The Health Gauge, also referred to as the HP Gauge and sometimes the Boss Gauge for bosses, is a recurring game mechanic in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Like the traditional health gauge in video games, Health Gauges are an attribute assigned to game characters, which includes enemies and playable characters alike, that indicate their physical health. When the Health Gauge of a player character reaches zero, the player is defeated. When the HP of an enemy reaches zero, the player might be rewarded in some way.
The Health Gauge is an energy bar that appears in gameplay. Its exact design depends on the game and in which contexts it is used. Its function is to measure the remaining vitality/health of an entity in the games it appears in. Such health is usually measured in a finite number of Health Points, often shortened to HP. When an entity with a Health Gauge takes damage, usually from enemy attacks or hazardous obstacles, the Health Gauge will be depleted by a certain amount of HP, which is signified in its energy bar decreasing. Should the Health Gauge be depleted completely, the entity will become incapacitated. The maximum amount of HP an entity has varies between types and individuals.
In the player's case, the Health Gauge replaces the Ring health system for the playable characters (or vehicles) in the games they appear in. In all cases, the player's Health Gauge is displayed on the HUD. The amount of HP players lose with each hit depends on the strength of what caused the damage and sometimes the player's own defense. If the player's Health Gauge should reach zero, they will defeated and often lose a life, causing them to restart from the beginning of the latest battle/level or from the last qualified checkpoint. Should their Health Gauge be depleted, the players can in most cases restore their HP by different means, often by collecting Rings and power-ups, using certain techniques, or something else entirely. In general, the different methods of regenerating HP depends on the game's genre. In action games, this method is very quick, whereas fighting- and RPG games feature slower paced methods to match the gameplay and realism. In certain games, it is also possible for the player's to increase the amount of HP their Health Gauges can carry by certain means.
In enemies' case, the Health Gauge serves to display how many hits are required to defeat enemies or bosses. The display of enemy Health Gauges are slightly more flexible. In regular Sonic games, modern bosses may have their own Health Gauges displayed on the HUD while lesser enemies may have their Health Gauges displayed around them as intangible icons. In certain fightinggames and similar ones, however, the Health Gauges for bosses and enemies may be displayed in the same manner as the player's. The amount of HP enemies lose when damaged also depends on the game and situation. Sometimes, the player's attacks can only take a certain amount of HP from specific opponents (e.g. the Egg Buster always loses a third of its total health when taking a hit), and in other cases the player can take away more HP the stronger the playable character's attributes or moves are. In a few games, both cases may even apply; in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), regular bosses and enemies may only lose a set fraction of HP from standard attacks, yet in the battle with Solaris, the Arrow of Light can take away more HP with one shot than the Spear of Light. Similarly in Sonic Unleashed, Sonic the Hedgehog's attacks always take away the same amount of HP while Sonic the Werehog's Skill take away more HP the higher the Werehog's parameters are. In games with emphasis on fighting though, enemies will lose HP like the player. When a regular enemy's Health Gauge is depleted the enemy will be destroyed/defeated, and when a boss's Health Gauge is depleted the boss fight will be cleared. Unlike playable characters, it is only under rare circumstances that opponents can restore their own Health Gauge, like when failing a quick time event against opponents in Sonic Unleashed.
SegaSonic the Hedgehog
The first incarnation of the Health Gauge appeared in SegaSonic the Hedgehog. In this game, they are used by all playable characters. Their Health Gauges appear on the bottom of the screen, just next to the respective character's icon, where they are displayed as simple blue bars.
The player can replenish the Health Gauges by picking up Rings. If a character's health gets critical, the Health Gauge will flash red.
Sonic the Fighters
In Sonic the Fighters, the Health Gauge is used by both the player and the opponents for the first time. Owning to the gameplay of Sonic the Fighter, both the player's and the opponent's Health Gauge share the same design.
In this game, the Health Gauges are displayed on the top of the screen as segmented, orange-framed green bars on both sides of an Emblem-like Ring (the left on is the player's and the right one is the opponent's). The amount of HP opponents lose depends on the power of the player's attacks, and vice versa. As the Health Gauge is depleted, its bar will turn from green to yellow, and then from yellow to red.
In Sonic Adventure, and its remake Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, the Health Gauge (referred to in this game as the life gauge) is utilized not only by playable characters, but also by boss characters for the first time. Health Gauges for bosses would since then become a recurring feature throughout the Sonic games. In this game, the Health Gauge is a white-framed gauge with a cyan energy bar. Its drop shadow is grey for bosses and red for playable characters.
In the player's case, the Health Gauge is only used by the Tornado/Tornado 2 during the Sky Chase Acts, where it appears in the lower left corner of the screen with the word "Tornado" above it. When it comes to boss battles, the Health Gauge appears in the upper right corner of the screen and has the word "Target" above it. When the bosses take a hit, they will always lose a set fraction of their maximum HP.
In the player's case, the Health Gauge is used by the playable characters for the Shooting Battle Stages. Their version of the Health Gauge is displayed on the bottom of the screen and resembles a grey rectangle with a blue energy bar and black lines along the upper rim. Its energy bar changes color according to the gauge's capacity: at 100-50% capacity it is blue, at less than 50% capacity it is yellow, and when critical it is red. To refill the Health Gauge, the player can either collect Rings or HealthItem Box power-ups. For Dr. Eggman, his Health Gauge can be increased by 1/7 its original size with the Protective Armor. It will also turn the Health Gauge's bar dark blue.
In the bosses' case, the Health Gauge is displayed in the upper left corner of the screen and resembles a transparent, white-framed rectangle with a dark blue energy bar and the word "Enemy" below it. Like in Sonic Adventure, this Health Gauge always loses a set fraction of its maximum HP when the bosses take a hit. Additionally, its energy bar will turn red when the bosses' health becomes critical.
Sonic Heroes introduced the concept of standard enemies that require more than one hit to defeat. This lead to standard enemies being given their own Health Gauges, which was carried on to future games as well.
In Sonic Heroes, Health Gauges are used by standard enemies and non-playable bosses (except Metal Overlord). In this game, they are displayed as round speech balloon icons above foes with a segmented energy bar and a number representing the enemies' remaining HP inside them. The amount of HP the player can take away from enemies depend on the intensity of their attacks. Additionally, the Egg Bishops can restore surrounding enemies' Health Gauges and their own.
In Sonic Battle, the Health Gauge (referred to in this game as only HP) is used by all playable characters in the game. Though unseen, each opponent in the game also has a Health Gauge of their own.
To the player, the Health Gauge is a blue and black-framed gauge displayed in the upper left corner of the screen. Inside it is a red drop shadow and an orange-yellow energy bar, and on top lies the Ichikoro Gauge. Early screenshots, however, depicted the Health Gauge as a white and black-framed red gauge with a yellow energy bar. The amount of HP both player and opponents can lose depends on the power of their attacks, and the recoil damage from impacting structures. During battle, characters can also use Heal Skills to refill their Health Gauges at various rates.
Shadow the Hedgehog
In Shadow the Hedgehog, Health Gauges are utilized by three different parties in the game: standard enemies, bosses and vehicles.
The Health Gauges for standard enemies are displayed as green bar icons with a white outline and black drop shadow that appear above each enemy. The player's regular moves, such as the Homing Attack, Slide and Punch, can always only take away a set fraction of a standard enemy's maximum HP. Different weapons, however, can take away different amounts of HP, depending on their damage output. The Health Gauges for bosses (referred to as Boss Gauges) are displayed as grey gauges on the bottom of the screen with a yellow energy bar inside them. Despite the larger amount of HP they carry, they lose them in the same manner as lesser enemies.
The Health Gauges for rideable vehicles are displayed in the Item Window in the lower right corner of the screen while riding a vehicle. They look similar to the enemies', but smaller in width. Should these Health Gauges be depleted, it results in the destruction of their vehicle rather than the player's defeat.
In gameplay, there is a special weapon called the Heal Cannon which allows the player to restore enemies' Health Gauges for various effects.
Sonic Rush series
In Sonic Rush, Health Gauges are reserved for bosses and a few enemies. Bosses' Health Gauges appear on the Nintendo DS's Touch Screen and are displayed as a horizontal row of yellow segments representing the number of hits the player has to land. For each hit landed, a segment will turn grey. The game's difficulty setting determines the total number of segments; on Easy mode, the number of segments are six, and on Normal Mode, the number of segments are eight.
In regular Zones, enemies that take multiple hits to destroy (three to be exact), such as Rhinos Blings and Egg Hammers, also display Health Gauges akin to those in Sonic Heroes. These Health Gauges appear when their target takes damage and always lose a set fraction of their maximum HP for each hit.
Sonic Rush Adventure
In Sonic Rush Adventure, the Health Gauge is reserved for bosses, certain enemies, and the player. In this game, the Health Gauges for bosses (referred to as Boss Gauges) are presented as red bars with a black drop shadow on the bottom of the screen (which screen on the Nintendo DS depends on the gameplay). Also, on their left end is the word "BOSS" and a skull. Some bosses are capable of regaining health should the player take too long to deliver the final hit.
In regular Zones, Pirate Hogans (who take three hits to destroy) have their own Health Gauges akin to those in Sonic Heroes. Like in Sonic Rush, these Health Gauges appear when their targets take damage and always lose a set fraction of their maximum HP for each hit.
During Sea Stages, the player have their own Health Gauge (referred to as the HP Gauge). This gauge is displayed as a cyan bar on a wooden board in the upper left corner of the screen. As this Health Gauge is depleted, its bar will turn from cyan to yellow, and when critical it flashes red. After losing HP, the player can pick up the Repair power-ups which can restore the Health Gauge by different percentages. Many enemies and obstacles in Sea Stages also have their own green-bared Health Gauges.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
In Sonic the Hedgehog(2006), the Health Gauge (referred to in this game as the Life Gauge) is used by bosses, standard enemies, vehicles, and, in certain situations, NCPs.
The Health Gauges for standard enemies are, much like in Shadow the Hedgehog, displayed as red bar icons with a black drop shadow. However, they only appear above enemies that require multiple hits to defeat, and only after they take a hit. Such enemies normally only lose a set fraction of their maximum HP when taking damage, but there are certainmoves that can take away all their HP instantly. Health Gauges for bosses are displayed as red bars with a white and black outline and white drop shadow in the upper right corner of the screen. Much like lesser enemies, bosses can normally only lose a set fraction of their maximum HP when hit by an attack (although the rate at which attacks are usually dealt make it appear otherwise), but there are instances where larger chunks of HP can be taken away with one blow; sheering the Egg-Cerberus into the right structure can take away twice the amount of HP than normal collisions can, and in Iblis Phase 3 extra damage can be dealt with the right counterattack. Also, in the battle with Solaris, different SuperStatemoves deal different amount of damage.
The Health Gauges for rideable vehicles are displayed as red bars in the Vehicle Gauges above the Action Gauge. Should these Health Gauges be depleted, however, it result in the destruction of their vehicle rather than the player's defeat. Also, in certain Town Missions where the mission is to protect the residents from attacking enemies, every resident will have a Health Gauge that depletes for each attack they receive. If any of their Health Gauges are drained completely, the player will fail the mission.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, the Health Gauge is utilized by every playable character and enemy in the game. Due to the game's combat-orientated gameplay, the Health Gauge plays an important role.
In gameplay, the Health Gauges for both the player and opponents are displayed as red bars on the top right side of their character icon on the Nintendo DS's top screen. During early development though, the Health Gauges were thinner and placed below the character icons. Whereas players' Health Gauges are always on display, enemies' only appear during combat. Also, a character's HP are in this game displayed as numeric values. In combat, a character's remaining HP are shown as numbers inside their Health Gauge. Also, on the game's profile screen, one can see both a playable character's remaining HP and the maximum HP they can have.
In accordance to the RPG mechanics of the game, the amount of HP both player and opponents lose depends on the power of the character's attacks and stats. Whereas a character's Armor stat reduces the HP that is lost when a character takes damage, a character's Power stat increases the HP their attacks take away. Similarly, assuming a defensive stance in combat will reduce the HP lost from attacks. As the playable characters level up, their maximum HP and HP-affecting stats will be raised gradually until level 30.
In the player's case, any changes to the Health Gauge during combat will remain afterwards. To restore the playable characters' Health Gauges, the player can enter safe houses, perform HP-replenishing POW moves, equip Chao or items, or use consumable items like the Health Root or Med Emitter. Certain enemies can also restore their own Health Gauges, usually via attacks that inflict Leech, such as N'rrgal-type enemies and Nocturnus Clan-type enemies.
In Sonic Unleashed, the Health Gauge is used by multiple playable characters, bosses, and the enemies encountered in the nighttime Stages.
In the player's case, the Health Gauge is referred to as the Life Gauge (it is also referred to as the Vitality Gauge on the Wii/PlayStation 2). For the majority of the game, the player's Health Gauge is used by Sonic the Werehog in the nighttime Stages, where it is displayed in the lower left corner of the screen. On the Xbox 360/PlayStation version, Sonic's Health Gauge is a black gauge with sharp corners, a hook on the right end, a red-orange energy bar, and the word "LIFE" inside it (early screenshots depict it as a simpler red gauge with the word "VITALITY" on it). On the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, Sonic's Health Gauge is also a black gauge, but with a hook on both sides and a green energy bar. To refill Sonic's Health Gauge, the player can collect Rings. Different versions of the game offer also alternatives to restoring it; the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version has power-ups resembling Rings with a green eight-pointed star in their centers that fully refills Sonic's Health Gauge, and the Wii/PlayStation 2 version has green Dark Gaia Force that refills Sonic's Health Gauge partially. In addition, the player can increase the size of Sonic's Health Gauge by leveling up his Life/Health parameter.
For the final boss battles, the Gaia Colossus is given its own Health Gauge. On the Xbox 360/PlayStation version, this Health Gauge is a simple silver-framed gauge with a green energy bar in the lower left corner of the screen. On the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, this Health Gauge is a dark blue gauge with a red energy bar on the bottom of the screen. On the Xbox 360/PlayStation version, Super Sonic is also given a Health Gauge similar to the Gaia Colossus's, but with a red-orange energy bar, which he can refill with Rings (curiously, Super Sonic's Health Gauge starts out only partially filled).
The Health Gauges for standard enemies and minibosses are displayed as yellow bar icons with a transparent drop shadow that appear over each enemy, much like in Shadow the Hedgehog. In this game, the HP opponents lose depends on the power of Sonic the Werehog's attacks and stats. Sonic's strength attribute in particular determines the HP his attacks take away. As Sonic's Strength/Attack parameter levels up, his strength will be raised gradually. Additionally, on the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, Cure Masters can restore surrounding enemies' Health Gauges. A similar effects occurs on the same version when failing an enemy's quick time event.
The Health Gauge for bosses (referred to as the Boss' Vitality Gauge on the Wii/PlayStation 2 version) are displayed in the upper right corner of the screen. On the Xbox 360/PlayStation version, they are grey-framed gauges with a yellow energy bar and the word "BOSS" below them. On the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, they are black-framed gauges with a red energy bar and the word "BOSS" below them. Their finer details depend on the time of day; daytime bosses' Health Gauges are smooth, while nighttime bosses' are darker, sharp and spiky. In gameplay, Sonic the Hedgehog can always only take away a set fraction of the bosses' maximum HP, while Sonic the Werehog's attacks can take away different amounts of HP depending on his attacks and stats (much like against lesser enemies). Sometimes, if the player has lowered a boss' health enough, it will initiate a quick time event; clearing it lets the player take away large chucks of the boss' health, but failing it can restore its health. Additionally, the Dark Guardian can restore its own health during battle.
In the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors, Health Gauges serve the same roles as in Sonic Rush, being reserved for bosses and a few enemies. Bosses' Health Gauges appear on the bottom of the Nintendo DS's Touch Screen and are displayed as red bars with white frames, a black drop and the Eggman Empire's logo on the left side. The HP the player can take away from bosses depend on their attack. Noticeably, the Drillinator's special trait is restoring its Health Gauge, a process which the player must interrupt to deal extra damage.
In regular Acts, the Egg Hammers (who take three hits to destroy) have their own Health Gauges akin to those in Sonic Rush. These Health Gauges appear when their targets take damage and always lose a set fraction of their maximum HP for each hit.
In the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, Health Gauges are reserved for the game's main bosses. These Health Gauges appear on the Nintendo 3DS's Touch Screen and are displayed as a stylized horizontal row of red segments representing the number of hits the player has to land, like in Sonic Rush. For each hit landed, a segment will turn a stribbed green.
Sonic Lost World
In the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World, the Health Gauges are reserved for bosses only. In this game, they are displayed as yellow-framed gauges with their boss' character icon on the left side and a colored energy bar on the top of the touch screen on the Nintendo 3DS. The color of their energy bar depends on the boss. The amount of health the player can take away from bosses depend on the intensity of their attacks.
In Sonic Runners, each boss in the game is given their own Health Gauge. This kind of Health is displayed as a yellow bar in a red box on the bottom of the screen. On its left is the boss' character icon and on its right is a numeric value for its HP, such as "1/3". Here, the first number indicates the boss' current HP and the second number indicates its maximum HP. Normally, the player's attacks can only take away one HP from a boss at a time, but there are buddies that may let each hit deal more damage.