Virus Breeder

Starting early in Chapter 7, there will be a strange new machine occupying the lower corner of the Virus Lab at SciLab. This is the Virus Breeder, the hub for a little feature exclusive to EXE3. "Breed" here refers to raising and training viruses you capture in the wild. So if you thought the Battle Network series was a Pokémon rip-off before, this should really put it in perspective. This page will go over how it all works.

Starting Off
The Virus Breeder appears after visiting Dr.Hikari in the hospital, but before you can start collecting viruses and using it, you have to talk to the old guy standing next to the machine once. He'll offer to list off the viruses you collect and hand over their chips. This conversation will trigger the appearances of the viruses in the Cyberworld you need to hunt down. When you jack into the machine, the prog at the entrance will give you the quick rundown about how you can find the viruses in the cyberworld, return there to get their summoning chips, and jack into the Breeder to feed and manage your new pets.

Collecting the Viruses
The viruses you're looking for are hidden at certain points across the net. They're invisible, so you'll only know you've found them when Megaman stops moving and the screen transitions to a battle. It's basically the exact same deal as when looking for Navi ghosts in their Alpha forms. There aren't a lot of hints about the locations. Some message board posts have vague suggestions but that's pretty much it.

The battle consists of the three basic members of the virus family you're collecting. It's treated as an event battle so you can't run and don't win anything at the end, but once back on the map you'll see a brief stock-cutscene where Lan and Megaman determine that the little creatures they just brutalized are actually friendly and harmless and now only wish to brutalize other enemies at their new masters' whim and volunteer to be held in captivity until such time they are needed. Disturbing implications aside, you now have another virus family in your collection.

When you return to the Virus Breeder, talk to the old guy and say yes to his offer to tell you more about it, and he'll list off the viruses you've collected so far. When he comes to a new addition, he'll give you that family's summon chip. The virus family can be found by jacking into the Breeder and finding their pen.

Here are each of the virus families that can be captured for the Breeder and where you can find them:

Metool - ACDC1, behind WWW-ID door.Bunny - Reward for Request Board job 19: "Please adopt a virus!" This is the only family you don't need to fight for. You can also do the job as soon as the Breeder appears, before even talking to the old man that triggers the other families to become available.
Spikey - Hades Gargoyle Comp, upper corner.Swordy - Undernet1, upper level, right arm.
Jelly - Beach2, bottom corner.Mushy - Scilab2, behind desk.
Momogra - End of ZooComp4.KillersEye - Principal's PC1, against the blackboard.
Scuts (F,A,E) - Secret1, straight west from entrance.Scuts (W, N) - Secret3, northern corner past the Door of Love. Must capture the "Scuts (F,A,E)" group first.

At the entrance of Secret Area 3 is the Door of Love that will open once you capture at least 8 out of the 9 virus families. The Scutz family comes in two groups, the second of which lies beyond the Door of Love. You can get the Scuttlst summon chip after just finding the first group, and when you use it it'll only count those first three family members. Capturing all of these viruses is a big step towards game completion. The nine chips you gain are needed to complete your Standard Library, and the Door of Love seals off a good half of the last area.

That's not the end of virus-hunting though. Once you feed the maximum 100 BugFrags to a family, and you've already cleared the game, talk to the BF-redistribution prog in the family's pen and it'll congratulate you on raising the viruses fully and then give you a hint where to find their "boss". This is the trigger that causes that family's Omega version to become available. As before, you're looking for battles hidden at certain points in the Cyberworld, this time against three Omega-level versions of that virus. If you win (might be difficult - Omega viruses are tougher than they look, much less three of them at once), the Omega version will be added to the family's pen and you can redistribute BFs to it as you see fit. When you use the virus summon chip, the Omega version will be added to the mix, greatly increasing the potential of your attack. Note that while the initial capture-quest is necessary for completing your library and unlocking doors, none of the Omega version collecting will unlock anything extra besides the possible strong attack with the summon chip.

Here's where to find each of the Omega versions once you get to this point.

MetoolΩ - Class 5A Blackboard Comp, south corner.BunnyΩ - Hospital Bed Comp, North corner.
SpikeyΩ - ZooComp2, southwest corner.SwordyΩ - Zoo Broken Alarm Comp, west corner.
JellyΩ - Bath Lion Spout Comp, center.MushyΩ - HospComp1, by the entrance.
MomograΩ - Yoka1, where Bubbleman was fought.KillersEyeΩ - SciLab Door Panel Comp, northwest side.
ScuttleΩ - WWW Base Wall Comp, northeast side.

Raising the Viruses
So you caught the viruses and received their chip, and you can use the chip in battle to call upon the viruses for an attack. Their attack power depends on how you raise them. Jack into the Breeder and find their pen.

You can inspect the individual viruses to get an indication of their personality. Inspect their food dishes for the option to feed them bugfrags. It's 5 BF per serving. You can feed up to 20 servings (100 BF) to each family, after which point that family will no longer accept your bugfrags. Since this is regulated per family, this means you could give 95 BF to your Mushy's dish, 5 to your Mashy, and 0 to your Moshy, not to mention the Omega version when it comes in after the 100 are all supplied. Does that seem unbalanced? Wish you could go back on those feeding proportions? Well don't worry, you can.

The prog in each pen is for redistributing the bugfrags you've fed to the family so far. Like "breeding", this "feeding" isn't exactly what it sounds like. If we're to understand Mushy ate those 95 bugfrags, then that prog is apparently forcing Mushy to regurgitate 50 of them to then feed to Moshy. Eugh. Okay, so the viruses don't eat the frags, the frags just sit in their dishes indefinitely and can be moved around easily. You can't take the frags back though, and the viruses presumably interact with them somehow to get the increased attack power, so who knows what's going on. Bottom line: the BFs correspond to additional attack points, and those points can be freely balanced among the family members by talking to the redistribution prog.

Summoning the Viruses
You can get one of each summon chip by capturing the family and talking to the old man by the Breeder. Additional virus summoning chips are hard to come by. They may as well be GigaChips in terms of rarity. Higsby's Chip Order will only have one in stock if your current stock is zero, and with no trace of these things in any of the Chip Traders or anywhere else, it seems you can only have one at a time. Dump your original into a Chip Trader to buy the Chip Order version, which might have a better code for you. Link Trades could account for more, but the Chip Order version is the only code that will be in steady supply. The virus summoning chips do have five codes just like any other battlechip, but for some reason only two appear to be obtainable.

When the chip is activated, time will stop and the panel in front of Megaman will begin to rapidly cycle through the members of the family in your possession. As the "press button" icon that appears above them indicates, you press A again to choose which one attacks. You have just five seconds to pick before your pets get restless and one of them picks themselves for you, usually the first-level version. This is where the distribution of bugfrags counts, because ideally you would want all 100 BF supporting the attack of the virus you choose, since any fed to the others would be wasted in the attack. Too bad the game as other ideas.

Picking the family member you want is mostly impossible at the speed they flash by. A virus could only be visible for two frames before switching to the next one, and the cycling may be random to boot, making the entire attack a gamble. Thankfully, there are a few families that not only cycle more slowly for you, but do so according to a consistent pattern. When one family member has a different attack range from another, then being able to choose which one attacks is pretty important. Nothing worse than trying to hit the enemy in front of you with KillerEye, but accidentally shooting upwards with DemonEye instead.

So even though the basic function is the same, each family involves slightly different strategies that determine their usefulness in battle. This table will cover each virus' base attack power and their max attack assuming you give all 100 bugfrags to that one member (5 BF serving always equals 5 extra attack points, so the max is always base+100. You could do the math in your head, but I figured it would help to have the range visible.) The right column describes the pattern the family members cycle through when the chip is activated, how fast the pattern goes, which virus gets chosen if you wait five seconds without picking any, additional notes about the differences between attacks, and the codes the virus chip features. For the chip codes, Red = Received at Virus Breeder after capturing family., Green = Bought from Higsby's Chip Order., Grey = Not legitimately obtainable.

VirusAtkMax Selection Pattern - Random
4 frames/choice
Default - Met1
Omega version cracks panels.
Codes - M,E,T,O,L
The Mets all attack with the standard ground-based Shockwave, with the Omega version having the BigWave effect. You can't pick which version attacks, but since the attack range is always the straight line ahead barring holes, you can count on where you'll hit. You're mostly gambling with the attack power. Hedge your bets by spreading the bugfrags around. Consider giving at least 20 to Met1 so you don't get an attack weaker than the regular Shockwave chip.
VirusAtkMax Selection Pattern - Random
3 frames/choice
Default - Bunny
2-4 seconds of paralysis
Codes - R,A,B,I,L
Like the Mets, these guys all attack the same way, ZapRing is fired straight down the row, paralyzing the first enemy in its path. The only difference between members besides attack power is the minor difference in paralysis duration. The good news is that even the weakest option here is the same strength as the strongest ZapRing chip, making Bunny summon a good substitute for ZapRing. With enough bugfrags on the last two versions, this even has the potential to be the strongest single elec-elemental attack in the game. Even stronger than any elec Megachips or Gigachips.

VirusAtkMax Selection Pattern - Random
2 frames/choice
Default - Spikey1
Shot, V, Side, (Spread).
Codes - G,A,R,U,E
The Spikey family flashes through its members the fastest, not that the two extra frames per option make the Met attacker any easier to choose based on anything but luck. It's especially annoying here though because each family member has a different attack range. In any case you'll be aiming for the first target in the row, but because of the different shapes of the explosions, you're taking a gamble on whatever else gets hit during the attack. For an added twist, the Omega version has the Spreader area of effect, even though it doesn't when you fight against it. Count yourself lucky for that. The attack levels are all superior to the regular chip versions of these moves. The Omega version at its best is just 30 points lower than the PA HeatSpread, but can fit on more enhancement chips, which would almost make up for the fact you only have a 25% chance of using it when you need it.
VirusAtkMax Selection Pattern - 1-2-3-(Ω)-
9 frames/choice
Default - Swordy1
LongSword, FireSword, AquaSword, (LifeSword)
Codes - S,W,O,D,I
These guys cycle through their ranks slowly and predictably enough that you might actually get to choose which one attacks! Their base attack power is all the same, and isn't so great compared to other sword chips available, so the consideration goes more towards element and range in this case. The Omega uses the LifeSword area of attack even though the enemy version doesn't, and thus makes the LongSword-wielding first version basically obsolete. Try giving the bugfrags to everyone except Swordy1 and then just avoid picking him in battle. Note that Swordies fly, so you can summon them when there's a hole in front of Megaman.

VirusAtkMax Selection Pattern - J-H-E-(Ω)-
4 frames/choice
Default - Jelly

Codes - J,E,R,L,Y
They cycle a little faster than Swordies, but it's in order, so with good timing you can actually choose which one attacks. The attack is always a 3-row ground-based wave that damages the first thing in each row unless there's a hole in the way. You're picking for the right element or attack power. The Omega version is much stronger than the others and makes the first-level version obsolete. You may want to focus all the bugfrags in just the Omega version and work on your timing to summon it every time. The attack levels of the other three aren't great compared to the basic chip equivalents. For some reason your Jellies can't fly. They appear to be hovering same as always, but they refuse to be summoned over a hole panel, like all the ground-ridden viruses.
VirusAtkMax Selection Pattern - Random
18 frames/choice
Default - Mushy
8, 12, 16, (16) seconds of confusion
Codes - C,H,M,S,Y
At about a third of a second per option, the Mushies cycle the slowest of all your viruses, but they switch randomly. So if you want to pick the one you want, you'll need quick reflexes. The attack range is always the panels adjacent to the Mushy, like the way the virus attacks normally rather than how the Spice chips work. Though unlike the way the enemy Mushies attack, you do not need grass panels for them to sit on, just solid ground. Any enemies that get hit suffer confusion status for a lengthly time that increases with the virus' level. With the combination of reliability, attack range, and added confusion effect, this is one of the better virus chips available.

VirusAtkMax Selection Pattern - Random
8 frames/choice
Default - Momogra

Codes - M,O,G,R,U
The Momoguran's attack is a shovel-whack to the face of whatever is in the panel in front of it. Simple, but effective, as the attack levels are very high compared to most of the other viruses here. Selection is quick and random, so hedge your bets by spreading the bugfrags around, if you use these guys at all.
VirusAtkMax Selection Pattern - K-D-J-(Ω)-
10 frames/choice
Default - KillerEye
Straight, Up, Down, (Straight)
Codes - K,I,L,E,R
These guys mostly have the same base attack, and cycle through a pattern slow enough to predict. The gimmick here is aiming. The first and last versions fire their laser straight down the row, the second version fires diagonally upwards, and the third version fires diagonally downwards. For attack power, you'll want tp try for the Omega version, obviously. Otherwise, putting all your bugfrags on KillerEye and just letting the five seconds run out so it gets picked automatically can have good, reliable results. Like the Swordies, these guys fly, so they can be summoned even over a hole panel.

VirusAtkMax Selection Pattern - F-A-E-(W-(Ω)-N)-
4 frames/choice
Default - Scutz (Scuttlest)

Codes - D,R,E,A,M
The "misterious" Dream Bit family is the biggest, most powerful, and most diverse in the Breeder. They come in three groups instead of just two, and even have two defaults depending on how complete the family is when the chip is used. It's predictably the fire-elemental Scutz if you've only collected the first group, but once you get the second group, you'll attack with Scuttlest whenever you let the five seconds run out. Scuttlest is usually pretty powerful all things considered, but in this context the looks are a bit deceiving. Let's look at the family member attacks individually:
Scutz - FireTower - Wave of fire travels along the ground and bends toward the nearest enemies. Strong and reliable, this actually makes a better default attack than Scuttlest's.
Scuttle - IceCube - Creates a cube in the next panel and launches it straight down the row, damaging the first enemy in hits. This should be a breaking-type, but it's not for some reason. It also won't leave the cube at the end of the field like the enemy's version does either.
Scuttler - Lightning - Bolt strikes every enemy onscreen.
Scuttzer - GreenRope - Vines entangle everything on the enemy's side, holding them and gradually dealing an additional 120 damage (unless it's a human player that can just wriggle free.) Though it's the weakest base attack in the set, this is actually the best potential move.
Scuttlest and ScuttleΩ - Laser - Non-elemental beam fired straight down the row. Note that Scuttlest's attack power is the same as KillerEye's, and KillerEye has the elemental and shield/invis-piercing advantage, so Scuttlest is actually pretty sucky here. At least the Omega version has the advantage in attack power.

I would aim for the wood-elemental Scuttzer most of the time. It's basically a stronger verision of your Plantman chips, which are pretty badass by themselves. They flash by pretty quickly, so you need to rely on timing. The pattern is a little odd when the Omega version comes in. The Omega is usually at the end of the cycle, but in the Scuts' case, it comes before Scuttlest.

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