In order to allow the player to monitor their status at a glance, the Kingdom Hearts series of games traditionally uses a set of extra-canonical gauges which display, proportionally, how much of a certain statistic that a character retains. Most of these gauges are tied to the player character, whose prowess can be improved by either extending the gauge or equipping abilities and bonuses that modify the rates at which the gauges drain or fill. Gauges are also used to depict the progress a player is making within a mission, whether they depict the completion of a mini-game, the integrity of a character or object to be protected, or the remaining strength of an enemy.
The HP Gauge represents the remaining and total amounts of a character's Hit Points. It consists of a green bar that encircles or sit below or beside a sprite of the character's profile, with the level of green indicating the current level of HP. When the character takes damage, the level of green in the gauge will drop. Additionally, depending on the game, the gauge may flash or shake, and the sprite may flinch or flash. When HP reaches a critically low level, the gauge will flash red, and an alarm will sound. The character's sprite may also change to indicate danger. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, the HP gauge includes a yellow portion that indicates when a Limit Break may be used. It also flashes yellow when collecting Mission Point prizes in Mission Mode.
The player character's HP Gauge is located on the bottom-right corner of the screen, top-left in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, together with most of the gauges that may be present during gameplay, such as the MP Gauge, the Drive Gauge, the D-Link Gauge, and the Clock Gauge. If there are any party members, their individual HP gauges will be displayed above the player character's.
In every game but Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, the player character's HP Gauge will increase in length when their maximum HP increases, whether upon gaining a level or receiving a bonus. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, once the HP Gauge reaches a certain length, the green HP bar is overlaid by a second, blue bar, which will be depleted before the green bar when damage is taken. In Kingdom Hearts, a party member's HP gauge increases in length when maximum HP increases, but in subsequent games it does not.
Enemy HP gauges are displayed on-screen when the Scan ability is equipped, except in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, where they are displayed automatically. In Kingdom Hearts, enemy HP gauges appear at the top-left of the screen; in subsequent games, they appear at the top-right. In Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, enemy HP Gauges that extend beyond a single bar layered on top of each other that must be depleted one at a time. Interestingly, if an enemy in Kingdom Hearts had more health than could be displayed in five bars, such as Sephiroth, it would appear as if no damage was being dealt, until the amount of remaining health fell to within range of gauge. Starting with the release of Kingdom Hearts II, enemy HP gauges that extend beyond one bar have green, rectangular icons beneath the current HP bar, each one representing a full HP bar yet to be depleted.
The MP Gauge, which appears in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, measures a character's ability to use magic and special abilities.
In Kingdom Hearts, the MP Gauge is positioned around the outside of the HP Gauge. It is segmented, with a thin, yellow Charge Gauge running along its outside edge. When a character's maximum MP is increased, whether by leveling up or equipping certain weapons, a segment is added to the MP gauge. Striking enemies fills the yellow gauge, as does being struck while having MP Rage equipped and picking up MP orbs. When the Charge gauge is filled up through the first empty segment in the main gauge, the segment, representing 1 MP, is filled, and the Charge gauge is reset. This means it is easier to fill the first couple segments of the MP gauge than the last. The MP Haste ability increases the rate MP is recovered, and touching a Save Point fills the gauge completely. Using an Ether or Mega-Ether fills 3 MP for one or all party members, respectively, and using an Elixir or Megalixir completely fills the MP gauge for one or all party members, respectively. Magic costs anywhere from a segment of the Charge gauge to 1 or 2 MP, depending on the type, and certain action abilities cost 1 MP, and special abilities cost 2 or 3 MP. Trinity Limit requires at least 3 bars of MP and uses up the entire MP gauge. The length of the MP gauge directly affects the strength of any magic used, as well as summon abilities. Party members' MP gauges do not have visible Charge bars, but they function in the same way.
In Kingdom Hearts II, the MP gauge is redesigned and relocated, reflecting the revamped Magic system. The main character's gauge is a rectangular bar, located to the left of the profile sprite, just under the Drive gauge. Using most magic, Limit commands, and party member abilities depletes a portion of the MP gauge, and using Cure magic or activating a Limit depletes the gauge completely. When the gauge is empty, MP Charge is activated, during which the MP Gauge is replaced with a pink Charge Gauge which depletes gradually over time. Once it empties, the blue MP Gauge is restored, completely filled. While the blue MP Gauge is present, collecting MP orbs slightly fills the gauge, and using an Ether or Mega-Ether completely fills the gauge for one character or all party members, respectively. During MP Charge, collecting MP orbs slightly empties the Charge Gauge, using an Ether or Mega-Ether depletes a portion of the Charge gauge for one character or all party members, respectively. Using an Elixir or Megalixir completely restores MP for one character or all party members, respectively, whether or not MP Charge is active. Each party member's MP Gauge occupies the right half of the circle around their profile sprite, and although it does not visibly increase in length when maximum MP increases or change appearance during MP Charge, it functions in the same way as the playable character's gauge.
The DP Gauge appears in Reverse/Rebirth mode of Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, replacing the DP counter from the original Chain of Memories. It appears to the upper right of Riku's HUD sprite and HP gauge. As Riku gain dark points (DP) in battle, by breaking enemy cards, the gauge fills. Once full (30 DP), Riku immediately enters Dark Mode, and the gauge changes to reflect Riku's maximum DP. The gauge depletes when Riku takes damage or his cards are broken, and Dark Mode ends when the gauge is fully depleted.
While Riku is in his standard form, the DP Gauge is blue, as is the DP counter to its left. During Dark Mode, the gauge and the counter turn white. The gauge is also accompanied by a Heartless symbol, which becomes a white letter "D" during Dark Mode.
The Drive Gauge is introduced in Kingdom Hearts II, where it is located above the MP gauge. The Drive Gauge is filled by dealing damage to enemies, picking up Drive Orbs, or using Drive Recovery or High Drive Recovery items; additionally, the Damage Drive ability fills the Drive Gauge proportionally to the damage taken by Sora, while the Drive Boost ability makes the Drive Gauge fill more quickly during MP restoration.
Using Drive Forms and Summons costs certain numbers of bars from the Drive Gauge. The Drive Gauge starts out with a maximum of three bars, and additional bars are earned by defeating certain bosses: Captain Barbossa, the Hostile Program, Saïx and Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts II, Captain Barbossa, the Hostile Program, Sephiroth, Xemnas's final form, Marluxia's Absent Silhouette and the Lingering Will in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
Using Valor Form, Wisdom Form, or a Summon costs three bars from the Drive Gauge, using Master Form or Limit Form costs four bars, using Final Form costs five bars and entering Anti Form costs all remaining bars.
Entering a Drive Form transforms the Drive Gauge into the Form Gauge, which determines how long Sora can stay in that form. The Form Gauge begins at its maximum and depletes over time, and using a form's abilities and dealing large amounts of damage cause the gauge to deplete more quickly, while the Form Boost ability makes it deplete more slowly. When the gauge completely empties, Sora reverts to his normal form. Each Drive Form has its own Form Gauge, which has an maximum that starts at three bars and increases by one each time the Drive Form is leveled up, up to nine bars.
Calling on a Summon transforms the Drive Gauge into the Summon Gauge, which determines how long a Summon can remain in the field. The Summon Gauge begins at its maximum and depletes over time, and using a Summon's Limit causes the gauge to deplete more quickly, while attacking enemies will slightly fill it, and the Summon Boost ability makes it deplete more slowly. When the gauge completely empties, the Summon is dismissed, and Sora's party members return. The Summon Gauge has an maximum that starts at three bars and increases by one each time the Summon Level increases, up to nine bars. Each bar that depletes from the Summon Gauge earns a point of experience towards the Summon Level, which applies to all of Sora's Summons.
The Focus Gauge appears in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and it represents the player's ability to use Shotlocks. Its shape resembles the Drive Gauge, and it is located to the left of a character's portrait on the bottom-right corner of the screen. The Focus Gauge is filled by attacking enemies, using Ethers or Mega-Ethers, blocking attacks with Focus Block or Focus Barrier, and taking damage with Damage Syphon equipped. While locking onto targets, the gauge depletes at a steady rate, with the total time available depending on the equipped Shotlock. Only the amount corresponding to the time taken to lock onto targets is permanently depleted from the gauge; any excess time is restored to the gauge after the Shotlock is initiated.
The Focus Gauge is also represented in the main menu in term of Focus Points, or FP, with the current level being out of a maximum of 100 FP.
The D-Link Gauge, which appears in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, represents the player's ability to use Dimension Links. The gauge is located above the player character's HP gauge, and it is filled by picking up D-Link Prizes or by using a Balloon Letter. When the gauge is full, it glows slightly, and the player can activate a D-Link. The gauge will deplete gradually as the D-Link stays active, and the D-Link will automatically end if the gauge empties completely. Collecting D-Link Prizes while the link is still active keeps the gauge from fully depleting, extending the time for which the link can be used.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, using an Illusion command replaces the D-Link gauge with an Illusion gauge.
The Command Gauge appears in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, positioned above the Command Deck. The gauge is filled by inflicting damage with attack combos or Deck Commands, and it will start to empty if several seconds pass without the player landing an attack. Using certain commands to fill the gauge will initiate a Command Style, allowing the gauge to be filled an additional time. If a Command Style isn't triggered, or if the gauge is filled during a second-level Command Style, the Attack command will be replaced with a Finish command, which will stay available until used, or until the gauge empties completely. Using the Finish Command immediately reverts the gauge to its empty, base state, and it turns off any active Command Style.
The Command Gauge changes to a unique appearance to reflect an active Command Style or D-Link.
The Clock Gauge appears in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, positioned to the left of Sora's portrait sprite, in the bottom-right corner of the screen, during normal gameplay. The gauge is filled by attacking enemies or Bug Blox, healing with magic commands, or using Ethers, Hi-Ethers, or Megalixirs, and it will start to empty if several seconds pass without the player using one of these methods. Each time the gauge is filled, Sora's clock level increases, activating an ability on the Clock Ability Tree and advancing to the next tier. After advancing to an endpoint on the tree, filling the gauge one more time changes the Attack command to activate the Finish command. The strength of the Finish Command will be higher when it is used at a higher clock level. For example, Blade Rush at Clock MAX will be more powerful than at Clock Level 3. The gauge will reset to level 1 when the Finish Command is used, or when the gauge empties twice.
The Drop Gauge is a gameplay element exclusive to Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Its shape resembles a longer version of the Drive Gauge, and it is located to the left of the character's portrait on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. It gradually decreases as the player progresses through a world's story and once it is empty, Sora goes into a mode of sleep and the player is put in control of Riku in the world he or she was last in. As before, if the gauge empties while playing as Riku, the player will again take control of Sora. This process of switching playable characters can be done manually by pressing and choosing Drop from the menu. The Drop Gauge is now majorly a gradient of indigo-to-teal-to-blue with an underlining gradient of pink-to-cream. The gauge's second bar is colored bright yellow, and its third is bright pink. After this bar empties, leaving an empty grey bar behind, the player enters "Bonus Time", where a pink timer counts down from thirty seconds, after which the playable character "drops" into sleep.
The Drop Gauge was initially colored with a gradient of indigo-to-pink-to-cream.
The Link Gauge appears in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Each Spirit has a Link Gauge you can fill up to Link with them and perform special attacks. Its shape is just like an ally's MP gauge, and it is located below it's respective Spirit's portrait on the right corner of the screen. It is colored pink, and can be filled by landing attacks at the same time as your Spirits. Once it is full, it will display the word "Link" on it, meaning the player can touch that Spirit's icon to perform a Link Attack (with Sora) or activate a Link Style (with Riku). If both Spirit's Link Gauges are full, a Spirit symbol will be shown between their icons. By touching it, the player can link with both Spirits at once, or Dual Link.
The Mission Gauge is a gameplay element exclusive to Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. It is a single orange bar along the bottom of the Nintendo DS touch screen, with a bar marking the end of the mission. On certain missions, Roxas can earn extra prizes by completing the extra requirements of the mission, such as finding all of the target Heartless or collecting all of the Organization Emblems. Once the Mission Gauge is filled either to the bar or completely, the player can then RTC.
Notes and ReferencesEdit
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