Left to right: Max, Crystal, Jake, Lucy, Ace, Hacker and Terror.
"In the near future Doc Terror, and his cyborg companion, Hacker, unleash their forces to conquer Earth! Only one force can stop this evil: a handful of brave men. In specially created Exo-Frames, they can be transported anywhere to fuse with incredible assault weapon systems, beamed down from the space station Skyvault, becoming man and machine, Power Xtreme! Max Ray, brilliant Sea Operations commander. Jake Rockwell, rugged Land Operations specialist. Ace McCloud, daring Air Operations expert. Whatever the challenge, they are ready—the Centurions!"
A heavily Merchandise-Driven65-Episode Cartoon series, produced by Ruby-Spearsnote and animated by an uncredited Sunrise in 1986 and based on a Kenner action figure line. It followed the adventures of three (later five) technological Superheroes who fought against evil using Assault Weapon Systems.Their uniforms, actually cybernetic Exo-Frames, had a number of hardpoints on the surface, to which the various parts of their weapon systems would attach after having been beamed in from the orbiting space station, Skyvault.The three original heroes were:
Max Ray, brilliant sea operations commander. The team leader, wore a green Exo Frame, had a genuine porn-star moustache that made him look like Magnum, P.I..
Jake Rockwell, rugged land operations specialist. Wore yellow, worked on land. Probably Texan. Cooks his special chili surprise.
Ace McCloud, daring air operations expert. The ladies man. Wore blue, loves to fly and it shows. A cocky, wisecracking daredevil a la Han Solo.
The two additional team members added later were:
Rex Charger. A bearded energy specialist with a glow-in-the-dark Exo Frame.
Rex and John were introduced late in the series; they were intended as additions to the (mostly unproduced) second year of the toy line.Almost invariably, the mastermind behind the team's opponent would be Doc Terror and his assistant Hacker, two extremely ugly cyborgs bent on world domination.Reasonably notable for being one of Cartoon Network's early staples when they were just starting; it aired soon after school let out, leading a to a fair few grade schoolers watching it in the mid-90s and the show getting a minor return to fame, although not enough to lead to being Un-Cancelled. Centurions is currently in rotation on Cartoon Network's sister network Boomerang.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: When Doc Terror and Hacker briefly remove their cyborg parts to partake in an aerial operation during "The Better Half", their mechanical halves manage to unite and perform a hostile takeover. Christening themselves "Uniborg", they get closer to victory in one two-part episode than Doc ever managed over the entire series. When Terror is about to destroy them for their treachery near the end of the episode, Uniborg attempts to save themselves by pointing out to Terror that they are still a part of Terror and Hacker. Terror then fires his laser, but we never see if it hits Uniborg. While the episode is deliberately ambiguous as to whether Terror destroys Uniborg, they never appear again in the series as a merged entity.
In "You Only Love Twice", Doc creates a solid light hologram of Crystal's missing and presumed dead former fiance as part of a scheme to capture her. Said hologram ends up Becoming the Mask and helps her to escape. He's slowly losing power throughout the episode and convinces Crystal not to waste effort trying to save him, telling her that he's "not real". He uses the last of his power to send a signal to the Centurions before fading away.
And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Each episode has an epilogue in which one of the characters discusses a scientific principle that (usually) relates to the story. Also one of the few series in which the lesson is sometimes delivered by the villain.
John Thunder's segment does not deal with a scientific principle, but a behavioural trait of his tribe.
Atlantis: The two-part episodes "Atlantis Adventure" and "Hole in the Ocean" are set there.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Crystal Kane and Ace McCloud, notably whenever Ace is about to go on a risky do-or-die mission. Showcased at its strongest in "Operation: Starfall" and "The Better Half". The two kiss in the latter story, though Crystal isn't too keen on the specifics, as the egotistical Ace chooses to show off and kisses her in full view of his pals.
Casanova Wannabe: Ace seems unable to approach Crystal, Cassandra or any attractive single woman without hitting on her.
Catch and Return: Both of Rex's weapon systems use a high-tech version of this trope to absorb energy, usually from an attacker, then redirect it to fire weapons, usually back at the original attacker.
Clear My Name: In "Traitors Three", the Centurions are falsely implicated when a dam is destroyed, Doc Terror steals a space shuttle and flooded a town- to rescue a school- which was abandoned for years- until it was crushed in a landslide. They find that they've been set up, and have to clear their names. Luckily, Max steals their exoframes.
Cool Plane: Any of Ace's weapon systems, as well as Hornet, Jake's helicopter-like weapon system.
Cool Tank: John's Thunder Knife, Jake's Awesome Auger, and a much lighter example in Jake's Swingshot.
Cruel Mercy: When Ace infiltrates the "cyborg underground" in "Cyborg Centurion", he defeats a powerful warlord in a gladiator game, then lets him live because "He'll never command respect from [his followers] again."
Dracula: Menaces both the Centurions and Doc Terror in "Night on Terror Mountain". Fight Dracula ensues.
The Dragon: Not Hacker, he's a Side Kick. Instead, the bad guys who invariably turn out to be Doc Terror's minions. Their motivation for siding with a madman who wants to rule the world and transform everyone into cyborgs was not clear...
Dragon Lady: Lady Fang, the special guest villain from "Firecracker".
War for Fun and Profit: Lady Fang foments war between two South American countries so she can sell arms to both sides.
Everything's Better with Spinning: John's Thunder Knife weapon system is essentially a gigantic circular saw, complete with spinning action, attached to a tank-like body.
Evil Is Not a Toy: Terror and Hacker learn this in "Man or Machine" when they realize that the alien Master Computer they've recreated on Earth won't exempt them from its plans to exterminate all organic life just because they're cyborgs.
Explosive Decompression: Averted! When Ace was spaced in one episode he doesn't immediately explode. On the other hand, even though he was teleported to safety in time, he probably shouldn't have been able to recover so quickly from the experience.
Fake Defector: Both "Max Ray... Traitor" and "Cyborg Centurion" feature one of the Centurions pretending to turn against the team in order to infiltrate a criminal organization.
Even one of the guest stars got into the act; in "Atlantis Adventure", Sean O'Connor pretends to join forces with the evil Prince Naro just long enough to rescue Ace.
Fictional Country: The series had a few. In "Firecracker", the South American countries of nations Quisto and Montenegro were manipulated into going to war, so the episode's villain could sell arms to both sides.
"Good Luck" Gesture: In "The Sky is on Fire", Crystal tells Lucy the orangutan to cross her fingers just before attempting to teleport a weapons system through atmospheric disturbance. Lucy holds the gesture behind her back.
In "Return of Captain Steele", he befriends a tribe of South Sea islanders and later sabotages Doc Terror's latest scheme when it threatens the tribe with destruction.
In "The Better Half", Hacker reverts to childlike docility when he and Terror are temporarily captured and separated.
Plot Tailored to the Party: Max was the team leader, but his weapon systems were all aquatic. Since most population centers are near water, it didn't come up much, but on occasion he needed to use Jake's systems in the desert, and wasn't as good at it. He was taken aback when Jake borrowed his heaviest weapon system for underwater use.
Speech Impaired Animals: Shadow and Lucy were supposedly "augmented IQ" animals, who were intelligent but couldn't speak.
Spy-Tux Reveal: A parka-clad Rex does a variation when he first appears. On a mountain in Iceland, he uses one of his inventions to draw heat from a volcano, then removes the parka (revealing the tux underneath) and has a formal dinner in the middle of nowhere, complete with robot waiter!
Start of Darkness: One episode of the five-part "Man or Machine" mini-series had a flashback revealing Doc Terror's and Hacker's past which explains how they became cyborgs in the first place and why Doc is bent on world conquest. Hacker was originally a petty thief that Doc helped to avoid jailtime in exchange for Hacker's help in procuring materials he needed for his cyborg experiments. Doc then turned Hacker into a cyborg and presented him to the rest of the scientific community and had his ideas rejected over ethical reasons. Later, Hacker had a brief Freak Out! when Doc told him that the change was permanent and accidentally mortally injured Doc. To save himself, Doc became a cyborg himself. Still bitter over being rejected by his peers, the new Doc Terror decided to put his genius to evil use and conquer the world.
Supernormal Bindings: In "Return of Cassandra", heroic witch Cassandra Cross was captured by her Evil Twin Lilith and bound with mystic chains. Ace had to use a magic rose she'd given him to enchant a sword to be able to cut through them.
Averted as much as enforced, though. Frequently the pieces would appear and attach with little fanfare (and no stock footage). And other than Jake's Swing Shot and Rex's Gatling Guard (which have noticeably worse animation than the original sets), the later weapon systems never got a stock footage version of the sequence in the first place.