HM05 Rock Smash and TM94 Secret Power

Posted October 20, 2017

When working to support the newly released Pokémon Sun & Moon (6 months after they came out) there were a lot of new concepts for me to wrestle with to represent the new mechanics Game Freak added in Generation 7. Things like Alolan forms and Z-Moves were the visible, big ticket items, but I ran into an unexpected little problem with two TMHMs.

To understand this post, I’ll give you a brief bit of context about TMs and HMs in Pokémon. TMs (Technical Machines) and HMs (Hidden Machines) are items in the Pokémon games that teach one of your Pokémon a certain move. They’re numbered to indicate which move they teach. In Sun & Moon, TM13 teaches Ice Beam, for example.

Originally there were two differences between TMs and HMs:

  • TMs were single-use and HMs were not
  • HMs could be used in the Pokémon overworld to traverse obstacles (Surf across water, for example) once you had the right gym badge.

As of Generation 5 (Black & White and Black 2 & White 2), TMs became multi-use. And in Generation 7 (Sun & Moon) HMs were retired in favor of rideable Pokémon. It remains to be seen if that change is permanent, but I’m a big fan of the rideable Pokémon approach.

TMs and HMs. Color coded and everything.

Like I mentioned in my last post, in each Pokémon game starting from Ruby & Sapphire (Generation 3) you have the ability to port your monsters over from the older games. This introduces loads of unique move combinations for Pokémon that used to learn certain moves in older games, but don’t any more.

Sun & Moon is no exception, so Pokémon are free to be imported over from Generation 6 (X & Y and Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire).

A lot of Pokémon no longer learned moves in Generation 7 that they did in Generation 6 by TM or HM. That was fine - I’d already dealt with that kind of imported difference when I worked on Generation 6’s database.

However, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, as their names suggest, are remakes of Ruby and Sapphire. Game Freak did change the TMs in them - so the TMs and HMs in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire were much like the ones in X & Y, rather than being like the original Ruby & Sapphire.

I say “much like,” not “the same”. Rock Smash was a HM in the original Ruby & Sapphire, but remained a TM in all of the games since, including X & Y. Game Freak elected to return Rock Smash to its HM status in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, which meant that Generation 6 was the first one I’d run into that didn’t have the same TMHM numbering across the whole thing. So things predictably didn’t work.

A smashable rock in Pokémon Omega Ruby.

The reasons for this are fairly obvious - HMs can be used in the overworld and the mechanics of using Rock Smash remained in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. So it had to stay as a HM.

In X & Y, Rock Smash was TM94, but in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire it became HM05. And just for kicks, the move Secret Power, which was used for the Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire exclusive-mechanic of secret bases, was not available as a TM in X & Y. So Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire replaced the now-missing TM94 of Rock Smash, with Secret Power. So the same TM number didn’t even mean the same thing across that generation!

I can only assume Game Freak did that to keep the TM numbers contiguous. (And before you ask, Secret Power was TM43 in the original Ruby & Sapphire.)

I would be lying if I said this joke wasn’t part of why I wrote this post.

Eagle-eyed readers will also know that Dive is special in a similar way to Rock Smash. Dive is a HM in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire (HM07), but it is neither a TM nor HM in X & Y. There are several Pokémon that learn Dive this way in Generation 6 and no longer learn it in Generation 7, so PokémonCompDB is set up to direct the user specifically to Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. So Dive has a single set of instructions, where Rock Smash needs different ones for the two pairs of games in Generation 6.

Today’s tidbit was fairly straightforward and many of you readers probably noticed this change while playing the games. It wasn’t until I tried to put these moves into a consistent data format that I realized that this was subtly inconsistent with previous generations.