Karnov is an icon of video game of the 1980s. He’s an unlikely hero in a world that doesn’t make any sense, out to save the day. You see, Karnov the guy is a chubby, bald-headed fellow that breathes fireballs, fireballs that sound like radio static. Hit him once, he turns blue, hit him twice he turns dead.

He has to travel a landscape that looks like some kind of burned out villa, fighting gargoyles, birds, suits of armor, and stone heads that look suspiciously like Abraham Lincoln. If Karnov merely had the fireballs, he’d be a force to be reckoned with. But, as it happens, he has a host of items available to help out. Things like bombs, gas masks, and ladders. A quirk about this game is the usage of these items. Your items that you’ve collected are at the bottom of the screen, and you press the ‘Select’ button to use the highlighted item. But you choose the item you’re going to use by pressing the left and right buttons on the d-pad. You can imagine that placing things like a ladder are exponentially more difficult when you’re moving around every time you try to choose the ladder to deploy.

I never was able to make it very far into this game, I just wasn’t willing to put in the required hours. But I do know that the game gets weirder. Thanks to a video that I have detailing secrets of many games, I know that there is a stage underwater where Karnov is wearing flippers and goggles, and a stage in the sky where he’s sporting wings. Karnov would go on to make ameos in other games, but those games will have to wait until another day.

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