Here we go again! Electric Dreams/Activision back in 1988 time seemed to have a bit of a knack of having games that never got released, but also games which eventually when released looked far different to the preview screenshots that were originally given.
Like with Time Scanner and R-Type, you won’t be too shocked to learn that Karnov had a similar issue by featuring preview shots in various magazines which looked a heck of a lot different to the final version.
Karnov when released was a very poor Spectrum port, very slow and buggy overall. A shame, as the Spectrum version was superb. However, things could have been very very different. Although a disgruntled fan of the arcade game once mocked up his own C64 shots for Zzap’s letter pages, there was actually a full multi-coloured version in production and looking very much like the NES version too.
Both Commodore User and Zzap 64 printed shots, which you can check out for yourself in high quality. Although not painting a picture of how the game played, it certainly looks pretty good – so we can only wonder what happened.
Time Scanner in particular was apparently coming on very well with its original full coloured version, only because of delays it seems it was cancelled. Did Karnov have a similar issue? We checked to see if by chance the game was developed by the same people who did Time Scanner, but we can confirm it wasn’t. So at present we don’t know what happened or who was behind this version.
Greg Duddle (programmer of the released version) didn’t know anything about another version, so the mystery remains for now.