Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Karnov'

Rating:5 User: Stack

It feels like a guilty pleasure becuase Karnov looks too colourful to be a Sectrum game. It only just feels like you are playing on a Spectrum. The programmers (incredibly its Mr Micro of Punchy fame) used the same cell-based technique pioneered in shooter Lightforce and turned out a remarkable conversion of a far from famous arcade game. Full colour when all others were doing mono and all 9 arcade levels in short multiloads when all bar R-Type were finding excuses to cut corners.
Karnov is essentially a run and gun game where you fire at everything with all of the power ups at you disposal learning the enemies attack patterns. But it its more than that as you can always prop up a ladder and discover more things to collect or secret passageways, alternative routes.
The game is beautiful to look at and improbably huge. See the map at World of Spectrum to witness both. And it is very playable with crackling FX throughout.
The YS reviewer got the game perfectly. Crash were caught out. It is easy to snub the game when you first see Karnov jump his slow cell-block jump. But get going and the floaty style allows all sorts of new problems and tactics to solve them and it is perfectly in keeping with the dreamy setting drawn out of Russian folklore.
Karnov is the best game of its type on the Spectrum and publisher Electric Dreams deserve a bigger reputation for such labours of love such as this game and RType together with originals such as Spindizzy and Hijack.