The above procedure works. I'll just repeat it for extra points, marked up properly.
Here is what I did to remove pulse audio in Karmic:
$ sudo apt-get purge pulseaudio gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio
$ sudo apt-get autoremove
$ sudo apt-get install alsa-base alsa-tools alsa-tools-gui alsa-utils alsa-oss linux-sound-base alsamixergui
restart your computer!
$ sudo apt-get install esound esound-clients esound-common libesd-alsa0 gnome-alsamixer
-run gstreamer-properties in terminal to set defaults to alsa (the old system/preferences/sound in jaunty)
-remove gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio to get sound in totem.
The above commands should have taken care of that, but it never hurts to be sure when talking about the hydra that is PulseAudio.-gnome-alsamixer is for changing the volume, not an applet but better that nothing
Now, one last word of advice. Usually the best solution is to use aptitude or synaptic to do these moves, but you'll run headfirst into their dependency resolution efforts, which command them to put PulseAudio back in your system when reinstalling gnome-alsamixer. So either you use apt-get or you reconfigure aptitude/synaptic dependency resolution to work the way you want.
This means you are left without a panel applet to control volume across the board, thanks to the thoughtful efforts of Canonical to shove PulseAudio down our throats. So you need to have something to control audio with:
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-alsamixer
And something to keep gnome-alsamixer within easy reach, provided by AllTray:
$ sudo apt-get install alltray