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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: With some diseases, you have to wonder: is everything you make naturally occurring? Or was it engineered? Some players have a tendency to have a headcanon in which the virus they made was made by a country as a form of population control Gone Horribly Right.
  • Awesome Music: The Neurax Worm and Adverse Reactions.
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  • Breather Level: The "Santa's Little Helper" scenario is the easiest to beat among the scenarios that force you into a certain plague type (and maybe even among those that don't), due to the type in question being the Neurax Worm (see Game-Breaker below). On top of the normal perks like Trojan Planes, you don't need to evolve a special symptom to get an instant win when everyone's infected, some symptoms open ports and make them stay open, others decrease the cure, and most of what's left increases infectivity.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Total Organ Failure and Coma tends to be the go-to symptom when it comes time to kill everyone. Total Organ Failure is a very lethal symptom while Coma helps to slow down the cure. Best of all they're both connected to each other in the symptom tree, making it almost impossible to not pick both of them up.
      • Many Mega-Brutal strategies favor Necrosis, since it allows the deceased to act as a transmission vector, allowing you to start killing much sooner than you normally would (the usual strategy of "Stay under the radar until everyone's infected, then hit the kill switch" tends to fail in Mega-Brutal due to random check-ups exposing your disease, prompting accelerated cure research, so time is of the essence). The tree that leads to it—Rash, Sweating, Skin Lesions—also gives a decent amount of Severity and Infectivity.
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    • If a Scenario lets the player pick the plague type, 9 times out of 10 it'll be the Neurax Worm (See Game-Breaker below).
    • Many players of the game tend to prefer playing as the Neurax Worm or Necroa Virus as they are usually seen as the most interesting and most of the other plagues are viewed more as Boring, but Practical.
    • Several players have a starting country that they swear by.
      • Tired of infecting everywhere except Greenland? Start there. Problem solved.
      • A good second-pick is Russia - plenty of people to infect before it becomes noticeable, gives some useful cold resistance, and they're one of the few ports that reliably visit Greenland.
      • China is also a really good pick - access to a seaport and an airport, home to 1/7 of the world's population, and shares a border with Russia.
      • India is also common for similar reasons, having a high population pool that beats China, trading "Borders Russia" for "Disease starts with some heat resistance".
      • Saudi Arabia is a popular choice for the heat resistance and having an airport that visits a lot of other countries, as well as a seaport that visits some good places, including the other major headache island, Madagascar.
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    • With the exception of a few plague types, the strategy is to pretty much spread the disease with no symptoms so no one notices it, then when the entire planet is infected, flip the kill switch. This is probably why the newer additions to the game give the disease some severity by default to prevent this from happening.
    • Similarly to countries, many players swear by one set of genetic traits at the beginning of the game.
      • One of the most commonly chosen genes before beginning the game is Aquacyte, which increases the chance of your plague spreading by sea. Helpful for getting those pesky island countries.
      • Another common one is Genetic Mimic, which flat out makes the plague harder to cure. Good for Mega-Brutal strategies where every second you can delay the cure counts.
      • The genes to keep costs from increasing (Sympto, Patho and Trans-Stasis) is often favored. Sympto-Stasis is often preferred since there's a ton of symptoms to choose and is needed to infect and kill people. Combining these genes with the aforementioned Genetic Mimic helps to counter the drawback on making the plague easier to cure.
      • Catalytic Switch is another good one for Mega-Brutal; it makes it so you get DNA from popping blue cure bubbles, which is a good way to get DNA in the late-game and keep you from running out of gas.
      • Extremophile gets you a minor bonus in every environment type (arid, humid, rural, urban), which many players believe is better than a major bonus in only one like the other environment genes give you.
  • Creepy Awesome: Planetary biological genocide? Awesome. Creepy? You bet.
  • Creepy Cute: Look at the Neurax Worm! Isn't that such a pettable harbinger of genocide/slavery?
    • Even more so in "Santa's Little Helper"; just try not to squee at the mental images brought on by some of the Transmission descriptions, like "Stocking Filler" (Worms make themselves look cute and cuddly, then go to sleep in toy shops) or "Fair-Weather Friend" (Worms develop a dislike of rain, preferring to snuggle indoors with humans).
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Killing a dog through deliberate infection? Cruel. Killing Kim Shardakian's Pugapoo dog with the Nipah virus, and "making a celebrity cry" and calling PETA in the process? Hysterical!
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Z-COM can feel like this when playing as the Necroa Virus. They'll appear the moment zombies start appearing, lock down one of the least infected nations in the world almost overnight and if you don't pin them down immediately with zombies, they'll start spreading and building bases around the world. They lock down countries quickly and once a country is locked down, even throwing million of zombies at the problem doesn't seem to dislodge them without considerable effort. If the cure has already been found and Z-Com starts spreading, you might as well restart.
    • Templar Industries are essentially the Z-COM of the Shadow Plague. They pop up quicker thanks to the regular killings that the vampire needs to make, essentially throwing true stealth out the window. Once they do, they'll start targeting vampire lairs with drone strikes (which you cannot avoid, since lairs are not mobile like the Simian Flu's Ape Colonies), fortify countries against vampire attack which gets stronger over time and significantly boost the cure research rate. Finally, when the vampire destroys one, it makes the others stronger. This, on top of the WHO research laboratories that are also contributing to the cure, means that you need to keep your vampire(s) on the move between lairs and other nations outside of Templar control, evolving the necessary vampire powers and symptoms for the Shadow Plague in order to take out these bases, or otherwise suffer a VERY swift defeat. Many Mega-Brutal strategies focus on the vampire first, making him strong enough to take down Templar Industries completely, before evolving anything related to the Shadow Plague. They're that dangerous.
  • Heartwarming Moments:
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: There's no denying the fact that beating "Santa's Little Helper" is done by brainwashing everyone into cheering up. Whether or not the happiness-free dystopia that existed prior made this welcome depends on who you ask.
  • Fridge Logic: Trojan Planes can fly anywhere... even to countries without airports.
    • Fridge Horror: They crash, maybe?
    • Or make belly landings. Who says the Worm can't control people to be skilled pilots?
    • You don't need a runway to land a plane, just a sufficiently long, flat stretch of land.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Scenarios giving you too much trouble? All hail the Neurax Worm. It laughs in the faces of most Scenarios due to the Trojan Plane mechanics bypassing travel restrictions, giving an instant win condition or at worst a significant one symptom advantage (Transcendence), giving out insane amounts of DNA, and infection rate. And the disease traits activated before a game (particularly the one which allows symptoms to not increase in cost) only make it easier to win. Even on Mega-Brutal, it's at worst a minor challenge if you play your cards right.
    • Viruses' most notable trait is their tendency to mutate rapidly, which is normally either very bad or very good. However, traits exist that can substantially reduce the cost of devolving symptoms. Combine this with another trait which further increases mutation speed, and you can easily get massive heaps of DNA with no real drawbacks - and once it's time to start killing people off, half of the symptoms needed to increase lethality will come up with minimal waiting and no cost.
    • Mutations are chosen to occur long before they trigger, but the game randomly picks which mutation the second it occurs. Proper use of Save Scumming (and the ability to mutate things such as abilities) can evolve very expensive and/or useful traits for free. This is extremely effective when playing the Mega-Brutal mode for Parasite which doesn't get as much DNA.
    • Before the developers patched the "Where Is Everyone" scenario to fix the Good Bad Bug, the Simian Flu was able to make to mode a breeze, to the point where even Mega-Brutal can be beaten in less than a year in-game.
    • Severity, or rather, the lack of it. If you get the value low enough, usually due to a lack of symptoms, you can easily infect the entire world with zero risk of it getting discovered until you evolve the symptoms that are needed in order to kill. Then once everybody is infected, you can simply evolve the nessecary symptoms to kill rapidly and humanity will be dead before they can make any significant progress towards the cure. Logically this is easier to do for some plague types than others.
  • Genius Bonus: Biology enthusiasts might Squee! at the amount of real scientific terms in the game.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Two years after this game was released, an Ebola outbreak occured.
  • Nausea Fuel: Upgrade enough in the Neurax/Necroa modes, and the results are quite disgusting.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The addition of the Simian Flu allows Plague Inc. to retain its widespread popularity and praise while also making it a licensed game, putting this trope into effect.
  • Polished Port: Plague Inc.: Evolved, for Steam, released February 20th, 2014.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: For Pandemic. Dark Realm Studios (the Pandemic dev company), tried to call out James Vaughan, Plague Inc.'s developer, on this, despite James already citing Pandemic as an inspiration.
  • Surprise Difficulty: Brutal Mode and Mega-Brutal mode, as well as Bio-Weapon, Smallpox, and Black Death. For those unaware, those three kill real fast, so different strategies are required before they kill all their hosts in less than 2 minutes of starting.
    • Mad Cow Disease in its scenario. Not only does it start with symptoms with a lot of Severity (meaning you'll be noticed quite quickly, especially on higher difficulties), humans know a lot about it from previous outbreaks, so the cure goes fast. It's believed to be mathematically impossible to get Three Biohazards on Mega-Brutal in this scenario, it's that hard.
  • That One Achievement: Not Another Zombie Game (kill everyone in Necroa Virus without using zombies) was pretty hard until it was debuffed.
  • That One Boss:
    • Greenland. Boats rarely travel there, and in normal cases, nigh impossible to reach without special perks. Lampshaded in the Pirate Plague scenario description: "...How will anyone get to Greenland now?". This is compounded by Greenland's low population density and cold climate, which makes it very slow to infect, even once you do get there.
    • To a lesser extent, Madagascar and the Caribbean, which also only have a single, relatively rarely visited port, as well as Iceland and New Zealand, which are slightly easier to infect due to their airports, but still get relatively little traffic and are wealthy enough to afford advanced medicine that makes their populations resistant to infection.
  • That One Level:
    • The Smallpox scenario starts you off with an already severe and lethal pathogen, meaning you are likely to be spotted almost immediately without intervention. Worse yet, the cure meter rises much faster than a typical game to simulate the fact that scientists know how to treat smallpox. Finally, vaccines are put into place when the disease is spotted, slowing the infection rate of any country that has spotted the disease. Your special abilities include Vaccine Shields, which force you to spend DNA points just to bypass the existing smallpox vaccines. You can also evolve into a less lethal strain of smallpox, which will help you from getting snuffed out in the early portion of the game, but make it that much harder to kill humanity once you've got most of the population infected.
    • Fungus. It's the most difficult plague to spread over distances, requiring you to invest a ridiculous amount of DNA points in transmission. In fact, its main mode of transmission is purchasing "Spore Bursts" which infect a random uninfected country anywhere in the world, and there's a very good chance that it will either be an island country or a country with a climate you haven't evolved to infect yet. And by the time you've brought the infection rates high enough and got enough people sick worldwide, the world will be well on its way to developing a cure and you will have spent so much DNA on evolving transmission that it will be very difficult to evolve your disease to be able to kill faster than the world can research. However, through using the Patho-Stasis Gene, the difficulty can be skipped considerably.
    • Necroa Virus, mostly due to the massive Difficulty Spike it has. You need to spend tons of DNA to get through it, devolving symptoms costs you a lot of DNA points, even one symptom can get you noticed, and the Z-COM can survive even after you throw millions of fully upgraded zombies at them. Even when played with the "Creationist" perk, sometimes devolving a symptom causes the game to immediately throw another at you.
    • The Shadow Plague, in combining elements from the previous three unique plagues, also seems to have adopted the Necroa Virus's above difficulty spike. Vampires are your main vector for spreading the plague. However, they drop like flies when fighting against Templar Forts if not sufficiently upgraded, and it is extremely expensive to create a new one. This means that keeping your starting vampire alive for most of, if not the entire game, is a must.
    • Mutation 15's "Mad Cow Disease" scenario. It has the same issues as the Bubonic Plague and Smallpox, if not more. First, it's a Prion, making it have a slow reaction to symptoms and lacking major Infectivity. It also starts with a ton of Severity, increasing the chances to be detected early on. You can devolve most of the symptoms before that happens, but you'll have to put up with the extremely lethal Acute Encephalitis occasionally mutating. Transmissions are the only way to get the infection going, but they are expensive even with Trans-stasis. You also need to evolve a special ability to infect plants, and each transmission type increases mutation chance (which goes back to the Acute Encephalitis point). On top of that, it lacks the Prion's unique ability to slow cure research. Long-time Plague Inc. veteran Pravus Gaming said it took him 22 tries to beat it on Mega-Brutal. He got one star and declared getting three to be mathematically impossible, saying he struggled to do so on Casual.

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