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By Osama Rahman (bayern) And Bareesh Chowdhury (chelsea); With Thanks To S.m. Shafqat Shafiq

The Chessboard has been laid out in Munich. The pieces are being lined up and the casualties forgone. Weeks have been spent deliberating strategies and working on skills to make each individual pawn, Bishop, Knight and King stronger. May 19th sees the most intriguing clash of the under-dogs, teams that crushed the Spanish Inquisition, shoving the conquistadores aside and moving onto one last battle. This is a clash for the romantics wanting a fairy tale ending. Whether down to a moment of individual brilliance or sheer tactical genius, remains to be seen.

Chelsea side
Chelsea's defence is weakened significantly but Bayern have losses too. The LB position has been a pain for Bayern for years but young Alaba seemed to have been the solution. He'll miss out, Rafinha will be shuffled in at RB and Lahm will change wings. Rafinha is a lot like Bosingwa, except possibly even worse at defending. Expect Ashley Cole to take advantage. With Badstuber out, Van Buyten will come in. He's been out for months and lack of match practice can be exploited by a certain Didier Drogba.

Chelsea's midfield will see the injection of Essien in the absence of Meireles making it more defensive than usual. Mikel has already shown he can stifle the best, with his superb displays against Xavi where he pocketed the Spaniard. Lampard can always play pin-point balls as he did with those two crucial goals against Barcelona. They'll lie deep; make sure Schweinsteiger, Kroos and Muller don't have time or space.

Mario Gomez has an incredible goals tally this season, but he misses chances too often. On two wings, Ribery and Robben (Robbery) pose the biggest threat. Being inverted wingers though, both have to cut inside. The CBs will have to be quick and vigilant if they're to stop these two. And this may be where JT's suspension is a blessing in disguise. Both Cahill and Luiz are much faster and can keep pace with the Bayern attack. If Cahill does not make it, Romeu or Mikel, or even Bosingwa, may have to sub in to pull another Nou Camp. Remember, with a similarly depleted defence, mighty Barca were halted for over an hour.

Nobody expected Chelsea to get past Napoli, let alone Barca. Heart cannot be doubted. The leaky defence has become formidable. Luiz has turned from kamikaze marauder to quality defender capable of getting the ball up-field quickly. The old guard is rejuvenated, Torres has regained some shattered confidence and a trophy has been added to the achievements of Di Matteo's tenure. And perhaps, this writer is too overcome by emotion, but this is it. Revenge taken, injustices corrected, and against all odds, the Blues have arrived in Munich. This is our year. Carefree.

Bayern Side
Suspensions to Ivanovic and Terry coupled with doubts over Cahill's fitness, leaves Chelsea's backline near non-existent. David Luiz is tasked with marshalling the backline and although brilliant, he is easily rattled. Mario Gomez, with 12 goals, will be more than handful for the Sideshow Bob. Furthermore, Bosingwa as CB would bring in Paulo Ferreira and his rustiness will result in his downfall against Lahm and Ribery, both on the left.

Bayern's Midfield is enviable. Without Gustavo to hold the fort, Chelsea's troubles may actually increase. With the option to deploy the highly creative Kroos or Muller, along with the brilliant Schweinsteiger, Bayern's dominance of the midfield is assured. Without Meireles to spoil the party, the German trio's speed, agility and fluidity will stifle the ageing threat of Lampard and Essien while Mikel cannot be expected to play a larger part than being booked.

Drogba, though in imperious form, would be cut off from the midfield and Boateng can equal his strength and speed. Threat nullified. Although dangerous from free kicks he wins at the slightest contact, Chelsea will sit back and soak up the pressure, only to hit on the counter where Torres will be required. Sturridge and Mata, while both pretty good, tire easily and thus Bayern just need to play them out till the half.

The largest chink in Chelsea's armour is its prized asset; Robert Di Matteo. The wily Italian may have outsmarted Barcelona over two legs, but they scored first and Ramires' brilliance helped. When backed against the wall, Matteo's men implode as seen during the 4-1 thrashing at Anfield. His strategy of defence backfired against City too and Bayern isn't exactly Barcelona. No tap-tapping to check for gaps in the line. They'll just brute force their way through and they are competent in the air. Home advantage should be the least of the Blues' worry. As for penalties, Neuer will reign supreme.

People expected a Clasico final, but this expectation was squashed by the heart, focus, strategy and sheer willpower of these two sides. Perhaps, this was the best outcome. A sense of “anything is possible” swirls around the Allianz Arena. May 19th awaits.



By Ibrahim

He was born in a coop, raised in a cage. children fear him, critics rage.

He's half alive, he's half dead. folks just call him buckethead.

We all love our guitarists. From the legendary Gilmore to the awe-inspiring Petrucci, the hype surrounding them is incredible; and rightly so. But then there's the slightly weird and uniquely different Buckethead (yes, that's his name) whose technique and ability makes him one of the best in the field.

Buckethead (real name Brian Carroll), as the name suggests, wears a KFC bucket on his head with the words FUNERAL on them and an expressionless mask whenever he is performing. While there are many rumours abound as to why he does this, no one really knows for sure and it adds to the mystery surrounding him. Just as well, because the man can do anything with a guitar. From power-riffing to soulful melodic lines, nothing is beyond him. He has even mastered the insanely difficult chicken picking and eight-finger tapping styles which even some of the best can't do. To top it all off, he'll even create the sounds of a roller-coaster if needed.

Probably one of the main things which held back Buckethead's popularity was his reluctance to stray away from solo work. He did join Guns N' Roses in 2000 and even recorded 'Chinese Democracy' with them. But the chemistry was always off and he left soon after, which prompted Axl Rose to issue a scathing statement, commenting about his lifestyle and behaviour. After that failed attempt, Buckethead decided to hoof it alone and has produced numerous solo and collaborated albums while giving soundtracks to movies like Saw II and Mortal Kombat.

Most music fans are already familiar with his weird antics, but for those who aren't, Buckethead also incorporates weird dancing routines and nunchucks into his performance. Most of his solo works have no vocals but they are not needed anyway because of the amazing technical ability of this master shredder. In a way, Buckethead transcends genres as he never adheres to one and all music fans alike from death metal to alternative will be completely captivated by his work.

Call him crazy, call him disturbingly fixated with chickens but one thing is for certain, he will leave you mesmerised. There's nobody like him. Be quick to listen to his songs and check out his techniques. If you learn to master them somehow, well you'll be rich and famous. While there are a whole host of awesome songs to choose from,

These are some of the best.



By Tareq Adnan

Over the last few years, Marvel has released one superhero blockbuster after another and if viewed correctly, all those movies, be it the Iron Man movies or the Captain America flick last year, were just overlong trailers that came to a head in The Avengers. Now, before we go into the review, one simple fact about the movie must be made clear: Joss Whedon. The Geek Who Made It Big. The Avengers, in many respect, works because it was made by someone who grew up dreaming about The Avengers in the wee hours of the night. And it shows in the movie.

Whedon's credentials, ranging from Buffy to Firefly all in some respect help in shaping this movie. The characterisation that made Buffy famous, the banter among disparate individuals that made Firefly amazing can all be found here.

The Avengers picks off where all those previous movies left off. We are shown how those characters, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers et al, have all been getting on with their lives after the events of their respective movies. In other ensemble movies, this is the part where a lot of writers and directors get carried away. In an effort to showcase the lives of the characters, either in a humorous or dramatic light, they take up too much of the screen time to actually do justice to the story at hand. Whedon avoids this pitfall by using dialogue more than anything else. Small visual vignettes are offered to the viewer that manage to succinctly describe whatever activity, say, Tony Stark was involved in when he wasn't encased in metal (he builds a tower, names it after himself).

Most of you by now have probably already seen the trailers and/or heard enough about the movie to know its basic storyline. Loki, villain from Thor, shows up on Earth following his estranged adopted brother. The reason behind his appearance is not simple revenge but the acquisition of a certain glowing cube called The Tesseract. Loki manages to get a hold of it and because this cube is so unnaturally powerful that the Avengers must assemble to stop him before he does all manner of heinous things.

And that is another thing that the movie has; clichés aplenty. We've all seen “oh-no-that-dude-with-the-weird-hair-is-going-to-destroy-the-world-because-he-just-can't-love movies. Every year, at least one big name director tries to come up with a newer, novel way of ending it all.

Thankfully, Whedon, if anything is aware of the clichés he's playing with and he doesn't try to artfully manoeuvre around them by adding layers of rationalisation and sophistry. He takes them, uses them and he uses them well. You have the band of superpowered individuals who can't get along, check; you have the crazy idealistic villain, check; you have the moment that brings them all together, check. They're all there except they don't feel like Legos strewn on the ground with jarring edges waiting to be stepped on.

Whedon makes the pieces fit and Downey Jr and the Hulk keep the funnies coming. Watch this movie if you like things blowing up.

Best Quote: “Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.” - Tony Stark

Interesting Fact: Samuel L. Jackson was not allowed to improvise the lines. Robert Downey Jr. was. Go figure.

Similar Movies: Those George Clooney movies about robbing people. Animated Avengers Movies. A Clockwork Orange (ensemble cast, cooperating to do uh… things).


By Shaer Reaz

Sniper Elite was first released in 2005, and they managed to sell about… three copies to unsuspecting gamers. One of them was me. That game sucked so much it hurt. Now Rebellion is back with a Version 2 of Sniper Elite and it's so great it kinda hurts.

As the name gives it away, it's a tactical shooter with a lot of focus on ranged weaponry. Set in the closing days of World War II, you play an American OSS officer dropped behind enemy lines in Berlin. As the Soviet Union closes in for their famous victory, the US is concerned about Nazi technology falling into the wrong hands (the Soviets) and set about making plans to grab the Nazi scientists (or stop them) in any way. The game has you running around a war ravaged Berlin, trying to prevent a continuing world war. The story isn't much to hang onto, but provides enough pretences for the game's setting.

The graphics are brilliant. The buildings ripped apart by explosions, the tank carcasses littering the streets, random pieces of furniture lying around, everything is modelled to perfection. The character animation is great too, but the expressions on the enemy characters' faces leave a lot to be desired. You can't exactly expect a terrified Nazi foot soldier to carry an impassive face when a sniper is trying to blow his head off.

Blowing people's heads off is the main attraction in this game. If you manage to land a perfect shot with your sniper rifle from a considerable distance, they'll even show you a cinematic of how the bullet entered the victim's skull in a cutaway diagram type thing, with anatomically correct renderings of the vital organs. The blood-spatter and the crunch of bones as a bullet goes through it are sublime. And no, I am not Dexter and I haven't had disturbing experiences with murders. Sometimes, it's just relaxing to take things out on some game character and make their heads explode, you know?

The gameplay is pretty good, but you can tell right away the developers wanted to emphasise the power and usefulness of a sniper rifle. The automatic weapons and pistols are very underpowered and quite hard to use, whereas the sniper rifles feel like they could be operated by a 12 year old. The physics of the scoped shot might seem a little complex at first, but it's easy as cheesecake when you get used to it. Another glaring mistake the developers made was to leave out the knife. It is almost impossible to move silently across the battlefield while neutralising the enemy, because the ONLY stealth weapon available in the game is a Welrod pistol. Which sucks. You'll be forced into head-to-head action sooner or later, which goes against the developer's advice of learning to employ stealth instead of brute force.

Every kill provides you with points which stack up at the end of the level. This provides some room for beating the game twice, doing things differently and trying to reach a higher score. Other than that, this is a onetime affair of beating the game and losing the disk. Only in this case finding the disk again might lead to some joy.

Fun, fast and entertaining game. Thumbs up.

Other games you may like:
Call of Duty:
Black Ops has some similar missions and feel.

Interesting Facts:
There are a few sequences in the game where you can shoot an enemy sniper through the scope. Google “Carlos Hathcock”. The North Vietnamese Army placed a bounty of $30,000 on Hathcock's life for killing so many of their men and he held the record for highest bounty and killed every Vietnamese marksman who sought it. One of them died when Hathcock put a bullet through his scope, after the two snipers were getting ready to shoot, simultaneously.

Also Google “Simo Hayha”, the most badass man to have ever lived.


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