Here comes the plague.
The Virus is Epsilon's elite sniper, armed with a poison-laced gun that spreads a deadly poison cloud throughout enemy infantry ranks.
Beautiful yet deadly, these female snipers, code named Virus, are an offshoot of the genetic manipulation project originally meant to create beings with superhuman strength. However, Viruses have been specifically trained in marksmanship and are effective assassins, picking off multiple infantry with great ease.
The Virus fires special darts filled with a biologically engineered pathogen, causing the victim to rapidly develop large sores and blisters, as well as severe organ damage and necrosis. When the pathogen has reached critical mass within a victim’s body, the skin ruptures, ejecting toxic gasses and killing the host. The produced gas clouds can spread to other soldiers who will become infected when inhaling it. Luckily, the gas clouds dissipate as the pathogen cannot exist for long outside of a host. Thanks to their manipulated genes, Viruses are immune to toxins, and even seem reinvigorated when near it.
The Virus returns as Yuri's long range anti-infantry unit, but they are more balanced in Mental Omega. First off, their cost is more than doubled, and they require Tier 3 instead of Tier 2 to become available, though this is mitigated by the fact that in normal battles, the building needed to train Viruses are Cloning Vats, which can double the infantry trained. Another alteration is that the Virus' weapon now has a delay before their victims explode and release poison clouds, but only the Virus' commander can see an indicator of it until the effect happens, via a green bar that ticks down.
Nonetheless, Viruses remain the snipers that excel in eliminating crowds of enemy infantry. Their weapon fires darts that have good range and immense killing power, at the cost of a short timer attached to it. Once the timer ends, not only does the target take enough damage to outright kill most infantry, but it also spreads poison clouds. In addition, any infantry killed by the dart will explode, spreading even more clouds and dealing burst damage to nearby allies. With proper micromanagement, a few Viruses can clear out groups from the combination of cloud, dart and explosion damage. Since attacks from them don't reveal their position, the enemy commander will have a hard time locating them, especially if they're placed outside of a main attack force. In a pinch, they can use poison clouds to heal themselves, but be aware that the initial explosion will still damage them.
Proper utilization of Viruses is a somewhat demanding effort. While their individual attacks are quite potent, they do not stack or boost each other's, so individuals need proper micromanagement or positioning to get the most out of their attacks. Along with that, lone Viruses are near-useless against non-organic units (vehicles can still be targeted upon, but will deal negligible damage and release poison clouds), so it's generally advised to keep them away from tanks and aircraft without a proper escort as they lack speed or health to withstand those attacks.
- Viruses are first seen in the ranks of Rashidi's Scorpion Cell in Scrapyard. They'll fall under control of the player alongside the rest of the Scorpion Cell forces after the first objective is complete.
- A Virus accompanies Malver and later a PsiCorps Trooper in Singularity. In this mission, the Virus does not automatically acquire targets, has an increased range of 13, and must survive the mission.
- Unlike Initiates and PsiCorps Troopers, Viruses are notably untrainable in Moonlight, despite the player having access to Cloning Vats once the Soviet MCV arrives.
- The Virus appears as a trainable unit for the first time in Memory Dealer.
- In the Covert Ops mission Blood Rage, after the Infiltrator finishes preparing the tranquiliser for the berserk Libra in the Field Bureau, a Virus will be delivered near the Field Bureau via Driller. The Virus, equipped with the tranquiliser, is tasked with pacifying Libra by firing the sniper rifle at her, making her darts deal no damage and Libra herself susceptible to be captured by a Drakuv Prison Vehicle. This Virus has a large arrow pointing over her head, and must survive until Libra is pacified.
- In the Covert Ops mission Survivors, the Tech Secret Lab near the top right Scorpion Cell base will give access to Viruses when captured, as that base doesn't have a Construction Yard so the Cloning Vats can't be built.
Behind the scenes
- In 3.0 the Virus was available as an Epsilon stolen tech infantry available after infiltrating a rogue Epsilon Pandora Hub.