Originally posted by Galahad/FLT
It has to be Shadow of the Beast.
Technically, it was a groundbreaking game in its day, and I still think it looks good today.
I agree with almost you said, it's a pity the enemies sprites looks so "dull" when compared with the main sprite or the background.
A good choice, however my vote goes to Rattus... erm... Lionheart.