This is an interesting one. At heart, it is what is usually referred to as a grand strategy game, but using the presentation and mechanics of a tactical wargame. So thinking big, but building on an established and well-known foundation intended for a different scale. All that produced without real corporate backing. The risk is the makers overextending themselves, of trying to achieve too much, is certainly there.
Meaning Imperial Conquest 2 at first glance looks and feels like Empire, but the way it works is more akin to games like Europa Universalis. Or let's say an early prototype of the latter. The "complete" known world (i.e. the mediterranean) being represented, several nations are struggling for supremacy. Among them, the usual suspects of the historical epoch, like Rome, Carthage or Macedonia. Though underdogs like the Celts or Galatia also not only make an appearance as cannon fodder for the big fish, but are actually playable. Those being particularly challenging, but providing a fundamentally different nature of challenge as well.
Using a basic windowing system, the main components on the screen by default are a global map and a detail map. Actions, such as moving armies, managing cities or rudimentary diplomacy, are performed on the latter. The former proves particularly useful as the player can choose to have a large amount of key information (such as location of cities, armies, mercenary availability etc.) displayed right there. Just a pity that such settings for the global map don't "stick", but rather need to be re-applied each turn.
Armies meeting each other makes the game zoom into a tactical battle screen. In a rather simplistic fashion, units are then moved around to build the best possible defensive position, launch an attack or whatever else seems appropriate.
The tactical battles, however, are also the first indicator where it may scare a number of players away. Everything takes very long. In case of the tactical battles, the time spent is not really worth the advantage of manual optimization of moves. While this imbalance of time investment vs. payoff is not equally true on global strategy level, the game is nevertheless very slow-paced there as well.
For patient players, Imperial Conquest 2 is indeed a nice pick. Not nearly as complex as it may seem at first glance and maybe out of touch with today's zeitgeist, but if you can live with that, it's not unimpressive.