I do pretty well at the L5+ Barrel stages but I die all the time on the early game barrel stages. I don't have a problem with L1 but I rarely make it through the four screens of L2-4 barrels without losing at least one life.
The L5 Barrels aren't as much of a problem for me because they steer so easily, I get myself in trouble a lot less often. But the L2-4 Barrels don't steer reliably and I'm regularly getting myself into bad situations on girder 4 and when trying to transition up to girder 5 to grab the top hammer.
Most of the Barrel stage strategy I see and read has been heavy on L5 strategy but is there anything out there focusing on best practices for early Barrel stages?
My PB is 167K but I feel a breakthrough coming on, the biggest thing holding my scores back is not being able to get through those early barrel stages without losing at least one life, and often 2 or even 3.
Who's got some advice for me?