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Heart Container

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For a Nintendo Hard game, this is worth its weight in gold.

"And I thought two hearts was too easy! Now you want a third?"
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Country Returns (when buying a Heart Boost)

An item or power-up that permanently increases one's Hit Points, usually through making a reference to an existing Life Meter, and particularly common in Action Games and Adventure Games that don't involve (HP-boosting) RPG Elements. After all, if you want more Hit Points, an RPG hero can simply do some Level Grinding, but outside that genre? You'll need one of these babies to do it for you.

Heart Containers usually come as a reward for doing something "big," like defeating a boss or completing a big ol' sidequest. On the other hand, some are just well hidden in the game world itself, inviting the player to search every nook and cranny for these valuable items. Note that Heart Containers may also be split into pieces, requiring a player to collect a certain number of 'fragments' (usually 3 to 5) before gaining the benefit of added HP (the flipside being a much larger number of fragments to find).

In games with icon-shaped Life Meters, it's highly likely that these life-giving MacGuffins will be shaped like their display counterpart (such as, uh, hearts). They often restore health as well, and so can serve as a type of After Boss Recovery or Level-Up Fill-Up.

Related to the Rare Candy, which is like this, but can be used at any time, once acquired, instead of being used immediately when gotten (and is usually an addition to the statistical benefits of level-based progression), and Equipment-Based Progression. Not to be confused with Soul Jar, which can sometimes literally be a heart in a container.

The Trope Namer is the Heart Container, an item from The Legend of Zelda.


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  • The SNES Zelda/Breakout hybrid Firestriker uses these, mostly found after bosses, though a few can be found in optional areas. There is one such area right before the final boss that can be repeated indefinitely, allowing the player to max their life meter even if they have missed an expansion along the way, or have needed to use a continue, which reduces your max health to its initial capacity.
  • The Legend of Tian-ding allows you to collect rare wines, that boosts your maximum health by a whole new bar and increase your current health to that level. You can only do this four times in the game however.
  • In Ninja Gaiden you can increase your life meter by collecting one "Lives of the Thousand Gods" item, or nine "Life of the Gods" jewels.

  • Assassin's Creed has a version of this, your synchronization bar (health) increases as you progress the game by finishing memory sequences, and also for every 15th side-memory you accomplish.
  • Axiom Verge has red balls called Health Nodes that permanently increase health. They come both whole and in 1/5 fragments, the latter usually being hidden away as secrets. Either one refills your health to the new maximum when you obtain it.
  • The Battle of Olympus had Ambrosia, which increases the player's maximum health. There are five of them found throughout the game.
  • Bomberman Generation and its Spiritual Successor Bomberman Jetters have Golden Hearts which add one big heartnote  (in the former game) and one small heart (in the latter game) respectively. Jetters features an interesting take on the segmented Heart Container idea by immediately giving you an upgrade (albeit a much smaller one) instead of forcing you to complete a set first.
  • Even though the Castlevania games since Symphony of the Night have used EXP, a lot have heart containers—both for life, and the ammo that is known as "hearts." Games that have Magic Points have MP boosters, as well.
  • Cave Story has Health Capsules. However, most are in plain view and only require some thorough exploring.
  • In Darksiders, War gains an extra heart container after defeating a boss or collecting four Life Stones.
  • Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop has the white drinks, which restore and increase your health (the original game increases your life with levels).
  • Deadly Towers has literal heart containers. They raise maximum health, but unlike ordinary hearts, they do nothing for current health, which only aggravates the game's Nintendo Hard difficulty.
  • In Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair, there are Heart Containers that are scattered all over Mordroc's castle. When they are found, they can extend Dirk's health bar.
  • In Eastward, there are Heart Orbs hidden in special chests throughout each dungeon. Collecting four of them will increase John's health, which also gains an additional heart after a major boss battle.
  • Environmental Station Alpha has Health Tanks, which give varying amounts of health. The first two Health Tanks extend the robot's health by 4 points, the next four give 2 points, the seventh gives just one point, and the last one gives 3 points.
  • Frogger's Journey: The Forgotten Relic: The rare Frogger head items will permanently add one extra heart to Frogger's health bar.
  • The Wizard Cards in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets work this way. Collecting ten of them increases your stamina.
  • Intrepid Izzy: Izzy starts out the game with three hearts. By collecting four heart containers and bringing them to the wizard in Awesometown, Izzy can increase her health.
  • In Ittle Dew, Ittle starts out with only one full heart of health (allowing her to take a maximum of four hits before getting knocked out), but can increase the size of her life meter by finding four scraps of paper and drawing a heart on them.
  • La-Mulana has Life Jewels (Sacred Orbs in the remake) that refill and add to your life bar.
  • Each of the Legacy of Kain games had something like this to extend your health: Blood Omen let you find blood vials that increased your health, and as it turned out, there were more of them than you could actually use. Soul Reaver had special wedge-shaped power ups, and every five would boost your health, while Soul Reaver 2 gave you an upgrade every time you activated a Reaver forge. Blood Omen 2 gave you an upgrade when you drank enough blood.
  • The Legend of Tian-ding allow the titular hero to obtain quality wine in certain checkpoints, usually after boss fights, which adds a new bar to his maximum health and raise his life to the new level. But the number of times he gains this advantage in-game can be counted on one hand.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The trope naming and trope making Heart Containers from this series. Full Heart Containers come as rewards for beating bosses, while later games introduced Pieces of Heart (which make a full container with every 4 pieces found) that can be found as rewards for beating Mini Games and doing Sidequests, as well as exploring the heck out of the environment. The number of Containers and Pieces varies from game to game:
    • The Legend of Zelda: In addition to the 8 containers guarded by the dungeon bosses, there are 5 full containers in very well hidden areas in the overworld (one outside, and four being a choice between a container and a red potion... you should take the container). The second quest introduces a few old men inside dungeons that can take one full container away if you can't pay their price.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: Being a game with RPG Elements, it is the only one in the series to replace the Hearts Are Health system with a life bar, but it can still be increased with heart-shaped containers; as a side note, it's also the only game with containers to raise the Magic meter as well. All Heart and Magic Containers (of which there are 4 each) are found in the overworld, whereas bosses instead reward Link with an automatic level up.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: The game set the tradition in itself and subsequent games in the series to, save special cases, only have Heart Containers guarded by dungeon bosses while Heart Pieces are abound in the overworld. The only full heart container gained in a way other than beating dungeon bosses is given to Link after escaping Hyrule Castle with Princess Zelda in the prologue.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: In each game, a full Container can be obtained through a special secret from the other game, and another is granted through the Hero Secret. When combined with the 8 containers earned from bosses and the 3 assembled with the Pieces of Heart, it's possible to have a total of 16 hearts in the Life Meter.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: In addition to the Containers found in dungeons and those assembled by reuniting Heart Pieces, there's one very obscure Sidequest that gives you a full Heart Container instead of the usual partial ones.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The game abandons the traditional 4-Piece system in favor of a 5-Piece one because it ended up having two more dungeons (and thus two more heart containers earned from bosses) than originally planned; the resulting abundance gives them presence not only in the overworld but also in the dungeons. Fortunately, a character in Hyrule Castle Town can help Link locate the missing pieces for a modest price.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass: This is the first game since the NES era to have full containers only; to make up for this, the containers found outside the dungeon bosses are much more difficult to find as they're only given after completing devious minigames or buying them at very high prices in shops. This is repeated in the game's sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Two Life Medals can enhance Link's life meter by one heart each, but only while they're equipped in the Adventure Pouch. Increasing the Pouch's space will greatly help here.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The game has the standard Heart Containers for defeating a main boss, but there are no Pieces of Heart. Standing in for them are Spirit Orbs, which can be obtained in the different Shrines scattered all over Hyrule. Four of them can be traded in at a Goddess Statue for either Heart Containers or Stamina Vessels, with the latter increasing the length of Link's Sprint Meter. There's also a sidequest involving a demonic statue in the frontier of Hateno Village that allows Link to trade one of his hearts for a piece of stamina and viceversa.
  • Lila's Sky Ark: In various places around the world, the protagonist Lila may find items that cause her "life's flower" to grow, attracting more "blooderflies", and thus increasing her maximum health.
  • 3D Dot Game Heroes, being a direct homage to the original The Legend of Zelda, uses apples as the Life Meter and an apple-shaped container for the Heart Container.
  • In Lyle in Cube Sector, HP Orbs not only extend Lyle's health bar by one unit, but are also the only source of full HP recovery in the game (other than certain respawning gold cubes).
  • Metroid, which originated the same year as Zelda, has Energy Tanks. Samus traditionally starts with 99 units of energy, and each tank adds 100 units:
  • Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas: Like the games it takes oh so much inspiration from, you can collect these in it. Also like the Zelda games, there are smaller ones that will extend your Life Meter for every four you collect.
  • In Phoenotopia the main character Gale can collect Heart Rubies to gain health. There are also Protein Shakes which you can buy to increase your life but they don't increase as much, you can also only use a limited number of them per game (5). The remake Phoenotopia : Awakening has heart rubies but no protein shakes. Instead, it has emeralds, which increase stamina.
  • Shadow Complex has eight health pickups that give 100 units of maximum health, as well as a bonus health extension of the same amount gained by reaching level 10.
  • The Shantae series has Heart Holders, genie bottles shaped like hearts. They are found only in out-of-the-way places. Pirate's Curse has the Heart Squids, which are living beings that must be melted down by a lady in Scuttle Town four at a time to increase your health. They were absent with a return of Heart Holders in Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, possibly because enough of Hardcore Mode's enemies would be a One-Hit Kill at the starting 8 Hit Points, only to return in force in Seven Sirens. It's revealed there that they are actually the children of Squid Baron's sister when he asks Shantae to look out for them.
  • In Shounen Kininden Tsumuji there are Life Candles that increases Tsumuji's health after collecting a large one or five smaller pieces.
  • Nine of these are hidden throughout the Christian-themed Spiritual Warfare.
  • Star Fox:
    • Collecting 3 gold rings in Star Fox 64 increases your life bar until you lose a life or finish the level. Collecting 3 gold rings with an extended life bar grants an extra life. If you finish a level with two gold rings, you'll only need one to increase the life bar in the next level. In many levels, it's possible to collect two extra lives by way of gold rings if you started with two.
    • In Star Fox Adventures, the life meter is increased automatically by one heart after a boss is defeated.
  • StarTropics: Your max health, represented by hearts, usually increased automatically after clearing a boss. However, there were a rare few Heart Containers scattered around the game, which you could find fairly easily if you were thorough enough. Additionally, if you had less than the maximum, 22 Hearts, picking up a Vitamin-Z capsule would bring your health to the max, though it would slowly decrease to your maximum over time.
  • The Treasure Hunter Man series:
  • An Untitled Story features hearts, collecting which adds 10 maximum HP to your beginning 100.
  • Ōkami has solar energy. If you collect 3 sun fragments, it will give you another unit of solar energy. There is a total of 15 sun fragments, so that adds up a total of five units of solar energy. Additionally, you can use praise points to increase your solar energy by 12 units, so the grand total is 3 + 12 + 5 = 20. Ōkamiden averts this trope by not having sun fragments, so the only way to increase energy is by collecting Praise (7 times, for a total of 3 + 7 = 10).
  • In God of War, Kratos can collect Gorgon Eyes to expand his health bar, and Phoenix Feathers to expand his magic bar. The third game also has Minotaur Horns, which extend his special item gauge. The PS4 game uses Idunn Apples in place of Gorgon Eyes, and Horns of Blood Mead in lieu of Minotaur Horns.
  • In Holy Umbrella, Strength Orbs add an extra heart to your Life Meter. They are usually obtained from treasure chests.
  • The Mummy Demastered, being a Metroidvania based on The Mummy (2017), has Energy Tank-like first-aid kits that increase your agent's health. When you die and your agent turns into a zombie, those kits are lost alongside most of your other equipment, and you have to kill your previous self to get them back.
  • Beyond Good & Evil has the PA-1s. Unlike most Heart Containers, they stay in your inventory instead of getting used, letting you transfer them between yourself and your Sidekicks at leisure.
  • Alundra has crystals as your life force. Huge ones added one more. The second game has heart rings which grow your HP meter. Then there are orbs that do the same to your EP (magic) meter.
  • In Crusader of Centy, golden apples will increase your maximum life by one.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Hidden throughout 8Bit Killer are bouncing medpacks which raise your hitpoints capacity and heal you instantly. Ammo cases fulfill similar role for your ammo capacity.
  • Infusions in BioShock Infinite give you the option of increasing your health, shield, or salts when collected.
  • The Blood series has the literal hearts, ripped from bodies, as the "health packs".
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade had health and armor medals scattered across the levels as perks for exploring and/or accomplishing bonus objectives, taking the form of GDI medals attached to blue (armor) or green (health) ribbons, each of which increased your maximum health or armor by 5 points.
  • Doom:
    • Doom: Health and armor bonuses respectively can raise your health and armor past 100, though you cap at 200 and regular medkits will never raise you above the default 100. Soulspheres gives you an extra 100 health, Megaarmors (introduced in Doom II) gives you 200 health and 200 armor points instantly.
    • Doom (2016) has health and armor capacity increases as two of the options provided by picking up Argent Cells.
  • Disruptor gives you "endorphin boosts" (two are given in FMV cutscenes when you reach certain levels in the game, and two others are hidden in the rest of the game. Each lets you carry an extra 25% health (you start with a capacity of 100%).
  • In Duke Nukem Forever, you can increase your ego meter by doing things that would boost Duke's ego: pumping iron, admiring yourself in a mirror, winning at a slot machine, getting a high score on a pinball table...oh yeah, and defeating bosses.
  • Action-packed multiplayer games like the Quake, Unreal and Halo series have special items that temporarily boost your various health meters beyond their normal limits. Quake and Halo both also continuously drain any health "over the brim" as an Aggressive Play Incentive.
  • Quake II has multiple hidden Adrenaline pickups that permanently add 1 point to the player's overall HP. There are 40 throughout the game, giving a player with a keen eye a 40% health increase by the time you face Makron.
  • In Wolfenstein: The New Order, in the Fergus timeline, you can find health upgrades that increase maximum health by 10 points. One can normally "Overcharge" their health by picking up health pickups above their max. In the Wyatt timeline, the upgrades are instead for how much armor pickups give you.
  • The original First Encounter Assault Recon has Health Boosters, syringes with glowing blue highlights that, when grabbed and injected, add five points to your total health and fully heal you. They're interestingly handled differently depending on the game - the original has 22 of them, enough that you can miss two of them and still reach the cap of 199 health, while the two third-party expansions split that same amount between the both of them, only having enough per game to boost your health up to 155. There are also Reflex Boosters to do the same for your Slow-Mo bar. Later games gradually got rid of these, F.E.A.R. 2 removing the health boosters (leaving you no way to increase your max health), then F.E.A.R. 3 removed the reflex boosters as well (making increased slow-mo time a bonus for ranking up).

    Hack and Slash 
  • Dynasty Warriors uses trays of Dim Sum to extend the Life Meter, though the RPG Elements might also affect it (this might vary by title). Equipment and weapons can also give extra life.
  • Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance gives you a stone tablet on the Isle of Titans which can boost your maximum life meter and increase your health to the new level.
  • No More Heroes: The first game awards Travis with a Zelda-style Heart Container upon the defeat of a boss. An extra Container is gained when the training with Thunder Ryu is completed. The trope is averted in the sequels, because in them Travis can only make his regular health meter more enduring (via training with Ryan in Desperate Struggle and spending WESN units to level up in III).
  • In the Devil May Cry series, the playable character's Vitality Gauge can be expanded by collecting Blue Orbs, both obtained in full (usually bought from the God of Time's Divinity Statues, or picked up as-is in the first two games) and assembled for each four Blue Orb Fragment obtained (the usual rewards for completing Secret Missions, and are found in the environment). Purple Orbs serve the same purpose for the Devil Trigger Gauge, though without Fragment counterparts and are almost exclusively bought as whole orbs from shops.
  • Bayonetta and its sequels have the Broken Witch Hearts, which increase your Life Meter for every two you get. You can also buy items that give you a maxed out lifebar for the duration of a single level.

    Platform Game 
  • Adventure Island IV has heart containers and heart container halves in special rooms which require to complete a jumping puzzle to reach them.
  • Crystal Hearts in Athena.
  • Banjo-Kazooie has Empty Honeycombs. ​In the original game, 6 Empty Honeycombs equal one new section for your Life Meter. There are six in Spiral Mountain (the tutorial level) and two in each major world, for a total of 24 (though only 18 are needed to extend the meter to the max; the remaining 6 are entirely optional). Also, a special jigsaw puzzle at the very end rewards you with red Honeycombs that effectively double the life meter. In the sequels (Banjo-Tooie and Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge), an NPC named Honey B. exchanges increasing numbers of Empty Honeycombs for new segments on your Life Meter; the required numbers are 1 → 3 → 5 → 7 → 9 in the former, and 2 → 4 → 8 → 12 in the latter. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts lacks an energy meter (due to its gameplay shifting towards that of a Driving Game with some platforming elements), thus the trope is averted there.
  • In The Berenstain Bears' Camping Adventure, the player characters have a simple life meter with six hearts that can be extended to as many as eight. Snack Baskets fully restore health but only up to six hearts. In order to get up to eight, only Hearts and Hot Dogs can extend the life meter.
  • In Bionic Commando, while there weren't "Heart Containers" per se, picking up enough "bullets" that the enemy dropped when killed would increase your Max HP by 1 block, until your health topped out, at which point they would do nothing. There's also the helmet, the bullet-proof vest and the crucifix. The pendant deflected one bullet and was recharged by dying or completing a level, the helmet deflected 3, and the vest deflected every other bullet (the first one that hit, the 3rd, the 5th, etc.)
  • The Bonk's Adventure series had blue hearts which added an extra hit point each.
  • Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure has burgers with the functionality of permanently adding an extra hit-point to your character. There are only two in each of the three episodes, so you'll never have more than five bars of health at any given point in the game. Mind you, those extra hit points come in very useful on the later levels of each episode.
  • Dewy's Adventure has Health Shards, which generally appear after you defeat a Mook Maker.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Donkey Kong 64: Candy Kong, along with giving instrument upgrades, occasionally gives your characters extra watermelons to give them more health (one full watermelon is 4 HP, and you can get two additional watermelons).
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns: You can buy an actual heart-shaped container in Cranky's shop, and assign it to Donkey or Diddy (if the game's being played in co-op mode), or between the two (in single-player). Keep in mind that its effect only lasts until you either quit the level or clear it. A special, expensive Banana Juice protects you with 20 containers, but it only lasts for a limited time, and until you die for the first time. These items return in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
  • Fin and the Ancient Mystery: Fin can grab potions to increase how many hit points he has.
  • Guacamelee! has Zelda-style pieces of heart for health, skull pieces for the stamina meter, and exclusively for the Updated Re-release, medallion pieces for the El Intenso meter. Three of each are needed to upgrade their respective meters; a limited few can be bought, but the rest are found around the world.
  • HAAK: If you collect three life shards, you get another circle of health for your Life Meter.
  • Haiku, the Robot: Capsule Fragments can be bought from shops or found hidden in areas around the game world. Collecting three grants Haiku an extra hitpoint, although you need to take the fragments to Rondel to have them welded first.
  • In Jables's Adventure, you start with 5 HP. You can collect up to 10 fruit, each of which increase your maximum HP by 2 points.
  • Jak 3: Wastelander has Precursor Armor, which is rather unusually received at various storyline points. Each grants you additional 2 HP.
  • The Legendary Axe II has stars to extend your life gauge.
  • The Legendary Starfy has Heart Gems, which are usually hidden within bonus levels. Three of them give Starfy a permanent extra heart to his health bar.
  • The Lion King has African red bugs to extend Simba's health meter.
  • In Little Samson, crystal balls add two units to any character's life bar.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man X series has Heart Tanks, which add a small boost to your maximum health, and in X5 and X6, you can find injured Maverick Hunters scattered through stages who occasionally have life-ups that will increase your max health.
    • Some Cyber-Elves in the Zero series which could increase your maximum health at the cost of your rank.
    • The Mega Man ZX series adds more standard Heart and weapon energy containers.
  • In Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, Golden Hearts permanently extend Michael Jordan's health meter by one. They're tricky to find, but makes the effort well worth it.
  • In Moon Crystal, Ricky Slater starts with three of the famous internal organs known as hearts. He can increase the counter to five when finding Heart Containers.
  • Moon Raider: This game has giant green atoms with a heart nucleus in their centers. Collecting one will gain Ava another square of health.
  • Mystical Ninja 64 Starring Goemon has silver and gold Fortune Dolls (those "lucky cat" statuettes with one paw raised), which function like the Zelda series' Pieces of Heart and Heart Containers, respectively.
  • In Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures Pac's maximum health can be permanently increased by collecting enough Slimetanium orbs. He starts with three hearts, and can gain a fourth at 15 orbs, a fifth at 35, and a sixth at 60.
  • Pankapu: Lutanite Fragments serve the role of heart pieces in this game. Getting four adds a new diamond of health.
  • Psychonauts:
  • Ratchet & Clank (2002) lets you add one, then three more health ("nanotech") spheres by buying Premium and Ultra Nanotech cans. The second game had an experience-based system for gaining health, but nanotech tubes could be found which would increase your maximum health by one, as well as recharging all your existing health and letting off a lightning zap thing which killed everything in sight. Then, in the third game, the nanotech tubes were abandoned in turn, and the series now uses the experience-based system exclusively.
  • Rocket: Robot on Wheels had Power Packs. Because Rocket was a robot, this kind of makes sense.
  • Shovel Knight:
    • In Shovel of Hope, you can either buy or find meal tickets which can be brought to a gastronomer in village to make him cook a dish that adds another bubble to your Life Meter.
    • In Plague of Shadows, you can find vials you can drink from to extend your lifebar until your next death. As you progress through the game, Mona also gives you vials that permanently raise your lifebar.
    • Specter of Torment features wisps that you can collect to augment your lifebar.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: Almost every level has two Mushrooms hidden in subspace; these function as Heart Containers, but their effect only lasts till you beat the level. The GBA Updated Re-release adds one more mushroom per level. It also features a challenge mode where some of the mushrooms are replaced by Yoshi eggs which you must carry to the exit without dying.
    • Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2: The big, star-tattooed mushrooms serve this function. Your life meter is usually 3 points worth, but these items increase it to 6. Keep in mind that the Mushrooms's effect only lasts during the current level, and losing the extra 3 points returns your maximum to 3.
    • Super Mario Odyssey: The gold-crowned hearts extend Mario's life meter from 3 to 6 hit points, but losing the extra health will revert the maximum to the standard 3. Fortunately, the hearts allow the effect to be carried over across levels.
    • Super Princess Peach has Tough Coffee, sold in Toad's shop for increasing prices (250 coins, then 500, then 1000, and finally 1500). Each mug increases her health by half a heart, allowing Peach to increase from 6 hit points to a total of 10.
    • Wario World has the Gold Statues, with each stage having eight pieces of a golden statue of Wario scattered throughout them. If Wario finds all eight pieces, he gets a statue of himself in the Hub Level as well as a half-heart added onto his health meter.
    • Wario: Master of Disguise has Vita Mighties, earned each time a paint minigame portraying the item is completed.
    • Wario Land: Shake It! has heart vessels with this purpose, which you have the chance to buy after each world/boss battle is completed.
  • Tarzan has a few orange papaya-like fruits in each level. They will extend your life bar, but there is the added caveat that it only lasts until the end of the level.
  • The Super Star Wars series has lightsaber pickups that extend your life meter, allowing you to take more hits. Since they can be dropped by enemies at random or found in hidden areas, it's possible to grind for these health extending items and have an extremely long life bar. However, your life meter reverts to its default length after completing a level or losing a life.
  • Ufouria has Health Containers. You can't start finding them until you've found all your friends.
  • Prince of Persia:
    • Prince of Persia has giant potion bottles that function like this in mostly hidden areas; you can get from 3 hearts to 10 over the course of the game. Interestingly, at one point your Shadow can steal one of these from under your nose. When you merge back with him later, you get an extra life point regardless of whether he's actually stolen this potion. For a Speed Run you can simply avoid all these potions.
    • Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame: You can raise your heart level from 3 to 12; there's more than nine potions, but that's the cap. It turns out by the end that you will need most of these, because the spell you require to win the game is Cast from Hit Points. The last level contains a side area where you can tediously grind these in case you missed or accidentally destroyed a few.
    • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones have secret rooms (that sometimes require to endure Platform Hell to get to them) that contain special drinking fountains that extend your life bar. In Warrior Within collecting them all unlocks Water Sword, which in turn unlocks the Golden Ending.
  • Seen in the later Kirby games, and inverted in the earlier ones (some game modes or mechanics would reduce your hit points for an increased difficulty).
  • For each world completed in Purple, the player gets an extra hit point to their maximum capacity.
  • The Chaos Emeralds serve this function in Tails Adventure. Each one can be found out in the map, and when found extend Tails' ring capacity (in this game rings function as a traditional health meter instead of a Single-Use Shield) and flight meter.

  • In The Binding of Isaac, your health is represented in Hearts, and most hits remove half or one whole heart. Most characters start with about 3 heart containers on average. Red heart pickups heal your missing life, but there are also less common Soul Hearts that protect your Red Heart containers. You can carry up to 12 hearts of any type at a time. While it's easier to recover red hearts, red heart containers are also used to pay for powerful Devil item, and the odds of finding special Devil or Angel rooms are greatly increased if you don't take any (non-self-inflicted) red heart damage, so keeping a balance of both types of hearts is important for harder content. Afterbirth+ adds a breakable red heart container called Bone Hearts, which can take an extra hit, but are permanently removed when depleted.
  • Hades has Centaur Hearts, which increase Zagreus’s total health for the run by 25 points. They’re a potential chamber reward, and can also be acquired by beating Thanatos in a Body-Count Competition, though he only pops up once in a while.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Brave Fencer Musashi has Minku, who are like Heart Containers that you have to chase and throw. They look kind of like rabbits with blue ears, and can only be found at night. Your BP increases by breaking bincho fields and defeating Crest Guardians.
  • The Dark Cloud games have food items that increase the characters' stats, and are given as rewards for successfully reconstructing towns. Fruits of Eden would increase hit points, and can be used by any character —making the player reach a balance so as to keep all characters strong enough for upcoming challenges— while personalized items, such as Potato Pies or Witch Parfaits in the sequel, would increase other stats.
  • In Dragon Slayer, each coin collected will be exchanged for 500 extra HP when brought back to Player Headquarters. There are no shops or NPCs, so coins aren't good for anything else.
  • Going Under: The reward for beating the Joblin dungeon the first time, is the Mana Press, which gives Jacqueline one more literal Hearts Are Health-type Heart. Which is two hit points, since the minimum damage is half a heart.
  • Canisters in the Geneforge series function as either this or Upgrade Artifacts, modifying your DNA to make you stronger, let you throw fireballs, etc. Side effects include rampant egotism and extreme temper problems, and unlike in the later BioShock, this does apply to you.
  • Helen's Mysterious Castle: Steaks, which are given as an optional pickup, when Helen falls in battle, boosting Helen's Hit Points' maximum by 1, and a limited number are provided per section of the game. If not all of the possible ones are eaten before defeating the boss of a floor, the increase of the steaks were available is applied as one big increase.
  • HPMemory in Mega Man Battle Network and Star Force. These are justified in the sense that every NetNavi is essentially a sentient antivirus program.
  • In Monkey Hero Big Peaches fully restore your health and and an extra peach to your health bar.
  • All Monster Hunter games have Nutrients which slightly increase the Life Meter during a quest (and its effects are reverted after the quest is over or the player quits or loses). It's possible to upgrade the Nutrients into Mega Nutrients (which grant a greater meter increase) and then Max Potion (which instantly increases the meter to the fullest extent possible). There's also a difficult-to-brew Ancient Potion that raises the life and stamina meters to the max.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • The Guardian Legend uses Blue Landers as its version of Heart Containers. The Guardian's maximum HP also increase after reaching certain point thresholds.
  • Planet Harriers featured heart containers purchasable from the shops at the end (and sometimes in the middle) of levels. This was a game where you were jetpacking through planet landscapes.
  • Later games in the Touhou Project series introduce star pieces that grant the player one-fifth of an extra life; they're typically received for successfully clearing spellcards. It's done differently in Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires, where you obtain "heart pieces" by collecting purple spirits.
  • Monolith has a four-segment meter next to your character's health that increases when picking up HP Part pickups (which come in amounts of 1, 2, or 4) or when overhealing, and filling the meter adds 1 to the character's maximum health. There's also the Plating upgrade, which adds 1/3 of your character's current maximum HP to itself. On non-Normal lethalities, HP Parts and overhealing are instead converted into debris.
  • The Princess Remedy series, which are given out in optional chests, boosting Remedy's max Hit Points by a fixed number:

    Survival Horror 
  • In The Evil Within, Health is mostly increased by upgrading it in the save room, but can also be extended on the field like in Resident Evil 4 by using the rare Med Packs that also refill it to max.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 4 has Yellow Herbs. Because both Leon and Ashley have their respective life meters, both are in need of consuming the medicines of these herbs to have higher chances to survive. The same applies for Ada in Separate Ways. Fortunately for all three characters, the increased life meters carry over for the New Game Plus, and R+G+Y herbs can be sold for a good bit of money if you don't particularly need them.
    • In Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Steroids are consumables items hidden in some areas. Using them will permanently increase Ethan's maximum health.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay: There are two types of medical machines—small ones that restored your health, and larger, single use ones that permanently increased it.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Your maximum health in the original Metal Gear for the MSX increases when you gain in rank, which increases or decreases depending on how well you play.
    • Although there's nothing to collect, in the original Metal Gear Solid, Snake's life increases every time he defeats a boss unless you're playing on the hardest difficulty level, in which case it just sits there. This was removed in the remake and sequels, where you simply start with maximum health.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Snake's maximum life will increase by a small amount every time he uses the CURE function to restore red health (a portion of the life meter that won't regenerate over time because of injuries like embedded bullets, broken bones and the like).

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Jet Force Gemini: There are two of these (Gemini Holders) in each main major world in the game. Each character (Juno, Vela, Lupus) visits three destinations (two planets and a vessel) before Mizar's Palace, so each can get 6 extra units (worth 5 HP each). All of them can be gathered prior to meeting Mizar for the first time, which means that the characters will have to survive with what they get during the second half of the game (as no Holders are found in any of the additional areas and worlds).

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • The Worms games have health crates which randomly drop between turns; any worm which collects a health crate recovers a fixed amount of HP. This counts as a Heart Container since worms technically do not have maximum HP levels; a worm at full health that collects a + 25 crate will gain the full + 25.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Minecraft has the Health Boost effect, which increases your maximum health by 2 hearts per tier level. The effect is only temporary; once the effect wears off, all the extra hearts vanish.
  • Terraria plays this straight. Heart Containers are called "Life Crystals," and can only be found underground. Upon smashing them, collecting the crystal and using it, the player gains 1 more Heart (20HP), starting at 5 and maxing out at 20. Additionally, once Hardmode is initiated, Life Fruits (which appear the same as their crystalline counterparts bar looking more like, well, fruit) increase the Player's maximum HP by 5 points apiece whilst topping out at 20 uses but can only be utilised once the Player is already at 400HP maximum. There are also "Mana Stars", the casting equivalent, which can only be made, and then only from falling stars that can only be found above ground—and at night.

  • The Binding of Isaac has a few items that do this. Keeping with its abusive parent theme, they are dog food in various containers, labeled Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert. There's also <3, which is a literal heart, stem cells (which also give Isaac a cojoined fetus in his face, placenta and, in a more traditional sense, eternal hearts, which turn into a full heart container once you either collect 2 or if you pass the floor without losing it to damage.
  • In The Goonies II, rescuing a fellow Goonie gets you extra energy.
  • In Arcus Odyssey, power-up gems increase your maximum health when blue. If collected while red, the gems increase attack power instead.
  • In Octogeddon, Catfish Carl will give Octogeddon an extra health heart as a fidelity bonus after each set number of items bought from his shop. Just like every object one gets from his shop, it will stay in place in every subsequent game.
  • Downwell: Collecting health-up items when you're at full health goes into a secondary meter that increases your health when you fill it.
  • Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness has rare golden hearts that permanently increase the length of Ms. Pac-Man's health bar whenever she collects one.


Video Example(s):


Energy Tank

Energy Tanks in the Metroid series increase the maximum amount of Life Energy that Samus can carry by 100 points.

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Main / HeartContainer

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