Pic 1 (upper-left) and 7 (bottom-left) look best to me if you are dead set on not using black.
The thing for me is that no matter what color you use short of adding a color via a custom emulator palette, it is going to look hazy. Not really something desirable in the first area of the game I think.
On the other hand, that brown from an earlier pic would work better in an area like Norfair to make it look hazier as it often is in later games with transparency and smoke effects that can't be done on the NES. So that's something to think about.
It's just that I wanted to give off more vibrant colors instead of it being just black. It was the closest I could get in replicating an actual background without an actual background (since all background tiles are displayed in front of Samus, creating the illusion of foreground). I feel like black would just look bland, in all honesty, but I can see where you're coming from. Maybe I could make a possible patch where there's no colored backgrounds and one with colored backgrounds. Seems like a good middle ground.
Also, yeah, I think Norfair works really well with the brown background if you've seen from the pics I've posted. I think it'd work on Ridley the same way.
My idea from all the advice so far is:
1. Make a patch with black backgrounds.
2. Change the backgrounds:
-Tourian: 01/03 perhaps??? maybe change it during the escape sequence to 05/06 for some alarmed emphasis? I'll test that out
If you could manage to get black into the palette of the environment tiles, it would give it that much needed contrast. Since those tiles appear to be using the transparent color in the palette, you'd have to sacrifice one of the actual colors. If you're going for a certain style, it might be worth trying out just to see if you get any good results.
As for my preference, I like the black background the best, followed by the bottom left. It might look better if the bottom left was a bit darker, though. Most of these just need more contrast, I think. Unless that "hazy" effect is something you want!
Hmm... Fair point. I kind of like the black a bit now that you mention it. Either way, I feel like the two patches is a good happy medium.
Yeah, NES isn't so good with specific color choices. It's either way too saturated or not dark enough. That's probably why some NES games look like trash.
It'd be interesting to see that white background, but with having darker (maybe black) colors in the actual environment.
Good idea, I'll add that to my list of "bizarre yet surprisingly effective torture devices" that I never knew I had (who knew eye bleeding was so effective).
Jokes aside, I'm pretty sure you would go blind after a while. Even if it did somehow worked, it's not the style I'm going for anyway.
Either way, thank you for all the feedback, it's very much appreciated!