Bless me bagpipes, do I ever love DuckTales.
I grew up watching the cartoon and reading the comic books, and I have an incredible fondness for both the original NES DuckTales game and the recent HD remake. So maybe I’m a bit biased.
Still, Scrooge McDuck’s cane is an undeniably awesome weapon.
When you think of a dude with a cane, you imagine some old wheezer who would call you “sonny boy” and take long naps in the middle of the day. You don’t imagine a dude who could completely kick your ass with a piece of varnished wood.
And that’s part of why canes in general are appealing as weapons; they’re a symbol of physical weakness. On the other hand, the more traditional guns or swords are both power symbols. When someone pulls a gun, you don’t take it lightly. When someone pulls out a cane, you ask him if he needs help crossing the street.
But there’s more to it than just that.
Scrooge’s cane is an example of pulling a theme from a licensed property and making it work seamlessly with gameplay. Capcom pulled this straight from the TV show. In a medium that still struggles with things like ludonarrative dissonance and forcing narrative properties into gameplay trappings, it’s amazing that they took a detail like this and did so much with it way back in 1989.
It also makes sense in context in an age where “making sense in context” was barely even a thing. I’ll give Mario the benefit of the doubt, as jumping on a turtle while wearing boots would almost certainly kill it (unless we’re talking tortoises, in which case we’ve got some problems). But Scrooge wears spats over his bare feet. (He doesn’t wear pants either, but that’s a different story entirely.) Jumping on an enemy barefoot isn’t all that effective, and doing so would damage Scrooge’s nearly unprotected feet.
But having some old dude pogo on top of your head with a cane would hurt like hell. It might even kill a guy.
Aside from that, it’s an incredibly versatile tool. Not only is it a weapon; it’s a pogo stick (which can get you over spike pits and other sundry dangers) and a golf club (which can knock rocks out of the way or open up treasure chests that are in tight spaces). Scrooge doesn’t need a massive collection of items (like Link does, that sissy); all he needs is one cane.
Plus, it just feels awesome to use. As long as you’re holding the appropriate cane button, you feel damn near invincible.
Take your BFGs and your sniper rifles and your rocket launchers. Those old tropes have been done a million times. Scrooge’s cane? That’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, laddy!