The aim of Virus is to be the last person to become "infected". You become infected if an infected character touches you, and you remain infected until the end of the match. In Arcade League, virus is slight difference where the match is over the moment you get tagged by a virus and the match still keeps going after everyone but you is virus. This is to make the match dependent on surviving as long as you can instead of being the last one.
In Timesplitters 2, it's always the first bot selected who starts as virus while Timesplitters Future Perfect is random. A human controlled player can never start off as the virus, and so will always be running from them. In TimeSplitters Future Perfect, infected characters gain a slight speed boost making it impossible to escape if you just run in a straight line. The match can be set with a time limit, or you can just play until there is only one winner.
Bots never tries to kill anyone, not even viruses. They only attack sometimes if being attacked by a player. They are still searching for weapons despite not even using them.
To get the most out of this game, create a custom weapon set consisting entirely of "unarmed". This will leave you unable to simply shoot pursuing viruses and make the game much more challenging. It is also best to play on a small or a medium map, since there is more chance of running into an infected character. Levels with small corridors are also perfect for playing Virus in.
In TimeSplitters Future Perfect, the Virus mode also emits a geiger counter (used when detecting radiation - a "clicking" sound) once you start playing that certain game. This clicking sound alerts you of approaching enemies. The more frantic the clicking, the closer you are to an "infected" enemy, and vice versa. This technique only applies to the Player One, and not others in the multiplayer modes. Also, Character Abilities are lost so all the characters are evenly matched to run away from the Virus. The weapon of choice is the Mag-Charger because it can shoot through walls, making it easier to find and kill the virus. The mag-charger is looked down upon by users however, especially in virus mode. Using the mag-charger almost ALWAYS results in the infected characters collaborating in an insane bumrush upon the offending character, frequently killing him after infecting to rub it in further. It should be noted that killing the virus causes it to spawn again and may cause your route of escape to become blocked.
A common strategy attempted by novices is to commit suicide if a virus is on their tail. This however, was predicted by the Free Radical Design staff, and if someone is to die by their own hand, they are respawned as an infected. This makes certain levels, such as Zeppelin, even more fun to play virus in due to the possibility of trapdoors causing you to plummet to your doom, which the game interprets as suicide.
Another great tactic is to stay away from ALL enemies, partially eliminating the chance of getting tagged in the first place.
In Timesplitters Future Perfect, rounds takes longer than Timesplitters 2 due to the line of sight glitch where bots can only tag others by the player's sight. This can make the match difficult, especially with many bots around because bots are safe outside your sight while you still gets chased and you have to meet bots without virus to become last one standing. The match is a bit dependent on your sight to win.
- It is possible for a human player to be a Virus, but this is mostly pointless, as it requires all other bots to be removed (Thus the game ends as soon as it begins). However, this can be used for 3 or 4-way multiplayer.