The exact mechanics and appearance of the bar varies from game to game.
Super Street Fighter II TurboEdit
In Super Street Fighter II Turbo and its remakes, the Super Gauge is a bar of uniform length for each character. Filled by performing special attacks, landing attacks, and taking damage, the bar flashes the word "SUPER" when completely full. At this point, the player can input a special command to perform a Super Combo, their most powerful attack. Once they begin this attack, the gauge immediately empties.
Street Fighter Alpha seriesEdit
In the Street Fighter Alpha series, the Super Combo Gauge now has three sections (on Manual style). One third is Level One, two thirds is Level Two, and the whole bar is Level 3 MAX. The gauge is filled by simply hitting foes with any move, successfully blocking moves, performing special attacks, and even getting hit with other attacks and Super Combos. In addition, taunting with Dan slightly fills up the gauge per taunt.
The level of the Super Combo used depends on the number of punch or kick buttons pressed simultaneously. The strength and, in some cases, the number of attacks in a Super Combo depends on the level of the Super Combo the player input. After doing the necessary directional input, pressing any one punch or kick buttons, depending on the Super Combo, executes a Level 1 Super Combo; pressing any two punch or kick buttons at the same time executes Level 2 variations; or press all punch or kick buttons at the same time after the directional input for the maximum damage Level 3 variation.
The level limit of Super Combos depends on how full the Combo Gauge is, and determines how many Super Combos of a certain level are available (e.g. a Gauge filled to at least Level 2 allows for 2 Level 1 Super Combos). Alternately, doing an Alpha Counter will drain one bar from the Gauge, regardless of how powerful the move being countered is.
Street Fighter III seriesEdit
Known as the Super Art Gauge in the Street Fighter III series, the length of a character's Super Gauge is determined by their choice of Super Art (which takes the place of the Super Combo and is selectable from a list before the match). This also determines the maximum 'stocks' a character has: when a character completely fills their Super Gauge, their stocks increase and the gauge immediately empties if the character has not yet reached their maximum. The stocks are, essentially, filled gauges that have been stored for use; if, for example, a player has two stocks stored, they could perform their chosen Super Art twice in succession without needing to fill their gauge in between.
In addition to adding another method of filling the Gauge via simply using normal attacks, the Super Gauge also enables the use of EX Specials, introduced in 2nd Impact. Once a certain amount of the gauge has been filled, the gauge flashes and the player is able to "spend" a portion of the amount stored to perform an enhanced version of one of their special attacks, though not all special attacks are EX-able). Again, the amount depends on their choice of Super Art, as this determines the length of the gauge and the maximum number of stocks, thus determining the total amount of EX Specials that can be stored.
Street Fighter IV seriesEdit
In the Street Fighter IV series, Super Combos return, and the Super Gauge is again a uniform length for every character. The amount of storeable EX Specials is four for everyone, and there are no stocks, so only one Super Combo can be stored. The Super Gauge is also visibly split into four, as opposed to previous installment where a player had to estimate how far they were from storing an EX Special, or how many EX Specials they had.
The series also introduces the Revenge Gauge, which allows characters to use their Ultra Combos once filled at least halfway; this may have been influenced by the Super Art Gauge from the previous series. A major difference is that the Revenge Gauge fills only when a character takes damage. In addition, the Ultra Combo does more damage if the Gauge is filled to maximum, though it can only be used once.
The Super Gauge, referred to as the Cross Gauge (after the X - which is read as "Cross" - in the game's title), has 3 uniform sections, similar to the Super Gauge in the Street Fighter Alpha series. EX Specials, Cross Cancels, and Switch Cancels take up one section, while Super Arts take two sections, and Cross Arts and Cross Assaults take up all three sections.