The Centurions was a syndicated 30 minute American science fiction animated television series produced by Ruby-Spears and animated in Japan by Sunrise. Comic book legends Jack Kirby and Gil Kane contributed to the design and concepts of the show. It ran for two seasons, consisting of 65 episodes in total.
It takes place in the near future where an evil genius, the cyborg Doc Terror (voiced by Ron Feinberg), seeks to conquer the Earth. He is assisted by Hacker (voiced by Ed Gilbert), the cyborg sidekick and an army of Doom Drones. There were three types of drones:
- Traumatizers – the most commonly seen drones are walking robots with laser blasters for arms.
- Strafer – A flying robot armed with missiles and lasers.
- Groundborgs – A land based robot armed with lasers that moves on treads.
Later, a wheeled Drone with a large screen and cannons as well as a submarine drone were added. Doc Terror and Hacker are able to fly by swapping their purely robot half for a Strafer missing one set of wings. They are joined on many occasions, starting with the first episode, by Doc Terror’s daughter Amber.
At each turn their evil plans are thwarted by the heroic Centurions. The Centurions are a team of men dressed in specially created exo-frames that allow them (upon shouting “Power Extreme”) to fuse with ‘incredible’ assault weapon systems, becoming what the show calls man and machine, Power Xtreme! The end result is a weapons platform somewhere between a hard-suit and a mecha. Originally there are three Centurions but two other Centurions are later added (for racial diversity reasons!).
- Max Ray (voiced by Pat Fraley) – ‘Brilliant’ Sea Operations Commander: The calm and collected de facto leader of the team, donning a green power suit. His weapon systems are best suited for underwater missions.
- Jake Rockwell (voiced by Vince Edwards) – ‘Rugged’ Land Operations Specialist: Donning a yellow power suit, he has a short fuse. His weapon systems have the most firepower and are best suited for land missions, except for a helicopter-themed system he uses in air combat, usually assisted by Ace.
- Ace McCloud (voiced by Neil Ross)- ‘Daring’ Air Operations Expert: Donning a blue power suit, he is a brave but cocky womanizer who is sometimes at odds with Jake. His weapon systems are best suited for aerial missions, including one specially designed for battles in space.
- Rex Charger (voiced by Bob Ridgely) – ‘Expert’ Energy Programmer
- John Thunder (voiced by Michael Bell) – ‘Specialist’ Infiltration Commander
The Centurions are based on an orbiting space station called Sky Vault where its operator, Crystal Kane (voiced by Diane Pershing), uses a transporter to send the Centurions, and the requested weapon systems, to where they are needed. Crystal is always in the company of either Jake Rockwell’s dog Shadow or Lucy the orangutan, or in most cases both. Shadow is usually more involved with the Centurions’ battles than Lucy and sports a harness with dual missile launchers. Crystal suggests tactics and sends equipment as required.
The Centurions also have a hidden base in New York City called “Centrum”. Its entrance is hidden in a book store and must be reached via an underground railcar. “Centrum” serves as the Centurions land base of operations and also has a beaming pod for rapid transport to “Sky Vault”. In addition to “Sky Vault” and “Centrum” there is also a “Centurion Academy” whose location is kept completely secret and only seen in the last 5 episodes.