No, your eyes do not deceive you. I do believe I have a fix for the problem of way too fast gameplay. As with some NVIDIA-based problems, the answer is this: install older drivers.
I am running a Pentium M 2.0 with 2 GB RAM and an ATI Mobility Radeon X300. I had a hell of a time getting RS to run at anything approaching reasonable until I downloaded the Omega ATI Drivers v 2.6.05a, which are themselves based on the Catalyst 5.1 drivers. I installed the new drivers and voila, the game runs at a reasonable speed.
Links to the download are below: I of course cannot guarantee that this will work with your setup, but even if it does not I highly recommend playing around with the drivers available on this page--the odds are very good you'll be able to fix the problem with an older version of the drivers. If you have an NVIDIA card, you can try the NVIDIA Omegas (also linked below); I previously had an NVIDIA GeForce Go 440 card in another laptop and had good luck with Forceware 126.96.36.199. I've also linked to Laptop Video 2 Go; they are exclusively NVIDIA but have practically every NVIDIA release known to man, modded to work with any NVIDIA card.
I will note that I have occasionally run into the "ship runs off into the distance and gets real small at the center of the screen" issue with this fix, but all I have to do to take care of it is fly backwards and the camera will usually reset itself. Worst case scenario: you lose a life and the camera resets itself anyway. This is a small price to pay, I think, for being able to play the game.
Best of luck to everyone!
ATI Omega Drivers:
NVIDIA Omega Drivers:
LaptopVideo2Go NVIDIA Drivers: