Bones' Basement is a very small 1v1 map. The layout consists of little more than a square room with inner walls that loosely separates the room into an inner area and an outer ring. The ceiling of the outer ring forms the floor for a second layer walkway that offers some vertical action. On both ends of the room, there are jumppads which allow players to move from the lower level to the upper level.
Each corner of the lower level contains an item. Two opposing corners have a medium health pickup and the other two corners feature the Plasmagun and Railgun. In the inner area we find a few small health pickups and, right in the center, the yellow armor. The upper level supplies two more medium health bubbles as well as some armor shards. More importantly though, we can also find the Shotgun and Rocker Launcher here.
Due to the tight setup of the map, players won't find a second's rest. You're in each other's face all the time. Because of this somewhat claustrophobic type of gameplay, dealing damage to your opponent is essential. If you die, the most important thing is to use your fully replenished health to frag your opponent before they can replenish their own health. This cat and mouse game can quickly result in players alternatively fragging each other, keeping scores close to each other. Breaking this pattern is key to achieving victory. Put a point between you and your opponent and you've got a bit more breathing room.
The upper level of the map gives a slight strategic advantage. It's always harder to shoot an enemy that's above you. However, it's also harder to hide on the upper level as you're more exposed. The lower level has these short corridors in each corner which form a ring around the map that can be used as cover and a way to seek safety. The health pickups here are much seeked after and fairly safe to pickup. If you want to protect yourself against deadly Railgun fire, it is important to grab some additional health or armor, but the small health pickups and armor shards are very much exposed and fairly dangerous to grab. It's a tactical choice that needs to be made. Be vulnerable to Railgun fire or run the risk of getting shot at while grabbing extra protection. Because of this, the Yellow Armor is important to keep an eye at. Grabbing it more is more often thant not the difference between winning and losing a fight.
Aestethically the map looks like a gloomy underground cellar or basement. A thin layer of fog rolling over the floor gives the map a hint bit of an ominous look. Lighting is simple but atmospheric. The map is almost entirely clad in custom high res textures (high res for Quake 3 standards) which gives it a crisp and detailed look. There is a lot of geometric detail in the map. Cracked walls, broken wooden beams, plant growth and wine barrels stashed in alcoves are a fair treat for the eye. There is also a custom music track which, while very subtle, sets the tone very well.
Bones' Basement isn't exactly a traditional type of Quake 3 map. It's small size and off-beat gameplay make it unlike most other maps. The lack of a real layout to remember almost makes it feels like a training map, to get to grips with the basics of Quake 3 tourney play. But don't be discouraged. The map can be very intense to play. At times, it really kicks in your teeth. If you're playing this against a bot, crank up the difficulty because it gets intense. Because of the map's small footprint, it shoves both players into each others' face all the time and that means you're not going to have a moment of rest. When the skill level between the two players is not well matched, it's probably easy for one player to dominate the other. But with evenly matched opponents, the map is guaranteed to give quite a few matches with close victories.