Sonic 1 SMS looked like a significant drop in quality from the original Genesis game. Most would agree it looks like crap by comparison with its baby blue single shade sky line, low color-depth sprites, and lack of detail. After giving Sonic Edusoft a spin (no pun intended), I couldn't help but notice how close it looks in terms of visual quality to Sonic 1 16-bit, and even to an extent, Sonic 3D Blast in its isometric overworld. It even looks as good as the the prototype isometric game in the early stages of Sonic Xtreme's development (might I add, a game late in the life cycle of the Genesis/MD). Sonic looks completely faithful in the game as well. The sprite is just like the 16-bit sprite (albeit with a subtle loss of "depth" owing to the 32 color palette of the SMS), it also has smooth animations compared to Sonic 1, but most importantly, IT HAS GOOD COLOR DEPTH. Even the pig animal and Motobug look just as good on the 8-bit hardware. The game also had just as many on-screen objects at once as Sonic 8-bit (maybe about 2-4 fewer when you start talking about stages filled with rings). Keep in mind- this game is a relatively low-budget spinoff. To have the visual quality it had presumably with fewer dollars thrown at it speaks volumes for the capability of the SMS.
*It really begs the question, "Could Sonic have been done faithfully on 8-bit hardware?" and if so, "Why couldn't Sega get the sprite work right after 5 tries?"
EDIT: Dear Mods/Admins- This isn't a speculation topic. The idea isn't to speculate on the questions, but rather focus on the game itself in relation to aesthetically unappealing SMS games that actually were released. I just brought up those questions as an aside, so please consider that before trashing this topic amid possible speculation that I may be speculating.
EDIT 2: Here are some pictures for the sake of comparison. The primary difference is in the palette...
Sonic 1 8-bit
This post has been edited by GeneralAdmiralChipotle: 03 March 2013 - 04:07 PM