The first half of this feature explores the Dreamcast content contained within issues 1 to 5 of Total Control and can be found here. Now though, we turn our attention to the final six editions of this short-lived publication with issues 6 to 11. If you'd like to see bigger versions of the scans below, feel free to right click and download them to your device - I know Blogger's image viewing thingy is pretty rubbish for text-based stuff.
Enough procrastinating...let's do this!
Issue 6: April 1999
Cover Story: PlayStation 2 reveal
Even though issue 6 leads with the reveal of the PlayStation 2 and all the pre-rendered Emotion Engine stuff you’ll remember if you’re of a certain age, there’s still quite a lot of Dreamcast content. The news that the swirl will be blue in Europe is featured in the Reportage section, although the reason for this is incorrectly given as being because we Europeans "prefer blue over orange," and not because another company was already using an orange swirl as their corporate logo.
Cover Story: PlayStation 2 vs Dreamcast
The main story dominating the cover of issue 7 is the whole Dreamcast Vs PlayStation 2 debate. Using two sumo wrestlers to depict these two heavyweights was quite a cool idea, but it did nothing to help the Dreamcast. Furthermore, as it hit just months before the Dreamcast’s western launch it probably did a lot of damage, planting the seeds of doubt in many a gamer’s psyche. That said, the first proper feature is a six page Metropolis Street Racer spread, packed full of impressive images showing the accuracy of the in-game environments and includes an interview with Sarah Dixon from Bizarre Creations. It’s also worth noting that all of the images shown in this feature are from the alpha that we revealed here at the Junkyard several months ago, and include the vehicles sporting paint jobs that never made it into the final build.
Missile Command 3D, Croc, Ridge Racer Plus, NiGHTS 2 and South Park. There’s an update on Blue Stinger, and the main meat of the section is taken up with the Tokyo Game Show ’99 report, part of which deals with the whole PS2 Vs DC story paraded on the magazine’s cover.
This is particularly interesting because it almost predicts the Dreamcast’s failure without even trying, and paints a rather alarming picture when discussing the complete lack of software sales the Dreamcast experienced in Japan during the months immediately after release. For example, Monaco Grand Prix was the highest selling game in the week 8th - 14th March 1999 with 13,693 sold. Meanwhile, Um Jammer Lammy on PlayStation sold 176,591 in the same period. Bear in mind that Sega had sold over half a million Dreamcasts in the period since launch and you can see how low these figures were. Anyway, Dreamcast reviews in issue 7 of Total Control include The House of the Dead 2 (77%), Power Stone (90%), Monaco Grand Prix 2 (86%), Pop ’n’ Music (70%) and Aero Dancing (61%).
Cover Story: Next generation systems
The first mention of the Dreamcast in issue 8 is very positive and quotes then CEO of Sega Europe, JF Cecillon as stating “…we believe that Sega Dreamcast will establish itself as the industry’s leading games console and will remain so into the next millennium.” Hmm. Again, top marks for optimism, Mr Cecillon. Velocity is revealed as Trickstyle, the DC hover-board launch title and there’s a tiny news item mentioning the upcoming E3 and Sega’s massive push to promote the hell out of the Dreamcast at the event. First news of Crazy Taxi’s Dreamcast port is revealed and the first main feature is for a subsequently cancelled PC/Dreamcast game called Jump Runner, a sprawling space-based RPG that looked very promising but ultimately never saw the light of day.
Issue 9: July 1999
Cover Story: 1999 E3 show report
The initial news sections of issue 9 are not overflowing with Dreamcast stuff, but what’s there is quite interesting nonetheless. The first article deals with Sega’s unveiling of the European internet service for Dreamcast and the deal with BT (British Telecom) which ironically lead to the launch being delayed until October due to network issues. Following that, there is some information on the Sega/Schlumberger Smart Cards deal which would allow Japanese gamers to use pre-paid cards to play arcade games in selected locations. Not really Dreamcast news, but there was speculation that this would be implemented with the console in some way, allowing you to purchase or transfer game content between the home and coin-op systems.
Issue 10: August 1999
Cover Story: Pokemon
Although issue 10 leads with a massive Pokemon story, the first thing you see when you open the cover is a double page Sega-Europe Dreamcast advert in the style of the US ‘Planet Earth’ ads. With just months to go until the western launch, this was clearly a battle cry from Sega. Baldur’s Gate is announced as confirmed for the Dreamcast and Sega’s sponsorship of several European football teams is confirmed.
Issue 11: September 1999
Cover Story: The Dreamcast PAL launch
The big one. The motherload. The Dreamcast issue, and ironically the final issue released before Rapide Publishing went into meltdown. The first thing you see (obviously) is the massive blue PAL Dreamcast swirl along with the words ‘Evolution’ and ‘Revolution’ and tagged with ‘Sega UK Dreamcast Launch - Details Inside.’ While this is still a multi-format magazine, Total Control issue 11 is literally stuffed with Dreamcast content and it begins immediately with an image of the infamous Barber on the editor’s intro page.
That it was also the final Total Control is particularly poignant, but it brings to a close the run of 11 fantastically Dreamcast-heavy issues is quite fitting when you think about it. No other multi-format magazine (at least in the UK) crammed so much Dreamcast content between its pages and it is probably for that reason alone that I bought so many issues back when it was contemporary. At the time I was an expectant young oik looking forward to the Dreamcast launch and frantically trying to sell my N64 to fund the purchase, and Total Control was a truly brilliant source of information relating to all systems.
But wait, there’s more…
Issue 12: October 1999
Cover Story: Unknown
Very little is known about issue 12, but what we do know is that it was pencilled in for release on the 17th September 1999. In issue 11 there's a 'next month' advert (below) that hints that the main feature would be a look at copyright issues in gaming, and it states that topics such as piracy would have been touched upon. Oddly, that's the only feature listed as coming in issue 12 and Rapide closed its doors before the issue went to print. There would more than likely have been even more Dreamcast reviews too, probably re-reviews of the PAL Dreamcast launch titles and whatnot.
Once again, thanks to Matt from SegaMags for these issues of Total Control. If you have even a passing interest in the history of UK video games magazines, you should check out his site here. Some other resources for old magazines are Old Game Mags, Out-of-Print Archive and Retromags.