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Multiple Life Bars

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Green: Health.
Grey: Guard.
Blue: Barrier.

A character has multiple Life Meters. You might have to deplete all or just one of them to defeat them.

Variants that have their own trope page:

Commonly seen on a Marathon Boss. Contrast Shared Life Meter.


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     Tabletop Games  

  • 1E Gamma World
    • Mutants with the Force Field Generation ability could create a force field that absorbed up to 5 dice of damage. Once the force field went down, any further damage reduced the mutant's hit points, and the force field could not be generated again for 24 hours.
    • Some types of powered armor had force fields that worked similarly, except that they returned to full strength at the start of the next melee turn even if they took more damage than their limit.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Temporary Hit Points is a common enough effect. In game this is the term for effects that give you hit points above and beyond your maximum, but depending on edition some spells also fit the trope description, such as Stoneskin. In 3.5 these spells were effectively a secondary life bar with bleedthrough for damage over a certain threshold - in Stoneskin's case, it blocked up to 10 points of damage per physical attack until it had blocked up to 150 points in total.
    • Module S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. Police robots had a 20 hit point force shield that acted like the Gamma World Force Field Generation ability, except that it regenerated at 1 hit point per melee round.
    • In 3rd Edition, some powers can deal damage to a target's ability scores. At high levels, a lot of monsters have hundreds or even thousands of HP and often a Healing Factor, but only 10 points of their lowest ability score, and most creatures don't have anything to heal ability damage. Since a creature is incapacitated for at least a day when any of its ability scores falls to zero, this is a Game-Breaker that was not carried over to 4th Edition.
  • Games by Palladium, including Rifts and Palladium Role Playing Game, split a living creatures' health into Structural Damage Capacity (SDC) and Hit Points (HP). You lose SDC first, which is considered mostly minor wounds, but once you lose that, you start losing HP, which is your vital life force. SDC heals more quickly. Magical creatures tend to have Mega Damage Capacity instead of either.
  • Alternity had four different types of damage, each of which had to be tracked separately: stun, wound, mortal and fatigue. Losing half of your stun or wound points inflicted negative penalties. You suffered the same penalties for each point of mortal or fatigue damage.
    • Armor only prevented the most severe damage, allowing half that value of lower damage to leak through. In theory, you could beat someone into unconsciousness even if they're wearing armor that entirely outmatched your regular damage value.
    • Spaceships were divided into sections, each of which could be independently knocked out.
  • Some Tabletop RPG systems (Shadowrun and Hero System being prominent examples) differentiate stun damage and physical injury and keep track of them separately. Running out of either will knock you out, but recovering from injury is long and hard, while stun damage clears after a short rest.
  • Games of Magic: The Gathering are usually lost when a player runs out of life, but you can also lose by accumulating 10 poison counters or running out of cards. All of these have decks behind them, though the poison counter deck used to be weak.
  • The World of Darkness tabletop RPGs all use a mix of Subsystem Damage and Alternate Knockout Conditions: Stun and Bashing damage merely gets converted to Lethal when it exceeds a threshold, but too much Lethal or Aggravated kills you dead.
  • Iridium System has 10 areas (vital and non-vital) for a humanoid character, each with its own fortitude points; damage can be either normal or Concussion (non-lethal).
  • The Fate system effectively combines all three, especially in its post-Spirit of the Century incarnations such as The Dresden Files. Characters have both at least one stress track (and usually multiples, such as e.g. physical, mental, and social) and a small number of "consequence" slots that can be filled in with additional negative aspects of increasing severity. Stress, regardless of type, is temporary and clears out after each conflict assuming the character has a suitable chance to catch his or her breath; consequences on the other hand can last quite a while and in the worst case even be permanent, but help "soak up" more damage than the stress track alone could handle. Any successful attack that the character cannot or for some reason will not absorb with a combination of stress and consequences will take him or her out of the conflict; what precisely that means depends on the context (most people won't spontaneously die after losing a heated public debate, for example), but is by and large up to the winning side and probably not good.
  • Numenera has three pools which serve as both HP and as fuel for the character's abilities: Might, Speed, and Intellect.
  • BattleTech has both multiple life bars and Subsystem Damage. BattleMechs are broken into Left/Center/Right Torso (each with front and rear armor facings), left/right legs and arms, and the head. Each section has Armor and Internal Structure. Once the armor is destroyed, the internal structure will be damaged on every hit and can have a very high probability of causing Critical Hits on components mounted in that section. High-value systems like the fusion reactor, stabilization gyroscope, and sensors can take multiple hits (though not with Critical Existence Failure, their function will be impaired with each hit before full disability) though most weapons will be disabled in one hit and ammunition magazines will go boom with one hit. The pilot has a semi-independent "health bar", as things that damage the 'mech may not necessarily injure the pilot. A 'mech may be rendered tactically inert (but possibly salvageable), but the pilot may survive having their 'mech shout out from under them (possibly by hasty vertical evacuation from the 'mech). A 'mech might be decapitated by death of the pilot (by whatever cause), but the 'mech can be salvaged. Like the heavy core components, the pilot doesn't have Critical Existence Failure either; each injury causes the chance of being rendered unconscious from the injury, with the odds of such happening (and the difficulty of coming to again) increasing with each hit.
  • Roleplaying is Magic has both physical and psychological endurance, but some events may deplete both, and reaching zero in either one causes the character to be "sidetracked" (put aside for the rest of the scene, unable to act). Additionally, Magic users don't have Mana counter : they draw points directly from either of their endurance pools.

     Video Games  
  • Iji has both "Armor" and "HP" stats, for the Player Character and enemies. Small arms fire only damages armor, with each HP equating one full armor bar. However, powerful attacks (melee attacks, explosives) directly damage HP, bypassing the armor entirely.
    • Some bosses have such high HP that the stat is displayed with multiple layered bars. The Final Boss has up to eight life bars.
  • Final Fantasy V gives us the debut of Golem, who once summoned absorbs damage for your party.
  • Two superbosses in Final Fantasy XII, the Hell Wyrm and Yiazmat specifically, each had a variant of the game's normal boss health bar. What makes theirs different is the fact that they have 50 health bars apiece. Not too bad with the Hell Wyrm, which had only 8,930,711 HP. This sounds like a lot, and it is, but the game's battle system means you can hit hard and rapidly if you've got your Gambits set up right. That's nothing compared to what Yiazmat has. You really wanna know, huh? Well... 50,112,254 HP. There's a reason why Yiazmat is the page image for Marathon Boss. Strangely, the other superboss of the game, Omega Mark XII, does NOT have a health bar like this, considering how it has 10,370,699 HP in the Japanese version (even there it doesn't have it!) Possibly justified for the western releases, which took 9,000,000 health off its original counterpart.
  • Pokémon's Substitute ability does this; the user pays 25% of their max health to hide behind a plush Pokémon-esque doll (likely in a Shout-Out to Earthbound, that had inventory-carried teddy bears that served a similar purpose) that has the exact same HP as the user lost, and absorbs any attack barring sound-based moves or the Infiltrator ability - and while it seems like a Useless Useful Spell, and often is in the main story; it has a plethora of secondary effects, including status immunity, and can also assist with stalling tactics or even be Baton Passed onto another team member to protect them on switch-in.
  • Some videogame bosses have multi-layered life bars, with each bar's depletion triggering a change in the boss' behavior. (cf. Sequential Boss, Turns Red)
    • Bosses in Touhou games have multiple life bars. Whenever one is depleted they switch to the next attack pattern.
    • Several bosses in Distorted Travesty have multiple life bars, and usually change their behaviour after one of them is depleted.
  • In the Gundam Battle Assault games, instead of duels utilizing a best-two-out-of-three format, each fighter had three life meters. When one is depleted, the mech is "overheated" and flinches for a moment, but the fight otherwise continues without interruption.
  • In Thexder, using the shields activated a secondary (temporary) meter that could absorb 100 HP of damage, while your main Life Meter was impervious to damage in the meantime.
  • Many Harvest Moon games have both Stamina (your primary bar) and Fatigue (your secondary bar). Fatigue is harder to recover, and if you expend too much of it, it won't fully recover even by going to sleep. You'll need items. You burn Fatigue by working during bad weather or by working when your Stamina is empty.
  • EVE Online ships have shield, armor, and hull HP bars. Layered, but once one bar is sufficiently lowered, damage can start bleeding through to the layer underneath.
    • If shield and armor are gone, the ship's weapons and modules are exposed to attacks. Any damage to hull may bleed through modules, damaging or disabling them. Even if the ship survives the ordeal, it has to dock up and get repairs to be spaceworthy again.
  • The X Wing series and Dark Forces series feature shields and health. In X Wing, shields regenerate. In Dark Forces, they take energy damage, but not punches. 0% on your health points kills you.
  • Crackdown has an armor meter that regenerates fairly quickly, which gives way to a health meter that regens more slowly.
  • Mega Man Zero introduced layered life bars to the series, and Mega Man ZX continued this tradition. In fact, you can even get your own layered life bar.
    • Before that, most of the final bosses relied on having at least 2 phases as extra health, while Wily Wars featured Hyperstorm H, the only boss that had more than one health bar in the series, not counting layers or phases.
  • Most bosses in Scurge: Hive have layered life bars.
  • Kingdom Hearts bosses use layered health bars (which are only visible with the Scan ability). In the first game, there is a single bar that cycles through colors for each additional bar's worth of health (green, blue, yellow, red; with green being the "base"). Some bosses had health beyond the maximum the bar could display, causing them to appear to be taking no damage from any attacks until they were brought in range. Every game since then has stuck with a green bar and squares underneath, showing how many they had in all.
  • Viewtiful Joe has layered health bars.
  • Mischief Makers has three layered health bars. This was also affected by the game's continue system; if you went down during a level, you could pay in extra Red Gems to continue with more than just the basic first layer of health.
  • Alpha Protocol uses the layered hit points system for both the protagonist and most powerful enemies, including bosses. The "regenerating shield" part is called "endurance," and it represents a combination of body armor and willpower, and notably does not block everything (explosions tend to "bleed" through, for example). It also featured a semi-layered health bar underneath. Health was split into sub bars which determined how much you could heal. During missions, health items could restore one's health up to the last bar that was full. For example, if you depleted a bar to half, it could be refilled. But if you depleted a bar fully, that bar would remain empty until the next mission.
  • The X-Men Origins: Wolverine Licensed Game had layered hit points for Wolverine: he had a standard life meter, and a "Vitals" life meter underneath that, representing his internal organs. The main difference is that his internal organs regenerated health more slowly.
  • In Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia you can use your hearts count as this if you equip a certain item.
  • In Legend of Mana, both you and the enemies you fight can have layered health bars. The colors in order were blue, green, yellow, orange, then red, though characters with sufficiently high HP would have the colors alternate between blue and green numerous times before progressing to the others.
  • The Streets of Rage series tend to give the bosses these, and, depending on difficulty level, some of the lower-level Mooks as well. Streets of Rage 3 threw on a couple more layers for the English release.
  • The Final Boss of Clock Tower 3. This is quite jarring because no other boss had these, so seeing his death count translate to three full-sized health bars may have caused quite an Oh, Crap!.
  • MediEvil has a potion system for undead hero Sir Fortesque; any time he recieves fatal damage, he automatically uses a full health potion if available, which represents each extra life bar. This had the good side-effect of preventing strong attacks from dealing extra damage once an extra health bar was depleted.
  • Bosses in Breath of Fire I had 2 life bars. A normal life bar, and a hidden one that activated once the normal life bar was depleted. The boss typically changed tactics once the hidden life bar activated.
  • The Syphon Filter series has a health bar that's intentionally obscured by an armor bar. When armor is depleted, your health is damaged directly. Notably, armor was much tougher than health, as the same amount of damage to completely reduce your health to zero will only take off about half of your armor. Headshots bypass armor directly and are always instantly fatal.
  • In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, you have crystals representing every 1000 hit points (up to 9 crystals). The sequel, on the other hand, has a straight-forward bar reflecting your percentage of remaining HP.
  • Metroid games have Samus with multiple energy tanks. Super Metroid also adds the Reserve Tank system, a secondary health storage method that could be triggered manually or when Samus runs out of energy in her main tanks.
  • Dragon Ball: Advance Adventure uses the method of layered lifebars to indicate that much more health while conserving screen space. Even though there's health power-ups that give you more layers on your lifebar, the first fights against General Tao and King Piccolo start you with one layer when the opponent has several, the telltale sign that the plot's calling for Goku to get clobbered.
  • The Mass Effect series uses kinetic barriers (referred to as "shields" by you and your squadmates) followed by your actual health. Enemies in Mass Effect 2 can have up to three layers of HP, the first being their Barrier or Shield, the second being their Armor and the last one being their Health. Mass Effect 3 makes Armor an alternative to Health rather than a layer of protection.
  • In MapleStory, higher-leveled bosses will have multiple health bars, layered on top of each other. The different layers of the health bar are color-coded, allowing players to keep constant track of the battle.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition has health meters as usual, along with two possible extension on health. Barriers can be cast on party members by Mages, though they erode over time and don't benefit from armor damage reduction. Guard is generated by certain Warrior abilities, and while it has a far lower cap than Barrier, Guard does benefit from armor and doesn't deplete over time. Barriers are also vulnerable to magic-dispelling effects, while Guard is not.
  • In the Dynasty Warriors franchise, several games feature boss characters with multiple health bars. Arslan: The Warriors of Legend incorporates an "overshield" mechanic, in which an active shield protects the boss. The shield must be attacked and depleted before the boss characters starts to receive normal damage. In One Piece: Pirate Warriors and Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage, boss characters have a single health bar, split into multiple sections, which signify the different "phases" of the fight.
  • The final bosses of Rockman 4 Minus Infinity.
    • The Wily Machine's first phase has what can only be described as a health bar made of health bars. That is, one full health bar, where each hit point represents its own separate health bar. That adds up to 29 times 28, or 812 hit points. However, it takes above average damage from every weapon and lacks Mercy Invincibility, so it's not as durable as it sounds.
    • The Wily Capsule later on has two health bars, giving it 56 hit points.
    • And then the Petit Robot Masters, who each has his own lifebar, with the one last hit's currently shown. That adds up to 8 times 28, or 224 hit points.
      • The Petit Robot Masters are defused somewhat by the Wily Buster, which takes them out in a few shots.
  • PlanetSide has 2 life bars (or 3, with an implant) for its soldiers. Armor varies by the suit worn by the player, and absorbs some of the damage of incoming fire. Health is self-explanatory. With the Personal Shield implant, you could fuel a shield using your stamina, effectively giving you a third life bar. Vehicles had only one health bar by default, but certain facilities would charge up a "Shield" health bar on the vehicle when inside the facility's sphere of influence.
  • Team Fortress 2 features Temporary Hitpoints known as "overheal", bestowed by the Medic's Medigun and certain Life Drain weapons. Overheal slowly depletes over time (how fast it depletes depends on your maximum HP; full overheal will always be gone after 20 seconds).
  • This was parodied in the Spider-Man 2 tie-in game. After having dealt with Mysterio a couple of times, running his obstacle courses and fighting through his fun house of illusion, all that's left is to defeat and capture him. Spidey gets word that Mysterio is...robbing a convenience store. Spidey shows up at the store, and when he approaches, a boss icon for Mysterio appears onscreen, which is then encircled by three health meters.note  Spidey's first punch knocks him down and depletes all three meters. It turns out that without all his smoke and mirrors, Mysterio isn't all that impressive.
  • The bosses of The World Ends with You each have two layered health bars, a yellow one with more health and a green one with less. Bosses generally Turn Red at around the start of the green bar.
  • The Streets of Rage series has multiple life bars for boss characters or mooks that have a ton of health. In the first game, a boss' life bar would not empty, but it would go through different color shades to indicate damage. Once their life bar turned orange, it then depletes as normal. The last two games has enemies with multiple life bars work the same way as the player's life bar where once it fully depletes, the next one pops up.
  • The final boss of Dead Rising 2 Case West and the final boss of Off the Record both have a total of three life bars, which is three times the life of a normal psychopath.
  • The Outfoxies uses the layered variant with three bars for each character, going from green to yellow to red.
  • Characters in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time get knocked out if they run out of mana, and many attacks exploit it by targeting magic points instead of or in addition to Hit Points, resulting in this trope.
  • Metal Gear games starting with Sons of Liberty (for enemies; the player doesn't get a separate stamina bar until Snake Eater) have separate stamina/psyche and health bars. The former is only drained by non-lethal weapons which are usually more difficult to use than their lethal counterparts (and games where the player has one, the bar slowly empties to represent starvation and/or exertion), but knocking enemies out has advantages (the most obvious one being that most bosses in the series give you some sort of bonus for knocking them out instead of killing them).
  • Champions has at least 3: Stun (go to 0 and you fall unconscious), body (go to 0 and you may die) and endurance (go to 0 and you are too exhausted to take most actions).
  • Billy Vs SNAKEMAN Delivery Missions has Drivetrain (the HP of your car), Durability (the HP of the box you're delivering), and Deliciousness (the HP of the contents of the box).
  • Primal Rage uses both a traditional health meter, as well as a "brain meter." When it was depleted, the character would become temporarily stunned, allowing the opponent to get in some free hits.
  • Petey Piranha in Super Smash Bros. Brawl holds 2 cages, each one with a life bar, to defeat him you have to destroy either of the cages while attacking him directly lowers both cages bars equally. You can abuse this fact by positioning yourself so your attacks hit both him and one of the cages simultaneously.
  • The earlier builds of Star Wars: Galaxies gave all characters a health, action, and mind bar. Depleting any of these three would result in the character becoming incapacitated and susceptible to a deathblow, and most attacks would hit one of the three at random. Oddly, these were same bars that were expended to perform both combat and non-combat actions, meaning that spamming special attacks in battle could easily reduce the bars to critical levels if you lacked buffs to reduce special costs. The mind bar was also the only one that couldn't be healed in battle, which gave classes with the ability to specifically target it an understandably huge advantage in PvP.
  • Earthsiege utilize multiple lifebars to distinguish between energy shields (which may regenerate) and armor/HP for various components, usually resulting in Subsystem Damage as your armor/HP reaches low levels.
  • In The Reconstruction, every character has Body, Mind and Soul points, all of which serve as Hit Points and mana at the same time. Any of these reaching zero KO's the character.
  • Master of Orion 2 has damage applied to sectored regenerating shields, then armor, then hull structure and systems — drive, computer and shield generator has separate points, other systems are either broken or not. A ship is killed only when its structure or drive is reduced to 0 HP. Drives are low on HP, but rarely get hit and stations haven't any. Some weapons can penetrate normal shields or armor, emission-guided missile variant always hits drives and one gun ignores armor and structure, dealing only shield and system damage, which can immobilize or kill ships really quick. All bypassing measures can be countered, though.
  • Wing Commander has shields and then various part of the ship damaged and repaired separately.
  • Vega Strike has sectored regenerating shields, then sectored ablative armor, then hull. Each hit to the hull has a chance of causing Subsystem Damage. "Non-lethal" EMP weapons don't kill the hull and can disable a ship so it can be captured.
  • Chaos Legion bosses often have multiple life bars (up to four) in different colors (yellow, green, blue, purple). Subverted with the mooks in the game, who may have different-colored life bars, but those life bars are merely indicators of how tough they are (mooks with yellow bars die quickly, while those with white bars will take a while to take down).
  • Bayonetta and its sequel has some of the tougher enemies and especially bosses who have multiple life bars (up to five layers) in different colors. For example, if you see an enemy with a green life bar, get ready for a long fight, but when you see a boss with a white life bar, get ready for a really long fight.
  • The Wonderful 101, in the same vein as Bayonetta, can also have bosses with multiple life bars. Most bosses have somewhere around five to ten layers of health. If you see a boss that has a purple life bar, then get ready for a really long battle. The final boss's health bar has eleven layers.
  • Final Fantasy X has a Giant Flyer enemy that basically has an extra lifebar: it starts out every battle flying but lands when heavily damaged. Thing is, you can't one-shot it even with 99999s, it always goes to the landed stage with HP to 1.
  • In Rapid Reload for the PlayStation, Area Bosses have several overlapping life bars, going from blue to green (which is the color of the player's only life bar) to yellow and finally to red. There is also a digital counter, which helps show the damage you're dealing on tougher bosses whose blue bars won't start going down until they're more than halfway to destruction.
  • Raptor: Call of the Shadows has this for the player. Each set of purchasable shields effectively gives the player an extra health bar. A maximum of five extra layers could be purchased from the store, but an unlimited amount could be stacked if you found them in the levels. Of course, considering how rarely they were found, if you were good enough to build up a significant stock over the normal maximum you didn't need those extra shields in the first place.
  • The Zoltan Shield in FTL: Faster Than Light functions much like one of these. It blocks all incoming attacks and prevents your ship from hacking, boarding and mind controlling. The standard shield cannot block missiles but slowly recharges.
  • The MechWarrior series often mixes Subsystem Damage with multiple life bars like its source material. Mechs are split between multiple distinct zones (such as legs) which have their armor healthbar and internal structure healthbar. Stripping the armor of a section exposes the internal structure, allowing successive hits to damage the internals and individual components such as weapons. Blast through the internal structure and the entire limb or section is destroyed. A mech is only destroyed if it loses the center torso, cockpit, or in some games both legs.
  • League of Legends has a weird example in the form of Kled. He has two health bars: his own and his mount's, Skaarl. While he's mounted on Skaarl, the latter takes all the incoming damage, and any additional health from items, masteries, runes and abilities goes to Skaarl, while Kled's own health grows only by leveling up. When Skaarl's health is depleted, she runs and leaves Kled on his own, and only comes back when he charges up his courage again, regaining Skaarl's health bar on top of his own (whatever is left of it). This can happen several times on a single fight as long as Kled keeps on gaining courage by recklessly attacking the enemy, which makes Skaarl's health bar function more like a regenerating shield for Kled than a proper health bar.
  • Bosses in Ninja Baseball Batman have two life bars.
  • In Naruto Ninja Council, both the player and bosses have three life bars.
  • Guild Wars 2 has the Necromancer's Death Shroud that radically modifies their abilities and adds a second layer of health that slowly decays over time when activated but prevents healing except for a few specific Necromancer traits that give gradual healing. The Path of Fire expansion adds the Barrier mechanic, used mainly by the Scourge and Weaver elite specializations, that adds temporary health that decays very rapidly and cannot exceed half the recipient's maximum health.
  • Starcraft: The Protoss have Regenerating Shields, Static Health, and have a building that allows them to rapidly replenish their shields. However, the Zerg's Plague ability allows to bypass the shields and reduce their HP to 1, while the Terrans' EMP reduces shields to 0.
  • Warcraft III: The Phoenix turns into a Phoenix Egg on death, which can't move or attack. If left alone, the egg quickly becomes a new Phoenix with full health (to prevent it being a complete Game-Breaker, it also has negative regeneration, meaning it will go back to egg-dom if left to its own devices).
  • The Japanese version of The Simpsons arcade game allows for players’ health to extend past 100% (represented by different colors) This was left out of the international versions, but is in the XBLA/PSN release when playing the unlockable Japanese ROM.