Title : Centurion: Defender of Rome
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : Bits of Magic
Genre : Turn Based Strategy
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1990
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $5-$10
Pardon me for the "hastiness" of this review, but I'm dealing with a nasty bit of a cold and trying to conserve my energy for the trying weekend to come (still big changes coming and a LOT of work to do). But I digress, Rome wasn't built in a day. Oh, WOW. Did you see what I did there? I incorporated that old saying into this very blog review about a game based on Rome. Clever, aren't I?
I can sense that you're laughing at me, so I'll just continue with the review. Here we are with a traditional turn-based strategy game set in the confines of Rome. I always found it intriguing when consoles attempted to pull off successful strategy games, because they were always a big time hit or miss. After all, it was the PC that was really known for those type of games. Always easier to play them with a keyboard and mouse anyway.
But here we are with Centurion: Defender of Rome, and to my surprise, the game succeeds! And there was much rejoicing!
Although Rome was also known for its great collapse, so will this game suffer the same fate? Let's find out. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!? (had to throw a Gladiator quote in there somewhere)
This game is a bit of a combination between various other turn based strategy games such as Civilization, and Age of Empires. You'll start off as a lowly soldier, working your way up in the ranks of the Roman army by defeating opposing forces, as well as dealing negotiations. Can't win all battles with blood and gore, you've gotta be civil sometimes.
You'll be marching across most of Eurasia in this game, spreading the glory of the Roman Empire, and while it's fun to go marching around randomly, the true entertainment in this game is during those epic battle sequences (intertwined by some entertaining cutscenes)
Besides battles and working out treaties, there are also a few "side-missions" such as gladiatorial games and chariot races. These don't really factor into the overall main storyline, so don't worry if you outright fail at these quests which I pretty much did.
The game is a bit too slow for my liking however, and traversing the continents and partaking in battles and speaking with opposing nations takes a bit too long. Perhaps I should just blame the Genesis bc the game couldn't be fast enough due to system limitations, but I really don't know.
There is really nothing to write home about in regards to the visual prowess of this game. It's somewhat bland, and much like some other strategy games during this time period, it was more about the detailed gameplay rather than focusing on graphical displays. It works, and it doesn't. Gameplay is solid enough, but I really don't like watching slow moving stick figures march across the screen.
As for the audio and soundtrack? Meh - this follows my usual genesis complaints.
Centurion isn't superb - and it's far from being atrocious, but it lands right in the middle of mediocre land. So, if you're a huge Roman historian buff, maybe you'll want to check this out. Don't expect to be overwhelmed by it though.