Karnov is a 1987 platform arcade game. It is the debut of Data East's mascot of the same name. After Data East became defunct due to bankruptcy in 2003, Paon, a company comprising former Data East staff, acquired the rights to Karnov,along with multiple other Data East games.
Karnov's full name is Jinborov Karnovski. Karnov, is popularly illustrated as being from Central Asia, in what was then the Soviet Union as shown on the original arcade flyer and again in Karnov's Revenge.
Karnov later became Data East's mascot, and was reintroduced in many other Data East games, including Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja in which he played a boss in the first level. Karnov later appeared in 1994 in another one of his own games for the Neo-Geo hardware called Karnov's Revenge. This game, also known as Fighter's History Dynamite, is not a sequel to the original Karnov, but to Fighter's History, a competitive one-on-one fighter in which Karnov was the final boss.
The game puts the bulging-muscled, fire-breathing, ex-circus strongman east-Russian hero on a quest through nine different levels to search for treasures. However, between him and the treasures were several horrendous monsters, including sword wielding monks, djinn, foot hopping giant fish and ostrich-riding skeleton warriors.
Players can make Karnov walk, jump and shoot his way through these levels and find special items that will help him on his way. He also can collect red orbs with which he can upgrade up to three fireballs at a time. Each level contains a variety of strange enemies, such as gargoyles, rock creatures, and strong men, which Karnov must destroy or avoid. When he reaches the end of a level he usually has to face one or more powerful enemies which he must defeat to beat the level and receive a new piece of a treasure map. At the end of the game he must face a powerful boss often called "The Wizard" and collect the treasure.
Our copy is missing the outer sleeve to the box, so we have the manual pictured here for reference.