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Specifically: Details from other games.
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The Health Meter shows how much health a player has remaining during a game, usually on the HUD at the top of the screen.
In fighting games, as a player gets hit by an opponent's attacks, that player loses health. The amount of health lost depends on a number of factors: strength of the attack, combo-based damage scaling, etc. Even if a player blocks, they can still suffer "chip damage" if hit by a special attack. Additionally, different fighter characters start with different amounts of health.
In all cases, if a player's health meter is depleted, then that player loses. If both players' health meters are depleted at the same time, however, the round is a draw. Occasionally - if the timer runs out before either player's health meter reaches zero - the winner is determined by the amount of health remaining in both players' meters. If the amount of health is the same for both players, then the round is a draw.
Street Fighter III seriesEdit
The Health Meter in these games are accompanied by a smaller, separate Stun Meter right under it; this is the first series to show the amount of stun each player has.
Street Fighter IV seriesEdit
The Health Meter appears by itself once more, and is yellow when full. Once damage has been taken, it changes to an orange-red gradient, with the red section closest to the round timer (essentially turning red as a character loses health).
If a player is hit while charging a Focus Attack or using a move with Super Armor, damage is not dealt normally. Instead, a provisional amount of damage is done. This "provisional damage" is represented by a faded gray segment of the health meter, which replaces some of the player's health, instead of losing it outright.
The health meter recovers gradually to what it was, with health slowly filling the gray segment, if the player is not hit again. If the player is hit again while recovering heath, however, the amount of health represented by the gray segment which has not yet recovered is permanently lost, as well as whatever other damage the second attack inflicts.
The Stun Meter is once again visible, set right under the Health Meter and next to the timer. In addition, non-light normal attacks deal provisional damage, and only the Critical Arts can KO a character with chip damage.