A rough gem
This is one of my favorite games of all time. While old and primitive by today's standards, Centurion was years ahead of its time and offers hours of fun gameplay.
The centerpiece of the game is real-time land battles. It may take a while to figure out the quirks and strategies of the units but it is well worth it. The game takes into account factors like unit moral, the direction units are facing (and being attacked by) and the general's abilities. These factors, along with army formations and tactics form an eligent and challenging experience which was unmached in gaming until the likes of "Shogun: Total War" came out almost 10 years later.
The empire level is fun as well. It's a turn based system where you can move your legions around, invade provinces, fight off invaders etc. Its deep enough to have stategic depth without being complicated or requiring micomanagement. There is only 2 resouces: money (talents) and manpower - both of which are usually in short supply. Eventually you earn enough promotions to command up to 14 legions and once you conquor the world you become Ceasar and win.
I also liked the fine tuned difficulty settings, where you could change how difficult each part of the game was, rather than the game as a whole. You could even change difficulty levels mid-game if things were too easy or too rough.
But there are many flaws in the game. Graphics were clunky, even for 1991.
The costs of some things don't make any sense. An infantry legion (4200 foot soldiers) costs 20 talents, the same as a single galeon (which can carry only 200 soldiers) and the same as a heavy chariot for racing. This makes sea battes overly expensive and dangerous since you can lose your whole fleet if the battle goes badly. Its often easier to simply go around the whole mediteranian to conquer north africa than to build a fleet to cross it.
While land battles are excellent, chariot races and fleet battles are boring and poorly made. Thankfully we don't have to fight gladiator battles in the genisis version - which are even worse.
There are other minor detals which are irksom. Like not being able to combine armies or transfer troops, not being able to dismiss bad generals (being forced to suicide them in battle to be rid of them) and the really bad savegame password system.
The Bottom Line
A well designed empire building game with real-time land battles. A game ten years ahead of its time.