"maybe if the stage scrolled down forcing you to move faster it would make it a little more exciting"
thats what the water in some levels is for. to force you to move.
"When you die, I thought the "DEAD" letters were there for too long."
all you have to do is hit any key dude. after that its only there for as long as it takes to load the level. which is like half a second.
"When the screen scrolls up, everything begins moving incredibly slow, which isnt a big deal. but once it stops suddenly i start moving 5x faster and fly off the edges"
it must just be your computer. it works fine.