|The story you never knew|
You may had heard of Karnov from his NES game back in the day and the first time you ever seen him anywhere else. He would also appear on another NES title called Bad Dudes as an enemy boss this time, leaving you scratching your head as to how he just decided to turn sides from one game to the next or quite possibly being an impostor. Then he would be heard of once more in Karnov's Revenge, a fighting game on which he was not only the last character you would face off but also a bad guy as well. After his heroic adventure on NES you would ponder just why he would turn out to be a bad guy anywhere else. Surely something must have happen between one game and the other, having him change his mind on being on the righteous side of things. Well...
He never was a good guy to begin with.
In the NES game Karnov is portrayed as the hero of the fallen kingdom of Babylon in search of the evil wizard who was responsible for the city's demise and fighting off a nasty dragon at the end to avenge it. This was more notoriously stated on the Japanese version where Karnov was granted deity status after he did the deed. However the NES game was an adaptation from the Data East Arcade, on which Karnov was not worried in fighting for a fallen kingdom's glory as much as him wanting to usurp its riches. That's right, the fire spewing strongman was more interested on his selfish goals than wanting to be a force of good, hence as why he would seem a villain anywhere else afterwards.
After Karnov had his fill of riches he then was assigned to become one of Dragoninja's boss henchmen, on which Bad Dudes would encounter him at the very first stage fighting him off in order to continue their journey. Karnov would also make cameo appearances on games like Sly Spy in the background as well as in weird titles like Trio the Punch where he once again would be a boss character.
Karnov would not have a proper game of his own after his Arcade debut until Fighter's History appeared in the mid-90s as a last boss character and once again a bad guy. Its sequel named Fighter's History Dynamite would establish him as a playable character but nonetheless as the last boss fighter you would face once more. In the states this game would be re-branded as Karnov's Revenge and it would bring out the ire on Capcom for being a bit too similar to their Street Fighter II game and it even landed into a lawsuit against Data East. This game would be the last anyone ever heard about the Russian strongman and he would go down in history on being remembered as a hero and a villain to gamers, depending on which game you would recall him from the most.
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