Harukanaru Densetsu - first look

It's been a while since Dragon Ball Z has meant anything other than fast, button-mashy fighting, but its next appearance on the DS is headed in a markedly different direction. In fact, Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu ditches the aerial pummeling entirely, replacing it with every mainstream American gamer's favorite pastime: card-based role-playing!

It's not really a stretch for the franchise, seeing as some of the earliest DBZ titles were card-based RPGs (although only one, 2002's Legendary Super Warriors for the Game Boy Color, seems to have made it to the US). So while it might seem like a new and scary way to play as Goku and friends, Atari tells us that for some fans, Harukanaru Densetsu actually represents a return to the series' roots.

Whatever the case, we haven't seen much of the game yet, but we do know it'll feature turn-based battles that'll deal players five cards (randomly chosen from a pool of 512) from the start. Each card represents one of eight types of actions, from simple attacks to the gigantic, planet-crushing fireballs that DBZ fans have come to love.

Each of those attacks can apparently be chained together to create card-based super combos. Not all cards work well together, though, and so a lot of the strategy will come from figuring out which cards complement each other the best. It won't be vital to winning, we're told, but those who can get creative and effective with their attacks will be rewarded with new secrets and surprises.

While the switch over to card-based strategy might give some DBZ fans reason to grumble, Harukanaru Densetsu has something that its smack-happy counterparts don't: wireless play and game sharing for up to four combatants at once. Expect this one to hit stores on April 1.