After the travesty that was Karate Champ, I am happy that Data East was able to redeem itself with the very playable Karnov. Just look at this box art! You got this Russian circus performer shooting fireballs at dinosaurs! Every Russian kid’s dream.
Karnov might seem like a typical platformer, but it actually has some adventure elements. You can find persistent and consumable powerups throughout the game and use them to gain access to other sections of levels. For example the ladder can be used to reach high places. Bombs can be used to damage enemies.
Other than that, you breath fire to kill enemies. Karnov takes two hits to kill, the first hit turning him into a blue ghost version of himself. The second hit killing him. But powerups can restore some hits.
This game also has a pretty slick soviet-themed soundtrack.