My roomate owned the first Rome=TW back in 2006 (give or take) and I saw him playing and thought it was awesome. Soon enough I started playing as well. First, a short campaign with the Julii on normal dif. After that I started a long campaign with Carthage on hard. The battles were brutal, and at times I thought I was done, but slowly I gained ground and conquered Rome and those 50+ provinces you needed to win the long campaign.
This was the game that brought me to PC gaming, a year or 2 after I moved out I built myself a gaming PC just to be able to play this game.
The mods were also AWESOME!!!
Darn, just thinking about it makes me want to install the game and play it again, but NO, NO... first gotta exhaust Shogun 2, and then wait for Rome II...