The 4th Wall: Karnov? WTH is a Karnov?

Short answer: a half-naked, muscular guy with a killer mustache.  A much longer answer: a game I remember playing for the Nintendo Entertainment System when I was a kid that was one of the most frustrating games I ever experienced.  It wasn’t just difficulty, it was ass-kickingly hard.  Let me explain.

The game starts you off by dropping you into Stage 1 via a lightning bolt.  You think that it’s a cool way to start.  Then, everything goes to crap.  Karnov is assaulted by zombies, monsters, and rock-throwing rock men.  From what I remember, there’s no rhyme or reason to what you’re doing or where you’re going.  There is no princess to rescue or world to save.  There are a ton of K’s floating around for you to collect.  Items are littered everywhere.  Some of these help Karnov jump higher or even fly.

Karnov attacks by shooting red balls out of his hands.  He can’t physically touch anything.  You’d think for a muscular guy, he’d be able to jump on his foe’s head.  He’s also rather weak.  One hit turns him blue-ish grey.  The next kills him.

 Karnov is actually very graceful for such a big guy.  He jumps rather high and slowly descends, all the while being able to turn in the air and shoot at enemies.

The level designs are typical fare for an NES-era game.  There are platforms, chasms, and a lot of repeating scenery.  The soundtrack is obnoxiously catchy.   A lot of the sound effects are reminiscent of dot-matrix printers.

I spent much of my time very angry with this game.  It is one I am sad to say I could never complete.  Karnov is also a game that deserves to stay in the past.  Though, if you are able to play it at any point, I highly suggest you do so.  Not that I’m sadistic enough to see people in that kind of pain and agony.  Well, maybe…

-The 4th Wall is an imaginary barrier that separates a particular medium from its audience.  It is also a weekly column on born from the Just In Bailey column, written by Joey Alesia.  Each week, Joey looks at video games and the industry as a whole and works to break the 4th Wall armed with over 25 years of gaming knowledge and a twisted sense of humor.  Be sure to follow Joey on Twitter (@wrkngclsswrtr) or email him at



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Author: Joey Alesia View all posts by
Joey's adventure into the realm of video games began at 3 when Nintendo first hit the West. He grew up a Nintendo fan and ended up branching out to Playstation when FF7 hit and XBox when Oblivion hit the 360. He's not huge on first person shooters or sports games but definitely enjoys a good RPG or survival horror game. His all-time favorite series is definitely The Legend of Zelda, followed extremely closely by Metal Gear. Joey has a firm belief that games should be treated with respect when they are made and that the classics should never be overlooked.