Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends Cao Cao FAQ v1.10
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Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends Cao Cao FAQ

by Zotmaster   Updated to v1.10 on
Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends
Cao Cao Character FAQ Version 1.10
Handle: Zotmaster
Copyright 2004 Dan "Zotmaster" Christler
Contact: zotmaster@mindless.com

Table of Contents

1. Version History
2. About Cao Cao
3. Unlocking Cao Cao
4. Why Use Cao Cao?
5. Move Set/General Strategy
6. Cao Cao's Legend
7. Unlocking Level 10 Weapon
8. Unlocking Level 11 Weapon
9. Unlocking Costumes
10. Orb Evaluation
11. Item Evaluation
12. Close

1. Version History

1.10 - 9.9.04 - Completed what I intended to write for this guide.  The "S"
strategy kind of seems like a cop-out, but with practice, it works for me,
so I'm sure it can work for you.  There won't be any more updates unless
someone sends me something useful and/or interesting, in which case I'm sure
I'll post again.  It's been fun.

1.05 - 9.2.04 - Minor corrections and more of Cao Cao's backstory added.
Still working on a reliable "S" rank strategy for Legend Mode: I still
die roughly 50% of the time I try to run through it.

1.0 - 8.30.04 - Started this FAQ.

2. About Cao Cao

(Source: in-game Encyclopedia)

Cao Cao: 155-220

The Wei Ruler.  He was labeled the "hero of a troubled land."  Skilled in the
arts and in warfare, he wrote numerous books on strategy and tactics.  During
the Yellow Turban Rebellion, he joined the Imperial army, distinguishing
himself on the field of battle.  Following the death of Dong Zhuo, he
strengthened his foothold in the troubled central plains, thereby establishing
the foundation for what would become the giant Wei Empire.

(Source: http://kongming.net/novel/kma/caocao.php)

(Note: Cao Cao's original name is Cao Mengde.  I have referred to it as
only Cao Cao to avoid confusion.)

Cao Cao was a descendant of Cao Can, the Prime Minister of the Western Han 
Dynasty. As a young man, Cao Cao was said to be very clever, tricky, 
unconventional, self-indulgent and loyal. Cao Caoç—´ father Cao Song was 
originally of the Xiahou Family, but was adopted by the eunuch Cao Teng, 
and therefore took the Cao family name.

At the age of twenty Cao Cao, after completing the district exams, received 
recommendation for filial piety and integrity, which resulted in his first 
official appointment. Cao Cao proved himself to be worthy of higher 
responsibility and was put in command of security in the Capital District 
of Luo Yang. He adhered to strict rules and discipline, and no troops under 
his command would dare break the laws.

Next in line for Cao Cao was the office of Magistrate in Dun Qiu, and was 
then enlisted at the court as Counselor. At the beginning of the 
Yellow Turban rebellion in AD 184, Cao Cao was elevated to the 
rank of Cavalry Commander and led troops to Ying Chuan district.

After the rebellion was subdued, Cao Cao held the position of Commandant 
of the Valiant Army and in AD 190, fled to Ji Wu after failing to assassinate 
Dong Zhuo. From the on, Cao Cao took matters into his own hand and formed 
his own army of talented officers and soldiers. Using a forged Imperial 
Decree, Cao Cao rallied together seventeen other Lords to fight against 
Dong Zhuo.

For this Cao Cao was appointed Governor of Dong Jun. In the year AD 192, 
Cao Cao forced over three hundred thousand Yellow Turbans to surrender 
to him at Ji Bei. In the first year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 196), Cao Cao 
defeated several smaller lords and was appointed General Who Establishes 
Firm Virtue and titled Lord of Feiting. At this point, Cao Cao took 
Emperor Xian to Xu Chang as a hostage and used him as puppet Emperor. 
With this new power, Cao Cao elevated himself to Great General and 
Lord of Wuping.

In the fifth year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 200), Cao Cao killed Lu Bu, 
made Zhang Xiu surrender and fought against Liu Bei. He conquered the 
counties of Ji Zhou and after fighting Yuan Shao at Guan Du, pacified all 
of the north. In June of the thirteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 208), 
Cao Cao appointed himself as Prime Minister of the Han. The next month, 
Cao Cao started a war against Liu Biao in Jing Zhou, in September he fought 
Liu Bei, and in December suffered major casualties at Chi Bi.

In the summer of the sixteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 211), 
Cao Cao fought Ma Chao and Han Sui in the west. A year later he received 
the title Duke of Wei from Emperor Xian and assumed the Nine Dignities 
of a patriarchal lord. In the spring of AD 213, Cao Cao led an army 
to Ru Xu Mountain where he captured Gongsun Yang. The next year, Cao Cao 
received the Imperial Jade Seal from the Emperor, placing him above all 
the other lords.

In the twentieth year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 215), after annihilating 
Zhang Lu in Han Zhong, Cao Cao was authorized by Emperor Xian to appoint 
vassals in the Kingdom and to appoint the three Great Ministers. In May 
of the next year, he assumed the titled King of Wei. 
Two years later (AD 217), Cao Cao fought against Liu Bei at Han Zhong but 
was forced to withdraw to Chang An.

In January of the twenty-fifth year of Rebuilt Tranquility, (AD 220), 
Cao Cao passed away after a stroke. He was buried at Gao Ling the 
next month. Posthumously he was titled King Wu.

3. Unlocking Cao Cao

Well, it's pretty simple.  Whether you're playing DW4 or DW4:XL, he's always
available, right off the bat, for Wei.  Easy enough.

4. Why Use Cao Cao?

The short answer for using Cao Cao is because he, like most sword users, is
fairly well-rounded, which means he is a good character for beginners and
experts alike.  The long answer is still due to his balance, but there is
a much more in-depth explanation.  He's not as powerful as Lu Bu, as fast
as Xiao Qiao, or as good a crowd clearer as SSX, but in all honesty, he
doesn't need to be.  When it comes to sword users, Cao Cao is the best,
mostly because his swings are wider without a sacrifice to his power.  Unless
enemies are standing right behind you, Cao Cao isn't as likely to be hit as
some of the other characters.  What this means is you can attack in
comparative safety.  Cao Cao gets a huge benefit from a Wind Scroll and
can then clear away any enemies with ease.  Combine this with a good Orb
and Cao Cao becomes the mass murderer he was in DW3.  Having five items
certainly doesn't hurt him, either.

5. Move Set/General Strategy

Nothing terribly fancy here.  Just good old-fashioned beatdown.

S: A horizontal slash to the left.
SS: Same thing, back to the right.
SSS: A vertical slash up and to the left.
SSSS: A horizontal slash back to the right.
SSSSS: Yep, another horizontal slash, this one to the left.
SSSSSS: With a grunt, Cao Cao delivers a final horizontal slash to the right.

S (while running): Cao Cao lunges and hits with the butt of his sword.  It
can stun enemies, but the range is very short and other characters have much,
much better running attacks.

S (in the air): A wide horizontal slash to the right.  It comes out fairly
quickly and has decent enough range.  Like other air attacks, it's not
terribly powerful, but if you're in the air it's useful enough.

If you never used his charge attacks, these attacks would still prove quite
useful, since the horizontal slashes - especially the later ones - are wide
and therefore make for decent crowd control.  Of course, charge attacks are
a lot more fun, so let's look at those:

T: Cao Cao charges, then swings his sword to the right, unleashing an 
elemental attack that's tied to whatever Orb you're currently using.  If the
Musou bar is full and/or you're using either his 10th or 11th level weapon,
you'll get three projectiles in front of you instead.  A hit knocks enemies
over, but the charge up time is a little long and the range isn't good enough
to make up for it.
ST: A vertical slash that hits enemies straight up into the air above you.
It can only hit a few enemies, only gives you two hits, and is pretty much
universally un-useful.  Don't bother with it.
SST (TTTT): Depending on how many hits your weapon can deliver, you can get
up to 7 hits out of this.  Cao Cao zig zags from side to side, delivering
horizontal slashes as he moves forward.  With the right Orb, this move is
absolutely devastating.  Cao Cao's direction can be altered a bit if you're
pressing the stick in a certain direction, so if you're trying to hit one
particular enemy or a small group, make sure you're facing the right direction
or the later hits will miss.  My attack of choice for Cao Cao.
SSST: A wide horizontal slash that hits roughly a 180-degree arc.  This
knocks whatever it hits out of your way, so if enemies are concentrated in
front of you, this move makes for suitable crowd control.
SSSST (T): Launches enemies straight up into the air.  If you hit T again,
Cao Cao will jump up and slash them twice, sending them to the ground.
Without an Orb and without pressing T again, this move can function as an
infinite juggle against common enemies, which makes it useful if you are
in desperate need of Meat Buns since a combo over 16 hits will make common
enemies drop an item.  With an Orb, the enemy will get knocked too far away.
Against a general, they usually are able to recover before you can
"cheese" them to death.  It doesn't work well against groups, and Cao Cao
has better moves against generals, so this move isn't really necessary.
SSSSST (TTTTT): Cao Cao delivers up to 5 additional horizontal slashes as he
lunges forward.  His direction can again be altered a bit if you're pressing
the control stick in a direction, so be aware of that.  This move absolutely
rocks against generals and is still pretty useful against crowds.  His SST
is a little bit more useful against crowds but you still won't be disappointed
with this move.  This is the other attack you'll find yourself using often.

T (in the air): Cao Cao does a somersault then lunges his sword into the
ground beneath him.  Very rarely will enemies let you pull this move off.
More often than not, you'll just get slashed out of the air.  Don't bother.

Musou attacks:

C: Cao Cao alternates between slashing to the left and slashing down as
he spins forward.  He then ends it with a very, very wide swing that, while
it does not quite reach all the way around him, it comes very close.  It's
a little tricky to combo a general with, but with a little practice it can
still be done.  The last hit knocks enemies away and therefore clears a lot
of room around Cao Cao, which is very helpful if you're surrounded.  It's not
the best Musou attack the game has to offer, but with a little practice it
won't let you down.

C (True Musou): Same thing as the Musou, but as the bar winds down, Cao Cao 
gets multiple lightsaber-type swings from side to side that are quite wide.  
He then finishes as usual.  This attack has Fire, regardless of your Orbs.

Horse attacks:

S: Back and forth swings.  Nothing special.
T: Two swings, one on each side.  A little more powerful, but that's it.
C: Swings back and forth.  Yawn.  It looks a little cooler and does more
damage, but that's it.  Fighting on horseback is mostly a yawner.

6. Cao Cao's Legend

Battle: Escape from Chi Bi
Restriction: No bodyguards
Winning Condition: Reach escape point (top of map)
Losing Condition: Death
Other Condition: Start at 1/3 Health.  Ouch.

Huang Gai and Ling Tong start off a little ahead of you on opposite sides.
An enemy stronghold lies to the right of Ling Tong.  Seal it.  Shortly after
you start, you'll hear that Guan Yu lies up ahead.  Zhang Liao and Xu Zhu
tell you that they'll handle it.  Get the Meat Bun from the boxes by the
gate, and also one from the Gate Captain.  If you still need health, clear
the area out and juggle one enemy for at least 16 hits to score yourself one.
Mop up Huang Gai, then Ling Tong.  Creep to the northwest slowly, allowing
the enemies to come to you.  By doing this, you can take out most of
Gan Ning and Lu Meng's troops without drawing attention of either of the
generals themselves.  Both of them tend to notice you at the same time, so
chipping away at their forces makes dealing with them a lot easier.  Once
they come after you, single one of them out and get rid of him.  Gan Ning
is a bigger threat, but I find Lu Meng is easier for me to defeat.  Deal
with one then finish off the other.

Head north.  Once you talk the bridge, Cao Cao talks some smack, only to
find that the joke's on him as Zhao Yun shows up ahead.  Head up there
and take him out.  If your generals are nearby, this isn't too hard to do.
Along the left side of the map where you just fought is a big old chicken
that gives you 200 health.  Take it if you need it.  Otherwise, just look
around: there are lots of elite troops in this stage, so there may be
more Meat Buns on the ground than you might normally expect.

Head northwest to the enemy stronghold and seal it.  Continue north, dealing
with the enemies as you go.  Zhang Fei will soon seal the escape point.
D'oh! Keep going.  Once you pass the watchtowers on either side, Xu Huang
shows up by the stronghold you just sealed as reinforcements.  Either wait
for him or just keep going: he'll catch up.  Guan Ping will come up and say
hi to your army.  Respond in kind and take him out.  Don't go too far up
before you do this or Zhang Fei and Zhou Cang will attack you as well.
Mop up, then deal with the two of them.  All your generals should still be
alive at this point so again, the fighting isn't too hard.  Zhang He then
shows up near the top right of the map.  Once you defeat Zhang Fei, the 
escape point is secure...until Guan Yu shows up there, that is.  Keep heading
towards the escape point, then watch the cutscene.  Walk up to the escape
point and the stage is over.  This won't net you an "S" rank but it's easy.

In order to obtain the "S" rank, there really are only general guidelines
in terms of strategy, since the enemies are so much stronger and durable.

First, max out another character besides Cao Cao.  Collect items.  Build
weapon levels.  All that jazz.  Grab a friend and make him play another
character.  The extra help makes a big difference.

There are basically two general strategies you can use to take on this

The first is to gang up on one general.  Pretty simple: you both just focus
on only the general in question and take him out as quickly as possible.
While the enemy is blocking one of your combos, have the other character
circle around the side and attack him, breaking his guard and allowing you
some free shots.  Easier said than done, of course, and you'll have to deal
with enemies doing the same to you.  You can reduce this somewhat by moving
away from the generals.  Once you're a certain distance away, they won't
pursue.  Creep forward a bit until they start after you, then slowly move
away, but not quickly enough that they stop chasing you.  If you can get
even a small group away from the main group of enemies, this makes the task
of killing generals a great deal easier.

The second strategy is to have one person attack the general while the other
character deals with the main force.  Don't underestimate the enemies,
though: they're tough, and they can take a lot of damage.  Unless one of you
is playing a great crowd clearer like SSX or someone with really, really
wide and long-ranged attacks like Lu Bu, you're probably going to get
stomped, and if either one of you dies, it's game over.

Keep in mind, also, that the two of you start at 1/3 health.  This makes
even a lowly Meat Bun seem vital.  Don't forget that you can get one from Gate
Captains, the crates and urns around Gate Captains, and if you can juggle
an enemy for 16 hits or more.  Don't forget: it could save your life.  There's
also a +200 health chicken in the urns where Zhao Yun ambushes you.  At any
rate, practice fighting cautiously before you try to gung-ho these generals:
even a single combo can take more than half of your health away.  You don't
have that much to spare.

Failing all this, you can always cheat and change the difficulty, like so:

1. Start a game on Expert difficulty.
2. Save mid-game.
3. Change the game difficulty to Novice.
4. Do not re-start the saved mid-game.
5. Start a new game.
6. Soft reset in-game (Select+Start).
7. Re-start the saved mid-game.

(Taken from Muni Shinobu's guide.  Thanks for the great tip.)

Use it if you're really hurting...or, I guess, if you're lazy.

7. Unlocking Level 10 Weapon

You can get Cao Cao's Level 10 Weapon, Wrath of Heaven, in either DW4 or
DW4:XL.  This is an XL guide, so I'll only post how to get it in XL.

You must be playing on Legend Mode, you must be playing Cao Cao's Legend,
and you must be playing on either Hard or Expert Mode.

Getting it is pretty simple.  Defeat every general except Guan Yu before
Xu Huang shows up.  You have about ten minutes before this happens, so be
quick about it.

8. Unlocking Level 11 Weapon

You must, again, complete these requirements in Legend Mode, on Expert
difficulty this time around.  This can be really hard, so make sure you
bring along a second player: it can make a big difference.  Make sure, of
course, that you pick Cao Cao.  Without further ado, acquire King of Wei
like so:

Take out Zhao Yun, Guan Ping, Zhang Fei, and Zhou Cang before any of your
reinforcements arrive (approximately ten minutes).  Note that if any of your
starting officers fall, the reinforcements arrive sooner.  You'll see the
cutscene where Guan Yu lets Cao Cao go.  After this happens, get 200 KOs.

Power: +60
Added Effects: Level 18 Tortoise Amulet, Level 12 Huang's Bow,
Level 16 Cavalry Armor, Level 20 Seven Star Sash

9. Unlocking Costumes

Costume 1: Initial.  You start out with this.

Costume 2: Like the first, only with a purple theme instead.  The cape
starts as a darker purple and gets lighter as it nears the bottom.  You
unlock this ugliness at rank 12.

Costume 3: Just like Costume 1, except the cape has a red flame pattern on
the bottom this time around.  Pretty cool.  You get this at rank 7.

Costume 4: Just like Costume 2, a light purple flame pattern on the bottom.
Somehow, it just doesn't seem right.  You also get this at rank 7.

Costume 5: Cao Cao's DW3 outfit, complete with long sash.  Cao Cao's legs
don't glitch through the outfit when you run this time around, which should
make most people happy.  Anyway, you get this when you max your rank.

Costume 6: Just like Costume 5, except Cao Cao's clothing is white and the
sash is a purple-blue mix.  Max out your rank and you get this as well.

10. Orb Evaluation

Unlike in DW3, where ultimate weapons may have had an elemental effect
already on them, you have to find "Orbs", which each contain a certain
element, and equip those to get the desired effect.  Each character also
has an affinity for certain Orbs.  You get the effects by using charge
attacks.  Your Musou bar must be full, or you have to be using a Level 10
or Level 11 weapon to get their effects.  Here's a rundown of each Orb:

Fire: Burns the enemy, adding extra damage.  The higher the level, the more
damage it adds.  If you ask me, it still doesn't add very much, so unless
this is the only high level Orb you have, don't bother using it.

Lightning: Shocks the enemy, adding extra damage and knocking them over.  It
will also do this to enemies that are nearby.  Sometimes the lightning bolts
can "steal" your kills - which sucks against generals - but taking out
enemies that surround you is, suffice to say, a very, very good thing.
It just so happens that Cao Cao also has an affinity with this Orb.  Use it
and smile.

Vorpal: This Orb gives a chance to instantly kill regular enemies or add
extra damage to generals.  While this is not as good as the Death element
was in DW3, it is still quite useful.  It just so happens Cao Cao has an
affinity for this Orb as well.  Use his SST or SSSSST for maximum effect.

Ice: Freezes the enemy and also lowers their defense.  At high levels, this
Orb makes dealing with generals a great deal easier, but Lightning and
Vorpal just work better, so again, unless this is the only good Orb you
have, don't bother with it.

Blast: Sucks.  Really.  Honestly.  It allows you to damage enemies while
they're blocking, but the damage dealt is really, really low.  You can use
this to gain Weapon Exp, but you're much better off just circling behind
the enemies and whacking them in the back.  Chuck this Orb.

Poison: Enemies hit by this have their defenses reduced.  Sounds good,
right? Wrong.  Even at high levels, the duration is so short that by the time
you recover from whatever charge attack you just performed, the poison will
have already worn off.  Basically, I'm saying this Orb is useless.  Pray
that you find other Orbs.

11. Item Evaluation

Rather than bore you with a description of each and every item you can find,
I'll instead just give you a short list of items that make Cao Cao tick.

Saddles: No question here.  Use Red Hare if you're in a hurry, and use 
Shadow Runner if you aren't.  Using Shadow Runner keeps you from falling 
off horses, so if you like fighting on horseback, it's your baby.  
Otherwise, Red Hare is really freaking fast, so use it to get to 
quickly go where you want to go.

Orbs: Lightning or Vorpal.  Read above.

Peacock Urn: Especially in the beginning, the extra life it gives you is
invaluable.  More life, my friends, is a good thing.  Use it.

Tiger Amulet: Higher attack power means you kill things a lot faster.
Get it? Got it? Good.

Tortoise Amulet: At higher levels, it's even better than the Peacock Urn
since it increases your defense.  Of course, it's better to not get hit
at all, but failing that, a good defense always helps.

Wind Scroll: This increases Cao Cao's reach drastically.  It seems to work
the best on the sword users for some reason.  Regardless, it makes it a
whole lot easier to clear out crowds, so make sure you use it.

Elixir: At high levels, it charges your Musou bar a whole lot faster.  If
you can't get it at least above Level 10, though, don't bother.

The Way of Musou: Every Musou attack becomes a True Musou attack.  This
allows you to pile the damage on the enemies.  You know you want to.

Seven Star Sash: This increases your luck.  It increases the odds of enemies
dropping Meat Buns and the like, and it also increases your odds of getting
good items.  The higher the level, of course, the better.

12. Close

This is the first guide I've written for GameFAQs.  I hope it was helpful
and perhaps even enjoyable for you.  I was surprised to see that no one had
bothered to write a guide for Cao Cao, so I figured someone should give the
badass his due.

As of this version update, the following sites have permission to post
this guide on their sites:


If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, go ahead and drop me
a line at zotmaster@mindless.com

Copyright 2004, Dan Christler