Good point marco. shading the silhouette from below was probably wrong since it looks like light reflected from foreground (and hence close). I should shade from a different angle and put yellow clouds behind to make it seem less like middle ground.
beautiful but not disturbing - methinks Karamoon should be disturbing.
cyberdruid - the first one is from beast so the only way you could see it at higher resolution is if someone resized it and painted over it.
Anyway this is a bit academic. I'll let you guys know if I start a remake.
I'd go for a combination of the contra4 and the second one. The thing I don't like about contra 4 is the high saturation foreground/middle ground which is a bit 'icecream' colors which makes it less disturbing. At the same time you need things to stand out against each other so if the foreground is low saturation, you need a high saturation character (orange guy in beast 2) or a very light character (the albino chick I drew for the second one).