Deng Ai's talents were recognized by Sima Yi, who granted him higher positions. Deng Ai defended successfully against Jiang Wei's repeated military campaigns. In the year 263, Deng Ai invaded Shu along with Zhong Hui. Their progress was stopped by Jiang Wei near Hanzhong. Deng Ai then proposed to Zhong Hui that they go around Jiang Wei and strike at Shu's capital, but Zhong Hui did not accept his plan.
Ever determined, Deng Ai continued with his plan without Zhong Hui. His forces broke into Chengdu, the capital of Shu, and its emperor, Liu Shan, surrendered.
Jiang Wei tried to revive the fallen kingdom and rebelled against Wei alongside Zhong Hui. They had Wei Guan capture Deng Ai and his son, Deng Zhong. After their rebellion failed, Wei soldiers tried to rescue Deng Ai but he and his son were executed by Wei Guan before they could get to him.
Portrayal in Romance of the Three Kingdoms
In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game series, Deng Ai is a very multi-talented officer who excels in all stats and possesses very powerful skills and tactics. He is easily one of the best characters in the game.
Portrayal in Dynasty Warriors
Deng Ai is shown to be a wizened and battle-hardened veteran in Dynasty Warriors 7. He is a steadfastly loyal and determined officer who would gladly give his life his country. He fights with a giant lance-like weapon that is called a "drill spear".
- "I would give my life in the pursuit of duty and honor." - Deng Ai in Dynasty Warriors 7
- It is said that when Deng Ai came to a hill or valley, he immediately looked for the best place to store supplies and position troops. This talent aided him greatly during his military career.
- Deng Ai had a stuttering problem that he played to his advantage when speaking to superiors, who believed he was being witty.