Non-Video Game Examples

  • Hanataro from Bleach has a zanpakuto that has a charge meter running up the side of the blade. The sword normally acts as a Healing Shiv, but as it heals, the charge meter increases. Once the meter has been filled out, he can release his sword which also releases all the healed damage into one powerful destructive wave. Needless to say, Kubo appears to have designed the mechanics of this sword specifically with its implementation in the Bleach fighting games in mind.
  • Kamen Rider Geats introduces the Twin Command Buckle at the end of the first quarter. Where most Raise Buckles give the user's super-suit extra armor with new superpowers, Twin Command instead starts the user out in the barebones Raising Form, which grants no armor besides a visor and has no powers besides a sword with a gauge on the blade. Attacking with the sword fills the gauge up, which when full lets the user assume the heavily-armed and armored Command Form.