Are there any photoshop alternatives that have some sort of layer-style system? (Like photoshop?)
I've been using Pixelmator with great success. It has many of the features that most users will need, sans some Photoshop filters. In many respects it is an improvement over Photoshop in regards to UX.
There is nothing greater than Photoshop according to me.
But you can check these Open Source/Free Alternatives to Photoshop with layer system.
Fireworks has layer styles. Granted, that still means you are giving money to Adobe.
Acorn has layer styles, but it's not as "fluid" to work with as Photoshop. (Granted, I'm on a laptop, and perhaps a mouse will make it easier to use...)