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, dinosaurs, djinn, hopping fish men 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, tree monsters, will-o-wisps rock creatures, centipede women, and hopping warriors, which Karnov must destroy or avoid. When he reaches the end of a level he usually has to face one or more bosses which he must defeat to beat the level and receive a new piece of a treasure map. In each level Karnov can collect a variety of items along the way, which can be chosen right away or only at certain times. At the end of the game he must face a powerful boss often called "The Wizard" and collect the treasure.