Fire Hawk: Thexder - The Second Contact is the sequel to Thexder.
The Fire Hawk robot has the same main design as Thexder: a laser, shield and the ability to transform into a jet. It's also possible to use some special weapons which can be found during the missions, such as the Flasher, (damages anything on screen) and the Stopper (freezes enemies for a while).
Levels are divided into sub-levels, with each fourth one featuring a boss fight.
Some of the main improvements compared to the original game include the ability to save a game at certain points, the ability to switch between special weapons during gameplay, and a greatly expanded high-quality soundtrack.
The MSX version has an introductory story sequence that is not present in the DOS port; however, the DOS version comes with a short comic book in the manual that covers the back-story.
Like all Game Arts games republished by Sierra, the DOS version uses 640x200 graphics in EGA to its advantage by simulating 64 colors via dithering.
During installation, the game offers the option of either drawing or not drawing the backgrounds. On slower computers, not drawing the backgrounds can speed up gameplay quite a bit.
During gameplay and opening/closing credits, Fire Hawk: Thexder - The Second Contact features quite a few different songs. By selecting music at the title screen, it's possible to listen to most of these songs.
The game's title is referred to by several different names in the same packaging and documentation. Refer to the Alternate Titles section of the Main Summary page for a list.