Karnov (NES)

Karnov Box Art

Karnov

System: NES

Release Date: January 1988

Developer: Data East, Sakata SAS

Publisher: Data East

Genre: Action

It’s 1988 in video game land and we’re going to start the year off with Karnov. Data East is back with another action platformer staring the fire breathing Russian himself. He seeks to take the Treasure of Babylon from the huge and evil dragon, Ryu. The controls are fairly simple, jump with the A Button and shoot flame balls with the B Button. You can also use various items with a press of the Select Button.

Shooting at an… I dunno… djinn?

There are several options that can be used to help out at different times. The ladder lets you climb up to reach out of the way items. I just looked back at the manual and saw that the boots would have allowed me to jump higher and collect items like this. I thought they were a speed boost. Whoops. There are bombs that are supposed to be for destroying walls, but I couldn’t find any. A boomerang that was pretty useless in my experience. A clapper, which I never got a chance to use, which destroys every enemy on the screen. Glasses, a swimming mask, and wings, which were cool and allowed me to fly for a short time like Kid Icarus. There’s also a shield for protection and various K’s spread throughout the level. Collect 50 for a free guy.

Just doing some platforming, not hurting anybody.

When you see an enemy, lay on the shoot button heavily to take them out of existence. The platforming irritated me, as I couldn’t jump on things that I was able to earlier in a level. Or I was able to climb a tree at one point but not another. You can power up your fireballs by collecting red super fireballs. First to throw two, then to throw three. If Karnov is hit, he turns blue and can become red again by picking up a super fireball. If he gets hit twice, he’s toast.

Using the wings against a Medusa monster.

At the end of each level is a boss battle. These are super easy and just need to be fireball spammed. The fire-breathing dinosaur was annoying at first because he needs to be hit in the head. I made it to level five and decided that this game wasn’t the one for me.

Graphics: 2.0

I’m being generous with the graphics. They looks smeared, but are alright.

Sound: 1.5

I didn’t care a whole lot for the music, but it wasn’t terrible or anything.

Gameplay: 1.0

I really didn’t enjoy how Karnov controls, or the clunky selection of items. Or the general design of the game.

Difficulty: 1.5

I feel that I definitely could have gotten through this one if I had liked it enough to want to.

Fun Factor: 1.0

I can see why some people may find enjoyment in this game, but I’m not one of them.

Overall Grade: 1.4

Karnov earns a D+. I don’t think this is a particularly good game. I realize Data East ended up putting Karnov in a bunch of their titles, but he’s not particularly cool.

Karnov Video Review on YouTube

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