A "power meter" is a device used in many fighting games and now RPGs that increments when you successfully attack, use special moves, sometimes get hit, or defend (all depending on the game), has a limit, and allows one to perform a strong attack of some sort when it is at a certain point.

Examples:

  1. In the King of Fighters series, a power meter can give you the choice of using desperation moves (one per power bar), a "max" (get really strong, and use unlimited DMs for a short time), or increased defense for a period of time.
  2. In the Samurai Shodown series, a power meter is strange :)
  3. In the Seiken Densetsu series, the power meter enables you to use special attacks.
  4. In Chrono Cross, you must use up a certain number of power bars to cast a spell (use an element).

IMHO, power meters make a game much cooler than it could be without them!


Note that there has been some confusion about this term since I wrote the node. The issue that comes up is "Why is that a power meter and not a xxx?" The answer is that (to borrow a Final Fantasy term) there are "limit break" systems, which have one principle difference: a limit is a concretely defined by getting just one kind of ability. It's not "special" ;)

Conversely, the power meter enables several different choices, and may be one-shot sometimes.

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