System: Nintendo Entertainment Syatem (NES)
Release Date: 1987 (arcade); 1988 (NES)
Genre: Platform (side-scroller)
Publisher: Data East
Finally, a game about a Russian circus strong-man that runs through 9 mythical worlds, collecintg treasures, while destroying abstract monsters from classic literature. I will admit that this game was unlike anything I had ever played before. I don't even really recall how I came to know this game even existed.
All I do remember is that I wanted it. So I asked for it for my birthday, and in return, received a game that I still love to this very day.
For me the best part of this game has to be the music. Yes it's repetitive, but the score for this game really adds to the overall gaming experience. I enjoy it so much, that I have used it as a ringtone on my phone.
The graphics, simply put, are great for an 8-bit game. Data East released a lot of games that, in my opinion were great examples of what could be done with 8-bit graphics. The only minor complaint I have about the graphics, is that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the foreground from the background, and it makes it difficult to know when you have obstacles you can't walk past, or if you have to jump over them.
While the enemies are annoying, and sometimes difficult, I do like the fact that Data East did not simply recycle enemies. Yes there are common enemies in every stage, but they also added unique enemies to each stage.
Earlier I said that this is still one of my favorite games, and it certainly is highly replayable. That being said, there are some things about this game that I didn't like.
The ability to use sub-items is great, and you are given a plethora of unique items to use, including, jump boots, wings, ladders, and diving helmets. The biggest problem with these items is that you have to either press pause, then use the d pad to select the desired item, or you have to use the d pad during live action until you get to the item. When you are concentrating on defeating enemies, it makes it obnoxious to have to either pause the game, or tap the d pad to get to the desired sub item.
The other problem with these items, is that you are given a limited number of these items when you pick them up, so if you use them all up before a critical point, you are basically fucked. It would be nice to be able to retain unlimited numbers of certain items (like you have with the ladder), without having to use a
The other problem is that certain items are only available when the game allows you to use them. The wings for example are only available when the game alerts you to it, and you see that they are selectable in your item menu. In some ways this is good, because it prevents you from running out of critical items, but
it would also be cool if you had free reign to use the wings whenever you felt like using them.
The enemies are another frustrating feature of this otherwise fine game. I know I said earlier that I enjoyed the variety of enemies that were provided on each stage. While this is true, there is also a certain amount of frustration that goes along with them.
Golden statues that, if not destroyed quick enough will explode, and basically kill you. They emit two levels of projectiles, and you cant duck the lower ones, and can't jump the higher ones. So unless you figure out a way to hover in mid-air, so that you are in between them.....you are dining on an Alcatraz Sandwich
Blue birds that swoop down upon you from above...again at a level that you can neither jump over, nor duck under. And usually they will wait until they are almost off the screen before they attack, and if you jump too soon, they will guess your elevation, and dive-bomb you at the level you jumped to.
The bosses at the end of each stage are unique, and different, but damn are they difficult to defeat. The will charge, shoot projectiles at you, and basically makke life difficult for our hero. With enough practice however, you will learn tricks and what sub-items to use to defeat them.
Karnov is a classic 8-bit NES game, that will forever live in my library of Nintendo games. While frustrating, and difficult, it is a game, that with a little practice, and a shit load of patience, can be beaten, and even played at a level of skill that makes it fun. The music,along with the graphics, are amazing, and the
catchy little tunes can easliy get stuck in your head, and may find their way on to your cell phone as a ringtone in the near future. ENJOY!
Up Next: Captain Skyhawk