Akril, there are loads of other changes to the backgrounds which are also quite interesting:
-The shape of the Isle of Wonder on the magic map closeup
was originally less markedly a comma, and it was changed to be more obviously so for the final game.
-The main entrance door of the Castle of the Crown
was touched up a bit for the finished game.
-The name of the bookshop on the Isle of the Crown
was changed, but it's hard to make out the original name.
-In the closeup of the lamp seller's lamps
, the merchant's costume was changed for the actual game, and the background was mirrored.
-There was an attempt to use an odd camera angle in the closeup of the spellbook
. I can see why this was abandoned.
-The items on the counter in the pawn shop
originally did not include the flute.
-You've mentioned how at first the Winged Ones city was clearly visible from the labyrinth entrance
. But in that same background, it also looks like it might have originally been possible to walk eastward. In the final game there's a mountainous crag added to the east edge of the screen, blocking you from doing so.
-The Winged Ones Oracle is wearing a blood-red medallion
, which was later recolored to be less prominent.
-The peppermint leaf cave
had its entrances redrawn, possibly to look better when reduced to low-res and 256 colors.
-The original version of the catacombs floor-tile puzzle background
had the camera on the opposite wall. In this early version, Alex would enter the screen from the left and cross it from left to right. In the final game, he enters from the right and crosses from right to left. (Plus, the outline of the fourth wall has a notable blue glow, which isn't present in the final version.)
-The starting screen in the Realm of the Dead
has a large stone pillar in the foreground, which was later removed.
-The mystery screen in the Realm of the Dead
is present here too. From its position in the video, I wonder if this was originally where Night Mare left Alexander, so that he had to advance one screen to meet Allaria and Caliphim.
-In the area in the Underworld at the bank of the River Styx
, where Charon waits with his boat, originally the Styx water was full of waves, and had a purplish hue. In the final game it's a tranquil, solid black sea.
-There were originally a couple of extra doors in the Castle of the Crown hallways, one in the basement
and one on the second floor
. The second-floor back hallway also later had a carving of Pegasus added to the wall.
-The closeup of a paper in Alhazred's trunk
, which in the final game says ZEBU, originally read SHAZA.
-There's an ornate close-up of a keyhole
. I have no clue where it was to be used.
-The background of the west hall in the Castle of the Crown
has the staircase banister in a different place.
-This closeup of Alhazred and "Cassima" about to be married
was later modified to include the figures of Alex and Saladin.